La Mirada Blog
Articles by Raymond L Ledesma
Suburban League Playoff Finals/Results
La Mirada 49 Garden Grove 27: Well the game started off as bad as it could for the Matadores, because they couldn’t find a way early to stop the high powered offense of Garden Grove that was led by QB Sean Young. That was, until Young was put out of the game for good. Then, Garden Grove seemed to have no contingency for Young getting hurt, and where unable to find any offense to keep their lead. The Matadores offense got going behind their massive offensive line and the hard running of running backs JT Torres, and Max Gama. The Matadores defense stepped up, and the offense rolled off 42 unanswered points. It was not until garbage time that Garden Grove scored another TD. They fought valiantly as they could, and did a great job honoring the memory of Kevin Telles who passed away earlier this season. The Matadore offensive line has done a great job this year, paving the way for their running game.
Next Season Preview
Artesia: 1-9 Overall (League 1-5)
The Pioneers where rocked by turmoil, and injuries this season and they where never able to recover. They will only return 19 players next season and they lose their best players on defense in MLB T.J Taimutuia, and OLB Adam Leutele. They also lose both QB’s that ran the team this season. They did not field a junior varsity team this year, and they also where unable to field more than 20 kids on the freshman team. They are going to struggle mightily.
Key Losses: QB Anthony Johnson, TB David Lasisi, LB T.J Taimutuia, Adam Leutele, ATH Montez Hunter, WR/CB Travon Payne.
Key Returners: While several players played varsity, none of them look to be major contributors next season.
Suburban League Semifinal Recap:
Semifinal Recap: WOW!!!!! I was at a loss for words at the way that this weekend's games went; especially when it seemed that the Matadores had lost their game. Then, the Lancers couldn't seem to keep from shooting themselves in the foot. Well, sad to say, no district final, but this week, let's get everyone out to see our hometown Matadores go after a CIF Championship!
La Mirada 27 Laguna Hills 24 (OT): This game was tremendous. It had plenty of moments when you felt one team or the other was going to WIN. Then, the game was over and a team's season had ended. Those who where sitting in Goodman Stadium Friday night, all hoped for a miracle, In overtime, Laguna Hills drove to the five yard line in three plays, down by three. Then, as if lightning had struck, all of the prayers of the Matadores players, coaches, cheerleaders, fans, and everyone wearing blue and gold were answered, as TB Matt Martindale fumbled the ball and alertly, senior DE RJ Lujan fell on the ball. The sound that erupted from the crowd was deafening as players and coaches stormed the field. How the Matadores ended up in overtime is an amazing story in its own.
So this is my version of the Suburban League All-Team. I have only a first team and I think it is a well represented one. I believe what a player does on the field merits their being on this team, not what their team did. The best players are represented on this team. They all play a multitude of positions, but they made this team at the spot I thought they would be their best at.
Suburban League Quarterfinal Recap:
Man, who would have thought at this point in the playoffs, that the La Mirada Matadore and the Norwalk Lancer defenses would be so dominant. We all knew they could score points, and they have been doing just that. The manner in which they are scoring is remarkable. The Matadores have been getting a balanced attack from their offense, and their special teams have been great. The Lancers have seen one of their 1,000 yard rushers get dinged up in the playoffs but they have seen another one of their backs come up big.
La Mirada 40 Garden Grove Santiago 0: On the first play of offense for the Matadores they saw RB JT Torres go 60 yards to the end zone. He has come up big for them in the playoffs becoming the steady force for them in the running game. He had three TD's in the game and proved to be a force that was unable to be stopped. QB Daniel Poncedeleon threw a 22 yard jump-ball to WR Julian Matta and he and out muscled the Cavaliers defender and came down with the TD. The defense for the Matadores was not to be outdone as Junior Aaryn Bouzos picked off Cavalier QB Chris Ortega and went 30 yards to the house untouched. In the post-season through two games, the Matadores defense which is led my RJ Lujan, Aaryn Bouzos, Shane Blood, and JT Torres has only given up only three points. They have been battle tested this season.
Round 1 Review
This week proved that some teams just don't belong in the post season, and others proved that they are here to stay. I look for the semifinals to be as follows: La Mirada vs. Laguna Hills, and on the other side of the bracket, Garden Grove vs. Norwalk. These teams have been near the top of the brackets all season for a reason, and each team can state its case to be the Division champion.
