Rancho Cucamonga football appears loaded for another run

Tayari Venable, left, Thomas Graham, Jaylon Redd and Darren Hall at Rancho Cucamonga High School in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Wednesday, August 3, 2016. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

You don’t necessarily have to win a league title to make a run deep into the playoffs. The Rancho Cucamonga Cougars are proof of that. They were only third in the Baseline last year but marched to the West Valley semifinal before losing a 5, yes 5, overtime game to Vista Murrieta.

Rancho looms as the Baseline League favorite this year though, returning a large group of players who were part of that playoff run.

“I like what we have,” Rancho coach Nick Baiz said. “We have some holes to fill, just like everybody else but we could be pretty good.”

Most of the voids though are at the skill positions. Junior Nick Acosta steps in as quarterback,. replacing Angel Matute who had held down that spot for three years. Leading rusher Aaron Manning is gone too. Senior Jaylon Redd, known more for his exploits on defense, will see time in Manning’s spot.

Other key players on offense will include senior center Brandon Watson, senior guard Jordyn Hill and senior wide receivers David Farmer and Tyree Baker.

Newcomers who should factor in up front are junior tackle Isaiah Alejo and senior guard Nick Parson Santiago, both up from the junior varsity.

Senior defensive Thomas Graham, like Redd, will, see time on offense at wide receiver.

It is on the other side of the ball where the Cougars  return a scary amount of talent. The secondary of Redd, Graham, Tayari Venable and Darren Hall has combined to land 60 or so Division I offers.

Baiz is also high on Farmer and Aaron Lewis  who also star in the secondary. Other key defenders are senior ends Jonah Latu and Donnel Harris, tackles Lavaka Latu and Jonathan Meza and senior lineman-linebacker Dylan Beridon.

The Cougars enter the new season with the target on their back. But Baiz says his squad is up for the challenge. The Cougars will play at Temecula Chaparral tonight. They’ll return home next week against Norco to mark the first game in their new on-campus facility.

“We have a lot of seniors and I think they like the challenge,” Baiz said of being the team with the target. “I think they’ll go out and want to prove their the team to beat.”

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Upland football team looks to challenge with young cast

Upland Football

The Upland football team fared well last year in what was largely considered a rebuilding season. They were second in the Baseline to Chino Hills and made it to the CIF quarterfinal before losing a heart-breaker to Vista Murrieta.

The Highlanders (8-4 in 2015) are rebuilding again, not because of players who graduated but because of players who transferred. Coach Tim Salter saw 10 or so athletes, most of them starters, jump to other schools. But he isn’t dwelling on what he lost, he’s focused instead on those that remain.

“I’m sure all those kids had their reasons,” he said. “We have good kids here that want to play Upland football and they have worked hard. We have some kids with great potential, they’re just young.”

Sophomore quarterback David Baldwin will lead the charge. He took the reigns of the team midway through the Baseline League game against Chino Hills and never looked back. His stock continued to rise over the summer.

Other weapons in the offensive arsenal include senior running back Artis Seymore and junior running back Kyle Jones. Baldwin will also have some solid receivers in Gary Theard, Bryce Parker and Tyler Sweet, with Sweet a transfer from Bishop Amat.

“Those kids are all good. They just have not had the chance yet because of the players who were in front of them. I really like our potential.”

The effort up front will be led by senior tackle Hugo Esqueda and senior guard Kris Montano.

Top players on the other side of the ball include junior linebackers Leonard Leau, Corey Thomas and Nick Zamora, junior lineman Fou Hoching and junior free safety Malik Goss.

Salter is also looking forward to the return of senior Montez Evans, who was out injured last season.

The new version of the Highlanders takes the field at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday against Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) at Norco High School in the Brother in Arms Classic.

The young Highlanders will need to mature in a hurry though. The Baseline League is tough enough but Upland’s non-league schedule also includes perennial title contenders in Mater Dei and Redlands East Valley as well as much-improved Claremont.

“We play a lot of tough teams,” Salter said. “We’re going to find out how good we’re going to be right away. There really isn;t an easy team on our schedule.”



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Ontario football team to open new stadium against local foe

Hundreds of students, faculty and community members attend the much-anticipated dedication ceremony Tuesday for the new football stadium at Ontario High School. The facility is expected to be completed next month.

Dedication festivities for Ontario’s new football stadium were held in the spring. Now the Jaguars get to play in it!

Ontario High School will finally get to play a varsity game on its own campus this Friday night and it should be a real shot in the arm for a program that has struggled in recent years although last year’s .500 record was a step in the right direction.

The opponent will be Ontario Christian, a school only a block away. Both schools are looking forward to the contest.  Matt Hoekstra is starting his second year as coach at Ontario Christian while John Kusleika is in his third at Ontario.

