Webb football heads into new season aiming for league title

Ryan Place runs for touchdown last year in a game against Fairmont Prep.

It has been 25 years since The Webb School has won a league title in football. Could this be the year? Maybe. Of course every school starts the season with optimism and coach Amahl Thomas is one of those.

“I have had good groups of kids before but most of them were athletes from other sports,” said Thomas, now in his fifth year. “This is really the first year I have guys where football is their first sport and a priority.”

The Gauls were 4-6 overall and 2-3 in the San Joaquin League which put them fourth behind Saddleback Valley Christian, Santa Clarita Christian and Southlands Christian.

Senior Ryan Place heads the effort. He had to play quarterback out of necessity last season after the planned starter transferred. This season he is able to go to tailback which better suits him. He’ll also play some middle linebacker.

“He really is a great player but he has had some injuries, every year it has been something,” Thomas said, “:Hopefully he stays healthy this season and and can really show what he can do.”

Being a smaller school, many of the top players will have to contribute on both side of the ball. Among those are junior linebacker-tight end Simon Dawson, senior outside linebacker-wide receiver Spencer Easley and junior lineman Matt Martinez.

Easley and Dawson garnered second-team all-league honors last year.

Thomas is also excited about the potential of junior Nick Johnson, who had to sit out half last season after a transfer from Glendora.

Thomas expects the talent in the skill positions to be the team’s strength

Depth will always be a factor, although he has 50 in the program, about 10 more than last year. The biggest question mark will be the right side of the offensive line.

The Gauls get the new season underway Aug. 25 against St. Pius, a new addition to the schedule. League play starts on Sept. 23 against Santa Clarita Christian.

WEBB SCHEDULE

Aug. 25 – St. Pius-St. Mathias Academy
Sept. 1 – At Western Christian
Sept. 8 – La Quinta (At Damien)
Sept. 15 – Garey
Sept. 23 – Santa Carlita (At. Canyon)
Sept. 29 – Calif School for Deaf
Oct. 5 – Capistrano Valley Chr. (At Damien)
Oct. 21 – Southlands Chr.
Oct. 27 – At Saddleback Valley Chr.
Nov. 2 – Fairmont Prep

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Claremont football looking to regroup with new personnel

Wolfpack mascot photo.

Count Claremont among the many schools that are coming off disappointing showings in 2016. And yes, like most of the others, the Wolfpack are going to take the field in 2017 with a new coach in Shane Hile.

Hile remains optimistic even though he has a couple of huge voids to fill. Running back Duy Tran-Sampson, who carried the offense the last three years, has graduated and moved on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo while Soloman Tuliaupupu, one of the top-ranked linebackers in the country, transferred to Mater Dei in the spring.

But Hile, previously on staff as an assistant at Upland, chooses to focus on what he can control.

“We can’t worry about who is not here, we have to work with the guys that are here,” he said. “The ones that are here have bought in and are working hard and it’s one of the closest knit groups I have been around.”

The offense will be much different for the Wolfpack, 37 overall and 2-3 in the Palomares League a year ago. The passing game was almost non-existent in recent year thanks to the presence of a dominant back but HIle expects more balance this season.

He also has the benefit  of a solid quarterback in junior Reggie Retzlaff who had to sit out the first five games last year after transferring from Webb and has looked good thus far.

“We’re excited about seeing what he can do wit a full year under his belt,” Hile said of his quarterback. “We’re definitely looking for a better balance. Of course you like to run because that opens it up for the passing game but we want to be able to do both.”

Senior running back Drew Johnson, who was on the junior varsity last year, will inherit the spot vacated by Tran-Samspon. He’ll have help front from senior linemen Noah Gonzalez and Ryan Bush, who will also be key players on the other side of the ball.

Senior linebacker Tommy Viat will head the defensive effort.

There are no holdovers from the previous coaching staff. Dillan Clark, previously at Citrus College and Upland High School, will serve as coordinator while Anthony Hile,the coach’s son, will be defensive coordinator.

The new coach likes the work ethic he has seen out of his team. One of the concerns this year will be depth with the number of total players in the program down considerably. The good thing is that the programs biggest numbers i in the freshman class so there is room to grow.

CLAREMONT SCHEDULE

Aug. 23 – At Norte Vista
Sept. 1 – At Upland
Sept. 8 – Damien
Sept. 15 – Pomona
Sept. 22 – At Alta Loma
Oct. 6 – Glendora
Oct. 13 – South Hills
Oct. 20 – At Bonita
Oct. 27 – Ayala
Nov. 2 – At Diamond Bar

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Bonita football team looking to bounce back from sub-par season

 

It was a tough start in the Bonita football tenure of Ibis Aguilar.

