Diamond Bar has veteran coaches hoping to lead to progress

 

Diamond Bar has struggled in the win column. So when the administration went to look for a new coach, they looked at those from winning programs. They also didn’t have to go far.

Kevin Argumosa is the new head Brahma. He comes over after serving as defensive coordinator the last three years at Los Altos, one of the better programs in the San Gabriel Valley. With him comes the veteran Dale Ziola, the coach under whom he worked at Los Altos. So call it two coaches for the price of one.

They’ll reverse roles. Argumosa will be the defensive coordinator and Ziola the offensive coordinator

“It will be great having him there,” Argumosa said. “We’re used to working together and he has a lot of knowledge so it has been a good transition. “Diamond Bar always interested me. We had played against them so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the program.”

The duo will be looking to turn around a program that went 4-6 last year, including a 1-4 record in the Palomares League. The Brahamas last had a winning record in 2013 when they went 7-5 (6-4 in the regular season).

The top returning player is senior wide receiver Shane Wells, one of the top pass catchers in the Inland Valley last year with 66 receptions for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was a first team, All-Palomares League and All-Inland Valley selection.

Wells will have a new quarterback throwing to him however as Grant Maestas has graduated. The heir is sophomore Dylan Karanickolas, who quarterbacked the freshman team last year.

They will run the Power-I with some spread formations.

“He has a lot of potential,” Argumosa said. “I’m sure there will be some growing pains moving forward but it is nice to have the potential of having a guy in that position for three years.”

Among the others Argumosa singles out as expected contributors is Jovan Thompson, who like Wells will be asked to play on both sides of the ball at receiver and corner back.

The Brahamas also return two starters on the offensive line which should bode well for the young quarterback. That duo includes seniors Matthew Rodriguez and Matt Reedy.

Other who should contribute big include junior tight end-defensive end Randy McNeil and senior halfback-linebacker Greg So.

The Brahamas make their debut on Friday against Alta Loma, a team to whom they lost to last year 48-28 also in a season opener.

DIAMOND BAR SCHEDULE
Aug. 25 – Alta Loma
Aug. 31 – At Walnut
Sept. 8 – Covina
Sept. 15 – At Brea Olinda
Sept. 22 – San Dimas
Oct. 6 – Bonita
Oct. 12 – At Glendora
Oct. 20 – At Ayala
Oct. 27 – South Hills (At Covina District Stadium)
Nov. 3 – Claremont

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Alta Loma football looking for elusive playoff berth

Image result for Alta Loma braves

Last season the Alta Loma football team finished third in the Mt. Baldy League. In past years third place was good enough to advance to the postseason but not under the new formula instituted by the CIF last season.

So the Braves (5-5 overall, 3-2 in league last season) head into the new season hungry. It’s also the third year for coach Mark Pasquarella so expectations are higher.

“We really thought we were going to get in last year,” the coach said, “The kids really wanted that so they are a little hungrier.”

Much of the reason for the optimism is the strength of the defense as the Braves graduated just three starters. Leading the charge is senior nose tackle Kingston Toki, whose shorter stature might be the only thing keeping him from landing him a spot at a high profile Division I school.

“We’re really going to depend on our defense a lot until the offense gets its feet on the ground and moving,” Pasquarella said. “We have a lot of guys back with a lot of experience so it’s where we expect to be strong.”

Other returning players on defense are junior nose guard Brandon Macias, senior strong safety Jerry Valencia, senior linebackers Trent Proctor, Nate Prado and David Bustamante, junior safety Psyer Blackley.

Pasquarella also singled out senior Darin Taylor, who played as a freshman but has not played since, choosing instead to focus on baseball.

“He’s really going to help us,” Pasquarella said.

The biggest change in the offense is that Pasquarella won’t be using two quarterbacks. He did that last year alternating Garrett Kettle and James Josiah with both playing in all 10 games and passing yardage evenly distributed but Kettle has graduated and it is Josiah, a senior, in full control of the offense now.

“He has good leadership skills and he has really matured into that role,” Pasquarella said of his quarterback, “We think he is going to have a good year.”

