Harwell’s long wait is about over

Brigham Harwell, a former Los Altos star who is now at UCLA, returns to the football field this season.

This is expected to be a special Labor Day for former Los Altos High School football star Brigham Harwell, who is now at UCLA.
Sept. 1 is the day the Bruins open the 2008 season with a home encounter against Tennessee at the Rose Bowl. But it’s also signifies the end of Harwell’s long wait. The senior missed all but one game last season. But now he’s ready to return.
“I really can’t wait for the season to start,” Harwell recently. “Last year was very difficult for me. I had never missed a season. My Saturdays were spent watching UCLA on TV, and not playing.
“I’m really excited about the year. I’ve worked real hard, getting my timing, watching film and just preparing to perform on Saturdays.”
And the general consensus is that he will not only perfom on Saturdays, but do it quite well. He is considered to be one of the top players at his position, not just in the Pac-10, but in the nation as well. He begins the season on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the top lineman in the country.
“I don’t think there’s any question that to play great defense, you have to be able to create a pass rush and disruption with your front four,” UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. “When you have the benefit and advantage of a guy like Brigham to start your defense, it’s a nice place to start. It gives us hope to be a very, very strong defense.”
Now Harwell is ready for a banner season, and the view from here says he will have one.

Thurmond expected to shine in ’08

Oregon’s Walter Thurmond, a former star at West Covina High School has become one of the top defensive backs in the country.

Walter Thurmond III left West Covina High School a few years ago as one of the top players in Valley. He will return to the Southland later this fall as one of the nation’s best.
The junior cornerback, who is now a key member of the University of Oregon’s ‘Gang Green,’ is considered one of the top defensive backs in the country, and was recently placed on the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the top defensive back in the country.
Expect big things from the former All-Area player, who will return to SoCal when Oregon faces USC at the Coliseum on Oct. 4. Thurmond had a team-high 75 solo tackles in 2007 and returned both a fumble and an interception back for scores. He’s been described as a touchdown waiting to happen.
“He’s a playermaker,” Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. “He has unbelievable quickness. He’s not the biggest guy. But he’s very physical. He’s a great tackler, and he’s a track athlete in terms of his speed and athleticism.
“But he’s become a mentally tough player, and his involvement with Jairus Byrd and Patrick Chung gives us one of the best secondaries in the nation.”

Craft gets the call

Former Mt. SAC quarterback to be the one at UCLA.

Kevin Craft, the highly-touted former Mt. San Antonio College quarterback who is now at UCLA, will be the Bruins starter when UCLA opens the 2008 season at the Rose Bowl against Tennessee on Sept. 1.
Craft was announced the starter earlier this week by coach Rick Neuheisel.
I personally believe Craft will do quite well. He has the tools to be a serviceable quarterback at the Division I level. He has adequate arm strength, makes good decisions and I love his pocket presence.

Craft gets his shot

Former Mt. SAC QB Kevin Craft could start for UCLA on Labor Day.

Sometimes, sports is all about being in the right place at the right time.
In the case of former Mt. San Antonio College quarterback Kevin Craft, opportunity is definitely knocking.
Craft, two years removed from starting five games for San Diego State before enjoying a monster year at Mt. SAC last season, is the front runner to be UCLA’s starting quarterback when the Bruins open the 2008 season in three weeks against Tennessee in the Rose Bowl.
Craft, who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 44 touchdowns in leading the Mounties to the CCCAA state title game last season, got his opportunity when senior Ben Olson re-injured his foot this past Saturday, and will miss the next two months.
Craft, who is battling redshirt freshman Chris Forcier for the job, appeared to earn some brownie points after enjoying a solid practice Tuesday morning.
My impression of Craft, while he was at Mt. SAC last season, was that he will do quite well at the Division I level. Now, for Bruins fans, don’t expect miracles, but the junior has nearly every thing to be successful. He has a decent arm, solid pocket awareness and good football sense that most coaches’ sons usually enjoy.
He also has something else on his side – Karma. Fred Robledo tells me that when UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel was in then his first season at Colorado, his quarterback was Mt. SAC transfer Mike Moschetti. Now that the former Bruin star is back in his first season at his alma mater, his quarterback may be another former Mountie, this time Kevin Craft.
What comes around, goes around.
Besides isn’t it better for a quarterback to be CRAFTy, then to FORCIER it?

