Narbonne rallies late to take win away from Los Alamitos

The Los Alamitos High football team enters Sunset League play this week on a three-game losing streak, but certainly not lacking the ability to turn things around and defend its league title.Last week’s loss came at the hands of defending LA City Section Division 1 champion Narbonne, which rallied in the fourth quarter to hand the Griffins a 35-28 loss at Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium. The Griffins came out strong and kept the explosive Gauchos offense at bay through the first half and looked to have the game in their control.“We played real good D tonight … we wanted to slow the game down a little tonight and we did,” Griffins Head Coach John Barnes said. Los Alamitos (2-3) held the Gaucho offense scoreless in the first half, but Narbonne returned a punt 86 yards in the first quarter to keep from being shutout at halftime. While the Griffin defense was staunch in the first half, the offense contributed with two scores to take a 14-6 lead at halftime. Quarterback Jack Telenko passed for 270 yards and ran for 38 more to lead the Griffin offense.He connected with Schuyler Whitehead for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first quarter that gave the Griffins a 7-6 lead. Late in the second Telenko capped a 69-yard touchdown drive with a five yard touchdown run that gave the Griffins a 14-6 halftime lead. The two teams would trade touchdowns in the third (Narbonne adding a two-point conversion) to make it 21-14 Los Alamitos. But the fourth quarter would belong to Narbonne. A 96-yard scoring drive would tie the score at 21-21, aided by a questionable personal foul penalty on Los Alamitos. On Los Alamitos’ ensuing possession, however, there was little question that Narbonne linebacker Lawson made a great interception to set the Gauchos up at the Griffin eight yard line.The Gauchos capitalized with a touchdown to take a 28-21 lead and would add another before the Griffins could regain their footing. They did manage to put together a late scoring drive, capped with a three-yard touchdown pass from Telenko to Holden Edmondson with :43 seconds remaining. The drive was aided by a big-play pass completion from Telenko to Jacob Gasser. However, the Griffins’ onside kick attempt was grabbed by Narbonne to end the game. The Griffins open league play against Edison, on Thursday, Oct. 8, at Huntington Beach High. Despite their recent losses, Barnes is confident his team is ready. “We’ll be fine,” Barnes said.

Kennedy wins Empire opener

@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }Kennedy High got its Empire League season off on a winning note as the Fighting Irish defeated Pacifica High, 43-24, in the league opener for both teams on Friday at Western High.Kennedy senior running back TJ Williams led the Fighting Irish with 287 yards and four touchdowns. Justin Minor ran for 86 yards and added a touchdown run of his own, that gave the Irish a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.Pacifica tied the game with a touchdown run by Nick Howard in the first quarter. After taking a 14-7 lead into halftime, Kennedy began to pull away with two touchdowns and a safety in the third quarter. James Hansberry connected with Chris Mayo for a 25-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter that gave Kennedy a 36-18 lead.Kennedy will take on rival Cypress on Friday at 7 p.m. at Western High. Cypress is coming off a bye.It will be the league opener for the Centurions, who come into the game with a 3-1 record. Kennedy is 3-1 and 1-0 in league play.

Griffins turned away by Edison in league opener

The Los Alamitos High girls soccer team had been on a roll heading into Sunset League play. They had won the Mater Dei Invitational and defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the county, in Santa Margarita. However, the road through the Sunset League is rarely without bumps and Edison provided an early bump for the Griffins as the Chargers held off the Griffins 1-0, in the league opener for both teams on Thursday at Edison. “While our league campaign did not begin the way we would have liked, the girls expect to continue to improve our play as league play continues,” Head Coach Mossy Kennedy said. After a win over Foothill and tie against Long Beach Wilson, to open the Mater Dei Premier Invitational, the Griffins won three straight to capture the title of the prestigious tournament. Carley Brown scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Long Beach Poly in the final. The Griffins followed their tournament run with a 2-0 win over Santa Margarita, which had just been ranked No. 1 in the county rankings. Randi Geffrey and Mo Ponce each had a goal in the win over the Eagles. Goalkeeper Taylor Vanis had four saves in the shutout. The Griffins had two ties and a win in the Excalibur Tournament before starting league play. The Griffins will hosted Fountain Valley on Tuesday and will be at Newport Harbor on Thursday (Jan. 14) at 5 p.m. They will host Huntington Beach on Jan. 18 at 5 p.m.

