Colony football wins without high profile college prospects

Last year the Colony Titans cruised to a CIF Southern Section Central Division championship. One would think that meant coach Steve Randall sent a lot of players on to Division I schools. Not so.

Colony (12-2), which won its last nine games of the season, didn’t have a single player that continued on to a high-profile school. Was it because they didn’t make the grade academically? Not at all.

They just had a lot of seniors that didn’t pass the old “eye test.” They were players that didn’t measure up to the physical stature the bigger schools are looking for.

That doesn’t mean Colony hasn’t sent players to major colleges. Samajie Grant has emerged as a key player at Arizona.

But the Titans have made their living off having blue-collar players that buy into their role and worked well into the framework of the team concept.  Does it make the coach’s job more rewarding? Absolutely!

“It does kind of tell us that what we’re doing is working,” Randall said. “A lot of the teams we beat last year have those marquee players. So we’re doing something right.”

Randall passes much of the credit on to his senior quarterback Josh Thompson, who is quiet by nature, but leads by example. He’s one of those guys that fits into the “not passing the eye test” category.

He has thrown for 4,465 yards and 37 touchdowns with just nine interceptions in the last two years. Those numbers should garner a little bit of a look. But he’s one of those 5-foot-10 guys and that’s a bit small for a quarterback. Schools aren’t looking at the intangibles such as toughness and poise under pressure.

He injured his shoulder the next to last game of the regular season and was thought to be done for the season. He worked hard, came back and got a bit of playing time in the semifinal. Then led his team to the win in the title game.

Most of the interest Thompson has drawn thus far has been from Ivy League schools and he has the grades to get in.

“He has said about four words in three years here,” Randall joked. “But he doesn’t get rattled and our guys feed off that. They feel like he’s in control and they’re in control too. That showed a lot last year in the way he handled his injury.”

As far as other possible major college players, Randall says senior defensive back Khalil Dorsey and linebacker Devon Harper are the most likely candidates. But Dorsey, who was fifth in the state in the 100 hurdles during spring track season, is listed as 5-9, and Harper is just 6-0.

Time will tell. But colleges that aren’t snatching up some of these athletes are missing out.



Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Claremont football starting new era under new coach

Mike Collins was an institution at Claremont, heading the school’s football program for more than two decades. But he resigned during the off-season and the program is now in the hands of Jose Jarin, who had been on the staff the previous three years.

But there will not be a massive overhaul. In fact, most of Collins’ long-time assistants are staying on. Jarin couldn’t be more happy. Among those staying on is Terrance Lynch who will coach running backs and had served as Collins’ right-hand man.

Milo Epling will serve as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator while Ryan Capuzamo will be offensive coordinator. Both were on Collins’ staff for most of his tenure.

“This is like walking into the perfect home,” Jarin said. “The guys have all been great.”

There are plenty of quality players back too, enough that Jarin thinks his team could factor into the Palomares League race.

Among those coming back is junior running back Duy Tran-Sampson, who rushed for 1,525 yards and 14 touchdowns last year as a sophomore.

Among the other key offensiv e players returning are senior fullback Markelle Davis as well as three senior linemen, Conner Tolliver, Anthony Russo and Jonathan Gonzalez.

Claremont has always lived and died with its ground game but there is potential to throw with the arrival of new quarterback Raine Pohaku Paiva, a transfer from Paloma Valley who threw for 1,471 yards last year.

Top targets for the new signal caller will include senior Cameron Gray as well as sophomore newcomer Ben Lynch, son of the Claremont assistant, who caught 28 touchdown passes last year for the freshman team.

Jarin also expects good things from tight end Max Shapiro who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.

“We’re going to add a dimension Claremont football hasn’t had in awhile,” Jarin said. “We’re excited about the potential we have and some of things we think we’ll be able to do.”

Top defenders will include sophomore linebacker Soloman Tuillapupu, who will replaced the graduated James Stephens, senior corner Mato Pacheco, defensive end Kamren Brown, junior end Ricky Sandoval and senior linebacker Damien Cannon.

