Colony football wins without high profile college prospects

Last year the Colony Titans cruised to a CIF Southern Section Central Division championship. One would think that meant coach Steve Randall sent a lot of players on to Division I schools. Not so.

Colony (12-2), which won its last nine games of the season, didn’t have a single player that continued on to a high-profile school. Was it because they didn’t make the grade academically? Not at all.

They just had a lot of seniors that didn’t pass the old “eye test.” They were players that didn’t measure up to the physical stature the bigger schools are looking for.

That doesn’t mean Colony hasn’t sent players to major colleges. Samajie Grant has emerged as a key player at Arizona.

But the Titans have made their living off having blue-collar players that buy into their role and worked well into the framework of the team concept.  Does it make the coach’s job more rewarding? Absolutely!

“It does kind of tell us that what we’re doing is working,” Randall said. “A lot of the teams we beat last year have those marquee players. So we’re doing something right.”

Randall passes much of the credit on to his senior quarterback Josh Thompson, who is quiet by nature, but leads by example. He’s one of those guys that fits into the “not passing the eye test” category.

He has thrown for 4,465 yards and 37 touchdowns with just nine interceptions in the last two years. Those numbers should garner a little bit of a look. But he’s one of those 5-foot-10 guys and that’s a bit small for a quarterback. Schools aren’t looking at the intangibles such as toughness and poise under pressure.

He injured his shoulder the next to last game of the regular season and was thought to be done for the season. He worked hard, came back and got a bit of playing time in the semifinal. Then led his team to the win in the title game.

Most of the interest Thompson has drawn thus far has been from Ivy League schools and he has the grades to get in.

“He has said about four words in three years here,” Randall joked. “But he doesn’t get rattled and our guys feed off that. They feel like he’s in control and they’re in control too. That showed a lot last year in the way he handled his injury.”

As far as other possible major college players, Randall says senior defensive back Khalil Dorsey and linebacker Devon Harper are the most likely candidates. But Dorsey, who was fifth in the state in the 100 hurdles during spring track season, is listed as 5-9, and Harper is just 6-0.

Time will tell. But colleges that aren’t snatching up some of these athletes are missing out.

 

 

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Colony football team aiming to defend Central title

Some say it’s harder to stay at the top than get to the top. Count Colony High School football coach Steve Randall among those who agrees.

“You’re on everyone’s radar when you’re the defending champion,” he said. “We’re not going to sneak up on anyone.”

Well the Titans (12-2) are confronting the challenge of defending head on. They’re playing as tough a non-league schedule as you’ll see so they should be prepared by the time Mt.Baldy League play rolls around.

The Titans graduated 30 or so seniors, with a dozen of those being significant impact players.

Leading the returning cast is senior quarterback Josh Thompson, who has thrown for 4,465 yards and 37 touchdowns in the last two years. He separated his shoulder later in the regular season and was thought to be lost for the season only to return for the title game against Los Altos.

“He worked really hard in the off-season to get stronger,” Randall said. “He has looked good. We’re looking for more good things out of him this season.”

Some of the other vital cogs in the offense are gone. Look for Fred Harrison to shoulder some of the load carried by the departed Ryan Kinard with Tyrone Hatchett pitching in as well. Senior Tre Bland and sophomroe newcomer Oscar Noyola will be among the big bodies up front clearing the way.

Hugo Malana and Marcos Valencia headline the receiving core.

The offense will be a bit different this season. Chalk that up to the departure of offensive coordinator Kevin Davis who left for the head position at Etiwanda.

Randall says his team will not go up-tempo all the time as it did last year. Instead it will pick and choose its spots. Thompson will also be more over center as opposed to in shotgun formation.

“I like going up-tempo but it hurt as at times,” Randall said. “So we’ll be more conventional at times.”

Randall singles out the defensive line as the team’s strong suit. Returner Tyrique Faatiglia will head the effort along with a couple of newcomers in junior Jacob Chagolla.

Other key defenders include defensive back Khalil Dorsey, who had 11 interceptions last year, as well as newcomer Dallas Trena and linebacker Elijah Arellano.

The Titans begin defense of their title on Aug. 28 with an opener at West Covina, a foe that made it to the second round of the playoffs a year ago.

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Colony football team bracing for tough preseason foes

Colony celebrates after defeating Los Altos 35-7 during a CIF Southern Section Championship football game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

The Colony High School football team had quite the storybook season in 2014, marching all the way to the CIF Central Division title game where it completely dismantled Los Altos in a finale that was over by halftime.

Much of the reason the Titans accomplished that was that they played a tough slate of non-league foes. Among those Pomona, who won a CIF title in the Mid-Valley Division.

Well it isn’t going to be an easy road this year either.

Coach Steve Randall may have graduated 30 seniors but that didn’t mean he was going to scale back the schedule. It may be even tougher.

“I like to schedule tough teams but I am a little concerned this year,” he said. “It will be a real challenge. Hopefully we get through it healthy.”

The Titan opponents will include West Covina, Alemany, Bishop Amat, La Habra and Riverside Poly.

Those teams were a combined 44-16 last year and all but one made the playoffs. The one that didn’t, Alemany, played in a tough league and finished fourth.

