Sunny Hills football sheds stereotypes, captures CIF title with neighborhood kids

FULLERTON A small group of Sunny Hills players stayed after practice this week to toss the football around and joke with each other until darkness nearly covered their field.

The players seemed to soak up each precious minute, recognizing the time and place were indeed special.

Sunny Hills’ once-struggling football program actually held practices this week as a reigning CIF-SS champion.

“Nothing better than this,” senior quarterback and captain Luke Duxbury said.

Sunny Hills (12-2) will load into a bus Saturday morning and head north for a showdown in the CIF State SoCal Division 3-A regionals at Bakersfield Christian (10-3) at 6 p.m.

It will be a remarkable road trip, full of hip hop music on the bus and another football clash, for a school that started the 2019 playoffs seeking its first postseason victory of any kind since 1996.

It will be a remarkable trip for a program once dubbed as a “hard” school to win at.

So how have the Lancers become winners? One ingredient fifth-year coach Pete Karavedas pointed to this week was Sunny Hills’ success attracting its neighborhood kids from Parks Junior High.

And sure enough, those were the kids on the field enjoying themselves in the near darkness this week.

Duxbury (6-1,m 175) and fellow star senior Wilson Cal (6-1, 190) were classmates at Parks Junior High.

Rising junior linebacker Carson Irons (6-0, 190) also attended Parks along with junior tight end/outside linebacker Noah Brown (6-0, 210) and Arnold Beltran.

And the list goes on.

“Pretty much everybody, or (they attended) Fisler,” Duxbury explained.

In years past as the Lancers struggled, the top athletes from Parks landed at other schools such as Troy or Fullerton.

Sunny Hills has worked hard to win them back with activities such as youth camps but they still needed standouts such as Duxbury and Cal to take a leap of faith.

They were Pop Warner teammates with the Fullerton Titans and both decided to attend Sunny Hills in 2016 despite the school not having a winning season since 2008.

“I was going to follow him where ever he went and he was following me where ever I went,” Duxbury said of Cal, who plays wide receiver and defensive back. “We knew if we both went to the same school, we could do some damage.”

Duxbury was a ball boy at Fullerton High as an eighth grader but saw the Lancers making progress on and off the field.

In the fall of 2015, in Karavedas’ first season, the Lancers beat Fullerton in Week 10 34-27 and made the playoffs as an at-large entry.

“They had coaches who put their players in position to make plays,” Duxbury recalled at the time. “We figured this would be our best opportunity to win a title.”

The Lancers did just last weekend in Santa Barbara, defeating the Dons 24-21 in the CIF-SS Division 8 final after a late interception by Cal.

Sunny Hills knows its not on the level of Freeway League rival La Habra but they’re defending their local turf. The Lancers have swept Fullerton and Troy the past two seasons.

They’re also changing the reputation of Sunny Hills football.

“This means so much to us because it breaks the stereotype, ‘Oh, Sunny Hills has been so garbage at football for the past 20 years,’ ” Duxbury said.

And the Lancers aren’t done. Their roster is a diverse mix of ethnic groups and they’ve already developed a position group to watch next year: “LBU”. Sunny Hills starts four junior linebackers in Irons, Kevin Hu, Brown and Vince Silva.

And there’s the opportunity on Saturday in Bakersfield to keep the magical run alive. Imagine, Sunny Hills as a California state champion?

“It’s a good feeling when there’s years of hard work behind (this),” Duxbury said. “We’ve been working all offseason, pretty much our whole lives to get to this moment.”

 

Read more about Sunny Hills football sheds stereotypes, captures CIF title with neighborhood kids This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Orange County girls tennis to be well-represented at CIF-SS individual semifinals

Orange County girls tennis will be well-represented Friday at the CIF-SS individual championships at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

Three of the four doubles teams in the semifinal are from the county while junior Kayla Meraz of Brea Olinda also made the final day of the tournament.

The finals will follow the semifinals Friday.

In doubles, top-seeded and Pacific Coast League champion Mya Wang and Emily Markus of University defeated Elaine Wu and Rakel Ang of San Marino 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday to reach the semifinals against Laguna Beach’s Ella Pachal and Sarah MacCallum.

The Wave League champions defeated Milana Molnar and Bailey Smolinski of San Juan Hills 6-0, 7-6 in another quarterfinal.

Beckman sophomores Victoria Aguiree and Kaitlyn Nguyen, the Pacific Coast League runner-ups, advanced to the semifinals by defeating Arcadia’s Makaila Cheng and Cara Hung 6-2, 6-3.

In singles, Brea Olinda junior Kayla Meraz advanced to the semifinals by defeating Troy junior Jenna Sabile 6-4, 6-1. Meraz, the North Hills League runner-up, will face Chadwick senior and Wake Forest commit Casie Wooten in the 9 a.m. semifinals.

 

Powered by WPeMatico

University girls tennis captures SoCal regional title after Coach John Kessler hospitalized

University’s girls tennis team captured the CIF USTA SoCal regional title in Claremont on Saturday, one day after its highly-successful coach John Kessler was hospitalized with a brain bleed.