Jarin also singled out kicker Jacob Olesniewicz, whom he expects to be one of the area’s best.



Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Carter football team looking to make noise in CBL

The Carter High School football team had good season in 2014. But it wasn’t great and great was what it needed to over take Redlands East Valley for Citrus Belt League honors.

The Lions (9-3 overall and 6-1 in CBL play) will try and knock off that juggernaut again this year but coach Alex Pierce knows it will take a monumental effort.

“They’re still the team to beat,” Pierce said. “They graduated a few guys but they still have a lot of talent coming back and they have a great program. So we know that’s always going to be our biggest obstacle.”

Carter returns about half its starters – five on offense and six on defense, so massive reloading isn’t necessary. Pierce did graduate many of his linemen on both sides of the ball, which is key for the Lions because of the style they play.

The Lions have been noted for a physical, punishing ground game. They will still depend on that but Pierce says his team is going to throw the ball a little more than it has in the past. He has a new quarterback in Sonny Robison, a move-in from Nevada. Brett Hernandez, who played there last year, is being move to tight end and linebacker.

The Lions strength will be on defense as they” be led by four Division I prospects, most notably senior linebacker Lokeni Toailoa who has committed to UCLA.

Brother Leni Toailoa is among the other marquee defenders. He made a verbal commitment to San Jose State but Pierce says he has recently been drawling attention from higher profile programs.

The other noteworthy defenders are senior defensive Marcus Stone and senior corner Marquis Green. Green has also committed to San Jose State.

Pierce also singled out junior defensive end Justin McKinstry.

“Our defense has always been our bread and butter and it still will be,” he said. ” We just need to find the right pieces in a few places and i think we can be pretty good.”

Carter starts the new season at home on Aug. 28 against Los Osos. It’s first Citrus Belt League contest will come on Sept. 25 it will be against REV.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the non-league schedule will do little to help them prepare for that game against REV. Their three non-league foes were a combined 6-25 last year.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Local water polo standouts earn All-American honors

The National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) has announced its list of water polo high school All Americans for the 2014-2015 season.

The organization picked 14 players for each of six teams nationwide.

Several locals earned recognition.

The top honoree was junior Matthew Maier of Damien who named to the second team.

Senior Austin Stewart of Los Osos made the fourth team while senior goal keeper Steven Cagle of Claremont, who led the Wolfpack to a CIF championship, made the sixth team.

Senior Thomas Halverson of Los Osos made honorable mention.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Chino Hills, Ayala football teams renew “Battle of the Bone”

Ayala Football

The “Battle of the Bone” is back!

When Chino Hills was dispatched from the Sierra to the Baseline League last year, so went the rivalry between the schools separated by just 4.3 miles.

But the rivals are back on each others’ schedule, in football at least. They will play on Aug. 28 at Ayala in the season opener for both.

Chino Hills Athletic Director Phil Garcia says when it comes to scheduling he takes his cue from his coaches on who they prefer to play in non-league. A lot can hinge on what tournaments the respective teams are in and what common open dates there are.

Chino Hills Husky Football

This year it worked out. Chino Hills wanted the game bad enough it forfeited a home game and will have only four this season, according to Garcia. Ayala needed a home game and the Huskies obliged.

The game looms as the most intriguing Week 0 match-up in the Inland Valley.

Ayala coach Randy Reams was looking to beef up his team’s non-league schedule. What better way to do that than schedule a Baseline League team, and a local rival as well.

“We’re excited. It will be a great test,” he said. “We’re very happy to have that game back on our schedule.

Chino Hills counterpart Matt Bechtel agrees.

“We played them my first year and I really didn’t think it was that big a deal,” he said. “Then the day of the game it was crazy. It took 30 minutes for us to get there just because of the traffic and the people that were out. It was a great atmosphere.”

Here’s how the previous games between the two have played out.