Riverside Poly is coming off a 13-1 season that included a narrow 36-31 loss to Redlands East Valley in the Inland title game. Of course REV went on to win a state title. So that easily could have been Poly.

Bishop Amat lost a semifinal playoff game by one point to perennial title contender Corona Centennial. That says it all right there.  Amat is expected to be the top team in the San Gabriel Area and possibly in the entire division.

The other aren’t too shabby either. La Habra is one of only two teams to beat the Titans last year, doing so by a 45-27 score.

It will also be quite the start because although the Titans have a quarterback returning in Josh Thompson, they do have a new offensive coordinator and a few additions to the coaching staff as well. Previous offensive coordinator Kevin Davis left for the head job at Etiwanda, taking a few of Randall’s other assistants with him.

“We’re going to know right away where we stand,” Randall said. “If we have any flaws they will be exposed.”

 

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NFL stars Bobby Wagner and Omar Bolden host football camp at Colony High

Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks and Omar Bolden of the Denver Broncos will host their second annual youth football camp at Colony High School this Saturday:

Both Bolden and Wagner are alumni of Colony High.

The duo will always bring a number of their close friends and teammates from around the NFL to participate such as Von Miller (Broncos), Corona Centennial High alum Vontaze Burfict (Bengals) and Mt. SAC alum Bruce Irving (Seahawks).

The event will feature two age groups with the first group, ages 7-10, starting at 8 a.m. and the second group, ages 11-14, starting at noon.

Those willing to attend the event are asked to sign up at FreeIEcamps@gmail.com. A total of 400 have already reportedly signed up. Walk-in will be accepted if there are no shows.

Campers will work with the NFL players in various football drills before receiving a backpack with school supplies. 
For live updates and times follow along at

Twitter/Periscope: @JHWreporter | #IEfbCamp

Snapchat: IEsports

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Josh Thompson to get start for Colony in title game

Colony football coach Steve Randall and offensive coordinator Kevin Davis had a huge decision on their hands this week as the Titans prep for the CIF title game against Los Altos on Saturday at Cerritos College.

The debate? Which quarterback to go with in the big game. The options – junior Josh Thompson the starter as a sophomore as well as this year until he sustained a broken collarbone in the ninth game of the regular season.

Or senior Jordan Johnson, who took over when Thompson got injured and did an admirable job getting his team to the title game.

Randall ended the speculation, saying on Thursday it would be Thompson, although there would be some packages in which Johnson would also be in.

It was the right decision. If your starter is ready to play you go with him. He was the starter for a reason.

Thompson played the second half of last week’s game which helped shake off the rust and probably made the decision this week easier.

The good news for the Titans? They have a game sharp backup that is prepared if necessary.

Both quarterbacks have handled the situation with class, each helping the other for the betterment of the team.

Here’s what each had to say earlier this week when the job was up for grabs.

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Colony quarterback Josh Thompson likely done for season

The Colony High School football team is ranked No. 2 in the Central Division and was hopeful for another extended playoff run this season. But those hopes took a hit when junior quarterback Josh Thompson sustained a broken collarbone in Thursday’s 35-17 Mt. Baldy League win over Don Lugo.

The injury happened on the first drive but Thompson tried to play through another before telling his coaches he didn’t feel right.

“It was a play he got hit on but it wasn’t some bone-crushing it or anything like that,” Titans coach Steve Randall said. “It didn’t seem like a big deal.”

Thompson was the leading passer in the area, having thrown for 1,903 yards and 14 touchdowns with four interceptions. He has run for another 106 yards and six touchdowns.

If there is a silver lining , it is that senior backup Jordan Johnson got almost a full game in and directed the team to a win. The Titans close out the regular season next week against Montclair which doesn’t mean much since the Titans clinched a league title last night.

No one had heard of Thompson last year when he took over for an injured Jonathan Trucks.

Johnson had been battling Thompson for the backup role last year so he is a veteran in the program.

Randall is now glad his team played on Thursday so his team has a couple days to regroup. He said he won’t change anything with a different quarterback in charge.

“I just don’t believe that’s the best thing to do,” he said. “We have a couple days to collect ourselves and get ready. Injuries happen. They’re part of the game.”

 

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Colony football players settle on college destinations

Five Colony football players have settled on colleges.

The group is led by wide receiver Kyle Curry, who is staying relatively close to home at Division II Azusa Pacific. He caught 84 passes for 1,017 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning Mt. Baldy Most Valuable Player honors. He was also a first-team All-Inland Valley selection.

The other four are offensive linemen Hakiteli Tuivai (Western New Mexico) and Carlos Robles (Citrus), linebacker Brendan Hadley (Citrus) and running back Devan Imbach (Citrus).

Hadley and Imbach seemed worthy of more looks from four-year schools, but Titans coach Steve Randall said size was an issue for both, leading them to go the community college route.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Imbach rushed for 1,136 yards and 13 touchdowns on 172 carries and caught 17 passes for 208 yards, while Hadley, at 5-9, and 175 pounds, tallied 141 tackles.

The quartet propelled Colony to a 9-4 record, highlighted by a Mt. Baldy League title. The Titans advanced to the CIF Central Division semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion Heritage 57-31.

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