The second-seeded Trojans defeated No. 5 Westlake 5-2 in the final at The Claremont Club behind a well-balanced effort in singles and doubles.

The CIF-SS Division 1 runner-up included a cutout image of Kessler in their celebratory photograph after the two-day tournament.

University co-coach Kevin Garrett said Saturday night that Kessler left the semifinals of the tournament Friday in an ambulance and was found to have a brain bleed.

The charismatic coach remains hospitalized in Pomona, Garrett said.

Kessler has guided University’s girls to seven CIF-SS runner-up finishes and the boys to nine section championships.

University earned victories Saturday in singles from Tiffany Carrillo-Quintero, Jane Lee and Kamya Nair.

In doubles, the teams of Emily Markus-Mya Wang and Therese Garcia-Megan Bee posted victories.

Read more about University girls tennis captures SoCal regional title after Coach John Kessler hospitalized This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Girls basketball roundup: Fairmont Prep rallies past Foothill to reach finals of Oxford tournament

CYPRESS Juniors Mia Yamamoto and Kayla Ishibashi each scored 15 points to help Fairmont Prep’s No. 9 girls basketball team rally from an early, 11-point deficit to defeat Foothill 55-43 in the semifinals of the Oxford Academy tournament Thursday night.

Foothill (2-1) led 17-6 in the first quarter before Fairmont Prep (3-0) ramped up its defense and advanced to Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. final against St. Anthony, which beat Tesoro 59-34 in the other semifinal.

“We just picked it up defensively and just played more team defense,” first-year Fairmont Prep coach Sara Brown said. “The one thing I can say about this group is that they play hard. And that’s fun to coach.”

AnLing Su Vera and Milan Robinson each added 9 points as Fairmont Prep almost had four players score in double figures.

Brown watched St. Anthony pull away from Tesoro in the second semifinal.

“They’re a tough team,” she said of St. Anthony. “It will be a good test for us early in the season.”

In another game:

St. Antony 59, Tesoro 34: Former Mater Dei guard Emily Perez scored 22 points to help lead the Saints (3-0), who pulled away in the second quarter.

Tesoro (2-1) trailed 10-1 in the first quarter but tied the score 12-12 after the opening frame. The Titans took their first and only lead at 14-12 early in the second but a 3-pointer by Hannah Bailey of St. Anthony sparked a surge by the Saints. St. Anthony led 32-17 at halftime.

St. Antony coach Raymond Bennet said his team focused on rebounding and playing at a fast pace to pull away.

Freshman Celine Castaneda scored 16 points while senior post Katie Schwan chipped in eight of her 12 points in the first period.

Tesoro will play Foothill in the third-place game Saturday at Oxford Academy at Saturday.

 

Read more about Girls basketball roundup: Fairmont Prep rallies past Foothill to reach finals of Oxford tournament This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Westminster football coach Willy Puga resigns after two seasons

Westminster football coach Willy Puga has resigned after two difficult seasons.

The Lions went 2-18 overall the past two seasons under Puga, who replaced longtime Lions coach Ted McMillen.

“Bottom line, I didn’t get it done,” Puga said late Friday.

Westminster finished 2-8 this season, including a win via forfeit against Whittier. The Lions went 0-3 in the Big 4 League for the second consecutive year.

In 2018, Westminster went 0-10 overall.

Puga, a walk-on, arrived at Westminster after serving as the offensive coordinator at Los Alamitos.

Puga coached Garden Grove from 2010-13, compiling a 41-12 record. The Argonauts captured three league titles and advanced to CIF-SS championship games in three of the four seasons. They won the Southern Division title in 2010.

Puga said he plans to coach again.

Read more about Westminster football coach Willy Puga resigns after two seasons This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. OC Shredding Business

Powered by WPeMatico

Football roundup: Cypress, Hurtado rally on the road to stun Ventura in quarterfinals

Cypress’ football team rallied from a 17-point deficit on the road to defeat Ventura 33-31 in a wild, CIF-SS Division 7 quarterfinal game Friday.

The Empire League champion Centurions (12-0) erupted for 33 unanswered points and then held on to extend the best start in school history.

Coach Rick Feldman’s fourth-seeded squad will play host to top-seeded Serrano (12-0) in the semifinals at Western High next week in a duel of undefeated teams.

Cypress led 33-17 with about three minutes left. Ventura (6-6) then scored and added the 2-point conversion to trim the lead to 33-25.

Ventura recovered an onside kick and scored again to trim the lead to 33-31 but Cypress stopped the 2-point conversion.

Standout running back Isaac Hurtado recovered another onside kick to cap an outstanding game. He rushed for 361 yards on 30 carries. He rushed for five touchdowns, including a 96-yard TD run.

Temecula Valley and West Ranch will clash in the other semifinal.

In Division 8:

Sunny Hills 49, Notre Dame of Riverside 24: Senior quarterback Luke Duxbury tossed two touchdowns and senior running back Jun Ahn rushed for three scores at Buena Park High as the top-seeded Lancers (10-2) reached the semifinals.

Sophomore Brandon Roberts also caught a touchdown and rushed for another score and Wilson Cal added six catches for 102 yards and a score.

