Don Lugo football team looking to build on strong 2016 season

Don Lugo emerged as the surprise team on the football field in the Inland Valley last year. The Conquistadores (10-3, 5-0) took over the throne previously occupied by Colony, then marched all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division semifinal before falling to Burbank.

They won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season.

“We won’t be taking anyone by surprise this year,” said Greg Gano, the veteran coach entering his second year at the helm. “We have the target on us now so we have to be ready. That’s OK, we will be.”

On offense the Conquistadores won’t look much different than they did last year. Leading the large core of returning players is senior Khoury Bethley, who ran for 2,089 yards and 25 touchdowns last year which helped earn him MVP honors in the Mt. Baldy League.

Senior quarterback Rudy Garcia who threw for 1,18 yards and 22 touchdowns as well as his favorite target Daniel Munguia (41 catches ofr 892 yards, 12 TDs). Need more? There is also massive offensive lineman Chris Randazzo who has committed to Oregon.

Other to look for on offense include senior center Derek Partida, senior tight end Albert Luevano, sophomore running back Bryan Soto and wide receivers Isseah Gonzalez and Nico Lara.

There are far fewer familiar faces coming back on the other side of the ball, with graduation hitting the team hard, particularly in the line backing core.

“That is definitely our biggest question mark. We lost everyone there,” Gano said. “We’re going to have to count on other guys to step up.”

Several of the offensive standouts will be needed top contribute on defense, including Bethley. Gano is also counting on junior defensive end Alex navarro and senior defensive end Tim Garcia.

Among those in the mix for the linebacker jobs are Norman Morales, Chris Perez, Joey Murray and Kris Bland.

Aug. 25
– At Warren
Sept. 8 – Monrovia
Sept. 15 – Northview (At Covina District Field)
Sept. 22 – Chino
Sept. 29 – At Troy
Oct. 6 – At Montclair
Oct. 13 – At Colony
Oct. 20 – At Alta Loma
Oct. 27 – Chaffey
Nov. 3- Ontario

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Don Lugo’s Chris Randazzo casts commitment for Oregon

After not getting any offers as a junior, Don Lugo offensive lineman Chris Randazzo decided to take matters into his own hands. He got a personal trainer and spent the summer going to camps and showcases.

It paid off as Randazzo, a 6-foot-8, 330-pounder, has committed to the University of Oregon.

He visited that school twice and also took a trip to Fresno State which was the first Division I  school to extend an offer. Others later came from Washington State, Arizona State, USC and Utah.

Randazzo chose the school based largely on his relationship and faith in offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal, previously an offensive line coach at Alabama. He also was overwhelmed by everything he saw on his trip.

He said the school made an offer after seeing him at a Nike camp at Cerritos College over the summer.

“It felt like a home there,” he said of Oregon. “:It was impressive, very high-tech, everything you’d expect Oregon to be and more.”

Randazzo was eager to make a decision so he could focus on his senior season. The Conquistadores will try to repeat as Mt. Baldy League champions. They are also coming off a berth in the CIF Division 8 semifinal and will be moving up a class to Division 7.

“I really want to be able to sit back and enjoy this season without having all that pressure,” he said.

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Don Lugo’s Khoury Bethley ready for senior season

Don Lugo’s Khoury Bethley gets pulled down by Chino’s Brandon Serrano at Chino High School in Chino, CA., Friday, September 23, 2016. (Staff photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Running back Khoury Bethley of Don Lugo had a breakout season last year as a junior. He rushed for 2,089 yards on 239 carries with more than 100 yards in 12 of 13 games. He managed 139 on 26 carries against Rancho Cucamonga and that’s saying a lot.

He helped the Conquistadores to a berth in the CIF Division 8 semifinals and put himself on the radar of some major colleges at the same time.

He was Co-MVP in the Mt. Baldy League and a first team All-Inland Valley selection by the Daily Bulletin.

So when spring came around a lot of schools came to talk to him. He has offers from New Mexico, Howard, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Idaho, UTEP, UC Davis and Hawaii, making a verbal commitment to Hawaii earlier this month even though he has yet to visit that school.

More offers are still likely to come.

“It has been an interesting process,’ Bethley said of recruiting. “I had a good relationship with the coaches. Most of the schools that offered would text me every now and then to check up on me but I was in constant contact with Hawaii. There was great communication and that meant a lot to me.”

Two of the coaches came down personally when extending the offer and head coach Nick Rolovich was on the phone with him.

The other thing that sold the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder on thew school was its plans for him. Most of the schools recruited him as an “athlete” but Hawaii intends on using him on the defensive side of the ball.

“I might play a little on offense but they’re ;looking at me as a sort of hybrid safety-linebacker. I’m excited about that,” who plans to visit the school in September.

The whole process was not unfamiliar for Bethley, who watched older brother Steven, who graduated from Don Lugo in 2010 and went on to play at Montana State

And no there was no pressure to go that school because his brother did.

“He liked it but he told me to go where I am going to be happy and where I can fit in the best,” Khoury said.

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Don Lugo’s Trevor Goulet signs with NAIA Trinity International

Don Lugo offensive line standout Trevor Goulet has signed with NAIA-Division I Trinity International (Ill.)