The teams have scrimmaged the previous two years and this year Ontario spent much of the spring walking over to Ontario Christian to practice because work was being finished up on its stadium.

“Matt was very helpful to us when we needed a place to practice,” Kusleika said. “It should be a fun game. It can be a fun, friendly rivalry. They’re a small school but they’re always pretty good.”

Hoekstra is looking to rely on his running game with a solid trio of Zac Cupp, Blake Biby and Travis Struiksma the contributors. Other key players are senior wide receiver Ian Ulloa and junior quarterback Kevin Jack, who missed much of last season with an injury.

On defense Hoekstra singles out senior outside linebacker Clayton Dahl and senior defensive back Giovanni Debonis.

There has been a battle for the quarterback spot at Ontario with Aaron Delgado and Luis Rivera the candidates. Kusleika said he’ll likely use both and see what materializes. The Jaguars also have a solid running back in junior Antoine Paul, who saw a lot of playing time late last season.

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Ayala to start freshman quarterback in Battle of the Bone

The Ayala football team hasn’t beaten crosstown rival Chino Hills since 2009 and last year it was ugly – 31-0. The Huskies lead the young series 9-3.

There are new coaches on each side with Chris Stevens now heading Chino Hills and A.J. Gracia in charge at Ayala.

The quarterbacks will be a compelling storyline as Chino Hills will start Austin Zavala, a transfer from Ayala.

Meanwhile Ayala will be starting a freshman – Cole McCain, son of assistant coach Matt McCain. Gracia said it was a tough battle with McCain pushed by junior James Linn but in the end he went with the youngster.

“It was a battle all the way and they competed for it,” Gracia said.  “Cole just kind of separated himself in the end.”

Linn is still going to be a factor though, starting at safety.

Here’s a rundown of the scores in the series:

2015 – Chino Hills 31, Ayala 0
2014 – Did not play
2013 – Chino Hills 52, Ayala 28
2012 – Chino Hills 49, Ayala 34
2011 – Chino Hills 40, Ayala 17
2010 – Chino Hills 36, Ayala 8
2009 – Chino Hills 14, Ayala 7
2008 – Ayala 18, Chino Hills 17
2007 – Ayala 19, Chino Hills 10
2006 – Chino Hills 42, Ayala 21
2005 – Chino Hills 20, Ayala 7
2004 – Chino Hills 21, Ayala 16
2003 – Ayala 21, Chino Hills 17

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Chino Hills football looks to defend Baseline League title

Grant Trueman (No. 55) of Chino Hills makes a tackle in 24-14 win over Upland. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Grant Trueman makes a tackle against Upland in game last year.

Last year the Chino Hills football did something few have been able to do of late – wrestle the Baseline League title away from Upland. And the Huskies ran the table in league play which is always quite an accomplishment.

The Huskies, who finished 10-3 and advanced to the West Valley Division semifinal, will have their work cut out for them if they are to repeat however.

Gone are most of the skill position players that were integral in that run. Coach Matt Bechtel is gone too, having taken the job at South Hills in December.

The new man in charge is veteran Chris Stevens, who has a solid resume in the Inland Valley but most recently coached at Monrovia. Yes there is pressure to keep the ball rolling.

“I know what they have done here and what is expected,” Stevens said. “There is a level of excellence to maintain and we’re going to work hard to do that.”

While the Huskies had massive turnover at the skill positions there are a lot of veterans returning on both fronts which is always a good place to start when you’re rebuilding.

Returning offensive linemen are R.J. Stripling, Austin Villegas and Connor Garcelli with Stripling a first team All-Inland Valley and All-CIF selection.

On the other side of the ball the returning group is led by senior defensive linemen Grant Trueman, will also see time at tight end and does the kicking, and Oscar Burgueno. Other key veterans are linebacker Dylan Tucker and senior safety Max Masad.

Stevens also expects special teams to be a strong suit.

“Those are the things we’re going to rely on, especially early,” he said. “That’s where our experience is.”

Austin Zavala, a transfer from Ayala, will step into the starting quarterback role. The Huskies are thin at that position as starter Caleb Arreola graduated and his backup, Brett Borgogno, decided not to come out for football after suffering an injury last season and wanting to focus on baseball.

Randy Rivera, who got playing time last year when the Arreola and Borgogno were hurt, transferred to Roosevelt.

“I am most concerned about our quarterback position. Not because Austin can’t do the job. He has picked up the offense pretty well. It is just that we really don’t have anyone else ready to come in if something happens to him.”

Among those looking to shoulder more of the load this season will be senior wide receivers Noah Rigney and Tylin Charles.

Sophomore Walter Carl and junior Sean O’Donnell, brother of the graduated Grady O’Donnell, will be the main ball carriers.

