Desert Christian loses steam

LANCASTER — The Desert Christian High School girls volleyball team stumbled in the wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division 9 playoffs in a 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-8) loss Saturday to the Holy Martyrs Armens.

Knights first-year head coach Joel Sasse said he felt the team had a good overall season after finishing 7-3 in the Desert Mountain League and being in the hunt for first place throughout the year.

“It was a really good season,” Sasse said. “Playoffs would have been nice, but I’m happy with it, especially for the first year.”

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Palmdale avoids scare

PALMDALE – With an undefeated Golden League record on the line, the Palmdale High School football team held off a hungry Knight Hawks squad and came away with a 27-20 victory Friday night at Knight High.

Palmdale junior running back Richard Newton scored three touchdowns and rushed 207 yards on 33 carries. Knight sophomore running back Gerald Young ran 190 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns.

Despite being down 14-0 early in the first quarter, the Hawks kept the pressure on the Falcons to continue to get touchdowns. Young led the charge with two touchdowns and a bevy of timely plays.

“He’s our horse,” Hawks head coach George Esquer said of Young. “We’re going to feed the horse and (he will) do the job. That’s what he does.”

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Quartz Hill posts perfect season

QUARTZ HILL — For the second time in three years, the Quartz Hill High School girls volleyball team has gone undefeated in the Golden League.

The Rebels (14-0) reached the milestone with a lopsided sweep (25-7, 25-7, 25-8) win over the Knight Hawks (5-9) on Tuesday night, when the team also honored its seniors before the match.

Quartz Hill also had an undefeated season in 2014.

“It’s never easy to be undefeated,” said Rebels senior captain Megan Taflinger, who has played on both undefeated teams. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. I think our team really did well this year.”

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Falcons fly into CIF postseason

PALMDALE — At the beginning of the season, the Palmdale High School girls volleyball team had one goal: make it to CIF playoffs.

On Thursday at Knight High School, Palmdale reached its goal.

The Falcons (7-6) clinched a playoff berth with their 3-0 (25-18, 25-9, 25-17) road win over the Hawks, who held a ceremony honoring their senior players before the match.

“Out of my whole four years, I have never been to CIF,” Falcons senior middle hitter Dharma Mitchell said. “This is our first year going in a while, so I’m really happy (and) my team is really happy.”

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Eagles fall to Trinity Classical

SANTA CLARITA — After Monday’s game against the Trinity Classical Academy Knights, the Lancaster Baptist High School girls volleyball team was in high spirits.

The girls posed for photos outside of Henry Mayo Fitness and Health, even though they had just finished losing 3-0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-8) to the top team in the Heritage League.

The reason for the smiles? It was likely the Eagles’ last match of the season, and thus the last match for a handful of seniors on the squad.

After the photo shoot, senior setter Amber Ballesteros described this year as one of growth.

“We had some hardships and we had some little difficulties in between – like regular team drama or whatever,” said Ballesteros, who played on the team for three years. “But even though it could be pretty distracting at times and we sometimes lost games or lost points because of it, we still overcame that and grew.”

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Undefeated Mojave makes statement

CANOGA PARK — The Mojave High School football team showed on Saturday afternoon why it’s ranked No. 1 among Division 1 8-man teams on the CIF Southern Section coaches’ poll.

The Mustangs (7-0) put a hurting on the No. 2-ranked Faith Baptist Contenders (5-2) with a 49-20 win on the road.

Senior running back Cameron Hill and junior Tyree Hendrix each scored three touchdowns, while junior quarterback Tim Whitfield scored one.

“What’s nice is when you have a group of athletes like that you can spread the carries around, it makes it a lot easier on everyone,” Mustangs head coach Cash Achziger said. “It keeps everybody fresh.”

But even though Mojave scored on almost every drive, it was its defense that shined. It forced Faith Baptist into seven punts, and Hendrix returned an interception for a touchdown, a pick-six, early in the second quarter.

“We are fast on defense, and that makes it really hard for people,” Achziger said. “And we’re getting better-disciplined.”

The Mustangs used its defense to give them plenty of opportunities to get into the end zone. Mojave’s first three TDs came after Faith Baptist punts.

Mojave senior running back Cameron Hill said his team’s strong defensive performance was the result of the coaching staff’s preparation and guidance.

“(Faith Baptist has) a lot of trick plays, so we just stayed on our toes,” Hill said. “We (have) responsibilities coach told us, so we just did our responsibilities.”

While three different Mustangs scored touchdowns, it was Hill and Hendrix who set up camp in Faith Baptist’s end zone. Less than two minutes before his pick-six, Hendrix rushed 30 yards for a touchdown seven seconds into the second quarter.

Late in the first half with Mojave at their own 27-yard line, Hill broke free from the Contenders’ defense and ran 53 yards for a touchdown that gave the Mustangs a 42-12 lead.

“I just run hard every time I get the ball,” Hill said. “Every time I get the ball, I feel like I want to score. That’s how I feel.”

Mojave scored six of its seven touchdowns in the first half.

Achziger credited the players for their focus leading up to the game against the Contenders.

“The boys knew that this was an important week and they did everything that we needed to do this week to get ready,” Achziger said.

The Mustangs are one win away from a perfect regular season. Whitfield attributed the team’s record to how last year ended for Mojave, which lost to the Avalon Lancers in the 8-man Division 1 championship.

“That kind of sparked us to want to come out this year and show that we still have a team,” Whitfield said.

Hill said the team should have won last year, but he and some other players did not play due to injury. He added that the team feels ready this year.

“Everybody (has) that in their head,” Hill said. “Last year’s game, we hate it. We don’t want to watch film, we don’t want to even talk about it. We just want to get back to the championship (and) show what we can do.”

The Mustangs have a bye week and will then face the Lancaster Baptist Eagles on Oct. 29 at home in their regular-season finale.

Desert scores 4 TDs in fourth quarter

EDWARDS AFB — The Desert High School football scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and beat the Kern Valley Broncs, 58-30, on Friday at home.

Scorpions sophomore quarterback Caden Hinton threw three touchdown passes. He was 9-for-21 passing for 250 yards.

Tied at 30 after three quarters, the Scorpions turned on the defensive pressure and forced two turnovers on downs and a punt in the final quarter. Before the fourth, both teams exchanged touchdowns after a 14-14 tie at halftime.

“I thought it was really good to get into a fourth-quarter game and then play as well as we did in the second half,” Desert head coach Chris Hinton said.

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