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News from around the Ojai Valley

Rock work will cause delays on Highway 33

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
Expect traffic delays Aug. 7 on Highway 33, north of Ojai.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be bringing down loose boulders above the highway.
The work will be going on at mile marker 17.2, just south of The Wheel, about two miles north of the Ojai Quarry.
Caltrans expects traffic delays from 15 to 20 minutes.
There may be additional short delays while rocks are pushed off the road to clear a lane.
Rock work will continue in the Thomas Fire burn area throughout the year to minimize rockfall danger to traffic, according to Bob Kilpatrick, Caltrans Ojai Area supervisor.

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Latest sports

NHS players shine in Blue and Gold scrimmage

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Ojai Valley News photo by Tim Dewar
Kaden Monson (right) makes the catch of the night, which led to a touchdown in this year’s Blue and Gold scrimmage.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Nordhoff High School football fans got a glimpse of the 2018 team in action during the team’s annual Blue and Gold scrimmage Aug. 3.
The Gold team narrowly defeated the Blue squad, 11-10, for bragging rights. The most important aspect of the scrimmage, according to coaches, was the team’s progress.
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Ojai Valley News photo by Tim Dewar
Junior Korey Stevens (No. 5) zips past the defense and into the end zone. 
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Sophomores to lead Nordhoff volleyball

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The CIF recently released a list of girls’ volleyball teams to keep an eye on this fall and the Nordhoff High School (NHS) Lady Rangers were among those top teams. After making it the third round of the playoffs in 2017, losing to eventual champion Buckley High School, NHS is hoping for a successful season again in 2018.
“We are a young team, but I think we’ll be better than last year. We have a very strong sophomore class returning and all of our girls have been playing in the off-season, which really helps,” said head coach Rene Nakao-Mauch.
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Gibbs shares wisdom with top tennis players

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Ojai played host to the 2018 New Balance High School Tennis Championships July 21 through July 24. Players from all over the country came to compete for a national title and as part of the event, tennis pro Nicole Gibbs played in an exhibition match against Ojai’s Lester Cook. Gibbs also spent time talking to the players about her tennis journey and what it is like playing on the professional tour. Ojai residents Mikel Elizalde, Ridley Potter and Sweden van Houten took part in the event.

Foreplayers take over lead in Sundowner League cup race

Gary's Foreplayers took over the top spot in the Sundowner Golf League with only one week remaining in the regular season.
The Foreplayers scored a massive 64 points on the day to lead all teams and allow them to rocket into the lead.
Chris Van Son led the way for his team with a season-best round of a gross-38, for 24 points. Van Son had two birdies and scored the most points of any player on the day. 
Team captain Mike Doran returned from a one-week absence and picked up right where he left off by shooting a gross-41, for 21 points. He currently has the highest average of any player, with 19.6 points scored per round.
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Rangers expect to run all over opposition this season

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

In a game last year, Michael Trejo (No. 50) leads the way for running back Brayden Rogers.

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) football team will open its regular season schedule at home against West Ranch High School Aug. 17.
In preparation for what they hope will be a successful season, the Rangers are busy putting in their final weeks of work before hitting the field against the Wildcats.
According to head coach Lance Wiggins, this year’s offensive unit is going to take advantage of a veteran offensive line and talented running backs.
“Our entire line is returning with the exception of our right tackle and we have a very good competition going for that position so we are excited about that unit,” he said.

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

Korey Stevens goes up for an over-the-shoulder catch versus Santa Paula in 2017.

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Wildcats looking for another title

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

Villanova’s Anthony Martinez carries an opponent on his back last season.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Last year, the Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) football team had a historic season, going 11-1 and making it to the CIF Southern Section Eight-Man Division I semifinals.
Despite losing a core group of players to graduation, the Wildcats should be a force in the Mount Piños League once again this season after winning the league title in 2017.

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Scramblers’ late run is making things interesting in Sundowner title race

James Casey, Ojai Valley News contributor
The Scramblers moved into first place in the second-half standings of the Sundowner golf league after scoring a league-high 63 points in Week 14 play. 
The Scramblers have been steadily climbing the leader board the past few weeks and finally made the leap to the top spot.
They were led by Dave Brown who shot a gross-39, for 22 points. Brown is a first-year player, but hasn't let that stop him from being a regular contributor to the team.
Rob Graham had one of his better rounds of the season in firing a gross-38, for 21 points. He has had a slow start to the year but is turning it on now that the season is coming to a close.