Goulet was a three-year starter at guard, the last two of those at Don Lugo. He also started his sophomore year at Chino.

Goulet  was a first-team All-CIF selection in Division 8 and also a first-team All-Inland Valley selection by the Daily Bulletin.

The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder was a big factor in the Conquistadores averaging 399 yards a game total offense.

He visited the school two weeks ago and also toured NAIA-Division 2 University of Jamestown (N.D.).

“I really liked the coach-player relationship there,” he said. “They treat you like men. It’s also a Christian school and that was important to me.”

Goulet plans to major in business.

Although he played center and guard at Don Lugo he said the school has plans to move him to tackle.

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Don Lugo linebacker Anthony Miller signs with Ottawa University

Don Lugo football standout Anthony Miller has signed with NAIA University (Kan.).

Miller, a 6-foot, 195-pounder who also excels in wrestling, was one of the breakout stars in Inland Valley football this season, helping the Conquistadores (10-3) to a Mt. Baldy League championship as well as a CIF semifinal playoff berth in Division 8.

He tallied 174 tackles, 25 of those for a loss, with 10 sacks. He was a first-team All-Inland Valley selection by the Daily Bulletin and was named CIF Defensive Player of the Year in Division 8. He shared league Defensive Player of the year honors with teammate Tzion Dixon.

Miller hasn’t visited the school yet. but he has done a lot of research about the school on-line.  The school knew about him early because its defensive coordinator is a former player of Don Lugo coach Greg Gano.

Miller did not play football as a sophomore and is slightly undersized for a linebacker so he hasn’t been on the radar of many schools. He is thankful for the opportunity.

“I am excited about the chance to play college football,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me to better myself and prepare for the future.”

He plans to major in either civil engineering or something in the law enforcement field.

Here is link to a story on him in the Daily Bulletin during Don Lugo’s playoff run.

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Don Lugo football team hopes to build on strong summer showing

The Don Lugo football team made great strides in the last two years under coach Luis Garcia. Well a veteran has taken over the reigns and should keep the ship headed in the right direction.

Greg Gano, who has had stints at Hacienda Heights Wilson, Damien and Los Altos, has retained most of the previous coaching staff and there are a lot of returning players so the transition has been a smooth one.

The Conquistadores were impressive over the summer winning two passing league tournaments. If nothing else, Don Lugo will start the new season with momentum and confidence.

Football coach Greg Gano, who coached at Northview, Los Altos and Wilson locally, is now at Don Lugo and has seen some positive signs this summer. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

“Those things don’t always mean a lot but we did beat some good teams,” Gano said. “I think we opened some eyes. We’re very excited about starting the new season.”

Of course it all starts and ends with a quarterback Don Lugo has one back in junior Rudy Garcia. He spent most of the season as a backup but had to step in when starter Dane Ford got injured late in the season and did an admirable job.

There are plenty of other starters returning too though, particularly along the offensive line, an area that Gano singles out as the strength of the team this season..

That unit is led by center Trevor Goulet, who will also play on the other side of the ball. Others pitching in there will include seniors Chris Torres, Tito Torento and Aaron Ngyuen and junior Chris Randazzo.

The Conquistadores graduated their top two rushers, one of those Ford, but there are plenty of contributors ready to shoulder the load – most notably junior Khoury Bethley, senior Zak Murray and sophomore Chris Perez.

The stable of receivers features senior Kendale Taylor, juniors Daniel Munguia, Thomas Delgado and Nico Lara, a transfer from Chino who won’t be eligible until the sixth week.

The biggest question mark appears to be the defensive line but Gano isn’t overly concerned. That group is headed by seniors Jason Gardner and Connor Wilt, junior Andy Esparza and sophomore Jack McNaughton.

“We have players at every position,” he said. “We don’t have as much experience there. We just have to find the right combination.”

Bethley and Taylor will also be important to the defensive effort in the secondary.

Among the others expected to be big contributors defensively are linebackers Tzion Dixon, Anthony Miller, Steve Quijada and Albert Luevano.

“The job really has energized me,” Gano said. “I can’t wait for the first game.”

Don Lugo plays a difficult non-league schedule, starting with Warren on Aug. 26. That’s a foe that went 8-3 last year. Other teams on the schedule are reigning league champions Pomona (Miramonte) and Northview (Valle Vista) as well as Chino and Rancho Cucamonga who look to be among the best teams in the Inland Valley this season.

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Greg Gano gets head football position at Don Lugo

Another of the local high school football openings has been filled as Greg Gano has been selected to take over the Don Lugo program. The move is pending school board approval later this month.

Gano, 59, follows Luis Garcia who helped the program back to respectability in his two years as the Conquistadores made the playoffs both seasons. .

Gano was most recently head coach at Hacienda Heights Wilson, directing that program for two years. Before that he served at Damien for four years. He was also at Los Altos for more than a decade.

“I am excited about getting a fresh start,” he said. “I know coaches that have been on staff here before and it has always seemed like a great place to be.”

Gano has yet to meet with his players but plans to do so in the near future.

