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Highlanders roll Sonora, extend both streaks

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Highlanders roll Sonora, extend both streaks

Posted on 15 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The La Habra High School football team continues to reach uncharted territory with every win, and this week against Sonora the Highlanders extended their county record league winning streak to 47 with a 56-0 blowout over the rival Raiders.

La Habra once again took the Mayor's Trophy for the city championship with a 56-0 win over Sonora Friday.

La Habra once again took the Mayor’s Trophy for the city championship with a 56-0 win over Sonora Friday.

The Highlanders put up 50 points before the halftime gun sounded, with a eye-popping 36 in the first quarter alone.

With a big lead early, Head Coach Frank Mazzotta used the opportunity to get a lot of the younger players reps, which he has been talking about needing to do all season long.

“It means everything, there are so many kids who show up to practice everyday and work their butts off, to give them a chance to play under the lights, I love that, it’s one of my favorite things to do,” Mazzotta said.

Sonora couldn’t get anything going offensively all night and had a handful of miscues in the first 10 minutes, which gave the heavily favored Highlanders easy scoring opportunities.

Before the seats got warm La Habra had a commanding 22-0 lead.

Pervis Henderson had a 1-yard touchdown grab and Eli Anderson carried the ball in from 3 yards out on the Highlanders’ first two possessions, with 10:41 remaining in the opening frame.

 On the Raiders next possession, Cameron Rivas held up Ethan Cook at the line of scrimmage and Madison Wheeler ripped the ball away for a 9-yard touchdown return on the fumble.

“On any given day, they are a good team, regardless of what their record might say, they’re a good team and on any given day you can get beat,” Rivas said. “So you just have to go out there and bring your A game.”

On the ensuing kickoff, Chigozie Anusiem looked to be attempting to deploy a reverse, but wound up backtracking a couple feet into the end zone, where he was downed for a safety.

The Highlanders added a couple additional scores when quarterback Zach Fogel hit both Prince Ross and Derrick Corso for touchdowns of 22 and 23 yards respectively.

By the time the second quarter rolled around, the game was already out of hand for Sonora. However, despite the lopsided loss, Head Coach Daniel Morales was proud of his team for continuing to battle until the final whistle.

“I applaud them for that, it’s not easy to do, [La Habra’s] a really great team, they’ve been great for a long time and they’ll continue to be great,” Morales said. “Where we are at right now, we were just not ready for a test like that, but these guys I’m so proud of them for giving everything they got until the very end.”

Morales was a former Highlander player and coach prior to taking over at Sonora.

Afterwards, Rivas shared a moment with his former coach, Morales.

La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzota shakes hands with Sonora Head Coach Daniel Morales after the Highlander's city championship win. Morales once played for Mazzota at LHHS.

La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzota shakes hands with Sonora Head Coach Daniel Morales after the Highlander’s city championship win. Morales once played for Mazzota at LHHS.

“I just told him they got a hell of a coaching staff and to just keep their heads up and keep fighting because it’s a process,” Rivas said.

“The kids from this city have a lot of fight, I love coaching the kids from this city,” Morales said. “I am from here and I am proud of all of my guys.”

The Highlander defense held Sonora to three first downs in the first half, with a pair of them coming on penalties.

Fogel threw for 122 yards and three touchdowns, while Anderson gained 59 and two scores on the ground, with just four carries on the night.

Romeo Mergerson made his backfield debut for the Highlanders in the third quarter, carrying the ball down the field on just one series and totaled 51 yards with a touchdown.

The Highlanders (4-3, 2-0) stiffest test in league awaits, as they will travel the Buena Park (6-1, 2-0) next Friday.

Sonora (0-7, 0-2) will look to get into the win column when they host Sunny Hills (5-2, 1-1) at La Habra High School next Friday.

“I think we are getting better every week, that’s what I like,” Mazzotta said.

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La Habra controls home court in rivalry match

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La Habra controls home court in rivalry match

Posted on 27 September 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

After jumping out to an early lead only to watch it slip away in the opening set, the Lady Highlanders volleyball team bounced back to win three straight and pull off the four-set upset victory over Sonora Monday night at home.

Lady Highlanders celebrate after a score on their way to a home win against Sonora Monday.

Lady Highlanders celebrate after a score on their way to a home win against Sonora Monday.

La Habra jumped out to an early lead in front of the home crowd, outscoring the Raiders 8-2 to begin the match. After trailing 16-8 in the first, Sonora stormed back to tie it at 20, then outscored the Lady Highlanders 5-1 down the stretch to close out the set.

Coming into the game, Sonora (11-7) sported the better record and the momentum appeared to be shifting after the team’s slow start.

