Damien offensive lineman Liam Ryan attracting offers

Damien High School senior Liam Ryan always thought his future was in basketball because it was the sport he played the most growing up. He only played one year of youth football.

But his sophomore year then-basketball coach Matt Dunn sat him down and told him otherwise. The popular coach, who recently moved over to St. John Bosco, told Ryan he should really think more seriously about football.

Dunn turned out to be right. While Ryan was a starter for a Damien basketball team that won a Division 3 state title earlier this spring, he was more of a role player than anything else.

Meanwhile his stock continues to rise on the gridiron. Ryan, a 6-foot-6, 270-pounder, already has nine offers and we’re still a month away from the first game.

“It really was kind of a surprise. I always thought of myself as a basketball player first,” he said. “I only played one year of Junior All-American football.”

Of course, good offensive lineman aren’t easy to find.

So far Ryan has attracted offers from Washington State, San Jose State, Sacramento State, New Mexico, Nevada, Air Force, Fresno State, San Diego State and Eastern Washington.

The first offer came from Eastern Washington in early May. The week after that he got three more.  That’s when it all sunk in.

“When I got the first it was great because it let me know things were going in the right direction. Then I got three more the next week and it was really kind of overwhelming,”

Ryan hasn’t taken any official visits yet but he is starting to look seriously at his options. He plans to visit Fresno State, San Jose State, Sacramento State and Nevada next week.

A good season this year will land him even more opportunities and with the Spartans playing in the Baseline League for the second year, there will be plenty of opportunities to be seen by higher profile schools.

The Spartans will boast one of the area’s top running backs in Dylan Thigpen so Ryan will be among those up front clearing the way for him.

“I’m really excited for this season,” he said. “I think we’re going to be better and surprise some people.”

 

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Damien looking for better showing second year in Baseline

The Baseline League is noted for tough competition top to bottom, no matter what the sport. But when it comes to football there are few better.

Damien was thrown into the mix last year. It was tough going for the Spartans who settled for fifth, finishing 4-6 overall and 1-4 in league play with that lone win coming over Los Osos.

They’re hoping for a better showing the second time around.

“We definitely learned a lot,” third-year coach Mark Paredes said. “We knew going in that all the teams were good and we had to rise to the challenge. Our guys really know now what they will be up against every week.”

Dylan Thigpen

Paredes and the Spartans do have two strong factors weighing in their favor and both are on the offensive side of the ball. Senior running back Dylan Thigpen is coming off a season that saw him rush for 1,254 yards and 12 touchdowns, which earned him first-team All-Inland Valley honors. He just got his first offer from Idaho.

Liam Ryan

The Spartans also have a couple offensive linemen returning, the most notable being senior Liam Ryan, a 6-foot-6, 270-pounder who also played center for the state championship basketball team in the spring. He has a handful of offers from eight schools including Washington State.

Paredes is also excited about the showing of senior guard Evander Achen.

Last year the veteran coach used two quarterbacks – Will Bryan and Mark Boragine. He has settled on the sophomore Bryan as the starter, with Boragine being his backup but also seeing time at wide receiver.

The Spartans also have a couple of receivers who should figure prominently in seniors Chris Gregg and Cameron Record.

The defense will be led by senior linebackers Nicholas Provenzano and Andrew Hernandez.

The defensive line is the biggest concern right now.

“We’re a lot smaller there,” he said. “That’s not to say we don’t have good players there but we’re smaller and more inexperienced.”

The Spartans open the new season on Sept. 4 against Eastvale Roosevelt, which was just 2-8 last year. The first Baseline contest will be at home on Oct. 9 against Rancho Cucamonga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sierra League football honors

Athletes of the Year – Adam Goss, Sr., South Hills; Donavin Washington, Sr., Charter Oak; Eric Prevost, Sr., Charter Oak.
Offensive MVP – Zion Echols, Soph., Charter Oak
Defensive MVP – Trent Goens, Soph., Chino Hills

First team offense
QB Brian Meyette, Sr., Ayala
RB Kory Brown, Sr, Charter Oak
RB Brysen Charbonier, Jr., Chino Hills
RB Cecil Fleming, Sr., Claremont
RB Dylan Thigpen, Soph., Damien
OL Jordan Austin, Sr., Claremont
OL Ray Fathauer, Sr., Damien
OL Mike Green, Sr., Chino Hills
OL Alex Haston, Sr., Charter Oak
OL Dominic Johnson, Sr., South Hills
OL Tate Larson, Sr., Damien
WR Josh Dozal, Sr., Ayala
WR Chazz Eldridge, Sr., Chino Hills
WR Baron Franklin, Sr., Claremont
WR D’Angelo Ross, Sr., South Hills
WR Donovan Walker, Sr., Chino Hills
K Tristan Vizcaino, Sr., Damian
ST Tanner Carew, Sr., Damien

First team defense
DB Philip Afia, Jr., Ayala
DB Leroy Cloud, Sr., Damien
DB Carlos Delgado, Sr., South Hills
DB Chazz Eldridge, Sr., Chino Hills
DB Candy Nava, Sr., Charter Oak
LB Mason Behr, Sr., South Hills
LB Jose Bonilla, Sr., Charter Oak
LB Matt Chavez, Sr., South Hills
LB Josh Ferrer, Sr., Claremont
LB Nick Markarian, Jr., Ayala
LB Luke McKay, Jr., Chino Hills
LB Jason Ortiz, Jr., Charter Oak
LB Joe Provenzano, Sr., Damien
LB Anthony Rosales, Soph., Chino Hills
DL David Apodaca, Sr., Charter Oak
DL Khylan Brooks, Sr., Charter Oak
DL Matt Daley, Sr., Damien
DL Ryan Rodriguez, Sr., South Hills
DL Patrick Sanchez, Jr., Damien

Second team offense
QB Daniel Martinez, Sr., Chino Hills
RB Lawon Carney, Sr., South Hills
RB James Carter, Jr., Ayala
RB Craig Myers, Sr., Claremont
RB Brian Phelan, Jr., Ayala
OL Clay Garcelli, Jr., Chino Hills
OL Nico Jaffe, Sr., Claremont
OL Andrew Leadingham, Sr., South Hills
OL Parker Blakeslee, Sr., Claremont
OL Oscar Perez, Sr., Charter Oak
OL Andrew Posner, Sr., Ayala
WR Brandon Burnhem, Sr., Claremont
WR Carlos Delgado, Sr., South Hills
WR Andrew Herber, Sr., Chino Hills
WR Mackenzie Sternquist, Jr., Damien
WR Elijah Taylor, Sr., Chino Hills
K Tristan Gonzalez, Sr., South Hills

Second team defense
DB Alfonso Basurto, Sr., Ayala
DB Todd Green, Sr., Charter Oak
DB Tyrus Lineberger, Jr., Chino Hills
DB D’Angelo Ross, Sr., South Hills
DB Cameron Tyus, Sr., Claremont
LB Jacob Adams, Sr., Damien
LB Cody Darrow, Soph., Ayala
LB Stephen Schaap, Sr., Ayala
LB James Stephens, Sr., Claremont
LB Addison Whitham, Sr., Claremont
LB Conner Wilson, Soph., Chino Hills
DL Elijah Campbell, Jr., Ayala
DL Nick Carrillo, Sr., South Hills
DL Isaiah Flowers, Soph., Ayala
DL Nico Jaffe, Sr., Claremont
DL JP Lanathoua, Jr., Chino Hills

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