Cypress threatens Pacifica, falls short

Against the pitching of Pacifica High’s Hannah Boos, the Cypress High softball team needed to play a disciplined game. While, Boos was solid all game, the Centurions had a chance to put some on the Mariners, but ran into trouble. Trailing 2-0, in the third, the Centurions had runners on first and second with no outs. When catcher Dejah Mulipola caught the runner off second base, the Centurions were let off the hook when the ball was dropped on the tag, leaving Cypress with runners on second and third with no outs. But when Mulipola again caught the runner at second with a throw behind her, the Centurions tried to score, only to get tagged out at home. It was a pivotal moment that kept the Mariners in control. Cypress coach John Felicetti said his team was trying to pressure the defense, but underestimated the arm of Mulipola. “We got away with it once, we didn’t get away with it the second time,” Felicetti said. Despite the loss, the Centurions like their progress and potential to finish the season strong as they eye a CIF-SS playoff berth. The Centurions were able to get five hits against Boos, including two from sophomore first baseman Brianna Gargano. Marissa Wightman, Katie Arce and sophomore Jessica Martinez each had hits. After the Mariners scored two runs in the first inning, Cypress pitcher Maddy Byrd pitched a strong game in relief. The Centurions bounced back from the loss with a 5-0 win over Valencia on Thursday. Jessica Martinez drove in two runs, while Arce, Byrd and senior Jenelle Martinez each drove in a run. The win keeps the Centurions one game behind the Mariners, who will be tough to dethrone for the league title. Felicetti also expects the race for the top three spots in league to be tight. And he likes his team’s chances. “We just have to play smarter,” Felicetti said. The Centurions host Tustin on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. and will host Western on May 3, also at 3:15 p.m. They play at Pacifica on May 5, at 3:15 p.m.

Centurions keep winning

The Cypress High baseball team recently wrapped the Boras Tournament, which didn’t prove to be easy competition for the defending CIF champ. Though the squad finished with an unimpressive record at the Mater Dei tourney, it recovered to remain unbeaten in Empire League action, topping Tustin with an 8-3 victory on Tuesday, April 8 at home.The Centurions, who occupy the No. 1 spot in the standings, improved toCenturions pitcher James Acuna (3-0) earned the win by tossing four innings. He allowed three runs off seven hits while striking out three and walking one. Josh Gogue worked the last two innings, allowing no runs while fanning a batter and allowing a single hit. Jason Bush threw one inning, too.The Centurions, who trailed 1-0 after an inning, struck back for five runs in the second. Though Tustin dented the board for a pair, trimming the deficit to 5-3 in the fourth, the Centurions added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth and another in the sixth.At the plate Dominic Fletcher flexed his muscles. He ended with a 3-for-4 performance, which included a home run and doiuble. He also scored twice and chalked up two RBI.Brandon Alamo and Garrett Brockel both went 2-for-3. Alamo knocked in one RBI while Brockel plated a pair of runs, scored another and smacked a double. Additionally, Bush hit an RBI double and Mikhail Izraylev doubled as well. Isaiah Parra also recorded a h it.The Centurions will wrap the two-game series at Tustin on April 10 at 3 p.m.Last week, Cypress ended the Boras Tournament. It finished that run with a 1-3 record, suffering defeats at the hand of Temecula Valley, Great Oak and Granite Hills. The team’s only win came against Grossmont, which it bested with a 7-1 win on April 2.Acuna earned the win, tossing six innings while allowing six hits. He also recorded five strikeouts and walked a batter while allowing an earned run.The Centurion, who notched one run in the first and two in the second before taking a 4-0 lead in the third, impressed at the dish.Parra swang the big stick, going 2-for-3 with a home run and a pair of RBI. He also scored a run. Alamo and Brockel recorded the only other multiple-hit games. Alamo, who played with his brother Tyler on last year’s championship team, went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI. Brockel finished with a double and run.A handful of others delivered one hit. That list included Bush, Elijah Skipps (1-5), Izraylev and Nick Valdez. All of them but Bush earned an RBI.The matchup occurred in the consolation bracket, considering both teams lost their openers.

