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 asĀ  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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Hacienda League football honors

Player of the Year – Kammy Delp, Diamond Ranch
Offensive Player of the Year – Estuardo Marcos, Sr., Los Altos
Defensive Players of the Year – Sidney Jones, Sr., West Covina and Thomas Loy, Sr., Bonita

First team offense
C Eric Castillo, Jr., Los Altos
G David Tolmachoff, Jr., Los Altos
G Eric Quevedo, Jr., West Covina
T George Stewart, Jr., Los Altos
T Chris Fernandez, Sr., West Covina
TE Tyler Lli, Jr., West Covina
QB Tanner Diebold, Sr., Bonita
RB Daniel Garcia, Jr., Diamond Ranch
RB Tyler Brown, Sr., Diamond Bar
RB Jake Payton, Sr., Bonita
RB William Bryan, Sr., Diamond Ranch
WR Cordell Broadus, Jr., Diamond Bar
WR Danny Gelalich, Jr., Bonita
WR Marcus Briscoe, Sr., Diamond Ranch
K Mario Giron, Sr., Diamond Ranch

First team defense
DL David Tolmachoff, Jr., Los Altos
DL Christian McQueen, Sr., Bonita
DL Josh Herrera, Sr., West Covina
DL Tevita Sina, Jr., Los Altos
DL David Jimenez, Jr., Los Altos
DL Austin Russell, Jr., Bonita
LB Josh Best, Sr., West Covina
LB Matt Preston, Sr., Diamond Ranch
LB Carlos Mejia, Jr., Los Altos
LB Steven Olmos, Jr., Los Altos
LB David Ford, Sr., West Covina
DB Danny Gelalich, Jr., Bonita
DB DeShon Love, Jr., West Covina
DB John Perkins, Jr., Diamond Ranch, Jr.
DB William Bryan, Sr., Diamond Ranch
DB Daniel Garcia, Jr., Diamond Ranch

Second team offense
C Joe Tollar, Sr., Bonita
G Jake Loera, Sr., Los Altos
G Carl Bryan, Sr., Diamod Ranch
T Bryson Finley, Sr., West Covina
T John Aleriano, Jr., Bomita
T Chris, Sr., Diamond Bar
TE Miguel Romero, Sr., Rowland
QB Tyler Peterson, Jr., Diamond Bar
RB Matt Hayashi, Jr., Los Altos
RB De Shon Love, Sr., West Covina
RB Steve Garcia, Sr., West Covina’
RB Andrew Coronado, Jr., Walnut
WR Renee McGowan, Sr., Wlanut
WR Austin Cox, Jr., Diamond Bar
WR Daniel Garcia, Jr., Diamond Ranch
K Brandon Paisley, Sr., Rowland

Second team defense
DL Keandre Johnson, Sr., Diamond Bar
DL Zory McThomas, Sr., Diamond Ranch
DL Ashton Lizarraga, Sr., Walnut
DL Chris Kirchgrabber, Sr., Diamond Ranch
LB Christian Zambrano, Jr., Diamond Ranc
LB Josh Sanchez, Sr., Diamond Bar
LB Damien Ibarra, Jr., West Covina
LB Jacob Karrim, Sr., Bonita
LB Noah Montoya, Sr., Bonita
DB Chris Torres, Sr., Diamond Bar
DB Tyler Brown, Sr., Diamond Bar
DB Isaiah Love, Soph., West Covina
DB Justin Berry, Sr., Diamond Ranch
DB Daniel Valdez, Jr., Los Altos.

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