Raiders Come Up Short in the Championship Game

St Rita played in the sixth CYO Championship Football game in the school’s history and unfortunately came up on the short end again. The 28-0 loss was to Holy Family of South Pasadena, who finished second to the Raiders in conference play. In league, the Raiders finessed their way to victory over the Knights, but this time Holy Family decided to stick to their physical brand of football and the Raiders couldn’t match up.

The loss temporarily dims the glow of an outstanding season, but it is a condition that surely won’t last. The boys will soon remember that they were the second best team out of the 130 in the Archdiocese. They will know that they were league champions and that they had a 16 game winning streak. They will take pride in the fact that defeated a number of bigger and faster teams. Mostly, though, they will know that they played with passion and pride and never quit believing that they could win.

From the Coach: A number of people said they wanted to see me win that game and get that elusive CYO Football Championship. As a coach, I would surely loved to have won that game and claimed the championship, but I don’t measure my successes in those types of things. I get my greatest pride from watching our athletes succeed in high school and college. I love to have former athletes come back and tell me of the great job they have and of their wonderful spouses and children. In the end, I hope that their experience has given them a few tools to help them become better parents and citizens. Maybe experiencing a little disappointment, like this game, and having to overcome some challenges on the field will help them deal better with those things in life.

I wanted to win this game mostly because I wanted to see the boys accomplish something for which they worked so hard. To me, my reward though was looking up in the stands to see so many supporters. Parents were there to see their sons play. Classmates were their for their brothers and friends. Faculty and staff came to support their students and their school. Monsignor Richard, in his own time of difficulty, came to provide support to all of us. Former players came back to see if we could pull off the win this time. The fact that so many people cared what happened in this game, because they loved this program and this school, was my victory.

I have loved working with these kids. Every day of the season was fun for me, from practice to games. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Jim Nelson and Eddie Howard for their tireless hours of coaching with me. I don’t trust my kids to just anyone, but these are two fine men. Thanks also to our parents for driving to games and giving such unending support. It has been a special season! On to Basketball!

Raider Football to Play for the CYO Championship

128 football teams started the current season in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, sixty made the playoffs and now two are left. One is St. Rita and one is Holy Family of South Pasadena. The two teams from the Foothill Conference will take the field against each other for the third time this season. Holy Family defeated St Rita in the Third Place game of the St Paul Tournament, then the Raiders topped the Knights for the league championship.

In the semifinals, Holy Family stormed back from a halftime deficit to claim a 30-8 victory over American Martyrs of Manhattan, while St Rita claimed a 20-12 decision over St James of Torrance. St James scored first to go up 6-0 and threatened again before the Raiders made a stop and tied the score on a short Luca Farroni run. The score remained at 6-6 until the half.

In the second half, St James again scored first to go up 12-6, but again the Raiders came right back, this time scoring on a pass from Blake Howard to Nick Zuniga. The Raider defense then took over the game, making a big stop and giving the ball back to the offense. Howard threw a long strike to Andy Garriola at the seven yard line, before hitting Brian Valmonte with the eventual game winner. Garriola’s grab of a Howard pass for the two point finished off the scoring.

The championship game will start at 3:30 pm, Sunday November 17. The game is at St Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs. The school is located at 9635 Greenleaf Ave. Take the Washington/Slauson exit of the 605 Fwy. Turn left at the end of the ramp and go a few miles to Greenleaf where you take a right to the school.

Raider Football to CYO Final Four!

After jumping out to a 16-0 first quarter, St Rita held on to defeat Corpus Christi School of Pacific Palisades, 16-12. The win over the #6 seed out of the 128 teams in CYO, moved the #3 seed Raiders into the CYO Final Four for the fourth time in the last five years. It also marks the twelfth time in school history that St Rita has reached this level. The win was also the sixteenth in a row for the Raiders who 18-2 overall and 9-0 in league.

Corpus Christi promised to be a formidable foe when they scored 52 points in 3 quarters of play in the third round. They were extremely fast on offense and defense, as well as being very tall. The task for the Raiders was to stop their strong running game.

