Ontario football team cautiously optimistic after 2-0 start

VIDEO: Ontario coach John Kusleika talks about his team’s win.

The Ontario football team improved to 2-0 with a 42-0 win over Bloomington on Thursday. That comes on the heels of a season-opening win over Garey a week ago.

Coach John Kusleika wants his team to be confident and enjoy that success since there had been little of that in the football program recently. But at the same time he doesn’t want his team to get too excited because those two wins have come against teams that could both go winless this season.

So yes he is keeping things in perspective.

“We have talked about taking the same approach win, lose or draw,” he said. “No matter what happens you have to put that aside and move on to the next week.”

Ontario went 2-8 last year so they’re already ahead of where they were last year.
Kusleika says staffing has been a big help. Last year he had just eight coaches to handle all three levels and this year he has 13 – nine for the varsity.

He also credits Joe Szczepanski, previous the head coach at Alta Loma, for being a major help.

“All of our guys are getting coached at every position,” he said. “It has made a big difference.”

Senior Cameron Poe has been the catalyst of the offense. The head coach also singled out the play of senior safety Demetrius Jones, junior running back-defensive back Sheldon Osborne, senior offensive lineman Daniel Estrada and senior center Jorge Navarro.

Next up for the Jaguars will be Nogales. Kusleika and Szczepanski are planning to watch that team’s game against Mountain View tonight in person.

VIDEO: Cameron Poe talks about win over Bloomington.

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Picking the Week 2 prep football games . . .

Well I went 4-0 picking last night’s games which brings me to 20-6 on the season. There are a lot of tough games to call this week so I might take a hit or two in Week 1.

Colony 21, Alemany 14 – Tough call here in a game on neutral ground. Titans CIF champs so i’ll go with them.

Burbank 24, Ayala 14 – Burbank Monrovia, which is always a pretty good team. Burbank also beat Ayala last year and the Bulldogs didn’t look good last week.

Chino 21, Baldwin Park 17 – Chino didn’t play last week and it has a new coach running a new system so this is a complete guess. Baldwin Park lost to Los Altos last week.

Monrovia 28, Bonita 20 – Monrovia is always pretty good. I’m going with them but a win by Bonita wouldn’t surprise me.

Claremont 34, West Valley 10 – West Valley was just 1-9 last year so this one was easy.

Diamond Bar 37, Walnut 14 – Brahmas have the “Branding Iron.” They’ll keep it.

Summit 17, Etiwanda 14 – I was really disappointed with Etiwanda last week. This is huge for them. But I’ll go with Stephen Carr & Company.

Montclair 24, Garey 7 – Garey coach Al Brown is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Hard to see his team struggling.

Ganesha 24, Gladstone 14 – The Giants might really have something this year.

Glendora 28, Alta Loma 14 – The Tartans had their way with the Braves when both were in the Baseline so . . . .

Heritage 28, Los Osos 10 – Heritage is always pretty tough and the Grizzlies are looking for some consistency and execution on offense. Los Osos is playing a tough non-league schedule, props for that.

JSerra 21, Chino Hills 20 – The Huskies are playing a quality for an d can’t afford to have receivers dropping the ball all over the place this week.

Moreno Valley 17, Jurupa Hills 10 – MoValley won a close game between the two last year. This is a toss-up and could go either way.

San Dimas 24, Maranatha 21 – Going with the Saints at home in the first game of theMark Holman era.

Ontario Christian at Calvary Murrieta – Both teams coming off a win. Ontario Christian beat a better opponent so I go with them.

Don Lugo 21, Pomona 18 – One team impressive against a much lesser for the other lost to a quality team. Oh which way to go. Will go with Lugo because Pomona has a lot of new players they’re working in and they don’t seem to be in rhythm yet.

Rancho Cucamonga at Norco – This will be a huge battle. If you’re going to another game, tape it. It will be worth it. Rancho is my No. 1 team so I have to go with them but they will have their hands full.

Carter 45, Rialto 7 – The Lions can name the score. There is a reason Rialto won’t play them any more after this year.

Damien 27, Roosevelt 10 – It’s the opener for the Spartans. I’ll go with Dylan Thigpen and his crew.

Rosemead 21, Diamond Ranch 7 – Rosemead is coming off a solid season and the Panthers offense is tsruggling, so . ..

San Gorgonio at Kaiser

Webb 34, Western Christian 14 – Webb might be on to something this season although tougher tests are ahead.

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VIDEO: Ontario asst. coach Joe Szczepanski reunited with son Justin

It was a surprise and Ontario assistant coach Joe Szczepanski was told just to go to midfield before the game vs. Bloomington. He soon found out his son Justin, a 2013 Alta Loma HS grad had returned home from a stint in the Army in Korea, surprising his father. He hadn’t been home since Christmas and will be back for two weeks.

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Chaffey’s Mikey Dean makes a statement

Mikey Dean is a man on a mission and he made it clear with back-to-back statement games in the first two weeks of the Chaffey High’s football season.


Dean finished Thursday’s game against Riverside Patriot with four touchdowns and over 200 rushing yards in three quarters of play.

“Our coach doesn’t like running up the score,” Dean said. “So I didn’t play the fourth quarter.”

But the running back will be the first to tell you that his early success is not just his own doing.

“Shout out to my linemen because they were moving the pile and battling hard up front to create holes. Then our blocking backs did a great job getting through to their secondary and creating lanes,” he explained. “I stayed behind them and let my speed carry me to the end zone.”

The Tigers’ rusher has goals for the upcoming season, which includes the milestone of over 2,000 rushing yards before the season concludes.