Derby belongs to California Chrome

California Chrome took his first step to history when he defeated the field to win the 140thrunning of the Kentucky Derby. The three-year-old California Chrome kind of baited his time with the field leaders before breaking off from the pack and running away with the race down the final backstretch, easily winning the first installment of horseracing’s coveted Triple Crown.The Los Alamitos-based thoroughbred did his hometown proud with the victory. He no doubt had his trainer and jockey feeling good.Art Sherman, a trainer at the Los Alamitos Race Track, is trainer of the horse California Chrome, who just won the Kentucky Derby last Saturday, May 3, with jockey Victor Espinosa guiding him through the finish line with an extended lead over the other horses in the field. The 77-year old Sherman is the oldest trainer to have a horse in the race win the Kentucky Derby.Heading into the race, California Chrome was the leading favorite in the race, going off with odds at 3-1. This is the fifth win in a row for California Chrome. Before capturing horseracing glory with this victory, the biggest win for California Chrome leading up to Saturday’s showcase at Churchill Downs was snatching the Santa Anita Derby.California Chrome was able to glide through race with experience hands guiding him. This wasn’t Espinosa’s first go-round at this. Espinosa rode World Emblem to the Kentucky Derby win in 2002. California Chrome is one step closer to the Triple Crown. He must now win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to go down in horse racing lore.The task won’t be easy.Winning the Kentucky Derby is only part of the Triple Crown. The Preakness Stakes is his next race challenge on May 17.That race is on the East Coast in Baltimore, Maryland. Should California Chrome win that race, then it’s on to the Belmont Stakes on June 7. in Elmont, New York.

Griffins feeling whole again, back in playoff picture

Los Alamitos had been struggling with some key injuries and had played its way into a must-win situation. The Griffins have gotten the needed wins and are very much alive for a playoff spot as they head into the final week of the regular season. Los Alamitos was in control early and never let Huntington Beach into the game as they defeated the Oilers, 56-10, in a Sunset League game on Thursday at Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium. Behind a solid performance by the offensive line, quarterback Jack Telenko was able to throw for 254 yards and four touchdowns, as well as run for two more. “We’ve gotten healthy and we’ve gotten a lot better,” Coach John Barnes said. Running back Schuyler Whitehead rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns. One of his touchdowns came on a 71-yard run just before halftime that gave the Griffins a 35-3 halftime lead. Huntington Beach came out in the second half and drove the ball into Los Alamitos territory. But the defense stiffened and took over on downs when fourth down attempt by the Oilers came up short. The Griffins responded with a quick strike that came on an 83-yard touchdown pass from Telenko to Holden Edmondson that gave the Griffins a 42-3 lead. Edmondson finished the night with 133 receiving yards, while Dylan Laurent had 73 receiving yards as well. The Griffins close out the regular season with a road game against Marina, which is winless in league play. The Griffins can lock up third place and an automatic playoff spot. But the Griffins are feeling like that could be just a start. Despite the frustration of the injuries and struggles in the early part of the season, Telenko said that younger players have gotten experience and could give the Griffins a little extra depth behind their starting core. “People are stepping up and we can only get better from there,” Telenko said. “We can be really good I think, we have the talent and the skill.” Behind the likes of senior offensive linemen Sean Tulette and Jacob Keller, the Griffin offense is certainly capable of putting up big numbers. Telenko said the team is motivated to make the most of the late season resurgence. Likewise, Barnes said if the team can continue to eliminate mistakes, they can be a dangerous team in the playoffs. He feels like he finally has the team he knew they could be at the start of the year. “It feels to me like the season has just started,” Barnes said. The Griffins play Marina on Friday at 7 p.m. at Huntington Beach High.