“I’m proud of them for not giving up after that first game,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “To have that 8-point lead and give it away in a matter of minutes, we knew we had to focus and eliminate the mistakes, and we did.”LHJ Guadalupe Park

However, La Habra (7-8) bounced right back to take early leads in the second and third sets and never relinquished the position.

The fourth set was back-and-forth all the way through a 12-12 tie, before La Habra pulled away with a 13-3 run to close out the match.

Sisters Victoria and Haley Rollins teamed up to dominate the net for La Habra. Victoria finished with nine kills and 11 blocks. The younger Rollins, Haley pitched in seven kills and eight blocks.

Taylor Richter, La Habra’s leading scorer this season, missed on several scoring opportunities in the first two sets, but finished strong. Richter notched five of her six kills in the third and fourth, and gave her team a boost with four aces as well.

Sophomore Ariana Gonzalez had an efficient game at the net for SLHJ Guadalupe Parkonora, finishing with eight kills and 12 blocks. Sonora Head Coach Andrew Johnson admitted afterwards that his team needs to do a better job of getting Gonzalez more scoring opportunities.

Spear was impressed with her team’s resilience and said competing against talented teams over the weekend in La Jolla without one of their top scorers, Marina Pilkington, helped boost their confidence.

“When we lost Marina, it forced us to really work together as a team,” Spear said. “I think having to figure that out this weekend really helped us a lot tonight.”

Both teams play again Wednesday night. La Habra will be at Buena Park (2-5), while Sonora will be at home taking on Sunny Hills (6-6).

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Raiders beat Knights, move to CIF Quarterfinals

Posted on 26 May 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Sonora Raiders advance to the Southern Section Quarterfinals with a 5-2 victory against Katella.

The Raiders battled back, scoring five unanswered runs to shut down the Knights.WEB_LHJ Sonora_SH base_0173

Austin Weddle toed the rubber for the Raiders who worked in and out of jams for six innings.

“He seems to be fighting himself all the time, he’s cutting his pitches off short,” Tellers said.

Weddle started the game reliant on his fastball, but gained command of his curveball and changeup.

“He just kept battling through it,” Tellers said.

Weddle however did not have much help behind him as the Raiders defense showed one of their weaker performances.

With runners on first and second base and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Raiders got some timely defense off the bench.

Alex Penaloza hit a deep fly ball to left field. Jacob Tennyson trailed the high fly ball into the corner and eventually caught it before it got lost in the corner.

Tennyson is regarded as the fastest player in the Sonora baseball program with a 6.3 second 60 yard dash.

“He’s usually the guy out there in the late innings, and he had the smarts to get that one back in the infield,” Tellers said.

Katella was on the run, so when Tennyson hauled it in, both runners had a long run to get back to their bases, allowing Tennyson to relay a ball into the infield to double off Matt Morello from first.

“I thought for sure it was going to be a 5-4 game with a runner on third,” Tellers said expecting the play to end as a triple.WEB_LHJ Sonora_SH base_0583

The throw ended the game securing a 5-2 victory.

Katella scored their first run in the second inning.

With two on and no outs, Eduardo Ureno dropped a bunt down in front of Eli Villalobos. Villalobos tried to throw the runner out at second, but his throw sailed into center field scoring Penaloza. With runners on the corners Katella hit a grounder to Justin Mellano. Mellano made a strong throw to home to tie Gabriel Gamboa up between the basepath in a pickle. Weddle struck the next batter out before escaping the jam one batter later.

Wilem Drozdowski reached on an infield single in the third to set the table for the Raiders. JP Sarro followed with another single to put runners on first and second. Eli Villalobos fouled off a pitch in front of the Raiders dugout, and Drozdowski tagged up after Roberto Jaime bobbled the catch in front of the fence. Dylan Villalobos singled up the middle to tie the game, bringing in Drozdowski.

The Raiders added to their run total in the fourth with a leadoff single by Jake Rosander. Mellano then sacrificed him over to second.

Gabe Armstrong singled putting runners on the corners and Jason Clayton singled down the line to bring in Rosander for a 2-1 lead.

In the sixth, the Raiders scored their third run on back to back doubles from Mellano and Armstrong. Armstrong would try to score on a single to left, but was thrown out at the plate. Armstrong appeared to injure his hamstring on the play.

In the seventh inning, Katella’s pitching trouble led to two runs for the Raiders.WEB_LHJ Sonora_SH base_0249

“It’s about making plays,” Tellers said, “Defense will usually cost you games, I think we got a couple from them because of mistakes on defense, and I know for sure we threw a few away.”