St Rita drove methodically down the field, for the first score on a short Luca Farroni run. Blake Howard then hit Nick Zuniga for the two point conversion. After forcing a punt from Corpus Christi, the Raiders mounted another drive, scoring on another Farroni run. The two point conversion was also good as Andy Garriola found Brian Valmonte open on a reverse pass. The 16 point lead didn’t last long though as the opposing quarterback managed to get away from the rush and dump off a short pass that went sixty yards for the score. The score remained at 16-6 until intermission.

After the half, Corpus broke off a seventy yard scoring run, but for the second time had their conversion fail. St Rita squandered a couple more scoring chances, but a Farroni interception and a couple first downs sealed the win. Bradley Nobel did an exceptional job of containment at his defensive end position and made several key blocks on offense as well. Victor Scalzo made a pair of fine catches that led to first downs and kept drives alive.

St Rita plays again in the semifinals on Saturday November 16 at St Paul High School at 12:15 pm. The game is on the new turf field at 9635 Greenleaf Ave in Santa Fe Springs. Their opponent is St James of Torrance from the rugged South Bay Conference. The other semifinal features Holy Family of South Pasadena, the #4 seed and runner up from our own Foothill Conference. They will play American Martyrs of Manhattan Beach, the #1 seed and the Champions of the South Bay Conference. Win or lose, the boys play again on Sunday 10/17 at 2:00 for Third or 3:30 for First. Obviously we are hoping for the latter.

Raider Football Reaches the Elite Eight

For the ninth straight year, St Rita football has reached the elite eight of the 60-team CYO playoffs! The boys accomplished this with an exciting 38-26 win over Beatitudes of La Mirada. The Raiders traded touchdowns with the defending CYO champions through the first half, but failed on all three conversions to trail 20-18 at the half.

In the second half, the Raiders jumped out to a lead they never relinquished, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. An interception by Luca Farroni thwarted one Bruin drive and Blake Howard returned another pick for a score to give St Rita a two score lead for the first time in the game.

The Raiders play Corpus Christi of Pacific Palisades on Sunday, November 10 at 2:15. The game against this very tall and very fast opponent is at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School at 329 N Garfield in Montebello.

Cantwell Directions for Football Playoffs

For anyone who wishes to attend the Football Team’s third round playoff game, it is at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello. Game time is 12:30 sharp against Beatitudes of La Mirada. If we win, we play again on Sunday at 2:15, also at Cantwell.

To reach the school, take any road to the 60 West (Rosemead, San Gabriel, the 605, etc). from the 60, exit at Garfield/Wilcox. Turn left on Garfield at travel a few miles to the school at 329 N Garfield Ave, Montebello, CA .

Raider Football Advances to the Sweet Sixteen

St Rita football has advanced to the CYO Playoffs Sweet Sixteen once again. While this is pretty much an annual occurrence, every year is different. This year the team received a first-round bye as the CYO’s third seed. This can be blessing or a curse. Playing a first round game allows teams to get the playoff jitters out of their system against a lower opponent. Having the bye reduces injury risk, but requires you to play a team that has won a first round game and built confidence.

This was the case this year, as we came out against a fired-up Incarnation of Glendale squad. We drove the length of the field on our first possession, but endured four penalties and did not score. Our defense was impressive though as we continually stifled Incarnation. Bradley Noble and Govind O’Campo kept their speedy running backs in check all game. We managed to score on the next two possessions on a run and a reverse pass. Incarnation capitalized on the only glaring error of the day by our first defense, completing a long pass to cut our lead to 12-7. After a questionable call, called back a great twisting run by Luca Farroni, we managed to move the ball to midfield. On the last play of the half, Blake Howard fired a ball into the endzone that just went off the finger tips of Victor Scalzo.

In the second half, we came out with a combination of power runs and options that picked up huge chunks of yardage. Brian Valmonte hauled in a touchdown pass from Howard and Farroni carried for a two yard touchdown. That combined with 2 point conversion passes to Andy Garriola and Farroni pushed the score to 28-7. The reserve defense surrendered the final score of the game and the Raiders walked away with a 28-15 victory.

We are scheduled to play Beatitudes of La Mirada (the defending CYO Champs) at 12;30 on Saturday 11/9 at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello. If we win, we play Sunday at the same location at 2:15. There is a possibility that the game will be moved from the natural turf field there, to an artificial turf field, if the condition of the field is questionable. This may affect game times.