On Thursday, Dean also contributed to the offense with a passing touchdown during the team’s 34-10 win.

His performance is six days removed from the 35-6 victory against Lakeside, in which Dean had 384 total yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.

A third victory is in sight for Dean, who leads all nominees in the inaugural SoCal Prep Legend’s boy player of the week poll. The results will be announced Friday.

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Upland coach Tim Salter recognized for 200th win

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The Upland High School football team had no trouble disposing of visiting Venice 63-7 tonight.

Before the game veteran coach Tim Salter was honored in pre-game festivities. He notched his 200th career win last week when the Highlanders were victorious at Palmdale Knight 49-6.

He was presented a plaque and commemorative picture.

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Predictions for Thursday night prep football games

Well here are my guesses for Thursday night games. I went 16-6 last week.

Biggest hit was the Colony win over West Covina. It was 28-21 and I guesses 27-21.

Yep there were some big misses. I really whiffed on Diamond Bar and Alta Loma wins. Maybe those teams are headed for good things this year.

Onward . . .

Chaffey 24, Riverside Patriot. 14 – I’m not picking against Mikey Dean, at least hot this week.

Upland 34, Venice 14 – Hard to pick games involving teams from completely out of the area. But I’ll stick with the home team.

Ontario 14, Bloomington 7 – Two teams trying to turn things around. I’ll give John Kusleika’s squad the nod. May not always have the talent but he’ll never get out coached.

Newport Harbor 41, Eisenhower 7 – The Eagles are struggling. we’ll leave it at that.

Friday predictions tomorrow.

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Follow tonight’s prep football action here

Can’t make it to a prep football game tonight. Well we have you covered. Click this link to follow all the action around Southern California.

Here are the games we’ll be following.

Chaffey (1-0) vs. Riverside Patriot (0-0), at Rubidoux HS, 7 p.m.: The Tigers are led by senior RB Michael Dean who rushed for 320 yards and four touchdowns last week in a win over Lakeside. This will be the opener for Patriot which is coming off a 6-5 season with a first round playoff loss to Vista del Lago. Top players are QB John Holder, RB Miguel Alvarez and WR Samuel Cortez — all seniors.

Venice (1-0) at Upland (1-0), 7 p.m.: The Highlanders cruised past Palmdale Knight 49-6 in their opener. Junior standout Nathan Tilford saw minimal playing time in that game after injuring his back. Darreyon Jones rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in his absence. Venice was a 28-21 winner over Granada Hills in its opener. Key players are QB Alex De La Cruz, OL Enrique Luna and WR-DB Pierce McLurkin.

Bloomington (0-0) vs. Ontario (1-0) at Montclair HS, 7 p.m.: Like last year, Ontario opened the season with a win against Garey, then faced Bloomington, playing its first game. Bloomington won last year’s game 28-7 for the team’s only win. It’s different this year as Ontario coach John Kusleika is in his second season, while Bloomington coach Brian Kidd is in his first. Kidd, who plans on passing more this year, has only one starter player back at the same position they played last year, so limiting mistakes will be key. The Bruins will be focusing on slowing Ontario QB Cameron Poe, who ran for 190 yards and three touchdowns last week.

Eisenhower (0-1) at Newport Beach Newport Harbor (0-0), 7 p.m.: It was a rough start to the season for Eisenhower, which was routed by 52-14 by a Sultana team that went 2-8 last year. Coach Mike Clark had only seven players in that game who had ever played a varsity down before and only one who had started. Clark said he wasn’t pleased with the way “it got away” from them last week and the fatigue. They were hurt by injuries. LB/P Edgar Inchaurregui tore his ACL in pregame warm-ups and is lost for the season. WR/DB Lomario Howard missed the game with a groin strain, but Clark hopes to have him back this week.

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Colony set for Honor Bowl game against Alemany

The Colony football team plays its second in the long line of tough non-league foes at 5 p.m. on Friday when it faces Alemany in one of the game in the so-called Honor Bowl at Oceanside High School.

The game will be televised live by Time Warner Sports Net.

Coach Steve Randall is excited about the opportunity to play in the event which is held in Conjunction with the Wounded Warriors Project.

The team will leave at 8:30 a.m. The day will also include a stop at Camp Pendleton to visit some of the “Wounded Warriors.”

“It’s important for these kids to have this experience and see about something outside of football,” he said. “These are men that have overcome tougher obstacles than most of us have faced.”

Both teams were impressive in their openers last week. The Titans got the usual stellar showing at quarterback from Josh Thompson and a solid effort on the ground from Jiaiare Wade. Sophomore defensive tackle  Matt Lawson was the standout on defense.

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Diamond Bar, Walnut prepping for rivalry game

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This is only the second year for Diamond Bar football coach Marcus Hughes. But he gets this rivalry thing.

The Brahmas will square off against Walnut on Friday night in the annual “Branding Iron” rivalry game and Diamond bar has won the last four.

“When you have it, you don’t want to be the team and coach that loses it,” he said. “It’s a very fun, friendly rivalry and it’s a game the community looks forward to every season.”

The Brahmas started the season with an impressive 44-13 win over Duarte.

Hughes singled out the performance of senior RB Dimaggio Rico who ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries. He also singled out the showing of QB Grant Mestas. The Brahmas had the game in hand so he didn’t have to throw much but he did a good job of managing the game.

Defensively the coach praised sophomore LB Ryan Vargas and junior CB Davion Bluitt.

The Brahmas also won the field possession battle thanks to the effort of kicker Anthony Vargas.

Walnut is having to regroup after losing its opener to Don Lugo 31-0.

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