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Rangers getting defensive about playoff hopes

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

In 2017, Brayden Rogers forces a Beverly Hills ball carrier to fumble while teammates Nate Rhodes (No. 81) and Korey Stevens (No. 5) move in for the recovery.

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley news sports editor
As the saying goes, “Defense wins championships.” If that is the case, the Nordhoff High School (NHS) football team has to like its chances of winning the inaugural Citrus Coast League championship this season.
“Our offense is going to be good this season, but the strength of our team is definitely going to be our defense,” explained Nordhoff head coach Lance Wiggins. “We are solid at all 11 positions and have multiple players who can step in at a number of positions, so we have depth for the first time in a while.”
This year’s defense will be headed by NHS alumnus and defensive coordinator Tony Leckie. He inherits a unit that returns 14 players who saw significant action at the varsity level in 2017.

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown   

Nate Rhodes has impressed this off-season and is primed for a big year.    

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 Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown    

After being injured as a junior, Daniel McGrew is back and looking to make an impact.    

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Surf students get board at camp

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Ojai Valley News photos by Holly Roberts

The Ojai Recreation Department recently held a surf camp for local youth who wanted to get out of the summer heat and catch some waves. The camps run Mondays through Fridays and are designed to teach surfing fundamentals, ocean safety and surfing etiquette. Roman Johnson (above photo, left) shares a wave with Cayden Budlong while Celes Gould (below photo, left) and Maya Mouderres are all smiles on their wave.

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Three weeks remain in Callender Cup race

The team of Good Pick It Up rode an impressive 63-point week to the top spot in the second-half standings of the Sundowner Golf League.
The veteran team is rounding into form as the season moves toward a close. Charles Casey led the way with a gross round of 1-over-par 37, for 22 points. Casey has struggled mightily this season but seems to be finding his game when it matters most. He had one birdie and two bogeys on his way to his best round of the year.
Mark Ackerman and Ray Lara provided backup with a very solid 21- and 20-point day, respectively. Both birdied the difficult opening hole and rode the momentum throughout their rounds. Ackerman currently leads the team with an 18.6 scoring average.

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The weight is almost over: Lift-a-thon kicks off NHS football season

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

Returning letterman and lineman Manny Bautista shows off his strength in the dead lift.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) football program hosted the Friday Night Lights Family Festival July 13 on the school campus and according to head coach Lance Wiggins, the purpose of the event was to connect the Ojai Valley community to this year’s team and help fundraise for the upcoming season.
“We didn’t raise as much money as we’d hoped, but I thought the work we were able to do around building relationships with the community was well worth the effort,” said Wiggins. “There were a lot of families and lots of kids, which I thought was great. Also, a lot of the parents of our players got the opportunity to get up close while the kids were working out.”

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

Daniel McGrew bench-presses 225 pounds during the Friday Night Lights Family Festival lift-a-thon.

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Casitas fishing still good, but low water levels are causing concern

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Photo submitted

A visitor to Lake Casitas shows off his prize catch for the day, but just as noticeable as the fish is the new island that recently emerged in the background as a result of low water levels.

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley sports editor
Despite Lake Casitas only being at 33 percent capacity as of July 18, the lake is still attracting avid fishermen from all over the state. According to local angler and fishing guide Marc Mitrany, the fishing is as exciting as ever on the lake.
“From my perspective, the fishing is great. We are still able to move around the lake and catch fish in different locations. We’re able to provide a great experience for our guests every time out,” he said.

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Summer fun requires Olympic-sized effort

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Ojai Valley News photos by Holly Roberts

The Ojai Recreation Department (ORD) hosted a Summer Olympic event July 17. The event included touch football, the 100-yard dash, leap frog races, Frisbee throw and ball toss. Event winners were able to collect points to use towards prizes at the end of the day. Summer Olympians (above photo) hurl their Frisbees for distance and accuracy. A group of sprinters (below photo) power their way to the finish line in the 100-yard dash. The ORD will continue to have a diverse set of offerings this summer. Visit http://ojairec.com for more information.

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