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

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Upland football team will be counting on lesser known athletes

Last year the Upland High School football team boasted 10 or so Division I recruits, many of whom went on the high profile college programs.

The Highlanders don’t have quite the star power this season but veteran head coach Tim Salter thinks his team is capable of adding to a streak of four straight Baseline League titles.

“We had guys most people didn’t know but they had to play at a high speed to keep with those guys in practice,” he said. “We had very competitive practices and we’re counting on those to have gotten these guys ready to play.”

Among the departed is quarterback Tyler Hilinski, now at Washington State.

Junior Andrew Harrison has inherited the job after being relegated to backup duty last year. The biggest difference is that he is much smaller in stature than his predecessor.

Of course your chances are always pretty good when one of your returning players is Nathan Tilford. The versatile junior focused on playing running back last year because the Highlanders didn’t need him on defense with so many other players. But Salter said he will see time there this season.

The are in which there are the most returners is in the wide receiving core with Joseph Jones, Joseph Ayala and Grant Porter all returning. Porter recently committed to Washington State. Jones and Ayala can also see time in the secondary.

Upland has never had a lot of players going both ways but Salter said that with 20 players having graduated, he’ll be experimenting with players at multiple positions, at least through non-league play.

Other key players on offense are senior Raymond Matelau, the team’s most experience lineman, as well as Tavoi Hoching, perhaps the most versatile player on the squad. Salter also singled out junior wide receiver Gary Theard, who the coach says had a good spring.

On the defensive side, senior lineman Kelon Ferdinand is the top returner. Other key players are linebackers Cole McCarty, Semisi Pahulu and Sione Piutau.

Senior Isikeli Otuafo may see time in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

A couple of siblings who could be contributors. Corners Jacob Tilford, younger brother of Nathan, and Jordan Porter, brother of Grant will push for playing time. Both are juniors.

Upland opens the season on Aug. 28 at Palmdale Knight, an opponent it pummeled pretty good last season. But the Highlanders do boast top notch foes in non-league play such as Mater Dei, Venice and Tesoso.

“I don’t think you can be ready to play in our league unless you see teams of this caliber first,” he said. “You have to play those games at a high speed. You don’t want a high speed game for the first time when’ you’re just getting to league play.”



Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Diamond Ranch looking to contend in Hacienda under new coach

Last year the Diamond Ranch football team settled for a 5-5 record, with a 2-3 Hacienda League mark that was only good enough for fourth place.

The Panthers are on their third coach in as many years and are looking to re-establish themselves under newcomer Jimmy Welker.

The first year is always one of transition. Welker didn’t want to divulge what exact offenses and defenses his team will be running but deemed his schemes a “complete overhaul.”

He won’t judge his team by what happens in the win-loss column.

“It will be a matter of are we doing what we have been coached to do,” he said. “Flat out execution. If we do that, then the wins and losses will hopefully take care of themselves.”

There are two players battling for the starting quarterback slot – seniors Ethan Cota and Joe Sebastian with Sebastian, transferring from Garey and Cota one of three players that saw action in that position last year.

Among the top players on the squad will be senior running back-corner Davion Gaisie who rushed for 1,112 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.

Welker also expects a good showing from both fronts with Harley and Christian Becerra the top performers there.

Several other players could be keys on both sides of the ball. That group includes senior wide receiver-defensive back Kalean Williams and senior running back-linebacker Dashawn Ellis.

The Panthers swing into action on Aug. 28 with a home game against South Hills. They open league play on Oct. 9 against West Covina.


Welker expects tough competition in the league with Los Altos the reigning Central Division runner-up. Walnut and Chino had coaching changes in the off-season as well, which makes for an even more intriguing season.

Welker comes to the Inland Valley after serving as defensive line coach for the last two years at Redondo Union High School.

He also has previously served as outside linebacker coach and junior varsity defensive coordinator at Notre Dame High School as well as wide receiver coach for the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Welker was a four-sport athlete at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, excelling in football, basketball, baseball and track. He went on to play quarterback at Louisiana State. LSU went 43-9 during his time there, highlighted by a national championship in 2007.



Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Diamond Ranch to host college expo for boys basketball players

Are you a boys basketball player in their senior year of high school or at a junior college who feels they have been overlooked? Well, there is an event coming up that will interest you.

Diamond Ranch High School will host a college showcase designed to hook prospective players up with college programs. It will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday.

Players will each compete in at least three games in order to showcase their skills. They will also get an update on new academic regulations that will directly affect them.

A dozen or so college coaches from NAIA, Division II and Division III schools will be on hand. There will also be some reps from community colleges.

The cost is $50.

Last year 10 players who participated got college spots.

For more information see or call (909) 396-0151.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Rancho Cucamonga looking like a formidable force in Baseline

Finishing third in the Baseline League last year didn’t exactly sit well with the Rancho Cucamongna Cougars. Sure Rancho made the playoffs and redeemed itself with a bit of a run. But coach Nick Baiz and his team are used to contending for the top spot.

The new season is fast approaching and it looks like the Cougars (7-5 last year, 3-2 in Baseline) will be poised to challenge once again.

“We were definitely a little disappointed because we thought we were capable of more,” Baiz said. “Our guys are definitely motivated to show they’re better than that.”

The Cougars do have a luxury many of their counterparts don’t. They return some key skill position players including senior running back Aaron Manning and senior quarterback Angel Matute, both of whom started as sophomores. Matute threw for 2,855 yards and 24 touchdowns last year while Manning ran for 766 and nine scores.

The strength of the defense will be in the secondary as the Cougars boast three Division I prospects back there. That trio includes Thomas Graham, who has committed to USC, and junior Tayari Venable, who is headed to Washington State.

A third player, junior Jaylon Redd, hasn’t committed but has offers from most of the Pac 12 and he isn’t even a senior.

The fourth player back there, senior Darrial Busby, is the most experienced but isn’t being recruited quite so heavily because of his size.

While Baiz knows just how good his secondary is, he is quick to point out that it is only facet of the team. The Cougars did graduate most of their linebackers and some key performers on both lines. So success hinges on replacing those athletes.

“It’s still all about blocking and tackling and that’s where he have some question marks,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t think we have good players there, they are just untested.”

There are a handful of players that saw some playing time who should be able to come in and assume larger roles this season. That group includes junior wide receiver Tyree Baker, junior wide receiver David Farmer, linebacker Justin Johnson, senior defensive end Deshawn Maiava, senior defensive lineman Johnny Latu and younger brother Jonah Latu, an offensive lineman.

The Cougars start the new season on Aug. 28 with a non-league game against Trabuco Hills at Los Osos High School. They beat the same team 17-0 in the season opener last year.

The first league game will be on Oct. 9 at Damien.


Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Etiwanda defensive back Treyjohn Butler a hot commodity

Etiwanda senior defensive back Treyjohn Butler is one of the area’s top recruits this season. He has eight offers, six of those from Pac-12 schools, and just returned from a trip to Cal.

He says he benefited greatly from watching some highly touted teammates go through the process last year.

“It definitely helped to see how they handled it all last year. Everyone is different,” he said. “We had a lot of college scouts out there watching us because of the guys we had last year so I kind of got used to that part of it.”

Butler also has offers from Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, Washington State, Illinois and Northwestern.

He has also taken unofficials to Stanford, USC and UCLA.

He hasn’t quite decided which schools to which he will make official visits but expects two of those to be to Northwestern and Washington.

He plans to major in chemical engineering so academics will factor into his final decision.

“I am going to do what’s best for my future,” he said. “Yes it’s about football but it’s also about more than that and what will be best for me down the road.”

He is also looking forward to his senior year and the Eagles making a run after settling for a fourth-place finish in the Baseline League a year ago. New coach Kevin Davis has brought a new energy.

“It’s a whole different aura I guess you can call it,” he said. “We’re all excited and we’re already very close. It’s like a family.”

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email