The Bearcats were 3-7 overall and 0-5 in Palomares League play in his first year in 2017. It wasn’t just one thing, it was sort of a perfect storm.

He got the job a little late in the game so he found himself trying to play catch up when it came to the off-season rituals. The athlete who transferred in and was penciled in as the starter at quarterback got ruled ineligible by the CIF. And the top returning player suffered a season-ending injury over the summer.

Ibis Aguilar

Aguilar and his squad are looking forward to a new season with fewer obstacles.

“The biggest thing was not having the day to day contact with the kids in the spring when you’re able to get everyone on the same page early and establish that connection as a team,” he said. “That’s really when you want the work to start, not in August.”

The Bearcats were senior-heavy in 2015 so that meant last year was one transition too and Aguilar said last year’s team was dominated by underclassmen, The good news is that means most of those players are back – a year older and more experienced which should translate to a better showing on the field.

For starters, Bonita returns junior quarterback J.P. Andrade who threw for 2,072 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore. Among the other offensive weapons – senior back Ivan Wilson-bey.

The Bearcats will have some of their top players competing on both side of the ball as numbers are down slightly.  Aguilar said there are 130 players in the program, down from 130 or so. There is a large freshman class however.

Other top returning players are senior wide receiver-linebacker Matthew Sanchez, senior safety-slot Joey Reynolds, junior lineman Diego Jimenez and junior slot-safety Nathan Otto.

Top newcomers include sophomore slot-linebacker Kenny Colson, who comes up from a freshman team that was 9-1 last year. Another to look for is free safety-receiver Aalias Williams.

Aguilar singles out defending champion Ayala as team to beat in the Palomares League with always-tough Glendora the other top competitor.

“But we think we have the potential to be in the mix too,” he said.

BONITA SCHEDULE
Aug. 26 – Vs. San Dimas (At Citrus College)
Sept. 1 – Vs. Sante Fe (At Pioneer)
Sept. 8 – Riverside Poly
Sept. 15 – Beuna
Sept. 22 – At Diamond Ranch
Oct. 6 – At Diamond Bar
Oct. 13 – Ayala
Oct. 20 – Claremont
Oct. 27 – Glendora
Nov. 2 – South Hills (At Covina District Field)

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Don Lugo football team looking to build on strong 2016 season

Don Lugo emerged as the surprise team on the football field in the Inland Valley last year. The Conquistadores (10-3, 5-0) took over the throne previously occupied by Colony, then marched all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division semifinal before falling to Burbank.

They won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season.

“We won’t be taking anyone by surprise this year,” said Greg Gano, the veteran coach entering his second year at the helm. “We have the target on us now so we have to be ready. That’s OK, we will be.”

On offense the Conquistadores won’t look much different than they did last year. Leading the large core of returning players is senior Khoury Bethley, who ran for 2,089 yards and 25 touchdowns last year which helped earn him MVP honors in the Mt. Baldy League.

Senior quarterback Rudy Garcia who threw for 1,18 yards and 22 touchdowns as well as his favorite target Daniel Munguia (41 catches ofr 892 yards, 12 TDs). Need more? There is also massive offensive lineman Chris Randazzo who has committed to Oregon.

Other to look for on offense include senior center Derek Martinez, senior tight end Albert Luevano, sophomore running back Bryan Soto and wide receivers Isseah Gonzalez and Nico Lara.

There are far fewer familiar faces coming back on the other side of the ball, with graduation hitting the team hard, particularly in the line backing core.

“That is definitely our biggest question mark. We lost everyone there,” Gano said. “We’re going to have to count on other guys to step up.”

Several of the offensive standouts will be needed top contribute on defense, including Bethley. Gano is also counting on junior defensive end Alex navarro and senior defensive end Tim Garcia.

Among those in the mix for the linebacker jobs are Norman Morales, Chris Perez, Joey Murray and Kris Bland.

DON LUGO SCHEDULE
Aug. 25
– At Warren
Sept. 8 – Monrovia
Sept. 15 – Northview (At Covina District Field)
Sept. 22 – Chino
Sept. 29 – At Troy
Oct. 6 – At Montclair
Oct. 13 – At Colony
Oct. 20 – At Alta Loma
Oct. 27 – Chaffey
Nov. 3- Ontario

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Memorial service scheduled for Damien teacher and sports announcer

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday for Chuck Ballingall, the popular

Chuck Ballingall, longtime voice of Damien sports, died suddenly on Wednesday.

teacher and public address announcer for Damien High School athletic events for the last 36 years..

It will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, appropriately enough, in the school’s athletic center. A reception will follow in the events center. Both are open to the public.

Ballingall passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday after collapsing at the school.

Here is link to story we rank last week.

