Montclair football looking for better start to new season

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Rarely do the first few games of the season prove to be a turning point. For the Montclair Cavaliers that was indeed the case.

Montclair officially went 3-7 but it was on the field at 5-5. The difference were forfeits of the first two games of the season both of which they won decidedly over San Gabriel (42-0) and Garey (23-6).

That came after the Cavaliers won a third game which would have made them 3-0. Alas, it was 1-2.

Coach T.J. Fiorenza tried to stress that his team did win on the field and that the ultimate goal of a league title was still in sight but he doesn’t think his team ever really bounced back mentally.

“I don’t think out guys ever bounced back,” he said. “I know it was early but we never really were the same after that.”

But it’s a new year and Fiorenza is as optimistic as most coaches. He returns seven starters on offense and four on defense so improving on last year’s fifth-place finish in the Mt. Baldy League is doable.

Montclair FootballⓂ

“I think we’re going to be a lot better,” he said. “Our guys worked hard and I liked what I saw out of the passing leagues. We’re definitely looking forward to that new start.”

Senior Jose Campos inherits the starting quarterback spot after seeing some playing time a year ago.

Fiorenza expects the wide receiving unit to be his best. Among the other experienced athletes coming back there are  seniors Joseph Martinez and Gustavo Herrera and juniors Devin Mclee and Robin Wiley.

Othe veterans are senior corner back Dante Haro, senior offensive lineman Nick Orozco, senior safety Daniel Carlin, senior defensive end-tight end Jose Rivera and senior linebacker Cris Arismendez.

Among the newcomers is sophomore strong safety Roy Wiley, younger brother of Robin, who Firoenza says has outstanding potential.

Other promising newcomers include sophomore defensive tackle Diego Sanchez, junior running back-linebacker Matthew Mendibles and junior linebacker Jason Le.

“The key for us, like it always is, is staying healthy,” Fiorenza says. “We can’t afford to lose guys, especially for a long time.”

The Cavaliers open the season Aug. 28 at San Gabriel. The first game will be the following week against Garey.

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Pitcher Peter Lambert of San Dimas lands another honor

Right-hander Peter Lambert of San Dimas may be off starting his professional baseball career but the honors continue to roll in nonetheless.

Lambert, who was drafted in the second round by the Colorado Rockies, was one of just 11 players named to the All-California Team by USA Today.

Lambert was nothing short of spectacular. He had 13 starts and won all of those, completing nine. Five were shutouts and he allowed only four earned runs and managed 113 strikeouts in 83 innings for a miniscule ERA of 0.43.

Shortstop Branden Becker of Cajon, who was drafted and signed by the Baltimore Orioles, was named to the second team.

Here’s the complete list of players honored. It is a pretty select group.

Player of the Year: Joe DeMers, P, Pleasant Hill College Park, Sr.

FIRST TEAM
Justin Hooper, P, Concord De La Salle, Sr.
Peter Lambert, P, San Dimas, Sr.
Chris Betts, C, Long Beach Wilson, Sr.
Devin Davis, INF, Santa Clarita Valencia, Sr.
Nick Madrigal, INF, Elk Grove, Sr.
Tyler Nevin, INF, Poway, Sr.
Luke Williams, INF, Dana Point, Sr.
Daniel Amaral, OF, Huntington Beach, Sr.
Matt Smith, OF, Placentia El Dorado, Sr.
James Terrell, OF, St. Patrick-St. Vincent Vallejo, Sr.

SECOND TEAM
Marrick Crouse, P, Dana Hills, Sr.
Kyle Molnar, P, Aliso Viejo, Sr.
Patrick Sandoval, P, Mission Viejo, Sr.
Lucas Herbert, C, San Clemente, Sr.
Branden Becker, INF, Cajon, Sr.
John Cresto, INF, San Diego Cathedral Catholic, Sr.
Devin Davis, INF, Santa Clarita Valencia, Sr.
Royce Lewis, INF, Junipero Serra, So.
Anthony Gordon, OF, Terra Nova Pacifica, Sr.
Alex McKenna, OF, Mission Hills Bishop Alemany, Sr.
Jagger Rusconi, OF, West Ranch, Sr.

