Sports Briefs: Downey High's Jonathan Prata spends summer wrestling across the country

DOWNEY – Downey High School junior wrestler and 2016 state qualifier Jonathan Prata has had a busy summer. 

As the academic school year concluded in June, Prata found himself wrestling in Des Moines, Iowa, at the national competition being held there. Jonathan finished second in Iowa with a record of 4-1. Prata’s lone defeat of the tournament was in the championship final where he was defeated by the Kansas state champion 6-5.

Prata also competed in the National Freestyle tournament held in Fargo, North Dakota, in July. Prata finished that tournament with a record of 4-2 but did not place. Prata jokingly said that those “were the biggest brackets I have seen at a tournament.” Prata’s two losses in Fargo were to wrestlers from Michigan and Ohio, respectively.

Prata has also attended open mat practices at St. John Bosco and Servite High Schools. Bosco was holding spring workouts Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m. and Servite was holding open mat workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. 

Jonathan was also busy helping instruct practices at Doty Middle School this spring on Mondays and Fridays for the Doty Wrestling Club.

Jonathan Prata is looking forward to the start of the 2016 school year and wrestling season. After qualifying for the state tournament in 2016 his realistic goal for 2017 is to “place at state.” Interestingly, that would make his 2018 goal a state championship. 

■ Downey High School has been busy this week preparing for the start of the 2016-17 academic and athletic school year.

Students have been registering for their fall classes, the band has been fine tuning their sounds, the drum line has been beating on their drums and cheerleaders have been practicing their flips and stunts with counts of “five, six, seven eights.”

The girls’ volleyball team was holding practice on both sides of the gym and the football team was on the football field and in the weight room getting bigger, faster and stronger. Coaches were coaching football players to “get in a stance because that is what getting “set” means. The sounds of football and the fall. 

Several other sports teams have been conducting practices on and off campus throughout the mornings, afternoons and evenings as well as throughout the summer. A visit to Downey High School on Tuesday afternoon was just a small glimpse as to what has been going on this summer. 

Many teams are still observing their C.I.F. mandated “Dead Periods.” Downey High School will be crazy next Wednesday morning with close to 4,500 students roaming the campus and hallways for the first day of school. Incoming freshmen will get lost and hopefully older students will point them in the right direction.

The Downey football team will kick off their 2016 season when they travel to San Pedro on August 26. San Pedro finished last season with an overall record of 7-5 and were 3-2 in Marine League play. 

Downey won last year’s game 13-2 en route to their 7-5 overall record and 4-1 San Gabriel Valley League tri-championship record.   

■ The Warren High School football team will begin their 2016 season when they travel to Don Lugo of Chino on Friday evening, August 26. 

Don Lugo finished last season with an overall record of 6-6 and were 4-1 in Mt. Baldy League play. Don Lugo was defeated by San Marino 52-10 in the first round of the C.I.F. Central Division playoffs. Colony High School (8-4, 5-0) was the Mt. Baldy League champion.

On offense the Bears will be very young at the skill positions and will get valuable game time experience quickly. Sophomore quarterback Chris Venegas will have some big shoes to fill as he will assume the role left by graduated San Gabriel Valley League M.V.P. Jordan Yancy. 
The strength of the Bear offense will be the offensive line. The offensive line is bigger, faster and stronger from a year ago and should provide some nice holes to run through. Sili “SD” Poe will anchor a stronger and more experienced offensive line from the guard position.

Senior wide receiver Jordan Mayes looks to have a strong season as does sophomore wide receiver Robbie Colenzo. Other offensive weapons for coach Raul Lara will be sophomore running back Ralen Goforth, sophomore wide receiver Desmond Carnes and senior tight ends Bedeiah “MJ” Togafau and Donovan Taylor. 

Coach Lara really likes the makeup of his young team. Warren’s schedule is more difficult from a year ago and the Bears will have a better idea of how much better they are after their preseason schedule ends. The Buena Park game in week three will be an excellent test for the upstart Bears. Coach Lara, his staff and players are looking forward to the start of the 2016 football season.  

■ The Bears finished last season with an overall record of 8-3 and were 4-1 in San Gabriel Valley League play. For their efforts last season, Warren was a S.G.V.L. tri-champion with cross-town rival Downey and Dominguez, respectively. The Bears were eliminated in the first round of the C.I.F. Southeast Division playoffs by St. Francis of the Angelus League 21-19.

Head coach Raul Lara really likes this year’s defense and likes the leadership his seniors are showing in the weight room and on the field. Lara says his defense will be “stout” due to their increased understanding of the game and what opposing offenses will be trying to do against them. 

Up front on defense the Bears will be led by senior defensive linemen Sili “SD” Poe and Bedeiah “MJ” Togafau. Senior hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Donovan Taylor will also play a key role in solidifying the Bear’s defense. 

Warren’s linebacker corps will be led by seniors Jorge Valderrama and Sirahn Fields. The secondary will be locked down by senior defensive back Jordan Mayes and sophomore free safety Ralen Goforth.

Warren’s preseason schedule will feature Don Lugo in week one, Kaiser in week two, Buena Park in week three, Lakewood in week four and St. Paul in week five. Coach Lara will have a much better idea of where his team is at by the end of preseason play. 

The Bears will have their bye in week six before S.G.V.L. play begins in week seven. Warren will begin league play on October 7 when they host Paramount. The Bears will then travel to Gahr on October 14, travel to Downey on October 21, host Dominguez on October 28 and will finish their regular season when they travel to Lynwood on October 28.