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.

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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Rebuilding Bonita football hopes to factor in to Palomares race

Bonita cheerleaders hope No. 3-ranked football team can remain undefeated in Friday's Palomares League opener against Claremont. ¬ (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News) ¬ ¬

The Bonita High School football team goes into the new season not that much different than several of its Palomares League counterparts.

Not only did the Bearcats lose a majority of their starters, they had a coaching change as well with Ibis Aguilar taking over for Adrian Medrano, who moved over to El Rancho.

So yes this is shaping up to be a rebuilding year. But that doesn’t mean Bonita can’t be competitive.

“A lot of teams are in the same boat,” said Aguilar, who served as wide receivers coach and assistant head coach under Medrano before being elevated to the head job. We’ll see how fast the younger players come along. We’re hoping to be right there in the mix.”

The Bearcats, 8-3 with a first round playoff loss to Don Lugo in 2015, will be relying on several newcomers in the skill positions, most notably at quarterback where three are vying for the starting job. That trio consists of senior Andrew Harrison, a transfer from Upland, junior Jason Schiller and sophomore Joe LaFountain, up from the junior varsity, and sophomore John Andrade, up from a freshman team that went 10-0.

If one has taken the lead in the battle for that spot, Aguilar isn’t saying.

Among the veterans who will be called up on on returning lineman Miles Blount and Abel Montoya – both seniors.

But perhaps the team’s best player is senior tight end-defensive end Logan Zylstra, a first-team All-Inland Valley selection last year who has landed an offer from Air Force.

Others to look for are returning standouts in wide receiver Dylan Flores, who will also be in the secondary, and senior kicker Garrette Dean as well as newcomers senior wide receiver corner Adrian Bejarano and seniopr tailback Andrew Pasowicz.

About the only veterans on the defensive side of the ball are Zylstra, lineman Andrew Quintero and linebacker Chase Lopez.

Aguilera is also high on inside linebacker Ethan Lancaster, sophomore defensive back Kevin Bullock and sophomore lineman Donnell Osguera.

“I think we’re going to be competitive,” Aguilera said. “It’s hard to say what we’re capable of win-wise just because we have so many younger players. But there is a lot of potential and they’re working hard.”

First up for Bonita, the annual Smudge Pot game on Aug. 26 vs. local rival San Dimas, a game over which the Bearcats have had bragging rights the last few years.

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Bonita football coach Adrian Medrano steps down


The turnover in coaching during the off-season continues.

This time it is Bonita with the vacancy as Adrian Medrano has resigned.

He had headed the program the last four years, with his teams going 27-18 in that stretch and making the playoffs in three of the four years.

The Bearcats went 8-3 last season. They finished tied for second  in the Palomares League and lost in the first round of the Central Division playoffs to Don Lugo.

Medrano was on staff before that, serving as an assistant under the coach he replaced in Eric Podley.

Athletic Director Darren Baumunk confirmed the resignation and said Medrano met with the players Wednesday afternoon.

“He is pursing other opportunities,” Baumunk said.

Medrano remains on staff as an English teacher. He did not return messages left for him.

Montclair recently named a coach and Ayala and Chino Hills are among the more prominent of the dozen or so vacancies yet to be filled.

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Palomares League honors: Football

Athlete of Year – Matt Fink, Sr., QB, Glendora
MVP (Offense) – Jordan Charles, Sr., RB, Ayala

MVP (Defense) – Amir Ainsworth, Sr., Bonita





First team offense
WR Quinn Cotter, Sr., South Hills
WR Logan Zylstra, Jr., Bonita
WR Tyler Schoenick, Sr., Glendora
WR Kyle Yada, Sr., Diamond Bar
WR LaQuamie Bond, Jr., Claremont
OL David Lebel, Sr., Glendora
OL Andre Rodriguez, Sr., Ayala
OL Carlos Calderon, Sr., South Hills
OL Ricardo Sandoval, Jr., Claremont
OL Victor Arteaga, Soph., Glendora
OL Baylee Smith, Sr., Bonita
OL Max Shapiro, Sr., Claremont
QB Tanner East, Sr., Bonita
QB Raine Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva, Sr., Claremont
RB Duy Tran-Sampson, Jr., Claremont
RB Markelle Davis, Sr., Claremont
RB Dimaggio Rico, Sr., Diamond Bar
RB Andrew Montano, Sr., Glendora
K Caleb Watkins, Sr., Glendora