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Paige Halstead and Team USA place fifth

Los Osos High School graduate Paige Halstead was part of the USA Junior National team that finished fifth in the World Cup X Tournament which wrapped up Sunday at Barber Park in Irvine.

Halstead, a catcher who has signed with UCLA, went 2-for-16 (in eight games) in her first event with that team. Her hits were big hits as she had run-scoring singles in a 14-0 win over Argentina and a 14-1 win over Puerto Rico.

The event was won by the other USA Team, made up of the Senior Team members.

The USA Junior team beat Mexico 6-5 on Sunday to secure the fifth-place finish.

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Chaffey football team looking to overtake Colony

The Chaffey High School football team settled for second place in the Mt. Baldy League last year behind eventual CIF Central Division champion Colony. The Tigers battled the Titans head to head but the Titans eventually wore them down and won the game.

Can Chaffey get over the hump this year? Veteran head coach Chris Brown says his team has the potential to do so.

“We have more depth than we have had before and that is really important against a quality team like Colony that likes to play up-tempo,” he said.

The Tigers, 8-3 last year, do have one of the top players in the area returning in senior running back Michael Dean, a first team All-Inland Valley and All-CIF selection who rushed for 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on 194 tries last year.

Chaffey’s Mike Dean is listed as a “generous” 5-foor-7, 155 pounds, but brings a big game to the field.

His partner in the backfield, James Oxier (912 yards), has graduated.

Brown says he has a lot of options there and will see how that plays out in the next couple of months.  There is the definite possibility that Dean, who also plays in the secondary on defense, could see more carries, bad news for upcoming foes.

“If we need to spell him it will be on defense,” Brown said. “He has really worked hard, put on some muscle and he’s a lot stronger.”

The biggest question mark will be the offensive line, an area with which Brown wasn’t happy last year. A bunch of those players are back so improvement is expected. Among the key players there will be senior tackle Alexander Kraskowsky.

Bloomington High School's quarterback Salvador Munoz, left, pushes off Chaffey High School's Daniel Millstein during a game...

Other key players on offense are sophomore quarterback Dequan Futrell, a transfer from Upland and freshman lineman Ryan Soliafu,

Among those leading the defensive charge will be senior linebacker Jiovanni Sanchez, senior defensive end Ray Maldanado, senior outside linebacker Frank Venegas, senior outside linebacker Brian Ramirez and junior defensive tackle Jacob Chavira.

Another player that could factor on both sides of the ball is junior RB-DB Larry Hammett-Love, the second-fastest player on the team behind Dean.

“He’s going to be on the field somewhere,” Brown added.

The Tigers open the new season Aug. 28 at Lake Elsinore-Lakeside, a team they defeated 30-7 in last year’s season opener. The Tigers are also on the road the second week with the first home game being on Sept. 11 against Grand Terrace.

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Rancho Cucamonga boasts some big names in secondary

The Rancho Cucamonga football team boasted a couple major commitments this week as Thomas Graham Jr., a trasnfer from Eastvale Roosevelt, made a verbal to USC while Tayari Venable announced he’ll attend Washington State.

Introduction 2017: DB Tayari Venable

Both are juniors so nothing is signed, sealed or delivered yet and some kids change their minds. But the fact that both have opted for Pac 12 schools tells you the quality of players we’re talking about here.

Just how good should the Cougars secondary be? Well, pretty good. Not only does coach Nick Baiz have those two, there’s another junior-to-be in Jaylon Redd who started last year and saw saw significant playing time as a freshman.

Redd already has seven Pac 12 offers, the first of those coming shortly after his freshman year. Among his offers are USC and UCLA.

The fourth member of the Rancho secondary is Darriel Busby, who is the most experienced of the four but is smaller in stature which is going to limit his college prospects.

