St. Paul on the outside looking in
It was a little more than a month ago, and life was good for the St. Paul High School football team.
The Swordsman were 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division.
But after a treacherous road through the Mission League schedule, St. Paul is hanging on at 6-3 overall and 1-3 in league. The Swordsmen have dropped to fourth and are on the outside of the playoff bubble entering Friday's regular-season finale at Harvard-Westlake at 7 p.m.
St. Paul's slim postseason aspirations must begin with a victory over the Wolverines, then get some help in the other five leagues that comprise the Western Division.
According to the CIF-SS blue book, the top two teams in the division's six leagues receive automatic bids to the playoffs. The remaining four spots are at-large entries, and CIF-SS traditionally selects all third-place teams which qualify with at .500 record or better.
That's where it gets tricky for the Swordsmen, who are competing against a possible eight teams for two spots.
St. Francis, which beat St. Paul, 28-22, on Saturday, will get one at-large bid whether it wins or loses to Cathedral on Friday, and the Pac-7, with San Luis Obispo (7-2), Atascadero (6-3 and Righetti (5-3) battling for second and third, claims another berth.
St. Paul is competing against the Ocean League trio of Inglewood (4-5), Culver City (6-3) and Hawthorne (5-4); Downey (4-5) and Dominguez (6-3) of the San Gabriel Valley League and Rio Mesa (7-2), Channel Islands (6-3) and Oxnard (4-5) of the Pacific View.
All eight still could finish either second or third in their respective leagues.
The Swordsmen must hope Inglewood and Oxnard lose and claim third place. St. Paul, ranked No. 9 in the division, should trump all other fourth-place teams if it beats Harvard-Westlake.
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Swordsmen golf team defeats Bishop Amat, enjoys successful season
St. Paul High School gladly welcomed a new set of faces to the athletic program with the first girls’ golf team in school history last season. This year the fledgling program impressed everyone with record low scores and victories.
The Swordsmen defeated rivals Bishop Amat, 302-303, during the second round of league play as sophomore Allison Fonseca (54) along with seniors Brianne Gatewood (61) and Jasmine Villasenor (62) were clutch performers in St. Paul's narrow victory.
``At first, I couldn't believe we beat Amat,’’ senior Taylour Bretoi said. ``Coach Governale even asked me to add up the scores one more time just to make sure.’’
The unbelievable win against Bishop Amat is by far the most remarkable match for the Lady Swordsmen. With a large contingent of new girls still learning golf, many supporters are proud of what they accomplished in only two seasons
During the teams’ first meeting in early September at the Swordsmen’s home course, Whittier Narrows, senior Emily Rivera (55) and Fonseca (62) led the team with low scores. However the Swordsmen fell short, 289-311.
The Swordsmen are currently 5-4 and aiming for a second-place title with a victory over Bishop Connelly in the last league match. Once league play ends, the top seven girls advanced to the league prelims held at Santa Anita Golf Course in Arcadia.
Swordsmen on the street
The Swordsmen football team is 6-1 record and ranked No. 2 in the Western Division. Many agree that they have a chance to win the CIF championship. The Two-Edged Sword asked students what they thought:
What is your opinion of the football team?
Brandon Cárdenas: ``They have a very competitive team, a lot of heart and have a family type of atmosphere.’’
Andre Salazar: ``They are a very good team, skilled and young. They have potential for greatness and a shot at the championship.’’
Jaime Arce: ``I think they are good so far.’’
Who do you think is a good player?
Brandon Cárdenas: ``I think Adam Sarmiento, Tom Medina and Paul Governale are good players.’’
Andre Salazar: ``I think Michael Ortega, Marcus Garcia and Paul Telles are good players.’’
Jaime Arce: ``I think Michael Ortega, Joshua Salazar and Tyler Carrillo are good players.’’
SPORTS: Captains feel responsibility of leading Swordsmen
One of the biggest honors for a St. Paul football player is to be named team captain. Defensive tackle Joshua Salazar and offensive guard Eric Sanchez were named captains this season.
Eric and Josh offered their perspective on being a football captain.
“I like being captain because I feel like a leader of my team,” Josh said.
``I feel very honored and nervous being in charge of the team,’’ Eric added.
Both of these players played their hearts out as the Swordsmen won six of its first seven games and feel privileged to be captains for the remainder of the season.
JV volleyball works together on-and-off court
As the girls’ junior varsity volleyball team nears the end of its season, it showed improvement and signs of reaching its potential. The team and Coach Katie Savedra worked hard to make this season a good one.One of the most positive aspects of the team was its ability to work together on-and-off the court. Whether the team had a good day or bad day they always picked each other up.
When asked what qualities she saw in the team, Savedra said ``mental toughness and good athleticism.’’Savedra expects her team ``to play hard and to better themselves physically and mentally.’’
Confidence runs high for cross country team
The Swordsmen girls’ varsity cross country team got off to a good start this season as won its first meet in August.
The team is made up of fast runners from all different grades. The runners believed Coach Adam Padilla is doing a good job leading the team with his unique and helpful coaching skills.
Junior varsity runners Jackie Scott and Nicole Bailey said the team’s confidence was high during the season.
``The season is off to a good start and it’s going to be a good one,’’ Scott said. ``All of the runners are striving to lead their team to league.’’
The team believed a league title is within reach.
``This team could be the best in 10 years,’’ Bailey said.
Scott and Bailey said, ``Coach Padilla knows what he’s talking about and knows what he’s doing.’’