The season gets underway on Friday with the Huskies hosting cross-town rival Ayala in the “Battle of the Bone.” Chino Hills holds a 9-3 edge in the series which includes a decisive 31-0 win last year.

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Here’s schedule for first week of prep football

Summit’s Stephen Carr (7) fis brought down by Etiwanda’s Kamari Pleasant (5) during the first quarter Friday night. Summit squares off in the “Battle for the 15” against Etiwanda Friday night September 4, 2015 at AB Miller High School in Fontana. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

All games 7 p.m. unless otherwise indicated
Adelanto at Lakeside
Apple Valley at Silverado
Arrowhead Christian Academy at Rancho Christian
Arroyo Valley at Fontana
Ayala at Chino Hills
Barstow at Citrus Hill
Calvary Murrieta at Western Christian
Carter at Los Osos
Chaffey at Grand Terrace
Chino at Damien
Diamond Bar at Alta Loma
Eisenhower at Tahquitz
Elsinore at Hesperia
Garey at Nogales
Glendora at Kaiser
Granite Hills vs. Twentynine Palms at Twentynine Palms Junior High
Jurupa Hills vs. Hillcrest at Norte Vista HS
Jurupa Valley at Pacific
La Sierra at San Bernardino
Maranatha at Rim of the World
Mark Keppel at Ganesha
Norte Vista at Claremont
Oak Hills at Pomona
Ontario Christian at Ontario
Palm Springs at Redlands
Paraclete at Serrano
Ramona at Indian Springs
Rancho Cucamonga at Chaparral
Roosevelt at Cajon
San Dimas at Bonita
San Gabriel at Montclair
San Gorgonio at Citrus Valley
Sultana at Quartz Hill
Summit at Etiwanda
Warren at Don Lugo
West Covina at Colony

Aquinas vs. Big Bear, 1:30 p.m.  at Big Bear Middle School
Upland vs. Mountain Pointe (Ariz), 4:30 p.m. at Norco HS

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The preseason CIF football polls are out as kickoff draws near

Here are the CIF preseason football polls for all divisions:

Division 1 – 1. Corona Centennial; 2. Mater Dei; 3. St. John Bosco; 4. Mission Viejo; 5. Long Beach Poly; 6. Vista Murrieta; 7. Chaminade; 8. Bishop Amat; 9. Serra; 10. JSerra.

Division 2 – 1. Oaks Christian; 2. Norco; 3. Murrieta Valley; 4. San Clemente; 5. La Harba; 6. St. Bonaventure; 7. Redlands East Valley; 8. Citrus Hill; 9. Westlake; 10. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Division 3 – 1. La Mirada; 2. Villa Park; 3. Edison; 4. Cathedral; 5. Rancho Verde; 6. San Juan Hills; 7. Newbury Park; 8. Buena Park; 9. Palos Verdes; 10. Oak Hills.

Division 4 – 1. Corona del Mar; 2. Charter Oak; 3. Sierra Canyon; 4. Dominguez; 5. Colony; 6. Redondo Union; 7. Lompoc; 8. Placentia Valencia; 9. Lakewood; 10. Temecla Chaparral.

Division 5 – 1. Calabasas; 2. Bishop Diego; 3. Salesian; 4. Redlands; 5. Corona; 6, Paloma Valley; 7. Moorpark; 8. San Jacinto; 9. Santa Maria St. Joseph; 10. Ventura.

Division 6 – 1. San Marino; 2. Summit; 3. Mira Costa; 4. Palmdale; 5. West Torrance; 6 Lawndale; 7. Long Beach Wilson; 8. Yucaipa; 9. Los Altos; 10. Paraclete.

Division 7 – 1. Linfield Christian; 2. Warren; 3. Oxnard Pacfica; 4. South Hills; 5. St. Margaret’s; 6. Long Beach Cabrillo; 7. El Segundo; 8. St. Paul; 9. San Gorgonio; 10. Tustin.

Division 8 – 1. El Modena; 2. Chino; 3. Grace Brethren; 4. Laguna Hills; 5. Burbank; 6. Burbank Burroughs; 7. Moreno Valley; 8. Brea Olinda; 9. Rio Mesa; 10. San Dimas.

Division 9 – 1. Antelope Valley; 2. Ridgecrest Burroughs; 3. Riverside Notre Dame; 4. Palm Desert; 5. La Salle; 6. Mayfair; 7. Eastside; 8. Diamond Bar; 9. Muir; 10. Cerritos Valley Christian.

Division 10 – 1. Brethren Christian; 2. Dos Pueblos; 3. Aquinas; 4. Alta Loma; 5. Mission Prep; 6. Rubidoux; 7. Grand Terrace; 8. Santa Ynez; 9. Leuzinger; 10., tie, Apple Valley, JW North.

