Chino Hills football team looking to rebuild after major departures

Chino Hills' Bradley Davis (27), right, gets by the diving tackle attempt of Norco's Michael Porter (6), left, during Friday night's game at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, CA Friday, September 30, 2016. (Photo by Mark Dustin for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Wide receiver Bradley Davis is one of just two returning starters on offense for the Huskies.

The Chino Hills football team is used to challenging for a Baseline League title. This year that goal might be a little difficult.

Not only are Rancho Cucamonga and Upland loaded as usual but the Huskies (6-5, 3-2) graduated the majority of their starters on both sides of the ball. So it will be up to a completely new cast of players.

“The good thing about that is we have a lot of seniors that are really hungry for a chance to play because they sat behind some very good players,.” Coach Chris Stevens says. “They’re going to have their chance now.”

Among those departing are the athletes that made up the offensive and defensive lines that have been the foundation for success the last three years.

Huskies mascot photo.

On offense the only returning starters are junior running back Water Carl III and senior wide receiver Bradley Davis. Carl rushed for  1,391 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a sophomore, earning Inland Valley Newcomer of the Year accolades.

Davis caught 25 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns.

Stevens had hoped to have senior running back Sean O’Donnell back in the fold but a knee injury he sustained the first game of last season has yet to heal completely and his status is till up in the air.

There are two newcomers fighting for the quarterback spot -senior  James Linn, a transfer from Ayala, and junior Braydon Fawcett, a transfer from JW North.

Among those looking for time at wide receiver are seniors Anthony Cole and Curtis Smith and  junior Gio Isles.

Returning starters on defense are linebackers Frankie Flores, Mickey Rosales and Justin Barcenas – all seniors.

Other key contributors will be senior inside linebacker Jake Michael and senior nose guard Matt Fonomoiana.

“We’re definitely the underdog this year and that;’s OK,” Stevens said. “We have a lot of players that are unproven so far but we think we can surprise some people.”

Aug. 25 – Ayala
Sept 1 – Diamond Ranch
Sept. 8 – At Newport Harbor
Sept. 15 – At Elsinore
Sept. 29 – At Norco
Oct. 6 – At Damien
Oct. 13- Etiwanda
Oct. 20 – At Upland
Oct. 27 – Los Osos
Nov. 3- at Rancho Cucamona

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Chino Hills defender Grant Trueman will sign with San Diego

Chino Hills defensive lineman Grant Trueman plans to sign with NCAA Division I University of San Diego.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder has been to the school twice on unofficial visits but will take his official trip this weekend and probably sign then.

He also had offers from Ivy League schools Columbia and Cornell as well as Valparaiso and Stetson (Fla.), which are in the same conference with San Diego, and West Point.

“The campus there is unbelievable and the academics are second to none,” he said. “The football program is also very good so it had everything I was looking for.”

Trueman is a two-time first-team All-Baseline League selection and a two-time All-Inland Valley selection. Last year he managed 87 tackles, including 14 sacks. He was also the team’s kicker.

As a junior he was an integral player for a team that won a league title and got all the way to the CIF semifinals before losing to eventual champion Mission Viejo.

He singled out a win over Upland as the highlight of his senior season.

Trueman is also playing on the varsity basketball team which is undefeated.



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Chino Hills defensive standout Max Masad picks Concordia

Chino Hills defensive back Max Masad is headed from Southern California to the cold weather climate of Minnesota.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder has committed to NCAA Division II Concordia-St. Paul after visiting that school last weekend. He also took trips to Division II Dixie State (Utah) and Division I Sacramento State.

MasadHe doesn’t expect the cold temperatures to be a problem.

“I kind of wanted to get out of California,” he said. “I think it will be a nice change.”

Masad was a three-year starter for the Huskies, last year helping the team to a 6-4 regular season. He was a first team All-Baseline League and second team All-Inland Valley selection by the Daily Bulletin.

He registered 90 total tackles with four for a loss, one interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

Academics were also a factor as Masad plans to major in criminal justice and the school has a program in that field.

The Golden Bears are coming off a 2-9 season.

“I am excited about the opportunity both athletically and academically,” he said. “I think I can go there and possibly play right away.”


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Chino Hills loses running back Sean O’Donnell for season

A damper was put on Chino Hills’ game against Legacy (Col.) even before the opening  kickoff as the Huskies learned Thursday afternoon that junior running back Sean O’Donnell is lost for the season with a torn ACL sustained in the season opener against Ayala two weeks ago.

O’Donnell tallied 15 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown before limping off with the knee injury in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs.

He had an X-ray the Monday after the game, then had and MRI later in the week but the result didn’t come until today.

The Huskies defeated Legacy (Col.) 28-24 Thursday night with sophomore Walter Carl running for 117 yards on 18 carries.

