New look Alta Loma looking to contend in Mt. Baldy League

Try telling new Alta Loma football coach Mark Pasquarella that this is a rebuilding year and he’ll have none of that. The veteran coach wants to win a Mt. Baldy League title right away.

“I think we have talent, we just don’t have a lot of experience,” he says. “Our goal is to go out there and win every game.”

Pasquarella is taking over the reigns following the departure of Joe Szczepanksi who had them for four years. It has been a slow transition. Until June 30 he was still working for the Covina school district so anything he did football-related had to come after 4 p.m.

The Braves, coming off a 5-5 showing last year, also had to hold spring practice at a nearby elementary school because construction of the new stadium on campus forced a temporary relocation.

As for other setbacks, well a couple of veteran players transferred out. Among those – quarterback Jacob Hennie. Sophomore Junior James and junior Garrett Kettle are fighting for that vacant spot.

Pasquarella, who will call the offense, singles out the offensive and defensive lines as the team’s strong suit. He also likes the depth he has at running back.

The defense is where his team needs the most work right now, with the most inexperienced units being at linebacker and in the secondary. Getting the Braves up to speed will be the responsibility of new defensive coordinator Bill Strycula.

As for other key players, Pasquarella singles out versatile senior Will Ukpong who will play safety and can line up at a varsity of spots on offense.

The team is heavy with sophomores and juniors. While Pasquarella singles out defending champion Colony as the team to beat, he isn’t counting out his.

“I really like what I have seen. The kids have worked hard and I think we’ll surprise people,” Pasquarella says.

The Braves get the new season underway on Aug. 28 with a non-league game at Chaffey High School against Rowland, which is coming off a 4-6 season.


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Three locals earn All-State baseball honors from MaxPreps

The final baseball honors are out and three local players have been honored by MaxPreps which named its Large Schools All-State team.

Pitcher Bailey Falter and outfielder Chris Ceballos, both seniors, were named to the first team while senior second baseman Kyle Isbel of Etiwanda made the second team.

Falter, who was drafted in the fifth round and signed by the Phillies, was 6-2 with a 1.20 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched.

Ceballos, who has signed with Cal State Fullerton, hit .422 batting with 7 doubles, 25 RBI, 27 runs and a school single season record of 12 home runs.

Isbel, the Most Valuable Player in the Baseline League, hit .397 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 28 RBI and 34 runs scored. He has signed with UNLV.

All three players were first team All-Inland Valley selections by the Daily Bulletin.


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Ayala’s Austen Awosika decides on Cal State Fullerton

Ayala High School point guard Austen Awosika has decided he’ll attend and play at Cal State Fullerton.

Awosika, a 6-foot-2 senior who also carries a 3.5 grade-point average, also visited Pepperdine, Cornell and UC Santa Barbara.

“I really felt like they wanted me,” he said. “They have been to every one of my travel ball games the past few weeks and that really let me know I was a high priority for them.”

Awosika led the Bulldogs to a share of the Palomares League title. He was a Co-MVP in the league, also earning first-team All-CIF honors. He was also a Daily Bulletin All-Inland Valley first-team selection.

Awosika averaged 17.1 points and 6.7 assists with a season high of 34 points coming against Palm Springs.

He said he is relieved to finalize the decision.

“I really want to concentrate on my senior season,” he said. “Now I can just go out there and play free without that pressure.”

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Pomona football team looking to repeat with new cast

Dec 5 2014. Lancaster CA. Pomona football team holds the CIF award, during the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division football final as Pomona took the win 37 to 29 over Paraclete. Photo by Gene Blevins/LA DailyNews

The Pomona High School football team can no longer get away with flying under the radar. Last year the Red Devils won their first CIF title since 1951, capturing the Mid-Valley Championship.

So head coach Keith Richardson’s team is now the hunted not the hunter. The Red Devils also graduated 20 or so players, some of them key contributors on both sides of the ball so their loss is even more costly.

The pressure is, no doubt, on.

“We know people are focusing more on us this year,” Richardson said. “We have to rise to the challenge. We have some very good players but they may not be ones people know right now.”

The Red Devils (11-4 last year) did inherit a couple of transfers who will be counted on heavily. One of those is senior quarterback Aaron Sandoval who came over from Chino Hills and will be the starter.