Eli Villalobos reached on an infield single to third base. He took second on a wild pitch and went to third on Dylan’s single to center. Another wild pitch scored Eli and put Dylan at second.

Chandler Koontz reached on a walk, then swiped second on a wild pitch. Dylan Villalobos scored on another wild pitch to give the Raiders a 5-1 lead.

The Knights season ended after they scored their second run off of Sarro who came in to pitch.

Morello singled to left to drive in the run, but would be out retreating on Penaloza’s fly ball to left.

With the Raiders road victory, they will host Serrano who knocked out Victor Valley in a 5-2 victory. That game will be played on Friday afternoon.

“It’s been a fight, and hopefully we can continue fighting,” Tellers said.

The Raiders carry 11 Seniors, and will look to the to carry the load as the season continues.

“We know that everyone’s in this together, but it’s their deal. They have no tomorrow,” Tellers said.

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Raiders battle Warriors to win on the road

Posted on 18 January 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

In a physical battle between the Raiders and Warriors, Christian Rhodes’ 23 points pushes the Raiders to a 72-69 victory.

Sonora's Christian Rhodes' 23 points helped lead the Raiders past Troy Friday.

Sonora’s Christian Rhodes’ 23 points helped lead the Raiders past Troy Friday.

“I am so beat up. I’m so beat up, I was taking shots all game long, Rhodes said, “but it feels good, that we came out with a victory.”

The Warriors (11-8, 1-1) were led by Jason Choi, who scored 29 points, leading all scorers on the night.

While the Raiders (15-3, 2-0) maintained a narrow lead the entire game, it was their lackluster defense which allowed Choi and the Warriors to hang around.

“I found out tonight we can’t play defense, not even a little bit. Not even a little bit, they’re barely interested in guarding, all we try to do is score. Worst defense I’ve seen in 25 years,” head coach Mike Murphy said.

Choi scored 10 points in the first quarter but was scoreless in the second and had 15 points after three quarters.

But after Sonora stretched their lead to 10 points, heading into the fourth, Troy began to surge.

“We not only couldn’t guard them, they scored in four seconds. We didn’t even resist a little bit. There was no resistance there tonight. We were awful, we were horrible,” Murphy said.

Choi went to work, en route to 12 fourth quarter points from the foul line and inside the paint.Sonora basketball vs Troy January 16, 2015

But Christian Rhodes also was in the midst of a fine night.

“Christian Rhodes was fantastic, he was fantastic, he played really well,” Murphy said.

Rhodes however was taking a beating in the process.

“I’m gonna go home and nap,” Rhodes said about his postgame plans.

After Rhodes drew contact on a fastbreak, Troy was called for a technical foul.

Rhodes was three for four from the foul line before the fourth quarter, but knocked down seven of eight in the fourth alone.

Murphy added four points in the paint, but the rest of the Raiders 14 fourth quarter points came on free throws.

During the third quarter, with just a four point lead coming out of halftime, coach Murphy let Kevin Marlow and Jason McClung start the quarter, instead of Ashaad Womack and Josh Rodriguez.

Rodriguez struggled with foul trouble the entire game, and Murphy preferred Marlow’s defensive effort.Sonora basketball vs Troy January 16, 2015

“Marlow played really big, those are the only two guys, we just can’t guard,” Murphy said about Marlow and Rhodes, “that’s all we’re gonna talk about for the next couple weeks.”

“We have such a deep team, one player goes down, the next one will step up and that’s what happened today,” Rhodes said.

When Murphy put his starters back, it seemed like a different team.

“If you don’t play with effort you don’t have  a chance,” Murphy said.

Womack looked inspired, hedging on screens, providing good help defense and looking for rebounds.

“He played a lot harder in the second half,” Murphy said about Womack.

With the change in intensity, the Raiders were able to get out on the break, creating open shots for their guards.

In addition to his defense, Marlow knocked down two three-pointers for six of his nine points.Sonora basketball vs Troy January 16, 2015

“It was amazing, if he doesn’t have those threes, we don’t win this game,” Rhodes said. “he’s got a lot of promise in the future, and we’re really lucky to have him,”

Christian Rhodes added two threes as well, and Steven Murphy continued his activity down low with 19 points in the game.

“Steven Murphy has been playing better every game, he’s getting better and better,” Murphy said.

Matt Mickle scored 14 points but only three came in the second half.

The Raiders and Warriors were separated by 2 points after the first quarter.

Josh Rodriguez scored his only five points in the first quarter.

Ben Rico had nine of his 10 points in the first half.

The Raiders will head to Fullerton on Wednesday January 21 for their next game.

Sonora basketball vs Troy January 16, 2015

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Raiders start North OC Tourney strong

Posted on 18 December 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Sonora Raiders basketball team cruised through their first two games of the North Orange County Tournament.