Division 11 – 1. Valley View; 2. Ontario Christian; 3. Culver City; 4. Ramona; 5. Crean Lutheran; 6. Oak Park; 7. Twentynine Palms; 8. Capistrano Valley; 9. Coachella Valley; 10. Bishop Montgomery.

Division 12 – 1. Banning; 2. Calvary Murrieta; 3. Segerstrom; 4. Rancho Mirage; 5. Rim of the World; 6. Santa Paula; 7. Banning;; 8. Arroyo; 9. Arroyo; 10. Saddleback; 10. Ontario.

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Joseph Tesimale to start at quarterback for Colony football team

Colony sophomore quarterback Joseph Tesimale has a tough act to follow. Josh Thompson did an admirable job holding down that spot the last three years, leading the team to a CIF title in 2014 as a junior.

But now the job goes to Tesimale, who directed the freshman team last year.

Head coach Steve Randall compares Tesimale favorably to his predecessor even when spring practice was still in the early stages. Nothing has happened to change his mind. In fact, Randall was even more pleased with his new quarterback after his scrimmage performance against Etiwanda.

“He had good command of the offense,” Randall said of Tesimale, the younger brother of linebacker Daniel Tesimale who was part of that 2014 team. “He did a great job of checking off from the run to the pass and made good decisions, all things you want to see of a guy stepping into that position.”

Randall says Tesimale has the same attributes as Thompson, who also took the starting reigns as a sophomore but adds his new quarterback has the potential to be even better, Randall said he is a bit better athlete than Thompson and is more vocal than Thompson, who was quiet by nature.

As for other standouts, Randall singled out junior Michael Ezeike, a wide receiver who will also see some time at defensive end.

Among the others to impress are senior wide receiver Ryan Moya-Chapron and senior running back Nathan Tilford, a transfer from Upland who will also line up at defensive end.

The Titans (8-4 in 2015) open the season on Friday at home against West Covina, whom they defeated 28-21 in last year’s season opener.

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Bishop Amat transfer Tyler Sweet eligible at Upland

Bishop Amat's Tyler Sweet (14), seen rushing in a game against Oaks Christian last season, has transferred to Upland High. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Tyler Sweet looks for running room in a game last season against Oaks Christian.

Much has been made of the eight or so players Upland lost via transfer. Well the Highlanders got one too as senior wide receiver Tyler Sweet came in from football power Bishop Amat and is expected to be an impact player right away.

Athletic director John McNally said the newcomer was ruled eligible by CIF today on the “change of residence” so he will be eligible for the Highlanders opener on Saturday against Phoenix Mountain Prep.

Sweet played in eight games for the Lancers last season and registered 14 catches for 254 yards.

He is expected to pick up some of the slack left by the departure of sophomore Darren Jones who transferred from Upland to Cajon although Upland coach Tim Salter said it is one position where he has a lot of depth and add that Sweet has worked right into the fold.

“These kids all know each other from passing leagues and all their other off-season activities,” he said. “He has fit right in.”


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Top Upland Christian volleyball player transfer to Rancho Cucamonga

The Rancho Cucamonga volleyball team didn’t need a whole lot of help. Sure the Cougars graduated two-time Player of the Year Kylie Miller. But coach Aaron Flores had 15 other players returning including All-Inland Valley selections Bria Beale and Karson Bacon.

But the Cougars got help nonetheless as junior Brooke Madkin has transferred from Upland Christian.

Madkin recorded 203 kills, 163 digs, 427 assists and 58 aces in helping Upland Christian to a CIF Southern Section Division 5AA title as well as a runner-up showing in the state portion of the playoffs.

Flores said the move had more to do with academics than athletics. Madkin is a good student and was looking to take some advanced placement courses that Upland Christian doesn’t offer. Many of her credits also won’t transfer to a four-year college.

Madkin, the niece of the Upland Christian coach Micah Langston, was the CIF Player of the Year in that division.

Flores acknowledges the different in the level of play between that division and Division I in which the Cougars play. Madkin did some hitting and setting at Upland Christian but will be used as a rightside hitter by Flores.

“She did play with us over the summer because we were missing some players and she did very well,” he said. “But we have a lot of very good players. She is in the mix though.”

Among the other returning players are senior outside hitter Sydney Culpepper, senior setter Mary Bagshaw, junior libero Brooklyn Hill and sophomore outside hitter Allison Casillas.

Flores added that he is waiting for official word on the transfer but expects Madkin to have to serve the sit-out period which wouldn’t make her eligible to play until October.

Rancho opens the season Tuesday at Flintridge Sacred Heart, then travels to Claremont the next day.

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