First team defense
LB Soloman Tu;liaupupu, Soph., Claremont
LB Corey Taylor, Sr., Glendora
LB Luis Astorga, Sr., South Hills
LB Nathan Smedley, Sr., Bonita
LB Damien Cannon, Sr., Claremont
LB Anthony Mendoza, Sr., Glendora
DL Logan Zylstra, Jr., Bonita
DL David Label, Sr., Glendora
DL Kyle Kelly, Sr., South Hills
DL Isaiah Flowers, Sr., Ayala
DL Cole Mraz, Sr., Glendora
DB Mato Pacheco, Sr., Claremont
DB Mike Lowe, Sr., Glendora
DB Emmanuel Flowers, Jr., Ayala
DB Winston Donnell, Sr., Ayala
DB Tyler Schoenick, Sr., Glendora
P Caleb Watkins, Sr., Glendora

Second team offense
WR Garrison DeShay, Sr., South Hills
WR Matthew Banfield, Sr., Claremont
WR Darren Ireland, Sr., Bonita
WR Josh Peifer, Sr., Bonita
OL Tito Bucheli, Sr., Ayala
OL David Omana, Sr., Diamond Bar
OL Jeffrey Lu, Jr., Diamond Bar
OL Joe Bazza, Sr., Ayala
OL Ryan Roh, Soph., Diamond Bar
OL Justin Salazar, Soph., Ayala
RB Andrew Segura, Sr., South Hills
RB Griffen Herrera, Sr., Glendora
RB Max Hura, Soph., Ayala
RB Blake Goodman, Sr., Diamond Bar
K Garrett Dean, Jr., Bonita

Second team defense
LB Cody Darrow, Sr., Ayala
LB Jack Sheehan, Sr., South Hills
LB Connor Donohue, Sr., Diamond Bar
LB Tim Hendricks, Jr., Glendora
LB Isaiah Garcia, Sr., Bonita
LB Ryan Torres, Soph., South Hills
DL Markelle Davis, Sr., Claremont
DL Carlos Salinas, Sr., South Hills
DL David Armana, Sr., Diamond Bar
DL Connor Tolliver, Sr., Claremont
DL Tracey Riordan, Sr., Glendora
DB Tahron Tolbert, Jr., South Hills
DB Matthew Scott, Sr., Ayala
DB Zach Brozick, Jr., Ayala
DB Jamie House, Jr., Diamond Bar
P Raine Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva, Claremont

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Bonita football team should be at full strength for playoffs

The Bonita High School football team should be at full strength when it takes the field for a first round Central Division playoff game against Don Lugo on Friday.

Senior quarterback Tanner East left last weeks game against Ayala after taking a hard hit in the third quarter. Beacats coach Adrian Medrano said East, who has thrown for 1,991 yards and 21 touchdowns, is expected to play this week and could have gone back in the game if the outcome were in doubt.

Medrano chose to keep the player out with his team comfortably in front.

In addition wide receiver B.J. McLaurin is also expected to play. He has been slowed by a strained groin and did not play last week.

Bonita (8-2), the second place team out of the Palomares League, and Don Lugo (5-5), the second-place finisher in the Mt. Baldy League, will square off at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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Palomares League should be competitive to the end

Glendora uses big plays to beat South Hills football 28-7

Glendora opened Palomares League play with a win over South Hills on Thursday.

Last year the Palomares League was one of the more balanced and competitive leagues in all of Southern California. Three teams finished tied for second and it took a tiebreaker to decide who went to the playoffs and who stayed home.

Based on the showing of teams in the first half of the regular season, that could very likely be the case again.  The teams went into league play with a combined record of 31-11.

Three teams are ranked in the top seven in the CIF’s Central Division – Glendora at No. 3, Bonita at No. 5 and Claremont at No. 7.

Two of those teams – Bonita and Claremont – are undefeated and will square off in their league opener tonight. Glendora, led by USC commit Matt Fink, bested South Hills last night.

Those teams all seem to be the most significant players this year. But don’t l;eave out Diamond Bar. The Brahmas, who finished in last place in 2014, are much improved under second-year coach Marcus Hughes. That first year is always a tough transition one and the Brahmas ended up 3-7. But they’re already 4-1.

Defending champion South Hills has struggled, as has Ayala. South Hills graduated some key players so they’re a bit in rebuilding mode

The Bulldogs are a bit of mystery. All seem to agree they have enough talent to compete but it hasn’t looked that way, at least to this point.  We”ll see right away as Ayala faces Diamond Bar tonight.

.Let the battles begin.

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Bonita, Claremont football coaches go way back

VIDEO: Claremont football coach Coco Jarin talks about game against Bonita and ties with Bearcats coach Adrian Medrano.