 

 

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Sean Dollars inherits Rancho Cucamonga position from Jaylon Redd

Sean  Dollars has big shoes to fill and he knows it.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior will step into a leading role this season as a running back for the defending Baseline League champion Rancho Cougamonga Cougars. Just how daunting of a task is that? Well he is replacing Jaylon Redd. And all Redd did was run for 1,693 yards and 25 touchdowns. He led the Cougars to an undefeated regular season, earned All-CIF honors and was named Inland Valley Player of the Year.

Doillars is pretty good too. He ran for 443 on 44 carries (11.2 avg.) in relief of Redd, mostly when the game was out of hand and coach Nick Baiz was just trying to run out the clock.

Rancho is one of those programs that prides itself on having players step up when given the chance and Dollars will be evidence of that.

He was used in relief last year as a sophomore and yet he already has eight major college offers – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, Utah, Washington, Colorado. Nebraska and TCU.

Dollars admits Oregon has always been his “dream” school but that doesn’t mean that school is a slam dunk at landing him. Ironically, Redd is at Oregon now, along with former Rancho teammate Thomas Graham.

Rivals has Dollars ranked fifth at his position, 43rd nationally and fourth in the state for players in his class.

With a good season in a high-profile role who knows how many more will come.

“He was a great player but I am my own player,” said Dollars, who will wear Redd’s No. 5.  “I know I have big shoes to fill but I am ready for the challenge. I watched him a lot and I have watched a lot of film. I am looking forward for my chance to shine.”

Baiz is confident Dollars will be an impact player as well.

“People saw enough of him last year to know what he is capable of,” Baiz said. “I think he learned a lot by watching Jaylon last year and he will be that guy for us this year.”

Is Dollars actually faster than Redd? Baiz won’t go that far.

“Jaylon was faster than most cars in the parking lot,” he laughed.

 

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Chaffey football team looking to return to successful formula

Tigers mascot photo.

Chaffey used to be known for its running game, made possible by a strong offensive line.

Last year the Tigers (4-6 overall, 2-3 in league in 2016) were a little young and the inexperience showed. But veteran coach Chris Brown thinks this team is capable of having the success on the ground it has in the past.

“I think we’re going to be able to run the ball,” Brown said. “We were young up front last year but all those guys are back and they’re a year older and they worked at it during the off-season. I really like this team.”

Most of the other offensive starters are back too. That group of returning players is led by senior running back Nick Silva who ran for a team-high 838 yards in nine games a year ago. The backfield will also include junior David Ciminiski (234 yards, 46 carries) and senior Micah Gildenrew (219 yards, 45 carries).

Senior speedster Jalen Vivian should see the ball as well.

That unit up front is led by senior Josue Lepes Sanchez, who will also be counted on defensively, as well as senior Gabriel Fuentez. The Tigers are also set at tight end with both George Wusstig and Malaki Tovi factoring in.

Junior Tyler Freeman is set to start at quarterback.

On defense many of those same players will be relied upon. Brown is a little concerned with his secondary, only because many of those playing there will also play full-time on offense.

The other trouble spot will be the kicking game because Brown said right now he literally does not have a kicker.

The team will be bolstered by the addition of senior strong safety0linebacker Kurt Imbach, who older brother Devin was a standout at Colony several years ago.

“He is really gong to help us,” Brown said. “He can play.”

The Tigers are dropping from Division 8 to Division 9. Brown singles out Colony and Don Lugo as the frontrunners in the Mt. Baldy League but thinks his team could factor into that third spot and possibly get into the playoffs.

CHAFFEY SCHEDULE

Aug. 25 – Grand Terrace
Sept. 1 – At Jurupa Hills
Sept. 8 – Patriot (at Rubidoux)
Sept. 15 – Colton
Sept. 29 – Barstow
Oct. 6 – Colony
Oct. 13 – Alta Loma
Oct. 20 – At Ontario
Oct. 27 – At Don Lugo
Nov. 3- Montclair

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Chino Hills football team looking to rebuild after major departures

Chino Hills' Bradley Davis (27), right, gets by the diving tackle attempt of Norco's Michael Porter (6), left, during Friday night's game at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, CA Friday, September 30, 2016. (Photo by Mark Dustin for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Wide receiver Bradley Davis is one of just two returning starters on offense for the Huskies.

The Chino Hills football team is used to challenging for a Baseline League title. This year that goal might be a little difficult.

Not only are Rancho Cucamonga and Upland loaded as usual but the Huskies (6-5, 3-2) graduated the majority of their starters on both sides of the ball. So it will be up to a completely new cast of players.

“The good thing about that is we have a lot of seniors that are really hungry for a chance to play because they sat behind some very good players,.” Coach Chris Stevens says. “They’re going to have their chance now.”