Local teams ready to battle in Empire League

This is a new year for the Cypress High School volleyball team. A new season, a new coach and a new attitude. Yorba Linda, which is no longer part of the Empire League, won league title last season and edged runner-up Cypress.Cypress finished the Empire League with a 10-2 mark to once again take second place behind Yorba Linda, which barely escaped with the crown. Cypress qualified for the postseason, as usual, but did not make the final.And that was that…Yet the coaching staff and players claimed they felt satisfied, more than satisfied, with the team’s effort and result. Indeed, all and all, the 2013 campaign turned out to be a success, when one considers a team without a star, and nothing but chemistry, almost upset Yorba Linda for the league crown and made a run to the CIF final.Still, the program suffered its biggest losses during the 2013 offseason.The team’s lineup endured a massive hit with the graduation of five seniors – all of whom went on to play at the collegiate level. That list included four-year varsity players Alyson Utke and Alina Smith, whose departure creates holes at the outside hitter and setter positions. Additionally, hitter/defensive specialist Jasmine Manu and outside Amber Rose, both two year players, and defensive specialist/libero Ashley Collins graduated, too.Players come and go, though. It’s part of high school sports, but the loss of the team’s skipper definitely hurt and left a huge hole to fill prior to the start of 2014.Kim Binder coached at Cypress for four years. She replaced Marcelo Guanes, who, with the team’s last star, captured the school’s last league title in 2009.Binder has been replaced by Aric Anderson, who previously coached at Savanna and the Quest Volleyball Club. Anderson is already having an impact on his team, bringing experience and a tough, mentality to the heavily-laden senior team. The team’s returners include senior blocker Kayley Stephens, senior setter Andrea Pedneault, senior libero Amanda Vongries, senior defensive specialist Angela Gjonovich, senior defensive specialist Miranda Freight, senior defensive specialist Miranda Freight, senior hitter Darya Mehri, senior blocker Skye Young, and junior opposite Katie Ashman.Western HighWestern High always gets stuck behind Cypress and Yorba Linda – almost every year.In 2013, the Pioneers chalked up a 7-5 record in league to snatch third place and a playoff berth. Cypress and Yorba Linda, as expected from the top two teams, swept them.However, the Pioneers graduated four players, which includes standouts McKayla Dole and Kassidy Harrington, but it features seven returners. The group will be strong at the net, where it returns senior middle blockers Rockelle Gholson, Lylybeth Arambula, Sina Amasio, and junior Adrianna Nester. Other returners include opposite Karina Rubalcaba, sophomore defensive specialist Emily Muro and junior hitter Alyssa Conkle.Kennedy HighLast year, Kennedy High didn’t finish at the bottom of the Empire League standings, but it didn’t end that campaign at the top of the pack either. The squad delivered a 3-8 league mark to take fifth, finishing ahead of sixth place Pacifica and winless Valencia.The Irish swept the Mariners and picked up another win against Tustin, which settled for fourth place. They never faced Valencia.The program’s struggles stemmed from inexperience. After all, the squad featured just four seniors. However, it will only lose captain Emily Parker, libero Kiana Story, blocker Ashley Mar and co-captain Heather Huynh.The returning eight Irish players definitely picked up enough experience last season to make a climb up the standings. That group includes senior utility Molly Killen, senior hitter Nicole Mankey, senior blocker Calissa Jones, junior hitter Rachel Poirier, senior setter Sierra Stone, senior blocker Jordan Adamson, and sophomore blockers Breanna Robinson and Cyan Scott.Pacifica HighAs stated earlier, Pacifica High came close to finishing the Empire League in the cellar. However, it managed to pick up a pair of wins with a 2-10 league record. It also produced an overall mark of 9-19.The Mariners only league triumphs came against Valencia. They also lacked senior leadership and lose just four players, but it seemed like every other program lacked seniors.

Cypress football suffers first loss of season

@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }The Cypress High football team suffered its first loss of the season in a tale of two halves. Troy, a squad from the neighboring Freeway League, did the deed, scoring all of its points in the second half to delivered a 24-14 victory on Friday, Sept. 19.The loss dropped Cypress to 3-1 overall.Quarterback Nick Buras found Andrew Moreno with a touchdown pass to dent the board, giving the Centurions a 7-0 lead. Logan Burt then used his legs to pound in a rushing touchdown, giving the Centurions a 14-0 advantage at the halftime break.However, the opposition came roaring back.Troy’s defense stiffened in the second half, allowing no more points while causing multiple turnovers. Its offense, on the other hand, scored three touchdowns and a field goal to earn the win, roaring back in the second half.Cypress opens its Empire League campaign against rival Kennedy High on Oct. 4 at Handel Stadium in Anaheim, starting at 7 p.m.