Driving: Sophomore Kevin Marlow takes the ball down court during Sonora’s 71-54 win against Diamond Bar High School Monday afternoon.

Driving: Sophomore Kevin Marlow takes the ball down court during Sonora’s 71-54 win against Diamond Bar High School Monday afternoon.

The Raiders started with a 71-54 win over Diamond Bar, and then dominated Long Beach Wilson winning 79-32.
The Raiders could be playing up to 5 games in 6 days, if they continue to play this well.
Much of the Raiders success can be attributed to the hot shooting from seniors Josh Rodriguez and Christian Rhodes.
In the two games, Rodriguez has scored 43 total points and Christian Rhodes has scored 49 points between the two games.
Christian Rhodes was shooting especially well against Wilson scoring 30 points in just three quarters.
“It’s always fun when you’re shooting like 90 percent from the 3 point line,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes wanted to go after the school record of 43 points, but Murphy had different plans.
“You know with Christian the school record would probably be 60 if I let players play all four quarters in games like this,” Murphy said describing a conversation with his shooting guard.LHJ Sonora DBHS_BkBall_0385_
“Christian Rhodes was just on fire, he just had a remarkable game,”
Rhodes got off too a quick start, knocking down his first two three pointers and ended up with 12 points in the first quarter.
“I always have confidence, but normally I’m a pass first kind of player, and so tonight I was feeling it so then I became a shoot first, and they just kept going in,” Rhodes said.
He continued his hot shooting adding 13 in the second quarter, though most of these came from easy layups as the Raiders were able to get out in transition.
The pace the Raiders played at was indicative of the pace they’d like to play moving forward.
With Rodriguez and Rhodes creating a constant outside threat, they were able to open up the inside game where Steven Murphy was able to finish three untouched layups.LHJ Sonora DBHS_BkBall_0610_
“Dude its ridiculous, like nobody can guard us if we make shots, its literally impossible,” Rodriguez said.
“I was so happy for Steven,” Mike Murphy said as he compared how strong his performances were down the stretch last year.
“He started to break out a little bit against Woodbridge, and then tonight Josh found him four or five times with some great passes, and Steven finished really nicely,” Murphy said.
In addition to their red hot shooting, the Raiders played lock down defense forcing tough shots the entire game.
“Our team is a high powered offense, so most of the time our practices focus on defense, and our offense is always going to be there, but our defense keeps increasingly getting better, that’s just only going to help us out in the long run for playoffs,” Rhodes said.
The Raiders led after the first quarter up 23-8, and were up 44-17 at halftime.LHJ Sonora DBHS_BkBall_0266_
The Raiders struggled with foul trouble in the first two quarters, but you would never have noticed based on their body language.
“They responded way better, their body language was much better, we’ve been talking about it, Murphy said.
After Friday’s game against Woodbridge, Murphy wanted to make sure they paid attention to their emotions.
“They’re 16 and 17 year old kids, and they’re emotional and they play with a lot of emotion, and that’s what makes us good too, the fact that they care so much and they play with that intensity,”
With the game under control Murphy let the bench get some valuable minutes together, allowing Sophomores Bryce Rutledge, Austin Carter, and Kevin Marlow to develop some chemistry together.
The Raiders next step will be in the knockout rounds, where they will start on Thursday night.

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LHHS vs Sonora 11_7_14

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Highlanders take city championship

Posted on 09 November 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

 

The La Habra football team took home the Mayor’s Cup for the 13th year in a row after beating Sonora, 56-26, at home in its last league game Friday night.

 

In addition to winning the City Championship, the Highlanders (7-3, 5-0) won their 41st straight league game and eighth consecutive Freeway League title.

 

“I was really happy with the way the guys played,” said La Habra head coach Frank Mazzotta. “They came out and played hard from the very beginning. We’re getting better. We’re a lot better than we were 8 weeks ago.”

Junior Quarterback Eric Barriere passed for a record setting seven touchdowns against Sonora Friday.

Junior Quarterback Eric Barriere passed for a record setting seven touchdowns against Sonora Friday.

 

La Habra quarterback Eric Barriere completed 12 of 19 passes and set a school record with seven touchdown passes.

 

“We wanted to go out and finish off league with a 5-0 record,” said Barriere. “We wanted to come out with a victory to set a statement for playoffs. We’re ready for CIF and we want to make it to Anaheim Stadium.”

 

After defensive stops from both teams at the beginning of the first quarter, the Highlanders were first to put points on the board after Barriere connected a 46-yard touchdown pass to Justin Sun.