 

 

 

Raider Varsity Football Wins League

There is excitement in “Raiderland” as the Varsity Football team went 9-0 to claim the East Foothill Conference Championship. Along the way they played some easy games and some thrilling games. The boys took an exciting 44-30 decision from Assumption and wowed the crowd in their 54-40 win over St. Elizabeth. Neither of those games though, were as heart-stopping as the final game against Holy Family.

Holy Family, like St Rita, was undefeated in league. They had also beaten the Raiders soundly in the third-place game of the St Paul tournament. The Knights also have one of the biggest and toughest players to wear a CYO uniform. Standing 6’2″ and weighing in at 255 pounds, the fast and athletic linebacker had wreaked havoc on every team the Knights had played. Dealing with him was job one for the Raiders. Govind O’Campo (Playing defensive end for the injured Tim O’Neill), Bradley Nobel and Blake Howard took him on, picked themselves up, and took him on again. The heart they showed symbolized the desire that this team had to win the game. The bruises will disappear, but the elation they felt will last a lifetime.

The game began as a seesaw battle between the teams as St Rita drove inside the ten but failed to score. Holy Family then scored in three plays, but failed on their conversion. From there, a series of fine runs by Blake Howard, Anthony Camacho and Luca Farroni, combined with timely passes from Howard to Farroni, Camacho, Nick Zuniga and Henry Gardner helped the Raiders keep pace with the Knights and propelled them to a 22-20 lead at the half.The teams traded second half touchdowns and each team made key defensive stops to set up a dramatic conclusion. The knights took over after  a Raider punt with a little over a minute in the game. Fortunately for St Rita, the game ended with the Holy Family star player making a catch where he landed inches short of the goalie.

The 28-26 victory not only gives the Raiders the conference title, but it should have earned them a high seed in the 60 team CYO playoffs. The playoffs begin on Saturday November 2.

 

Varsity Football Practice Schedule

Monday – 11/11 - No School

Tuesday – 11/12 - Practice 3:00 – 4:30

Wednesday – 11/13 – Practice 3:00 – 4:30

Thursday – 11/14 – Practice 3:00 – 4:30

Friday – 11/15 - Practice 3:00 – 4:30

Saturday – 11/16 - Meet at St Paul High School at 11:15 for a 12:15 game. Gold Jerseys.

Sunday – 11/17 - Game at St Paul High School at 2:00 or 3:30. Arrival Time is TBD as is uniform color.

 

Mouthpieces are mandatory and must be worn at all practices and games beginning Monday 9/9.

St Rita Varsity Football Wins Their Own Tournament

St Rita’s Varsity Boys’ Football Team put together three good game to capture the championship of their tournament at La Salle High School. On Friday 10/11, they defeated St. Bernard of Los Angeles 48-0. They returned on Saturday morning to defeat long time nemesis, St Louise of Covina, 28-6. That afternoon, the Raiders played an outstanding Championship game to beat Holy Name of Mary (San Dimas), 30-13.

The front three of the Raiders defense (Blake Howard, Tim O’Neill and Bradley Noble) teamed up to thwart the tough running games of St Louise and Holy Name of Mary and Anthony Camacho returned an interception 75 yards for a score as defensive highlights. On offense, Luca Farroni teamed with Howard on several huge passing plays. Nick Zuniga continued his streak of games without a bad snap, now at 12 games and counting.

While the tournament championship was obviously a team effort, four Raiders were singled out for awards. Tim O’Neill, Bradley Nobel and Luca Farroni, as two-way starters who excelled on both sides of the ball, were named to the all-tournament team. Blake Howard for his all-around excellence on the field, was named Tournament MVP.

A special thank you goes out to all the parents who volunteered at the tournament. We cannot do these tournaments without your help. Thanks also to La Salle High School for allowing us to use their beautiful field.

CYO Website

Parents, please take the time to view the CYO website at CYOLA.ORG   It will provide a tremendous amount of information. Besides schedules, standings and last minute updates, you can view upcoming calendar events and venue locators. Every site our school will play at can be found on the venue locator. There is also additional info such as the food available around the venue when we are in tournaments. You can access directions as well. Alerts such as weather cancellations are coming. Please register with the site to get specific St Rita information.