Round 1 Results
Norwalk 63 Rancho Alamitos 8: Talk about an absolute thrashing. This one, from the opening whistle, was not even close. The Lancers offense just ran over any of the visiting Vaqueros in their way. The Vaqueros defense looked helpless as Norwalk's backfield was just too much for them to stop. The wild- card all season and in my opinion the best of the bunch is Junior Elijhaa Penny who uses every bit of his 6'2'' 245 lbs frame when he is running over defenders. He led all Lancer running backs with over 160 yards and two TDs. The kid is deceptively fast and is going to be one of the keys to helping Norwalk continue their run to the RING. The Lancers rushing attack is steady by three other players-Junior Billy Moore and Seniors Daveon Edwards and Adrian Goznales who is the smallest of all the running backs, but he runs just as hard as the others.
La Mirada 44 Santa Ana 3: The Matadores started slow, but they closed with blazing fashion, as they manhandled the Saints all night. The Saints looked to be in control after they went ahead 3-0 early in the second, but the Mats answered back with a 97-yard kickoff return by Aaryn Bouzos. After that it was all Matadores. The theme this season for the Mats has been balance, and they certainly have been adding to it lately; where they are led on the ground by a running back-by-committee with JT Torres, Max Gama, and Matt Haltom. All are getting carries, and each of the backs brings something different to the table. They are definitely not an easy team to prepare for. Their passing game is lethally accurate and it is executed very well by QB Daniel Poncedeleon. They are led by receivers Ralph Gramajo, Julian Matta, and TE Keith Coty.
Week 10 Review
A huge surprise this week, with the Buccaneers beating the Eagles on a last second field goal. This writer thought the Eagles shot themselves in the foot in this one; two turnovers in the final nine minutes. Ouch! Even more of a pain was watching the inept offense of the Artesia Pioneers trying to stop the Matadores. The Monsoons look young, but they are playing hard and they showed so grit against the Lancers.
Week 10 Results
Cerritos had a Bye.
La Mirada 54 Artesia 7: The Matadores offense was potent and they struck early and often. QB Daniel Poncedeleon was terrific hitting on four of his passes for TD's. Julian Matta was on the receiving end of all of those passes. Poncedeleon ended his night with over 225 yards passing. The game was homecoming for the Matadores. The game was over at the half, with the Matadores racing out in front 34-0.
Week 9 Review
The league this week had a few scares with the Dons of Cerritos almost pulling out a victory against the John Glenn Eagles. Then on Friday, the Pioneers of Artesia jumped out to an early lead against the Norwalk Lancers, but in the end, the game was far from close. The Buccaneers of Bellflower where manhandled by the Matadores. This has been one of the most balanced leagues in a while where every week each team has a shot at a win and the playoff seeding has come down to the final week.
Week 9 Results
Mayfair had a Bye.
Norwalk 61 Artesia 33: Early on, the Pioneers looked liked they just might upset the Norwalk Lancers. They hit big on their first play from scrimmage as WR Travon Payne toasted CB Adrian Gonzales for an 80 yard TD. The Lancers would respond with a big run from do-everything back Elihjaa Penny. The Pioneers QB Montez Hunter was causing fits for the Lancer defense in the first half as he ran all over them at will. In the second half, the Lancers defense stepped up and became stouter, as their ground game got going and they ran all over the Pioneers. Elihjaa Penny and Davion Edwards combined for over 400 yards of offense as they cleared the way for QB Dominique Diaz to use play action to hit big on a few passes for TD's.
John Glenn 35 Cerritos 29: The Eagles-in a do or die situation-came through as they walked out of Hanford Rants Stadium with a victory; and are now a step closer to the playoffs. This was a night of the running back, as senior RB Brandon Kelly from John Glenn was not to be out shined by senior running back Derek Jones of Cerritos. It was as if they kept trying to one up each other in this game. When the dust had settled, it was Kelly who was victorious on the field and on the stat sheet. His final stat line: 20 carries, 183 yards, and 4 TD's. Derek Jones finished with 22 carries and 146 yards and 2 TD's. Cerritos was aided by special teams when they blocked an extra point, and they received a 98-yard kick-off return from Junior Aaron Francis for a TD. This game came down to the last drive of the game, with the Eagles getting a TD from Brandon Kelly on the ground with 23 seconds left.
Week 8 Review
Well, this was a terrific week of football in the Suburban League. We saw the not-so-mighty Lancers from Norwalk lose. There were two games that came down to the wire; the Mayfair vs. Artesia game went into overtime; and the Norwalk vs. La Mirada game came down to the wire. I feel that all of the teams this week played well and played as hard as they could.
Week 8 Results
John Glenn had a Bye.