Cypress High School football program preps for season

The Cypress High School Centurion football team has been working awful hard to prepare for the upcoming season this summer. They are stacked up within a very competitive and intense Empire League, and are doing all that they can to make big moves for the competition that lies ahead.“We’ve been breaking down and rebuilding both our offensive and defensive lines by pitting them against each other in practice,” says Rick Feldman, who is Cypress High School’s head football coach.“As a team, we know that we have a lot to overcome, especially with the fact that most of our veteran players have now graduated. We have a lot of new young rookies who are a little inexperienced, but we are training them, and they are really catching on to our game style.”This last point was very evident in watching some of the fresh and vibrant talent of players like Eugene San Agustin, Diego Schindler, and German Barajas who showcased tremendous abilities during both offensive and defensive practices.“Our team has been participating in several 7-on-7 tournaments with other schools within the region, and it has really strengthened our squad,” Feldman said.. “Our running game has been really explosive during the past several years, and now we are adding a whole new passing tandem to the game play of our team. It’s going to spread the field and give us much more options.”This new grid-iron outlook is all thanks to Cypress High School’s newly appointed offensive coordinator named Jeff Crooks. Crooks looks to build upon the weapons that the Centurions already possess, primarily from the running standpoint, while adding new passing schematics to further deepen the Centurion’s bolstering arsenal.“I really like the way that Crooks is incorporating what the team did last year,” said Feldman. “He just added his style, and wound up combining styles. It’s turned into more of a spread offense oriented format. The players are learning a lot under it, and are continuing to grow well.”Physically, the Centurions look like they have responded greatly to the new offensive game play that was introduced by Crooks. The receivers and tight-ends looked efficient in means of catching and controlling passes, while also still being able to recover quickly in the midst of contact from speedier defenders.“It’s about being hungry and motivated,” says Andrew Khiev, who is one of the star players returning in his senior year to play quarterback for Cypress High. “This season is going to be dedicated to proving all of our critics wrong; it’s dedicated to proving everybody wrong. So many out there are talking about how our team is going to crumble, because all of our other veteran players have graduated and moved on last year, but were are not buying into that kind of talk."We are going to prove to them that our team is not going to crumble, and that we have a bunch of young guys who are extremely talented, fast, strong, and aggressive. They are ready to compete and carry on where the older players left off.”Benny Morales, who is the Centurions’ returning star linebacker, also concurs with Khiev’s prior statements.“Yes, it is true that we have lost most of our original team, but the underclassmen have been working hard and have proven themselves," Morales said. "They have grown a lot from all of the 7-on-7 tournaments that they have competed in against other rival schools. They have also been hitting the gym and weight room hard. We are still unhappy that Valencia High School won the league championship last year. We haven’t forgotten, and we want payback. We want a shot at them. We want to prove that we are still a great team even without the veterans. We also want to take it to Kennedy.”The hint of animosity within Morales’ tone can be attributed back to Cypress High School’s one point loss to the Valencia High School football team this past October in a nail biting 14-13 loss at Valencia High’s Stadium.The Centurion’s only loss would come to the Tigers, and would leave them to conclude the 2013-2014 season with a 4-1 record. Valencia High School would run off with the undefeated record and the league title. Cypress High School’s other arch nemesis, Kennedy High School, would finish last season with a 2-3 record. They would eventually claim fourth place overall in the Empire League Standings.Cypress High School’s defense still looked really agile and flawless with the way that they were able to clog up passing and rushing lanes. Safeties and cornerbacks choked out any space between the receivers and tight-ends, and were even able to pick off some passes down the stretch during practice.“We are just feeding off of the excitement of this upcoming year,” explains Morales, as he continued to lead the defensive charge.Feldman loves his new youthful squad’s sense of consistency and urgency. “Still, my main goal is to build these guys into not only better football players, but better people off the field as well,” he said.Cypress kicks off its season against Woodbridge High School on Friday, Aug. 28, at Handel Stadium. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.