 

With a second remaining in the first quarter the Raiders (6-4, 1-4) tied the game at seven with a 52-yard touchdown run from quarterback Cole McDonald.

 

The Highlanders took the lead in the second quarter with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Barriere to Prince Ross with under 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

 

Sonora Quarterback Cole Mc Donald was 10 for 25  and  69 yards on nine carries Friday against La Habra.

Sonora Quarterback Cole Mc Donald was 10 for 25 and 69 yards on nine carries Friday against La Habra.

Halfway through the second quarter, Barriere connected another touchdown pass, this time to Edrick Flores to give the Highlanders a two-touchdown lead over the Raiders.

 

The Highlanders advanced their score to a three-touchdown lead when Carlos Martin scored off a 57-yard run with a littler over three minutes remaining in the first half.

 

After a 63-yard run from Barriere into Raider territory, the junior quarterback connected another touchdown pass to Flores to end the first half, 35-7.

 

Sonora came back in the third quarter with a 15-yard touchdown run from captain Jacob Fimbres to advance the score to 35-13.

 

La Habra quickly retaliated with another touchdown pass from Barriere to Ross.

 

Minutes later the Highlanders recovered a Sonora fumble. La Habra regained possession in Raider territory and Barriere quickly connected a touchdown pass to Amon Fellows to advance the score to 49-13.

Raider running back Jacob Fimbres had 167 yards on 26 carries Friday against La Habra.

Raider running back Jacob Fimbres had 167 yards on 26 carries Friday against La Habra.

 

Late in the third quarter, Sonora sacked La Habra’s backup quarterback, Chris Brown, and the Raiders’ Christian Dimas recovered a fumble on the next play to regain possession in La Habra territory.

 

The Raiders capitalized on it and Fimbres scored off another touchdown run to advance the score to 49-20.

 

The Highlanders scored their final touchdown of the night when Barriere connected a 35-yard touchdown pass to Sun with a minute remaining in the third quarter.

 

The Raiders were last to score when Fimbres ran in the final touchdown of the night with over six minutes remaining in the game.

 

Sonora was led by Fimbres with 167 yards on 26 carries and Mc Donald who completed 10 of 25 passes and had 69 yards on nine carries.

 

La Habra will play its first CIF-SS playoff game next week.

 

“Playoffs are here and we better be ready because we don’t have a choice,” Mazzotta said. “We’re playing next Friday night so we better be ready.”

 

 

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Raiders take season opener against Whittier

Posted on 30 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Marcus
La Habra Journal

Sonora got out to a running start to begin the season with a 41-15 victory over Whittier.

The victory helps the Raiders shake off their two-win 2013 season and start this season fresh.sonora logo

“Last year’s behind us they’ve worked hard and they wanted to come out here and get this and so its great for the kids, it gets them excited gets us ready for the season,” Head coach Paul Chiotti said

The Raider’s dominated on the offensive line holding out the Cardinal defense

“We’ve got a great offensive line coming back from last year, the guys up front, they’re going to be physical,” Chiotti said.

With the line holding, the Raiders’ offense controlled the tempo behind the rushing of quarterback Cole McDonald and running back Jacob Frimbres

“They’re going to let those two guys showcase their skills,”

Chiotti added, “it’s a nice duo of McDonald and Fimbres in the backfield, and I think it makes it tough to look at just one guy.”

Between McDonald and Fimbres, the two accounted for five Raider touchdowns.

The Raiders’ defense also had a strong showing holding the Cardinals to only three points in the first half and 15 points total.

“We were physical at the point, we were getting off the field, and then once our offense started going and we started making those big plays, they definitely put the other team in a bind where now they had to do some things that they didn’t want to do and we were able to take advantage of that and make them a little one dimensional,” Chiotti said.

Senior Cornerback Jonathan Rodriguez took an interception back for the score with the game well in hand.

With seconds left in the game the Raiders collected another interception before running out the clock.

“Coming off to a slow start, we didn’t score that much in the first half and you know you just got to get the boys riled up,” McDonald said.

With the clock running down in the first quarter, Fimbres set up the Raiders first scoring drive when he hurdled the defense to get to the one yard line. From there he punched it in to start the second quarter to give the R aiders a 7-0 lead.

The Raider defense forced a three and out which set up Cole McDonald for a 47 yard touchdown run.

On third and 8 Cole McDonald looked to bury the Cardinals.

Under pressure from the Cardinals’ pass rush, McDonald escaped a sack, but threw an interception that would lead to a 21 yard field goal to end the first half.

In the second half the Raiders maintained the momentum on offense as McDonald and Fimbres seemed to run down the field with ease.

“We kept playing no matter what the scoreboard was halftime 0-0 again, new game” Fimbres said about his approach.