Carl had 130 against Ayala and 95 last week against Diamond Ranch.

Noah Rigney, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass, had a carry for nine yards in the most recent win but no one else factored into the rushing total.

Huskies coach Chris Stevens conceded that he’ll have to come up with another ball carrier. Chino Hills has a bye next week to figure out just who that will be.

“It hurts our depth,” Stevens said of the injury. “They were a pretty good 1-2 punch. We definitely need someone else to help out there so it’s a good time to have that bye.



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Chino Hills football team to play Colorado opponent on Thursday

Chino Hills Football

Chino Hills will play Legacy High School out of Bloomfield, Col. tonight at 7:30 p.m. A junior varsity game between the two is set for 3:15, thus the later than normal start for the varsity.

That game was set up before Chris Stevens was named Huskies head coach. He said the game was set up through a travel agency that connects out of state foes with California teams with scheduling openings based on comparable factors such as school enrollment and demographics.

Part of the deal is that teams play on Thursday so the weekend is left free for sightseeing before departure on Sunday.

“It is always fun to play someone different,” he said.

Stevens added that junior running back Sean O’Donnell is still out with a knee injury. Offensive lineman Connor Garcelli, who sprained a knee in the same game two weeks ago, will be a game-day decision.

What could factor in is that next week the Huskies (2-0) have a bye so that would give each player another two weeks to heal.

Stevens also praised the recent play of senior quarterback Austin Zavala and senior linebacker Dylan Tucker.

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Chino Hills football team already dealing with key injuries

It might be one game into the season but Chino Hills is already dealing with a couple of injuries that could loom large.

Senior offensive lineman Connor Garcelli and junior running back Sean O’Donnell both sustained knee injuries in Friday’s 19-7 victory over cross-town rival Ayala.

Head coach Chris Stevens says O’Donnell will definitely be out and he’ll have other tests, possibly and MRI, this week.

The injury to Garcelli, a preseason All-Inland Valley selection, looks less severe. Stevens says Garcelli wants to play against Diamond Ranch on Friday and probably could if the game were significant but he is leaning toward holding the 6-foot-3, 275-pound tackle out so the injury doesn’t become a lingering one that Garcelli will have to play through all season.

If Garcelli can’t go, the start would go to sophomore Caleb Shockey.

O’Donnell ran for 77 yards on 15 carries in the opener, With him out more of the load might fall on the team’s other back, sophomore Walter Carl, who ran for 130 yards on 19 tries.

“They are both good kids and they want to play but we have to look at the bigger picture,” Stevens said. “We need to have them healthy in the long run.”

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Ayala to start freshman quarterback in Battle of the Bone

The Ayala football team hasn’t beaten crosstown rival Chino Hills since 2009 and last year it was ugly – 31-0. The Huskies lead the young series 9-3.

There are new coaches on each side with Chris Stevens now heading Chino Hills and A.J. Gracia in charge at Ayala.

The quarterbacks will be a compelling storyline as Chino Hills will start Austin Zavala, a transfer from Ayala.

Meanwhile Ayala will be starting a freshman – Cole McCain, son of assistant coach Matt McCain. Gracia said it was a tough battle with McCain pushed by junior James Linn but in the end he went with the youngster.

“It was a battle all the way and they competed for it,” Gracia said.  “Cole just kind of separated himself in the end.”

Linn is still going to be a factor though, starting at safety.

Here’s a rundown of the scores in the series:

2015 – Chino Hills 31, Ayala 0
2014 – Did not play
2013 – Chino Hills 52, Ayala 28
2012 – Chino Hills 49, Ayala 34
2011 – Chino Hills 40, Ayala 17
2010 – Chino Hills 36, Ayala 8
2009 – Chino Hills 14, Ayala 7
2008 – Ayala 18, Chino Hills 17
2007 – Ayala 19, Chino Hills 10
2006 – Chino Hills 42, Ayala 21
2005 – Chino Hills 20, Ayala 7
2004 – Chino Hills 21, Ayala 16
2003 – Ayala 21, Chino Hills 17

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Catching up with new Chino Hills football coach Chris Stevens . . .

It has been quite a season of turnover in the high school football coaching ranks. Perhaps the most interesting change has come at Chino Hills were veteran Chris Stevens has taken over for Matt Bechtel who led the Huskies to a Baseline League title and West Valley Division semifinal berth a year ago.

Stevens had most recently coached at Monrovia but welcomed the chance to return to the Inland Valley, admitting that the commute from his Chino home to Monrovia got tiresome.

He has had the spring to become familiar with his personnel. Just what does he think and what has he done differently?

“It was a great spring,” he said. “We won’t necessarily be running a new offense we’ll just look to take it up-tempo a bit. We’re going to be quicker on the ball and try and get more plays off.”