Among those departing are the athletes that made up the offensive and defensive lines that have been the foundation for success the last three years.

Huskies mascot photo.

On offense the only returning starters are junior running back Water Carl III and senior wide receiver Bradley Davis. Carl rushed for  1,391 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a sophomore, earning Inland Valley Newcomer of the Year accolades.

Davis caught 25 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns.

Stevens had hoped to have senior running back Sean O’Donnell back in the fold but a knee injury he sustained the first game of last season has yet to heal completely and his status is till up in the air.

There are two newcomers fighting for the quarterback spot -senior  James Linn, a transfer from Ayala, and junior Braydon Fawcett, a transfer from JW North.

Among those looking for time at wide receiver are seniors Anthony Cole and Curtis Smith and  junior Gio Isles.

Returning starters on defense are linebackers Frankie Flores, Mickey Rosales and Justin Barcenas – all seniors.

Other key contributors will be senior inside linebacker Jake Michael and senior nose guard Matt Fonomoiana.

“We’re definitely the underdog this year and that;’s OK,” Stevens said. “We have a lot of players that are unproven so far but we think we can surprise some people.”

CHINO HILLS SCHEDULE
Aug. 25 – Ayala
Sept 1 – Diamond Ranch
Sept. 8 – At Newport Harbor
Sept. 15 – At Elsinore
Sept. 29 – At Norco
Oct. 6 – At Damien
Oct. 13- Etiwanda
Oct. 20 – At Upland
Oct. 27 – Los Osos
Nov. 3- at Rancho Cucamona

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REV’s Daniela Popa makes commitment to Cal State Northridge

Cajon's Deja McBath and Jada Johnson fight for a loose ball with Redlands East Valley's Daniela Popa, during the second half of Tuesday's Citrus Belt League girls basketball game at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, Ca., February 7, 2017. (Photo by John Valenzuela/SCNG)

Redlands East Valley basketball standout Daniela Popa (right) has committed to NCAA Division I Cal State Northridge.

The 6-foot-2 center averaged 13 points, 10.5 rebounds and three steals last year as a junior for the Wildcats (17-10, 11-3) who placed third in the Citrus Belt League.

She was a first-team All-Citrus Belt League selection. Popa recorded double digits in points 18 times with a high of 25 coming against West Valley. She hit double digits in rebounds 17 times with a best of 18 coming against Carter.

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Jurupa Hills looking to take San Andreas Crown from San G

 

Jurupa Hills' William Brock carries the ball against Arroyo Valley defense at Jurupa Hills High School in Fontana, CA., Thursday, October 6, 2016. (Staff photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

For three years Jurupa Hills has finished second in the San Andreas League to San Gorgonio. Even though it has a new coach, Jurupa Hills leader Citos Marinez says San G remains the favorite.

“Until someone knocks them off they are the team to beat,” Marinez said. “They have a great program and  they will be tough again. They may have a new coach but they still have great athletes.”

Jurupa HIlls is coming off a 6-5 showing in 2016 that included a 4-1 in league play. It lost a first round Division 11 playoff game to Twentynine Palms 19-14.

Marinez expects his team to score some points but it will boast a lot of inexperienced players on defense. So how the newcomers there progress should be the key to unseating San Gorgonio, which Jurupa Hills faces in the very first league game.

Because there is some inexperience on defense Martinez will use some of his key offensive players on the other side of the ball. Among those will be junior wide receiver Dedrick Taylor-Akins who had 49 catches for 808 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. He’ll see time at corner as well.

Then there is Sir King Cody Atkins who will see time at strong safety and receiver.

You’re also one step ahead of the game when you have a quarterback returning and that is the case as Zane Scarbrough returns after throwing for 1,380 yards 10 touchdowns starting last year as a sophomore.

The running game will be ignited by senior William Brock, an all-league performer the last two years. Paving the way for him will be senior linemen Nicolas Talbert and Nick Guadalquivir, both of whom will be counted on defensively as well.

Among others who will be counted on defensively will be senior defensive end John Rodriguez, sophomore linebacker Miguel Rodriguez.

The Spartans also got a key transfer from Bloomington in senior Larenz Lawson who will see time at safety and slot receiver.

JURUPA HILLS SCHEDULE
Aug, 25 – Hillcrest
Sept. 1 – Chaffey
Sept. 8 – At Citrus Valley
Sept. 15 – At Moreno Valley
Sept. 22 – Hemet
Oct. 5 – At San Gorgonio
Oct. 12 – At Arroyo Valley
Oct. 20 – Indian Springs
Oct. 27 – At Rialto
Nov. 3 – Rim of the World

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