Mayfair 35 Artesia 28 (OT): This one became a barn-burner, as the host Pioneers of Artesia would not be denied, giving the visiting Monsoons all that they could handle for four quarters and then came up a little bit short in overtime. The Artesia defense, which is led by MLB TJ Taimutuia, and OLB Adam Leutele, both turned in tremendous efforts. The Pioneers on offense, where led by WR Travon Payne who had seven catches for 87 yards. Unfortunately, he just couldn't find the end zone. Mayfair was able to let go a sigh of relief after the final whistle blew- because they were victorious- and the game was a just a slugfest.
Bellflower 41 Cerritos 17: The Buccaneers only needed three quarters to put this one out of reach, as they just pounded the visiting Dons. Their offense ran the ball right down the throat of the Dons defense. It seemed as if the Dons were helpless to stop them. Their offense didn't help them at all, as they fumbled the ball, and just couldn't convert on third and fourth downs when they needed to. Bellflower LB Marquis Patton returned an interception for a touchdown. QB Jeremy Allen tossed two TD passes in the win.
Week 7 Review This was definitely a great week of football, as there were several surprises. The biggest was Artesia, who was winless going in to the game, and then beat John Glenn at their homecoming. That was a crushing game for the Eagles, who seemed not entirely focused during the game. Congratulations to the Matadores who are one step closer in their quest of a Suburban League title. Norwalk, feeling that they got lucky last week in winning, went out this week and destroyed the Dons of Cerritos.
Week 7 Results
Bellflower had a Bye.
Artesia 44 John Glenn 40: The Eagles who might have been still dwelling on last week's loss to Norwalk, never fully showed up for this game. The Artesia Pioneers showed a lot of heart, grit and determination as they played hard until the last whistle. QB Montez Hunter hit Trevon Payne on a "Hail Mary" with 30 seconds left in the game, and Payne caught the ball with CB Ashton Simmons, and FS Jose Escobar draped all over him. But, the Eagles had a shot to win the game when on the final play; Junior Dejon Bernard dropped a pass, where if he catches it, he had a shot to score. The Eagles defense had bright spots with MLB Niua Niumataevalu taking an interception in for a TD. Then OLB Davon Foggie had an interception. The Eagles bye week couldn't come at a better time.
Norwalk 60 Cerritos 8: The Dons are back in the loss column as they looked overmatched from the outset against the Lancers. The Lancers are ranked number one in the Southern Division, and they showed why on Friday night as they just continue to rack up yards in the ground game. They are led by the hard running WB Adrian Gonzales. He went over the 100 yard mark again this season. The Lancers defense came out and played hard and fast containing the speed of TB Aaron Francis, and QB/WR Marquis Moss. The Dons just couldn't get on track as they fell behind early
Week 6 Review: WOW!!! Every game this weekend was a nail biter with the Norwalk vs. Glenn game coming down to the last possession. The streak is over as the Cerritos Dons have won their first game since 2007. This past weeks games where phenomenal. Anyone wanting to go see good football-and pay a reasonable price- go to a Suburban League Football game.
Week 6 Results:
La Mirada had a Bye.
Norwalk 42 John Glenn 35: The Eagles looked like every other team that has played the Lancers, they where down 28-7 at halftime behind a stellar performance from WB Adrian Gonzales. At that point, it looked like the Lancers where going to run away with yet another game. But in the second half, the Eagles made some adjustments on defense, and starting shutting down the Lancers vaunted double-wing attack. The Eagles struck first after halftime on an 80-yard TD pass from QB Jose Escobar to do-everything TB Dejon Bernard. Then, after a defensive stop, it was Bernard who threw a 40-yard TD pass to Escobar who was wide open on the play. Sandwiched in between were two TD's by TB Brandon Kelly who looked healthy for the first time in over a month. In the end, the Eagles came up just short. The Eagles were trying to tie the game as Escobar's fourth-and-two attempted completion, to a crossing Bernard, fell incomplete. A sigh of relief could be seen on the Norwalk coach's faces.
Cerritos 27 Artesia 21: The Dons walked on the field Friday night at Artesia High School and noticed it was homecoming. They decided to play the role of spoilers, as they pounded the Pioneers. They were led by TB Aaron Francis who does anything and everything that he is asked to do during the game. He took reps at QB in a Wildcat formation. He was a one-man wrecking crew as he bruised his way up and down the field. The Pioneers are just trying to stay healthy right now, as they are without the services of QB Anthony Johnson, who has a bruised thigh that is keeping him from playing. They are now led on offense by QB Montez Hunter who is trying to do his best to keep them in the game. The efforts of Earnest Randall who broke several big plays on reverses, kept Artesia close.