The offensive line has returning starters in seniors Dylan Vanderkallen and Troy Woods and junior Izaya Spann.Newcomer Gabe Owens, a junior, will help out at center.

Skill position players include junior running back David Ramirez and junior wide receiver Kyle Smathers with Blakely also seeing time at receiver.

ALTA LOMA SCHEDULE
Aug. 25 – At Diamond Bar
Aug. 31 – Ayala
Sept. 8 – Los Osos
Sept. 15 – At Roosevelt
Sept. 22 – Claremont
Oct. 6 – At Ontario
Oct. 12 – At Chaffey
Oct. 20 – Don Lugo
Oct. 27 – At Montclair
Nov. 3 – Colony

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Damien’s Cody Rawson commits to San Diego State

Damien senior baseball standout Cody Rawson made a verbal commitment to San Diego State today

Rawson, a catcher, visited the school on earlier this week. He also took trips to Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara before deciding to head South for college.

He has a cousin that graduated from the school and he knows a couple of players on the team who are from the Inland Valley. He also has family nearby.

“I like the feel that I got walking around campus,” he said,. “You could tell there was a lot of pride in being an Aztec. It’s close to home. Who wouldn’t want top stay in Southern California? I liked everything about it.”

Rawson, who hit .288, said he decided to get the decision out of the way now so he could focus on having a successful senior season and getting the Spartans back to the playoffs.

He plans to major in business/finance but hopes to pursue a career in firefighting when baseball is over.

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Samuel Lopez gets nod as head baseball coach at Summit

Samuel Lopez has been named head baseball coach at Summit High School. The move was finalized at Wednesday’s school board meeting.

Lopez served as baseball coach at Bonita the past season. The Bearcats went 15-11 but were only 7-8 in Palomares League play which wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs.

That was his only season at that school. Before that he had spent five years at Carter, teaching and directing that baseball program.

He made the move to Summit late in the school year when a teaching position in his field (health and science) opened up. At that time the baseball position wasn’t open. He took the position to get bring him closer to home.

He lives in Fontana, not far from the school and is a 2001 graduate of A.B. Miller.

“I grew up in this community and it means a lot to me,” he said. “My kids play sports here and go to school here. To me there is a lot of pride in coming back to coach where I grew up.”

Summit is coming off a disappointing 6-18 showing with a 4-11 in Sunkist League play. But it was 15-12 the previous season. Kaiser has always been the top dog in the league and Lopez is looking forward to challenge the Cats.

“That’s the plan,” he said.

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Summit football left scrambling as season approaches

It’s hard enough going into a new season when you have to replace a player as dominant as Stephen Carr. But Summit coach Nick Matheny is really behind the eight-ball this season because he has had a handful of players, all significant starters, jump ship for other schools.

“We’re basically having to re-invent everything we do,” Matheny said. “The hardest part was that these kids left pretty late in the game so we’re really having to scramble.”

Numbers are down too, something that has been the case at other schools as well. Matheny has just 55 or so between the varsity and junior varsity teams. But the veteran coach is trying to look at the “silver lining.” Other kids who may not have had the opportunity to contribute are getting that chance now and embracing it.

“I can’t say enough about the guys we have here,” he said. “They have worked hard and not complained. I couldn’t be prouder. We have had to do some things a little different because of the situation so there might be some rough waters ahead but we’ll work through them.”

Troy Temmink of Summt High School is the SoCal Prep Legends boys athlete of the week. (courtesy photo).

The defending Sunkist League champion SkyHawks (10-2 in 2016) should not be written off quite yet thought, Among the players they do have back is senior quarterback Troy Temmink, who threw for 2,019 yards and 19 touchdowns with only four interceptions last season.

Also returning is one of his favorite targets in senior wide receiver Kavan Johnson who had 21 receptions for 406 yards and five touchdowns.

Matheny also singled out senior tight end-middle linebacker P.J. Ortiz and senior outside linebacker Antonio Coleman.

Summit will be young with just a handful of seniors so Matheny is looking at the experience his underclassmen will get as a huge benefit in the long run.

