In a cool, drizzly afternoon in a gray hoodie, newly converted professional footballer David Diaz took to the bench at Birmingham High on Tuesday in an 8-0 win over Granada Hills. The season could be challenged by the team’s newest stars Jerry Ramos and Oscar Vargas.
Ramos scored four goals and 13 since qualifying on 23 December. Vargas scored three goals and nine since qualifying on the same day. Both are transfer students from Moore Park and contributed to his team’s 17-2 win last season. Another transfer, Dieja Seja from Sun Valley Poly also scored. No wonder coach EB Madha went into hiding until the transfer student qualified.
“I thought we were going to do well this year,” Mada said after the Patriots (6-1-1) suffered their first West Valley League opener loss to the Highlanders (6-1-3). .
Diaz has been the team’s outstanding scorer and passer for three years. He played in Northridge, California this fall before signing a professional contract joining Fuego FC in Fresno. The Patriots are spread out in scoring position, with his two standout defenders in sophomore Stephen Ramos and his senior Joseph Barcenas.
Birmingham (6-1-1), with ambitions to challenge the best of the Southern Division, including Servite and Mira Costa, will be in the tournament this week at Oceanside. Then on 9 January the first of a biannual showdown game against rivals El Camino his Real will take place.
San Pedro 60, Birmingham 58: Anthony Hrboka scored 24 points after hitting San Pedro’s buzzer in the Huntington Park tournament game.
Brentwood 91, Perspective 49: Jordan Huegvan added 26 points and James Olofsson added 21 points and 15 rebounds in Brentwood’s Gold Coast League victory.
Heritage Christian 79, Valley Christian 58: Tae Simmons led Heritage Christian with 23 points.
Valencia 77, Golden Valley 63: Kai Davis, Mika Ballue and Bryce Bedgood each scored 21 goals for Valencia in a Foothill League match.
Chatsworth 75, University 68: Freshman Alija Arenas finished with 40 points for Chatsworth.
Thousand Oaks 51, Calabasas 48: The Lancers won the opening game of the Marmonte League.
Agora 56, Westlake 54: Agora won the opening match of the Marmonte League. Kayden Elsokary scored his 23 points at Westlake.
Oaks Christian 54, Newbury Park 47: Steve Amar led the Oaks Christians with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Charlie Muir led Newbury Park with his 15 points.
Village Christian 75, Maranatha 46: The Crusaders won the opening game of the Olympic League with a balanced score.
This story was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.