With the ball on the goal line McDonald overthrew a pass into the end zone. The Cardinals field goal coverage stiffened, blocking the kick and picking up the ball on the Raider 41 yard line.

One of McDonald’s season goals is to fine tune his passing and have a better understanding of the offense.

“Getting my fundamentals down working with my quarterback coach, my offensive coordinator just really knowing the offense, getting my reads down and hitting the right guys at the right time,” McDonald said.

With six minutes left in the third quarter, Fimbres added his second touchdown on a 19-yard run.

Cole McDonald followed Fimbres’ impressive rushing effort with a 72-yard scamper down the sideline for his second touchdown to give the Raiders a commanding 28-3 lead.

As McDonald was running down the sideline, it looked like he nearly lost the football.

“I had my sleeve on, and I switched (the ball), and it just slipped out and I grabbed it in the air and almost fumbled it,” McDonaldl added in relief.

The Cardinals finally found the end zone when Luis Valero caught a pass out of the backfield. After the catch he eluded the initial tacklers breaking into the open field and running in for the touchdown.

The Cardinals failed to convert the two-point conversion, as they could feel the pressure to score in bunches.

Fimbres added his third score of the game with a one-yard run which gave the Raiders a 34-9 lead after a missed extra point.

Rodriguez intercepted the ball on the 23-yard line with plenty of room to run scoring on the play.

The Cardinals added a passing touchdown by Dylan Salcid to to bring the final score to 41-15.

The Raiders will welcome Brea Olinda High School into La Habra Stadium next Friday as they look to build off of this performance

“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” Chiotti said. “I think they are going to represent the school and this community in a wonderful way. I kind of challenge everybody in the city of La Habra to come out and watch some Sonora football. See what these boys who are from La Habra and how hard they work and all the great things they’re going to accomplish. , they’ve worked hard, and I think the whole city will be pretty surprised at this group and what they’re going to accomplish this year.”

 

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Sonny, Raiders’ defense shut down Patriot to advance to second round

Posted on 22 May 2014 by La Habra Journal

Sonora starting pitcher Evan Sonny winds up to pitch against Patriot in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High. Photos courtesy of Kurt Blodgett

Sonora starting pitcher Evan Sonny winds up to pitch against Patriot in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High. Photos courtesy of Kurt Blodgett

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Last year, Sonora pitcher Evan Sonny missed the playoffs after a four-day hospital visit forced an early end to his junior season.

The now senior pitcher admitted he was a little anxious heading into his first varsity playoff start on Thursday afternoon, but settled midway through the game and delivered a complete game shutout as the Raiders topped Patriot 2-0 at home in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs.

Sonny allowed two hits, the second coming with two outs in the third inning. With help from his defense, he retired the last 12 Warriors he faced.

“I think I tried to overthrow a little bit early, but once I got my off-speed stuff working, everything came into play,” Sonny said. “I was anxious, I was ready to get out there. Our coach always says good teams find a way to win even when they’re off and I feel that’s what we did today, we found a way to win.”

In all, Sonny allowed three baserunners, two of which were thrown out at second base. Sonny faced 22 total batters, one more than the minimum for a seven-inning game.

Patriot (12-15) had only one runner in scoring position as Justin Thomas was allowed second base after a throwing error during a double-play attempt in the first inning.

Sonora’s defense was key, the infield recorded 17 outs and Sonny struck out four batters. Aside from one hit in the first inning, a chopper over third-baseman JP Sarro, none of Patriot’s swings reached the outfield.

“We tell the guys if you get to this point of the year that you have to make plays,” said Pat Tellers, Sonora head coach. “We made some plays today, Gavin [Blodgett] made some big plays at shortstop. We also challenged them and we were able to take advantage of a couple mistakes.”

However, as great as Sonora’s pitching and defense were on the afternoon, the bats struggled. Sonora recorded just two base hits, both in the fourth inning.

Sonora shortstop Gavin Blodgett prepares to throw to first after fielding a tough chopper up the middle during the seventh inning of Sonora's first-round 2-0 win over Patriot, Thursday afternoon at home.

Sonora shortstop Gavin Blodgett prepares to throw to first after fielding a tough chopper up the middle during the seventh inning of Sonora’s first-round 2-0 win over Patriot, Thursday afternoon at home.

Despite an erratic performance by Warriors’ starting pitcher Andrew Martinez, Sonora’s willingness to chase pitches helped his cause early on.

Sonora (21-6-1) was held without a hit until Gavin Blodgett singled to lead off the fourth inning. Two batters later, Jake Rosander doubled to deep left-center field to put runners on second and third base.

