Ganesha football program hopes to continue its progress

Ganesha quarterback John Mosqueda is taken down by Pomona's Javaris Steward and Brian Lamb at Pomona High School in Pomona, CA., Friday, October 16, 2015. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Senior quarterback John Mosqueda is the top returning player for a Ganesha team looking to make the playoffs.

The Ganesha football program has made great strides under coach Don Cayer. The Giants just missed a playoff berth last year but the potential to get one the coming fall appears to be there.

“We have some young players with a lot of potential,” Cayer said. “You never know how quickly those guys are going to catch on but I really like the pieces we have. We could surprise some people.”

The curtain comes up on the new season on Aug. 26 with Ganesha playing host to Mark Keppel, a school out of Alhambra coming off an 0-10 season.

The Giants were 7-3 overall and placed third in the Miramonte League at 2-2. Normally the top three in each league advance to the playoffs but the Miramonte is just a five-team league and the CIF had the option to take just two which it did.

It was a devastating blow for Cayer, who was looking to snap the school’s 24-year playoff drought in the sport.

“We thought we did enough to get in but other people had other ideas,” Cayer said. “This year we hope to finish in the top two so it isn’t an issue.”

Much of the room for optimism is the return of senior quarterback John Mosqueda, who threw for 858 yards last year.

Cayer also thinks Mosqueda has more talent surrounding him this year.  Among the other veterans are senior wide receiver-defensive back Albert Louis and senior Kenny Johnson was was moved around to different positions but looks to be a major contributor at running back.

Among the promising newcomers are Alonzo Arce, a freshman slated to start at middle linebacker, and wide receiver Jacques Wilborn, a junior who has moved around to different schools but looks to  have found a home at Ganesha.

The influx of young talent is the result for Cayer, also the school’s athletic director, working the pipeline from Marshall Middle School, Ganesha’s primary feeder school. his objective: to make sure the kids that should come to his school actually do so instead of going elsewhere.

Defending champion Pomona still appears to be the team to beat in league play but the Red Devils graduated most of their key players and there appears to be balance through the rest of the league.

Ganesha was put in Division 13 along with 84 other schools in the the new CIF alignments. That is the bottom division. Cayer said many of his assistant coaches were offended by that placement but he is taking it in stride and looking at it as incentive.

“When you look at what we have done, or not done. Where else would they put us?” he said. “We haven’t made the playoffs in more than 20 years. It’s up to us to go out there and prove we need to be placed higher.”


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Little drama left in Miramonte League in football playoff picture

Ganesha quarterback John Mosqueda is taken down by Pomona's Javaris Steward and Brian Lamb at Pomona High School in Pomona, CA., Friday, October 16, 2015. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

There is very little left up for grabs come Friday night in the Miramonte League.

Reigning CIF champion Pomona (7-2, 3-0) is already assured of at least a share of the league title and since it has already beaten Bassett (6-3, 3-1) it has secured the top seeding out of the league as well.

Pomona will be finishing the regular season with a home game against La Puente (3-6, 1-2) Friday night.

The Red Devils, ranked fourth in the Mid-Valley Division, have won five straight games. Throw out the forfeit win against Garey and Pomona has outscored its last four foe by a cumulative 230-44. It has been ridiculously easy.

Ganesha (6-3, 1-2) is the team still on the bubble but with the easiest game left. The Giants have a road game at Garey (1-8, 0-3) and can assure themselves third place with a victory because even if La Puente was to upset Pomona, Ganesha beat La Puente head to head.

A third-place team in the five-team league is not guaranteed a playoff berth but Ganesha coach Don Cayer says he has it on good authority that if his team wins it will be in because there are four at-large berths in the division.

Ganesha hasn’t made the playoffs since 1997 and hasn’t won six games since the same year. If there is any danger of the Giants looking past their city rival they need to look back only as far as last year when they were in similar situation and lost to Garey 19-7.

“There is definitely unfinished business,” Cayer said. “Our guys haven’t forgotten.”

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Improving Ganesha football team looking to move to 5-1

Don’t look now but the Ganesha Giants are 4-1 with a good probability of making that 5-1 when they host winless Western Christian for Homecoming on Friday

Coach Don Cayer’s team was 4-6 a year ago so the prospect of a winning season is welcomed. Cayer isn’t getting too far ahead of himself because last year the Giants were 4-2, only to lose their last four games of the season.