Sandoval’s arrival will allow Darreon Lockett, to slide over to a receiver slot for which he is better suited. Lockett will also see time on defense.

“He is one of those players that can help you in a lot of places,” Richardson said of Lockett. “But this is more of a true position for him.”

The other big new arrival is senior Chris Jackson, the top player last year at Garey who will also play at wide receiver and defensive back.

Other key newcomers are junior wide receiver Ricky Lua, brother of Manny who was a key player on last year’s team, as well as senior Denario Critton who competed in track last year but did not play football.

Among the holdovers from the title-winning team are senior linebacker-safety Brian Lamb, senior offensive lineman Christopher Mendez and junior lineman Joel Trujillo.

Leonard Hudson is back as offensive coordinator but Richardson will no longer be defensive coordinator so he can oversee the entire game. John Brown, who was on staff, will head the defense.

Pomona starts the new season on Aug. 28 at Oak Hills. It begins defense of its Miramonte League title on Oct. 16 against city foe Ganesha.



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Los Osos football team looking to compete in tough Baseline

LOHS Football Photo.jpg

Not much went right for the Los Osos High School football team last year. The Grizzlies and coach Kevin Price knew it was going to be tough competing in the Baseline League even if they were healthy. Well, they weren’t.

The Grizzlies went 2-8 overall and 0-5 in league play. Of the 53 players on the roster, 29 were injured, most of those missing multiple games.

“It was tough,” he said. “Everyone has injuries so you hate using it as an excuse but it was a major factor. We just couldn’t put the team on the field we thought we were going to have.”

Price is doing everything he can to see that history doesn’t repeat itself. He had called the offense the last two years but is going back on the other side of the ball and will be defensive coordinator.

Mike Randall, previously the offensive line coach, will call the offense.

“It’s just where I feel the most comfortable,” Price said. “And it’s where I think I can contribute the most.”

The Grizzlies will boast a couple of the area’s best players and that’s a good place to start. Senior Cohl Cabral, who has committed to Arizona State, will anchor both lines. Price also singled him out for his work ethic and leadership.

Then there’s senior linebacker Bryce Younquist, who has a half a dozen major college offers. He too missed a couple of games last season.

Senior running back Donovan Williams who has the potential have an impact in both the running and passing games. He has also been used at quarterback at times.

Among the others who saw significant playing time last year were cornerback Aiden Christensen, offensive lineman Miles Dutton, defensive tackle Chris Ekokobe, inside linebacker Mikael Fakhoura, slot receiver Michael Martin and wide receiver Koa Mattson.

Among the others coming back are senior quarterback Dominic Slouka, who played five games in place of the injured Jason Crain last year as a junior.

“He has come a long way,” Price said of Slouka. “Obviously it was tough on him because it was a lot to ask of him to begin with and a lot of his weapons weren’t on the field either.”

Among the newcomers Price is hoping make an immediate impact are senior defensive end Mason Vega, junior defensive end Daivon Allen and junior wide receiver Trevon Clark.

“I’m not coming out an saying we’re going to win the league but we can compete,” Price said. “These kids work hard and at the end of the day they’re going to leave it all out there.”

Los Osos starts the new season on Aug. 28 against Carter. It opens league play on Oct. 9 at home against Chino Hills.



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Logan Rinehart of Rancho Cucamonga picks Cal Baptist

Rancho Cucamonga High School shortstop-pitcher Logan Rinehart wasn’t blinded by the glamour of playing Division I baseball. He has instead chosen to sign with rising Division IIĀ  power Cal Baptist.

He also considered UCLA and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before choosing the Lancers, who advanced to the NCAA Division II regional this year before falling to Cal Poly Pomona.

“I really like what the program has to offer,” said Rinehart, who plans to major in health science. “I really liked the coaching staff and I think it will be a good place for me to develop.”

The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder hit .338 for the Cougars with 13 runs scored and 15 RBI. He was a first-team All-Baseline League selection and an honorable mention All-Inland Valley selection.

Cal Baptist went 31-22 last season, losing to Cal Poly Pomona 6-4 in that West Region title game in just the school’s second year of playoff eligibility after transitioning from NAIA.


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Final prep softball honors of the year are out

Calhi Sports named its All-State softball teams and there is heavy representation from teams in the San Bernardino Sun/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin coverage area.

It’s a huge nod to those selected given that it’s a statewide list and the depth of talent from which there was to choose.