“We play a tough preseason so that should get us ready for league play,” he said. “We think we can still make a run at the league title. We just have to see how far we come over these first five games.”

The SkyHawks preseason includes reigning Palomares League champ Ayala and San Andreas power San Gorgonio as well as Etiwanda which is a rival and always in the thick of the Baseline League race.

SUMMIT SCHEDULE

Aug. 25 – Vs. Etiwanda (At Miller)
Aug. 31 – Hesperia (At Miller)
Sept. 8 – At San Gorgonio
Sept. 15 – At Ayala
Sept. 22 – At Sultana
Oct. 6 – Kaiser
Oct. 12 – Fontana (At Miller)
Oct. 20 – At Grand Terrace
Oct. 27 – Bloomington (At Miller)
Nov. 3 – At Colton

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Michael James to take over Claremont girls basketball program

Michael James knows what it is like to direct a winning program. He did that for six years as girls basketball coach at Diamond Ranch. Now he’s hoping to do the same at Claremont.

James, 56, has been named coach at Claremont and looks forward to the challenge of building that program back to respectability. The Wolfpack was just 26-49 in the last three years with an 0-30 mark in league play.

“I have seen some film and they actually have some pieces,” he said. “It is a matter of putting them all together.¬† They did lose some close games. They’re not as far off as it might seem.”

James most recently served as an assistant coach at Walnut, a school at which he has taught health and physical education the last 20 years. He will maintain his full time teaching position there.

His most notable run as head coach came at Diamond Ranch from 2007 to 2013. His teams were 134-43 overall and 53-7 in league play in that stretch with three league titles and three second-place finishes.

He knows that soccer is the big girls sport at the school but is hoping basketball can reach that status as well and looks to do that by startgin at the grassroots level.

“The ideal thing would be to get the girls more interested at a younger age,” he said. “By the time they get to high school they have already chosen a sport so we have to work at bringing them in at an earlier age.”

 

 

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Running back Antoine Paul to lead Ontario football in 2017

Ontario will boast one of the area’s top running backs when it takes the field this season – that’s senior Antoine Paul.

The biggest question is will coach John Kusleika have enough tools around the diminutive senior for that to translate into a better showing in the win column. Only time will tell.

Paul, a 5-foot-8, 165-pounder, ran for 665 yards as a sophomore the same year the Jaguars had a quarterback in Cameron Poe who rushed for more than 1,000. And last year Paul managed 1,250 yards , rushing for more than 100 yards in five of 10 games even though the team was just 3-7 overall.

Kusleika does have two starters returning from the offensive line – seniors Luis Guerra and Anthony Gil. He also has a quarterback returning in senior Luis Rivera. The top receiver is expected to be junior Ricardo Soto.

“We’re going to be a team that runs the ball,” the coach said. “But we also hope to be a little more proficient at throwing it when we need to because we have a quarterback returning.”

Kusleika will also be counting on his quarterback to play on defense, which isn’t always the ideal situation. The number of players in the program has dipped slightly so several key athletes will have to go both ways.

“You don’t like to do it but the bottom line is we’re a lot better team with him out there on defense too,” Kusleika said.

Other athletes Kuslieka singled out include senior linebacker Christian Uribe, senior defensive end Abed Fealofai and senior corner back Douglas Maldanado.

He singled out the inexperience of the secondary as a spot that concerns him most.

Making the playoffs is probably a stretch for the Jaguars, given that Atla Loma finished third last yea and did not make the postseason, Don Lugo and Colony are prohibitive favorites for the top two spots.

“Last year we scored more points than the previous year and we were a little more competitive so we’re making progress,” he said. “Hopefully this year we continue to improve.

ONTARIO SCHEDULE

Aug. 25 – At Ontario Christian
Sept. 1 – At Nogales
Sept. 8 – San Dimas
Sept. 15 – Patriot (At Rubidoux)
Sept. 22 – Jurupa Valley
Sept. 29 – Calif School for Deaf
Oct. 6 – Alta Loma
Oct. 13 – Montclair
Oct. 20 – Chaffey
Oct. 27 – At Colony
Nov. 2 – At Don Lugo

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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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