Stevens kept many of the coaches previously on the staff under Bechtel, including line coaches Scott Smith and Paul Garcelli and running backs coach Larry Moore, who did not coach last year but had been on staff before.

Among the others are Walter Ford, who had coached defensive backs but will be the defensive coordinator, as well as Jose Espinzoa (wide receivers) and Tony Gomez (defensive line).

Among those jumping on board will be Scott Calles, a former player at the school who will help with wide receivers. Other newcomers include Ryan Marquez (linebackers), Trevin Loza, outside linebackers), both from Ayala.

The new playoff groupings were recently announced and Chino Hills was at the top end of Division 2 while league foes Upland and Rancho Cucamonga are in Division 1 with some real powerhouse teams such as Corona Centennial and St. John Bosco.

What does Stevens think of that?

“Division 1 is going to be tough,” he said. “Those are teams that never have a down year. They just keep reloading. We’re happy to be where we’re at.”

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Chino Hills’ Josh Zappala signs with University of San Diego

Defensive back Josh Zappala of Chino Hills is the first player from the Huskies to decide on a college, signing with University of San Diego while on his visit there this weekend.

Zappala was a pivotal player for the Huskies (10-3) who went undefeated in Baseline League play and advanced to the West division semifinal before losing to No. 1 and eventual champion Mission Viejo.

“It had everything I wanted,” Zappala said. “It’s a good education, a good football program. And it’s close enough to home but not home.”

Zappala also took visits to Cornell and Division II Azusa Pacific.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder  managed 59 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery. He was a second team All-Baseline League selection.

Zappala is carrying a 3.83 grade-point average and plans to major in biology.

San Diego is coming off a 9-2 season that included a 7-1 mark in conference play.


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Baseline League honors: Football

Offensive MVP’s – Curtis Price, Sr., Chino Hills; Dylan Thigpen, Sr., Damien; Aaron Manning, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga

Defensive MVP – William Hackenberg, Sr., Chino Hills

First team offense
QB Caleb Arreola, Sr., Chino Hills
QB Angel Matute, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
QB Andrew Kanatsky, Sr., Etiwanda
QB Warren Bryan, Soph., Damien
RB Nathan Tilford, Jr., Upland
RB Donovan Williams, Sr., Los Osos
RB Darreyon Jones, Sr., Upland
WR Noah Gutierrez, Sr., Etiwanda
TE Tavoi Hoching, Sr., Upland
OL R.J. Stripling, Jr., Chino Hills
OL Matt Kivler, Sr., Chino Hills
OL Liam Ryan, Sr., Damien
OL Ray Matelau, Sr., Upland
OL Cohl Cabral, Sr., Los Osos
OL Nathan Thomas, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
K Matthew Amrhein, Sr., Damien

First team defense
CB Jaylan Brown, Sr., Chino Hills
CB Cameron Record, Sr., Damien
CB Jaylon Redd, Jr., Rancho Cucamonga
S Kendall Greer, Sr., Etiwanda
LB Anthony Rosales, Sr., Chino Hills
LB Dylan Tucker, Jr., Chino Hills
LB Cole McCarty, Sr., Upland
LB Bryce Youngquist, Sr., Los Osos
LB Cameron Smith, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
DL Grant Trueman, Jr., Chino Hills
DL Kelon Ferdinand, Sr., Upland
DL Lane Haywood, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga

Second team offense
RB Grady O’Donnell, Sr., Chino Hills
RB Kamari Pleasant, Sr., Etiwanda
WR Vos Price, Jr., Chino Hills
WR Joshua Keith, Sr., Etiwanda
WR David Farmer, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
OL Miles Dutton, Sr., Los Osos
OL Jonah Latu, Jr., Rancho Cucamonga
OL Connor Garcelli, Jr., Chino Hills
OL Austin Evans, Sr., Damien
OL Evander Achan, Sr., Damien
OL Ratu Faupula, Sr., Upland
OL Siani Malere, Jr., Upland

Second team defense
DB Josh Zappala, Sr., Chino Hills
SS Craig Worthley, Sr., Chino Hills
SS Darrial Busby, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
CB Thomas Graham, Jr., Rancho Cucamonga
LB Sione Piutau, Jr., Upland
LB Semisi Pahulu, Jr., Upland
LB Mikael Fakhoury, Sr., Los Osos
LB Mikey Rosales, Soph., Chino Hills
LB Nicholas Provenzano, Sr., Damien
LB Aidan Anderson, Sr., Etiwanda
DL Oscar Burgueno, Jr., Chino Hills
DL Isikeli Otuafi, Sr., Upland
DL Sosaia Sekeni, Sr., Upland
DL Mason Vega, Sr., Los Oso
DL Johnny Latu, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga

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