The other task is putting together a coaching staff. A massive overhaul is not expected. Gano said he hopes to keep several of the coaches from Garcia’s staff, which should ease the transition for the players.

“I might bring in a few guys but I want to keep things as normal and stable as possible,” he said.

Gano’s selection leaves Bonita and Bloomington as schools with a vacancies, although Bonita is expected to announce a coach later this week.

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Mt. Baldy League honors: Football





Overall MVP – Khlalil Dorsey, Sr., DB-WR, Colony
Offensive MVP – Josh Thompson, Sr., QB, Colony
Defensive MVP – Devon Harper, Sr., Colony
Outstanding Lineman – Tre Bland, Sr., Colony

First team
Stacy Aneke, Sr., Colony
Jonathan Arcos, Sr., Colony
Elijah Arellano, Sr., Colony
Khoury Bethley, Sr., Don Lugo
David Bustamante, Soph., Alta Loma
Jose Campos, Sr., Montclair
Gabriel Casas, Soph., Don Lugo
Devin Collins, Jr., Don Lugo
Alec Cota, Sr., Alta Loma
Mikey Dean, Sr., Chaffey
Omar Delarosa, Jr., Ontario
Tyrique Faatiliga, Sr., Colony
Dane Ford, Sr., Don Lugo
Nicolas Gannuscio, Jr., Alta Loma
Jason Gardner, Jr., Don Lugo
Christopher Gonzalez, Sr., Don Lugo
Trevor Goulet, Jr., Don Lugo
Tyrone Hatchett, Sr., Colony
Matt Lawson, Soph., Colony
Reuben Leyva, Sr., Alta Loma
Ray Maldanado, Sr., Chaffey
Ryan Moya-Chapron, Jr., Colony
Jesse Munguia, Sr., Don Lugo
Nathan Orozco, Sr., Don Lugo
Antoine Paul, Jr., Ontario
Cameron Poe, Sr., Ontario
Jose Rivera, Sr., Montclair
Jovanni Sanchez, Sr., Chaffey
Nathan Solorio, Sr., Chaffey
Sebastian Soto, Sr., Ontario
Ryan Suliafu, Fr., Chaffey
Dallas Teren, Sr., Colony
Ryan Twist, Jr., Alta Loma
Marcos Valencia, Sr., Colony
Isac Velasquez, Soph., Alta Loma
Jiaire Wade, Jr., Colony
Roy Wiley, Soph., Montclair

  • Positions not provided


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Quarterback issue a great subplot for Don Lugo-Colony showdown

Don Lugo (5-4, 4-0) and Colony (6-3, 4-0) will be squaring off for the Mt. Baldy League football title on Friday at Colony.

There is a whole lot of irony in the quarterback situation that will be playing out. Senior Dane Ford of Don Lugo sustained a broken collarbone (non-throwing shoulder) in the third quarter of Friday’s win over Montclair, the next to last game of the season.

Rudy Garcia

Last season it was Colony quarterback Josh Thompson suffering the same exact injury in the next to last game, ironically enough, against Don Lugo.

Most thought when Thompson went down, so went the title hopes of the Titans. But no that wasn’t the case. Another senior, Jordan Johnson, who had played very little, stepped in manned the position until Thompson returned for the first time in a month in the CIF semifinal.

Thompson then went out and played in the title game like he had never gone down.

So let’s not sell Don Lugo short. Do the Conquistadores have the same supporting cast around Ford’s replacement, sophomore Rudy Garcia as the Titans did around Thompson? No. But games aren’t won on paper.

Don Lugo graduated a ton of players from a team that finished a respectable third last year in  a year most (including myself) had them pegged for finishing last. So for them to be in this position the last week of the season tells you the job this coaching staff has done.

Coach Luis Garcia will have his team ready to go. Yes, they’ll probably trim down the playbook just a little. But anyone who counts this team out is making a big mistake.

Also, let’s not forget that Thompson was just a sophomore when he took over the quarterback spot when then starter Jonathan Trucks was injured. Thompson kept the job even when Trucks came back. So this will be Garcia’s moment and likely have more in the next two years to come.


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Don Lugo loses quarterback Dane Ford for rest of season

The Don Lugo football team registered a 49-7 win over Montclair tonight which gives it a shot at a Mt. Baldy League title against defending champion Colony next week.

But the Conquistadores will have to take on Colony without their most veteran player as senior quarterback Dane Ford sustained a broken collarbone of his non-throwing shoulder in the third quarter.

“I’ve never felt so happy about our success but so much anguish at the same time,” Don Lugo coach Luis Garcia said. “Like someone punched  me in the gut.”

Ford had thrown for 1,429 yards and 17 touchdowns in the previous eight games. He has been the team’s starter since the first game of his sophomore season.

The reigns will now be handed to sophomore Rudy Garcia, the quarterback of the junior varsity. He did get some playing time tonight that should help him. On his first pass attempt he threw a touchdown pass to Devin Collins.

Don Lugo (5-4, 4-0) was third in the league last year behind Colony and Chaffey. It benefited from a tough-non league schedule this year and has been stellar since starting league play.

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