It’s good confirmation that we pretty much nailed our All-Area picks which came out last month.

Here’s a rundown of the locals honored.

C Paige Halstead, Sr., Los Osos
P Brooke Bolinger, Sr., Yucaipa
INF Tannon Snow, Sr., Chino Hills
OF Zoe Casas, Sr., Aquinas
OF Kennedy Clark, Sr., Ayala

C Kelly Martinez, Jr., Yucaipa
INF Eliyah Flores, Soph., Grand Terrace
OF Taylon Snow, Soph., Chino Hills
Multi-purpose – Ciera Schick, Sr., Los Osos

P Taylor Troost, Sr., Citrus Valley
Multi-purpose – Tiffany kennedy-Cummings, Sr., Chino

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Etiwanda, Summit to start traveling trophy rivalry game

Etiwanda and Summit High Schools are separated by just 3.53 miles. So it only makes sense that the Eagles and SkyHawks play for more than just bragging rights.

Starting this year they will. All the details are being ironed out but the Sept. 4 game will be called the “Fight for 15,” or some variation thereof. It is in reference to the fact that the two are opposite sides of that particular freeway.

Image result for Summit high school logo Fontana Ca

Etiwanda coach Kevin Davis, who came over after two years as offensive coordinator at Colony, graduated from Etiwanda in 1997. He also previously served as assistant there and remembers talk about establishing such a game back then.

So one of the first things he did upon getting the head job was calling Summit counterpart Nick Matheny and asking his opinion on the matter. As expected, Matheny was on board. It didn’t take much to rally support for the idea from the administration at both schools.

Both schools have used A.B. Miller as a home field and Summit still does so the game will be played there.

“I took it to my guys and they really loved the idea,” Davis said. “The schools are so close the kids all know each other. Everyone loves rivalry games so why not do it?”

Last year the teams played to a 6-6 tie, the game cut short prematurely by a power failure early in the fourth quarter.

“After that game it seemed like the perfect time to start it,” Davis said.

“Last year I surprised at just how big that game was,” Matheny said. “It was a great atmosphere. The kids all know each other and the schools are close so it is a game we should keep playing.”

It will be the second game of the season for Etiwanda which opens the season against Norco on Aug. 28. It will be the opener for Summit which plays a scrimmage against Jurupa Valley, also on Aug. 28.


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Rancho Cucamonga’s Tyler Lawson commits to Long Beach State

Rancho Cucamonga pitcher Tyler Lawson has made a verbal commitment to Big West power Long Beach State.

Lawson, a 6-foot-4 righthander, was 4-6 but boasted an impressive ERA of 2.26 as his team was offensively challenged at times last season

.Lawson earned second-team All-Baseline League honors. He struck out 40 and walked just seven in 65 innings.

“It was my first offer and they have always shown a lot of interest in me,” Lawson said of the school with which he plans to sign in November. “I think it will a great place for me to develop and reach my full potential.”

Lawson, a starter for the Cougars on varsity in 2014 as a sophomore, also visited UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and Michigan as well as rising Division II powers Azusa Pacific and Cal Baptist.

He plans to major in business.

“I really liked the coaches,” he added. “They said they think I can eventually be a top five round draft pick. A lot of schools tell you that because that’s what you want to hear but they seemed to have a game plan of how to get me there.”


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Upland grad Marquis Wimberly headed to UNLV

Upland High School graduate Marquis Wimberly has committed to UNLV.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver is headed into his sophomore year at Chaffey College and was relieved to have the recruiting process behind him.

“The whole process is stressful, fun, there’s pressure. It has a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “Having the decision out of the way is a big relief. Now I can just work on getting better and showing what I can do.”

Wimberly had seven offers with UNLV joined by Idaho, South Alabama, North Arizona, Northern Texas, Georgia State and Weber State.

He said the campus atmosphere and coaching staff made the difference. Wimberly said he hit it off right away with new head coach Tony Sanchez.

“I liked the atmosphere of the campus and the town,” he said. “And I really like coach Sanchez both as a coach and as a person.”

Wimberly caught 49 passes for 659 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games last year for the Chaffey Panthers.

He said he is looking forward to competing for a starting spot in 2016. Typically community college players that move on to Division I schools are brought in to contribute right away since they only have two years of eligibility left.



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