What better way to start Palomares League play?

Claremont (5-0) will be facing Bonita (5-0) in the most intriguing match-up in any league in the Inland Valley. The Bearcats are ranked fifth in the CIF Central Division, the Wolfpack are seventh.

Forget that both are off to undefeated starts and the fact that the schools are geographic rivals, separated by just 3,83 miles.

There is another subplot to the showdown. Bonita coach Adrian Medrano was a linebacker at the University of La Verne and first-year Claremont coach Coco Jarin was then a defensive coach for the Leopards.

Well what do the respective coaches have to say about the other?

“Adrian was always well prepared so I know he is going to have his team ready,” Jarin said. “He never came into a situation unprepared so I’m sure his team takes after him.”

As for Medrano, well he knew his team was going to have its hands full when his former coach took over at Claremont.

“He brings a great energy and passion,” Medrano said. “That rubs off on his players and guys love playing for him.”

Game time at Glenn Davis Stadium on Friday is 7 p.m.



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Bonita-San Dimas football game picked as a top rivalry

Bonita defeated San Dimas 24-13 in the annual Smudge Pot game last year. Can the Saints get it back?

The Smudge Pot showdown between San Dimas and Bonita has been singled out as one of the nation’s top rivalry games by the Great American Rivalry Series,

That annual game will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday at Citrus College. The Bearcats are 4-0 while San Dimas comes in 2-1.

The Great American Rivalry staff will be on hand and present Scholar-Athlete Awards, Hall of Fame Awards, and an MVP award. Several other activities will also be held in conjunction with the event. Not only will the Smudge Pot be awarded, so will a “Champions” Trophy in honor of the game’s inclusion in the rivalries list.

This is the 12th year the Great American Rivalry Series has named an exclusive list of top rivalry games.

The schools are just six miles apart and each is the only public high school in its quaint town.

San Dimas leads the series 22-19.


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Bonita football team will be dependent on newcomers

Last year the Bonita High School football team was a bit lucky to slip into the playoffs. The Bearcats were part of a three-way tie for third place but got in the playoffs based on a tiebreaker.

They made the most of the opportunity, advancing all the way to the CIF Central Division semifinal before falling to Los Altos, 27-13.

But if the Bearcats are to move on and make a run this year coach Adrian Medrano will have to get major contributions from a lot of newcomers.

“We graduated a lot of players and some really key players,” he said. “And our league is tough. So we’re going to have to grow up quickly.”

Bonita (8-5 last year, 2-3 in the Palomares League) will have several players coming from a junior varsity squad that was 9-1 so there is potential.

Among the few players returning is senior quarterback Tanner East (above).

Other veterans include B.J. McLaurin, a wide receiver and defensive back who was also one of the area’s top track standouts, as well as lineman Baylee Smith, wide receiver Josh Peifer, linebacker-lineman Nathan Smedley, linebacker Giovanni Luna, free safety Darien Gamell and defensive back Amir Ainsworth – all seniors.

Ainsworth saw some playing time last year on special teams and was the backup to top defender Danny Gelalich.

Angel Verdugo rushed for 1,373 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago but he is among the departed. This year Medrano says it will be more “running back by committee.”

Among those who will factor into the game plan are senior Brandon Bradshaw, the second-leading rusher behind Verdugo, as well as  senior Romeo Gutierrez.

Medrano is also high on junior wide receiver Dylan Flores who can contribute in a number of areas.

“We really don’t have that star player,” Medrano said. We’re one of those teams that really relies on having a lot of guys that come in and work hard and play together.”

Bonita gets the new season underway on Aug. 28 with a home game against Montebello Schurr.

The Bearcats open league play at South Hills on Oct. 16.

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Bonita’s Payton chooses Army

Bonita High School’s standout running back Jake Payton has made a verbal commitment to Army.

Payton has not visited West Point yet but will do so later this month. He also took unofficial visits to numerous schools including Notre Dame, Boise State, Miami, UCLA, Cal and University of San Diego.

He called the decision an “investment in his future.” He isn’t quite sure yet what he wants to study but plans to use his time there to figure that out.

Army has always had a high interest in him, even visiting him his junior year at San Dimas.

Payton rushed for 1,291 yards and 18 touchdowns on 157 carries in leading the Bearcats to a 6-4 showing.

“The military is tough,” he said. “It’s balancing studying, football and military duties so it will be a challenge but I have dealt with challenges before. I’m up for it.”

Payton, a 5-foot-9, 190-pounder, will report to West Point in mid-July. He is already working out in preparation.

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