Justin Mellano plated the Raiders’ first run with a sacrifice fly to right field in the fourth inning. Blodgett scored from third base as the throw sailed wide right of the plate.

“We didn’t execute well offensively, we didn’t get bunts down well today,” Tellers said. “I liked the way we drove the ball, but they must have had something on us because their outfield was playing deep. They tracked them down and made them fly-ball outs.”

Patriot shortstop Luis Perez bobbled a ground ball by Blodgett in the fifth inning, allowing Sonny to score and give the Raiders a 2-0 lead.

Sonny and the defense took care of the rest as Sonora cruised into the second round and extended their current win streak to 16 games.

The Raiders will face Century in the second round. Century, the champion of the Orange League, defeated Monrovia 2-0 on Thursday afternoon. A coin flip will determine the site of the game.

“It’s about making plays and we did, that’s why we’re continuing,” Tellers said. “It doesn’t matter who you play at this time, they’re all good, you never know what you’re going to run into. We just have to prepare for our next opponent and we get to do that, starting tomorrow or tonight.”

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Raiders shut out La Habra, extend win streak to 13 games

Posted on 09 May 2014 by La Habra Journal

Gavin Blodgett recorded a RBI-triple and came home to score in the fourth inning during the Raiders' 5-0 win over La Habra, Friday at Sonora High.

Gavin Blodgett recorded a RBI-triple and came home to score in the fourth inning during the Raiders’ 5-0 win over La Habra, Friday at Sonora High.

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

Sonora pitching threw yet another shutout as the baseball team earned a 5-0 victory and a three-game sweep over the La Habra Highlanders, Friday afternoon at Sonora High.

It was their sixth shutout in 13 league games. Overall, the Raiders’ pitching and defense have allowed just 11 runs total in Freeway League play.

The Raiders had already clinched the Freeway League before the game started but did not come out looking complacent.

The bats showed up from the get-go and managed two runs in the first inning. In the inning, Sonora’s first two batters reached before Jake Rosander bunted them both into scoring position.

“We have been executing really well lately,” said Pat Tellers, Sonora head coach. “That is why we have been winning games. When you can trust your number three hitter to bunt guys into second and third the game gets easier to manage.”

Jose Gomez and Gabe Armstrong chipped in with back-to-back RBI singles.

Armstrong was also the pitcher for the Raiders on the day and pitched a complete game shutout, allowing four hits and two walks while collecting eight strikeouts.

“I thought I pitched well today,” Armstrong said. “I got myself into some trouble at some points, but all-in-all I knew I was hitting my spots.”

The Highlanders (11-14, 5-8) did threaten in the fourth inning. They had runners on second and third with no outs, but Armstrong struck out Brad Hoffrichter before issuing a walk to Kyle Schuh to load the bases with one out.

Armstrong then struck out David Calderon and Isaiah Gonzalez to get out of the inning.

“We had some pretty good chances but we did not execute,” said John Sothern, La Habra head coach. “We are not playing like we did earlier in the year, we’re missing some good opportunities.”

La Habra's Robert Leffler (shown against Troy) threw five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out two batters in La Habra's 5-0 loss to Sonora, Friday afternoon at Sonora High.

La Habra’s Robert Leffler (shown against Troy) threw five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out two batters in La Habra’s 5-0 loss to Sonora, Friday afternoon at Sonora High.

The Raiders (18-6-1, 13-0) added two more runs in the fourth inning on an RBI triple by Gavin Blodgett and an RBI sacrifice fly by Andrew Piraino.

They finished off the scoring in the sixth with an RBI groundout by Evan Sonny.

Robert Leffler was on the mound for the Highlanders, pitching five innings and allowing five runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

“Robert just did not have his best stuff today,” Sothern said. “He battled well though and did not pitch himself out of the game.

With two games remaining in league play, Sonora and La Habra find themselves in very different predicaments.

Sonora is 13-0 in league and are only playing for playoff seeding.

“We already have the league clinched,” Tellers said. “But you want to go into the playoffs on a winning streak and this team had a goal to go 15-0 so they want to reach it.”

La Habra sits at 5-8 in league and needs to sweep Buena Park along with some help from other parts of the league.

“It is that simple, every game is important,” Sothern said. “We need to beat Buena Park both times and we need Troy to sweep Fullerton.”

The Highlanders will take on Buena Park on the road and Sonora will host Sunny Hills, Tuesday afternoon.

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Raiders top La Habra to earn second consecutive league crown

Posted on 07 May 2014 by La Habra Journal

Sonora's Gavin Blodgett retires La Habra's Andrew Gallegos before firing to first for a double play in the first inning of Sonora's 3-1 win at La Habra High, Tuesday afternoon.