Sunny Hills will play Trabuco Hills, a 34-7 winner against San Gorgonio, in the semifinals.

In late September, the Lancers defeated the host Mustangs 41-34.

In Division 11:

Marina 24, Ontario Christian 21: The host and No. 2 seeded Vikings (10-2) advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1984. They will play Hemet (8-4) in next week.

More results to come. 

 

 

Read more about Football roundup: Cypress, Hurtado rally on the road to stun Ventura in quarterfinals This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Tustin Shredding Service near me

Powered by WPeMatico

Football roundup: Cypress, Hurtado rally on the road to stun Ventura

Cypress’ football team rallied from a 17-point deficit on the road to defeat Ventura 33-31 in a wild, CIF-SS Division 7 quarterfinal game Friday.

The Empire League champion Centurions (12-0) erupted for 33 unanswered points and then held on to extend the best start in school history.

Coach Rick Feldman’s fourth-seeded squad will play host to top-seeded Serrano (12-0) in the semifinals at Western High next week in a duel of undefeated teams.

Cypress led 33-17 with about three minutes left. Ventura (6-6) then scored and added the 2-point conversion to trim the lead to 33-25.

Ventura recovered an onside kick and scored again to trim the lead to 33-31 but Cypress stopped the 2-point conversion.

Standout running back Isaac Hurtado recovered another onside kick to cap an outstanding game. He rushed for 361 yards on 30 carries. He rushed for five touchdowns, including a 96-yard TD run.

More results to come.

 

 

Read more about Football roundup: Cypress, Hurtado rally on the road to stun Ventura This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Santa Ana Shredding Service

Powered by WPeMatico

Newport Harbor water polo center Ike Love commits to Stanford

Another Orange County boys water polo player of the year is headed to The Farm.

Reigning Register boys water polo player of the year Ike Love of Newport Harbor committed Thursday to Stanford, which will give the Cardinal two county of the players of the year next fall.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be continuing my education and water polo career at Stanford University! Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. 🌲#gotrees #FearTheTree pic.twitter.com/p6v6O3efxh

— Ike Love (@IkeLove_Polo) November 8, 2019

Jackson Seybold of Mater Dei was the Register’s player of the year in 2017 and is now a sophomore center at Stanford.

The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Love was selected Surf League MVP last fall. He also helped Newport Harbor finish second in CIF-SS Division 1 and capture the CIF State SoCal Division 1 crown.

Love’s verbal pledge raises the commitment total in Newport Harbor’s class of 2020 to five.

Goalie Blake Jackson and defender Reed Stemler are committed to USC while attackers Makoto Kenney and Tommy Kennedy are committed to UCLA and Cal, respectively.

The first day high school water polo recruits can sign letters of intent is Wednesday.

 

Read more about Newport Harbor water polo center Ike Love commits to Stanford This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Football roundup: Trabuco Hills’ late, goal-line stand holds off Aliso Niguel

Trabuco Hills forced an incomplete pass from its 3-yard line on the final play Friday to hold on for a 26-21 victory against host Aliso Niguel that settled second place in the Sea View League and rattled the CIF-SS Division 8 rankings.

The Mustangs (6-4, 3-1), ranked sixth in Division 8, knocked off the No. 1 Wolverines (7-3, 2-2) for second place behind San Juan Hills (4-0 in league).

Aliso Niguel coach Kurt Westling said late Friday night that he still believes his team will make the playoffs. The draw will be announced Sunday.

The Mustangs’ defense and special teams played well. Senior Chris Crow blocked a punt and that led to a touchdown. Crow and Anthony Raugi also had interceptions.

Sophomore Drew Barrett and Aiden Armstrong each rushed for scores for Trabuco Hills while Luke Holland kicked two field goals.

Trabuco Hills finished 2-8 for the third consecutive year in 2018 and missed the playoffs but has improved under first-year coach Mark Nolan.

More results to come

Read more about Football roundup: Trabuco Hills’ late, goal-line stand holds off Aliso Niguel This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Tustin Shredding Service near me

Powered by WPeMatico

Newport Harbor boys water polo captures Memorial Cup to stay hot

Newport Harbor’s boys water polo team is playing its best as the playoffs approach.

Senior goalie Blake Jackson made 13 saves and junior center Eli Liechty scored four goals as Orange County’s top-ranked team toppled The Bishop’s of La Jolla 14-7 in the championship of the Memorial Cup in San Jose on Saturday night.

Center Ike Love and attacker Makoto Kenney each added three goals for the Sailors (22-3), who recently claimed their second consecutive Surf League title and beat previously undefeated Harvard-Westlake.

Liechty also drew five exclusions in the final. Sophomore attacker Mason Hunt chipped in two goals.

Newport Harbor also won the Bellarmine-hosted tournament in 2018.

In the third-place match, Miramonte beat Orange Lutheran 12-10. The Sailors defeated Miramonte 11-9 in the semifinals. The Bishop’s edged the Lancers 11-10 in the other semifinal.

Read more about Newport Harbor boys water polo captures Memorial Cup to stay hot This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. OC Shredding Business

Powered by WPeMatico