Baiz says its the best quartet at that position he has ever coached but he isn’t going overboard yet as far as his praise.

“We have some great players back there but it’s not just about them,” he said. “You have to have the pass rush. You have to stop the run. The defense is about each unit doing its job for them for it to be effective as whole.”

The Baseline League will be as tough as ever this year and there are several teams with potent passing attacks. So stay tuned.

 

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A quick look back at the prep athletes of the year

Well the book is officially closed on another year of high school sports. It’s always fun to go back and look at who the top performers were.

So here is a list of the athletes that were our Player of the Year in their respective sport. Good variety of schools represented which is always nice.

Daily Bulletin Football Player of Year Josh Woods, who played running back and  linebacker for Upland High School, Wednesday,...

FALL
Football: Josh Woods, Sr., Upland
Football (Offense): Shawn Wilson, Sr., Pomona
Football (Defense): Khaylan Thomas, Sr., Etiwanda
Girls volleyball: Meghan Buzzerio, Sr., Chino Hills
Girls cross country: Annie Boos, Soph., Claremont; Tess Rounds, Fr., Claremont
Boys cross country: Michael Teran, Sr., Jurupa Hills
Boys water polo: Stephen Cagle, Sr., Claremont
Girls tennis: Hermehr Kaur, Soph., Redlands
Girls golf: Bethany Wu., Sr., Diamond Bar

Chino Hills High School junior Lonzo Ball has been chosen as the 2015 Daily Bulletin boys basketball player of the year....

 

WINTER
Boys basketball: Lonzo Ball, Jr., Chino Hills
Girls basketball: Jackie Ricketson, Sr., Ayala
Girls soccer: Leah Pruitt, Sr., Alta Loma
Boys soccer: Eduardo Contreras, Jr., Chaffey
Wrestling: David Gonzalez, Sr., San Dimas
Girls water polo: Shelby Kraft, Jr., Los Osos

San Dimas High School pitcher Peter Lambert who went 13-0 this year helping the Saints to a league title and a 31-1 record....

SPRING
Baseball: Peter Lambert, Sr., San Dimas
Softball: Tannon Snow, Sr., Chino Hills
Girls swimming: Kenisha Kui, Jr., Ayala
Boys swimming: Brian Whittington, Sr., Los Osos
Boys golf: Jefferson Kao, Sr., Diamond Bar
Boys tennis: Andrew Leahy, Jr., Claremont
Boys track: Zach Shinnick, Soph., Damien
Girls track: Sklyer Daniel, Sr., Upland
Boys volleyball: Kaleb Denmark, Sr., Arrowhead Christian

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Ganesha football program taking small steps forward

When you’re football program isn’t steeped in tradition, you have to appreciate the smaller signs of progress. Such is the case with the Ganesha Giants.

Coach Don Cayer’s team improved from 3-7 in 2013 to 4-6 last fall. But they were also more competitive in games they lost.

Unfortunately modest improvement could have been more significant improvement but Ganesha lost the last four games after a 4-2 start.

Ganesha Football

“After awhile you get sick of being everyone’s doormat,” Cayer said. “We don’t talk about wins and losses. It’s about improvement and getting better each day. If  you do that hopefully it shows in the win column.”

There are other small signs of progress that haven’t shown up in the win column yet. Cayer is excited about his incoming freshman class and the number of players coming from his feeder schools who aren’t going elsewhere.

Also, Cayer, who also serves as the school’s athletic director, says his team had three home games where the team drew 1,000 spectators.

“It may not sound like much to some but I remember games when I was an assistant and you could count the number of people in the stands at kickoff,” he said.

The biggest on-field problem with the team last year was offense. Two of the games the team won were by the score of 7-6. Most troublesome was the offensive line. In fact it was such a sore spot that Cayer has taken over responsibility for the part of the team this year.

“Now it’s solely my fault if it’s still an issue,” he said.

The good news is that Cayer has nine returning starters on offense are seniors.  One of those who is not a senior is junior quarterback John Mosqueda, one of the players in the revolving door at that position last year.