Sonora’s Gavin Blodgett retires La Habra’s Andrew Gallegos before firing to first for a double play in the first inning of Sonora’s 3-1 win at La Habra High, Wednesday afternoon. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After five innings of shutout baseball, the Sonora baseball team secured its second consecutive outright Freeway League title by scoring three runs in the sixth inning and ousting rival La Habra 3-1, Wednesday afternoon at La Habra High.

The Raiders were limited to one hit through five innings by La Habra starting pitcher Andrew Gallegos, but a leadoff single and a throwing error put runners on second and third base to start the sixth inning, setting the stage for Andrew Piraino.

The senior launched Gallegos’ second pitch to deep left center field, scoring Henry Bustamante from third base despite a near diving catch by Highlanders’ center fielder Brad Hoffrichter.

Jake Rosander singled in the second run and Jose Gomez drove home a third run with a fielder’s choice at second base to put Sonora up 3-0.

“It feels good to get it out of the way so that we can prep for CIF,” Piraino said of earning the league title. “We knew we were going to have a good shot to get it done early, so it was all about taking care of business.”

La Habra's Andrew Gallegos threw five scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the sixth inning as La Habra fell to Sonora 3-1 at home, Wednesday afternoon.

La Habra’s Andrew Gallegos threw five scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the sixth inning as La Habra fell to Sonora 3-1 at home, Wednesday afternoon.

The Highlanders (11-13, 5-7) tried to respond immediately in the bottom half of the inning. Chris Nuanes lined a one-out double to left center field and Gallegos earned a walk.

After both runners advanced on a groundout, Austin Saad lined a base hit to center field, scoring Nuanes, but Gallegos was held at third base as center fielder Justin Mellano’s throw home sailed far wide to the first base side.

“I would say [Mellano] has one of the best center field arms in the league and we saw him in pregame, he lets it rip and it’s on target,” said John Sothern, La Habra head coach. “In a situation like that, it’s fifty-fifty and I’m not a huge subscriber in sending guys with two outs, especially when you have a guy charging a ball that’s shallow with that type of arm.”

With runners at second and third base, Garrett Molnar grounded out to third base to end the threat.

JP Sarro came on to pitch a perfect seventh inning to record the save and preserve the victory for starting pitcher Evan Sonny, who pitched six innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four batters and walking two.

“I was battling, my back was hurting a bit so I was leaving the ball up a little bit, if I had kept the ball down more, I probably could have gone through with no runs,” Sonny said. “I love the pressure and the intensity of the game. Coming out and pitching against your rival, there’s nothing like it.”

Sonora's Justin Mellano attempts a sacrifice bunt in the second inning, but popped out to La Habra third baseman Garrett Molnar during Sonora's 3-1 win at La Habra, Wednesday afternoon.

Sonora’s Justin Mellano attempts a sacrifice bunt in the second inning, but popped out to La Habra third baseman Garrett Molnar during Sonora’s 3-1 win at La Habra, Wednesday afternoon.

During the first five innings, Gallegos and Sonny kept the offenses at bay. Neither side allowed a runner to third base until the fifth inning, when the Highlanders stranded Molnar there on a groundout by Jordan Smith.

Until the sixth inning, the Raiders (17-6-1, 12-0) never got past first base.

“Gallegos was outstanding on the mound, he moved the ball in and out, changed speeds and did a great job keeping them off-balance,” Sothern said. “I was very pleased with what he did today. Unfortunately, we had a situation where a mistake is made, but for five innings, he minimized those mistakes.”

Gallegos took the loss despite pitching five-plus innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out three batters and walking none.

Sonny, who has been plagued by minor injuries, was taken out after six innings, which allowed Sarro to earn his fourth save of the season.

“Our pitching has been solid all year round,” said Pat Tellers, Sonora head coach. “It’s huge having JP in the bullpen, knowing how strong he was as a starter last season. We can now put him on the mound and have him throw strikes and he’s made a great adjustment in that regard. He’s a great guy for it because he’s so competitive. We like putting the ball in his hands if it’s close.”

In addition to its league title, the Raiders extended a winning streak to 12 games and haven’t lost since Mar. 31.

The two teams will meet again Friday afternoon at Sonora High. While the Raiders have already wrapped up the league title, the Highlanders now find themselves in dire need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We’re in this situation for a multitude of reasons,” Sothern said. “At this point in time, we have to do whatever it takes to win these last three games. If we lose on Friday, we’re at the mercy of Fullerton and Troy. At this point, you go [into the playoffs] any way you can. We’ve pinned ourselves in a corner and now we’re either going to find a way out or not.”

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