The measuring stick is that Cayer’s schedule is the same as last year with the exception of one team so he thinks he can assess where his team stands.

“The big difference is last year we were 4-2 and we could have been 2-4,” he said, noting two 7-6 wins. “This year we’re beating these teams convincingly. For the first time in a long time here we have games on the schedule we should win.”

Junior quarterback John Mosqueda has led the resurgence. He has passed for 404 yards but is the leading rusher as well. After that it has been a successful running back by committee with seniors Anthony Longsworth, Mauriyon O’Brien and Jaylon Dean, with Dean also an integral factor on the other side of the ball.

The receiving core is also a balanced one.

The Giants start Miramonte League play on Oct. 9 against Bassett which also also provide a litmus test. Last year Ganesha lost to Bassett 42-0 and it came on the heels of a loss to Garey.

“We couldn’t have been any flatter that game than if we had been plowed over by steamroller,” Cayer said. “Playing them the first game will tell us exactly where we stand.”

Cayer still singles out Pomona as the team to beat.

“The graduated some players but they’re still the big dog until someone knocks them off.”


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Ganesha football program taking small steps forward

When you’re football program isn’t steeped in tradition, you have to appreciate the smaller signs of progress. Such is the case with the Ganesha Giants.

Coach Don Cayer’s team improved from 3-7 in 2013 to 4-6 last fall. But they were also more competitive in games they lost.

Unfortunately modest improvement could have been more significant improvement but Ganesha lost the last four games after a 4-2 start.

Ganesha Football

“After awhile you get sick of being everyone’s doormat,” Cayer said. “We don’t talk about wins and losses. It’s about improvement and getting better each day. If  you do that hopefully it shows in the win column.”

There are other small signs of progress that haven’t shown up in the win column yet. Cayer is excited about his incoming freshman class and the number of players coming from his feeder schools who aren’t going elsewhere.

Also, Cayer, who also serves as the school’s athletic director, says his team had three home games where the team drew 1,000 spectators.

“It may not sound like much to some but I remember games when I was an assistant and you could count the number of people in the stands at kickoff,” he said.

The biggest on-field problem with the team last year was offense. Two of the games the team won were by the score of 7-6. Most troublesome was the offensive line. In fact it was such a sore spot that Cayer has taken over responsibility for the part of the team this year.

“Now it’s solely my fault if it’s still an issue,” he said.

The good news is that Cayer has nine returning starters on offense are seniors.  One of those who is not a senior is junior quarterback John Mosqueda, one of the players in the revolving door at that position last year.

Cayer admits Mosqueda just wasn’t ready last year but he tried everyone out of necessity and likes the improvement he has seen him thus far.

The strength of the offense appears to be wide receiver with a core that includes senior Marcione Harvey, Brian Chisholm, Albert Lewis and marcus Cooper. Harvey was in the program as an underclassmen, but moved to Arizona briefly, only to return before the school year was over. He is the speedster in the bunch.

Jimmy Lopez and Anthony Longsworth, both seniors, should see time in the backfield.

There will be several players seeing action on both sides of the ball with Longsworth and Chisholm also doing time in the secondary.

The top performer should be senior linebacker Mauriyon O’Brien, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder whom Cayer says is drawing Division I interest.

Seniors Miguel Puentes and Samuel Davis will be on both sides of the line.

The schedule has been downgraded a bit with San Gabriel and Western Christian the new foes. The season begins on Aug. 28 at Mark Keppel, a team the Giants defeated last year.

The first home game will be the following week, Sept. 4, against Gladstone. Those were the two teams the Giants beat 7-6 last year.

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Cayer named athletic director at Ganesha

Don Cayer has been named athletic director at Ganesha High School.

He previously served as a teacher at Fremont, which doesn’t have athletics. He was also football coach at Pomona for two years before moving over to Ganesha. He served as assistant athletic director last year so the responsibilities won’t be new to him.

Cayer is also the school’s head football coach, a position he took a year ago. The school district has restructured its staff positions so Cayer will have much of the school day to get administrative things done before heading to practice.

“It  should work out. At least that’s the plan,” he said.

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