Cayer admits Mosqueda just wasn’t ready last year but he tried everyone out of necessity and likes the improvement he has seen him thus far.

The strength of the offense appears to be wide receiver with a core that includes senior Marcione Harvey, Brian Chisholm, Albert Lewis and marcus Cooper. Harvey was in the program as an underclassmen, but moved to Arizona briefly, only to return before the school year was over. He is the speedster in the bunch.

Jimmy Lopez and Anthony Longsworth, both seniors, should see time in the backfield.

There will be several players seeing action on both sides of the ball with Longsworth and Chisholm also doing time in the secondary.

The top performer should be senior linebacker Mauriyon O’Brien, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder whom Cayer says is drawing Division I interest.

Seniors Miguel Puentes and Samuel Davis will be on both sides of the line.

The schedule has been downgraded a bit with San Gabriel and Western Christian the new foes. The season begins on Aug. 28 at Mark Keppel, a team the Giants defeated last year.

The first home game will be the following week, Sept. 4, against Gladstone. Those were the two teams the Giants beat 7-6 last year.

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Ontario football coach John Kusleika still optimistic

Jaguars mascot photo.

Veteran coach John Kusleika knew he had his work cut out for him when he jumped on board as Ontario High School’s head football coach last year.

But it was even more challenging than he ever expected. So he is excited about getting the new season underway and continuing the building process.

The Jaguars (2-8, 0-5 in Mt. Baldy League) started out alright winning two of their first three games. But little went right after that and they didn’t get in the win column again.

JohnKusleika-web-1

Kusleika says it was a matter of not enough guys buying into the process.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask for guys to show up on time, give a full effort and compete and work hard,” he said. “I don’t ask anything out of them that I don’t give myself.”

Kusleika graduated 22 seniors and says the rebuilding will go on with a large core of juniors which can be a blessing and a curse. There is less experience but there are also fewer bad habits to break and he thinks he has players who are actually on board.

The other think that should help considerably is that Kusleika now has a full staff of 12, counting the freshman level coaches. Last year he had only four for the entire program.

Among those is Joe Szczepanksi, the former head coach at Alta Loma, who will coach quarterbacks. Kusleika will call the offense with Bill Hust serving as defensive coordinator.

“I have been coaching for 25 years and this is probably the youngest team I have ever had,” he said. “But we’re going to get better just because we have more people to help coach.”

Displaying v Colony-28.jpg

 

Among the most experience players returning is senior quarterback Cameron Poe, who will be in his third year running the offense.

Others are senior linebacker-running back  Sebastian Soto, senior defensive end Darron Culver, senior lineman Daniel Estrada and junior defensive lineman Enrique Alonso.

Among the newcomers coming up from the junior varsity who will be counted on are junior running back-defensive back John Oquendo, junior running back-defensive back Julio Mixco, senior wide receiver Ernest Orozco and senior center Jorge Navarro.

The new season kicks off on Aug. 28 with the Jaguars traveling to Garey, a team it defeated 16-2 last season.

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Rancho Cucamonga’s Tayari Venable picks Washington State

Junior Tayari Venable of Rancho Cucamonga is headed to Washington State. The 6-foot-2, 160-pounder made the declaration Wednesday night along with some of his peers.

The decision came down to where he thought he had the best opportunity to play early. The school also was the first to make an offer.

Introduction 2017: DB Tayari Venable

He was also considering UCLA, Arizona State, Washington and San Jose State. The only other school he had been to was UCLA, having played in a passing tournament there.

“I really looked at the depth chart at my position and I think I can play right away.” he said. “I also went there for a camp a month ago and I really liked it.”

Venable played a lot as a sophomore last year, managing 29 tackles and helping the Cougars to a third-place finish in the tough Baseline League.

He is the latest local to cast his lot with the school. Among those currently there are Kameron Powell, a former teammate, as well as former Upland quarterback Tyler Hilinski. Venable says he plans to talk to Powell later today.

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