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It’s a lock down for Lockett

UCLA’s Bret Lockett, a former Diamond Bar High star, is expected to be suspended for UCLA’s season opener against Tennessee at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 1.

Former Diamond Bar High School football star, projected to start  at strong safety for UCLA this fall, is expected to be suspended for the Bruins’ season opener against Tennessee at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 1 after violating the team’s academic policy.
Lockett, a former All-Area player, has 21 tackles in three seasons as the team’s No. 2 strong safety the past two seasons.
He will be allowed to participate in training camp in August and in practice and will be eligible for UCLA’s road game against Brigham Young on Sept. 13.

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From Lancers to All-Stars

The 2008 MLB All-Star game will be special for Bishop Amat fans.
The 79th Mid-Summer Classic, scheduled for Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in New York, will feature two former Lancers – pitcher Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks and infielder Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. Both are having killer years.
To read more of from Lancers to All-Stars, click the thread

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Area All-Stars: Giambi, Rowand snubbed

The local ties to the MLB All Star Game, scheduled for Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, will be limited to former Bishop Amat stars Michael Young of the Texas Rangers and Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
We just feel that the list should also include former South Hills star Jason Giambi, who now plays first base for the New York Yankees, and ex-Glendora standout Aaron Rowand, who now patrols the outfield for the San Francisco Giants.
The fans voted for former Rio Hondo College star Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays and Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers. Both are good players, but  we think the nod should have gone to Rowand and Giambi.
Giambi looks like the clear choice in the American League. He  and Longoria have solid numbers, but I just tend to like his long-ball potential, which this season features 18 homers and 54 RBIs, which are slightly better than Longoria’s 16 and 53. Plus, it would be nice to see a Yankee play in the final All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium.
On the National League side, Hart is solid with a .292 average and 15 HRs. I just happen to like Rowand’s overall game, which includes his speed and his ability to make every play, even if it means running through a wall.
Hart probably deserves to be there, but does the Cubs’ Kosuke Fukudome?
Rowand’s numbers are slightly better, and he has more speed and power potential. But I guess that’s what we get when fans are allowed to stuff the ballot box.

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Locals need your vote

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Final Vote features some local flavor.
Of the 10 players on the National and American League ballot, two once called the San Gabriel Valley home.
On the American League side is former South Hills standout Jason Giambi, who has been solid for the New York Yankees this season, with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs. Also on the  AL ballot is Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays. Longoria played locally at Rio Hondo College.
On the National League side is former Glendora star Aaron Rowand, who is in first season playing for the San Francisco Giants. He is hitting .300 with 47 RBIs.
Lets back our locals, so get out there and vote.

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Rowand in San Francisco

Glendora’s Aaron Rowand is back on the left coast

Glendora’s Aaron Rowand left here nearly 15 years ago with his thoughts on a dream that would end with a life of playing Major League Baseball.
His dream has become a reality, and now he gets to prove it near home as the chief star for the San Francisco Giants, who he signed with in January as a free agent.
The move to the left coast hasn’t hurt Rowand, who is doing fine in his first season in San Francisco.
Rowand, who had his number retired at Glendora earlier this decade, came to San Francisco after spending stints with the Chicago White Sox, who he helped win a World Series in 2005, and the Philadelphia Phillies. He hit .309 with 27 home runs for Philadelphia last season, and has nearly picked up where he left off,  hitting .305 with eight homers for the Giants. He also has hit 18 doubles and has a .523 slugging percentage.
Rowand is also a good bet to make the MLB All-Star game this season. He returns to Southern California at the end of July when the Giants visit Dodger Stadium for a three-game series.

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Harwell: Leader of the sloth

Former Los Altos star Brigham Harwell looks to make plays like this for UCLA this season.

This coming football season is an important one for former Los Altos High School star Brigham Harwell, who is not only coming back from an injury that forced him to miss most of 2007, but he will also fill an important role for the UCLA football team: Harwell was  one of two players named team captain last week, joining tight end Logan Paulson.
Harwell, a sack machine at Los Altos, has been a key player for UCLA’s defense, starting 23 of 25 games during his sophomore and junior seasons. His return from knee surgery will be key for the Bruins, who lost several starters on the defensive side from last season.
UCLA begins its season Sept. 1 with a home game against Tennessee.

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