Los Osos football looking to improve under new coach Alex Pierce

Grizzlies mascot photo.

It’s hard enough trying to jump start a struggling football program. It’s even tougher when you’re competing in the Baseline League.

That’s the tough task ahead of new coach Alex Pierce who moved to the school this year after an impressive run slightly East at Carter High School.

The Grizzlies were just 1-9 last year and have won just seven games in the last three years. The last winning season was a 6-4 showing in 2011.

Neighborhood rival Rancho Cucamonga is the juggernaut right now. Upland’s young team has matured and looks poised for a breakout season and Etiwanda, the other city school, always gets good athletes. Chino Hills, Damien, yes you get the picture. It has been a tough go for the Grizzlies.

Pierce is ready for the challenge though. His goal is to get the students who should be at his school to come to the school, rather then skip to one of the rivals or yet another school.

“This is a great academic school with a lot of other things to offer too. If the football program was a little better it would go a long way toward keeping those kids here,” he said. “I hate to use a college example, but there is Stanford. That’s a great example of school with academics that is also competitive. It can be done. It won’t be easy and no we have to do some things different.”

Pierce will serve as offensive coordinator as well with Tommy Martinez, now the school’s athletic director but the head football coach the last time the team had a winning season, stepping in to serve as defensive coordinator.

Pierce does have a solid quarterback returning in senior Brett Cabral, who threw for 1,409 yards in nine games. The key will be having enough weapons around Cabral to make the offense more formidable. The new coach is also high on junior wide receiver Andrew Walker and running back Kyle Jorgenson, who will also be an impact player at linebacker.

The line will be led by seniors Brandon Funke and Brandon Trejo.

Demsive standouts include senior linebacker Connor Helsius, senior nose tackle Matthew Williams, senior lineman Tahi Fakava and senior linebacker Isaiah Peck.

Right now Pierce has 100 players between the varsity and junior varsity teams and another 50 working the with freshman team.

“We’re going to play hard and try and outwork everyone else on both sides of the ball,” Pierce said. “We’re going to find a way and that way won’t be the same as everyone else’s way.”

Los Osos makes its debut on Aug. 25 against, of all teams, Carter – the team Carter just left. The schedule was made long before Pierce interviewed for the job and he admits walking the visitor’s sideline at that school will be difficult.

“It will be a little awkward, no doubt,” he said.

Aug. 25 – At Carter
Sept. 1 – Northwood
Sept. 8 – At Alta Loma
Sept. 15 – Chino
Sept. 29 – At Silverado
Oct. 6 – At Etiwanda
Oct. 13 – Rancho Cucamonga
Oct. 20 – Damien
Oct. 27 – At Chino Hills
Nov. 3 – Upland

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Kevin Price out as head football coach at Los Osos

Kevin Price has been with the Los Osos football program since the day it started 15 years ago. But when the 2017 season begins he will no longer be part of the picture.

Price confirmed that he will not be back as head coach. He had served in that capacity for the last four years and was on the staff previously as an assistant, serving as defensive coordinator before he was elevated to the head job.

“I am disappointed but maybe it was a good time for a change,” said Price, who took over for Tommy Martinez who became the school’s athletic director.

The Grizzlies were 12-29 in Price’s tenure, the best showing coming his first year in 2013 when they were 5-5 but made the playoffs as a fourth-place team from the Baseline and lost a first round game to Vista Murrieta.

Los Osos was 1-9 last season which included an 0-5 showing in league play.

It was 4-6 in 2015 in a season in which it was depleted by injuries.

Los Osos has struggled against the high profile powers in the Baseline, most notably local rival Rancho Cucamonga. Etiwanda also draws some top notch athletes which has made it difficult to compete.

Price acknowledges that struggle, but was pleased with the increase in participation over the last year.

Price also teaches history at the school and will remain in that capacity. He hasn’t decided what his next step will be when it comes to coaching.

“I think I’m going to take a step back and let the dust settle,” he said. “My son will be a freshman next year and he wants to come here and obviously it would be nice for us to be at the same place. I have to see what is the best option for me and my family.”

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Los Osos football team looking to contend in tough Baseline

Carter running back Spencer Coleman is tackled by Los Osos defender Garrett Kohler during the first half of Friday night’s game Friday at Carter.

Garrett Kohler of Los Osos makes a tackle on a Carter ball carrier in a non-league game last fall. He will be top returner for the Grizzlies.

The Los Osos football team made some modest improvement last year, going 4-6. That came after 2-8 showings the previous two years.

But this fall coach Kevin Price is hoping to have more to show for his team’s hard work over the past off-season. The Grizzlies haven’t had a winning season since 2009 when they were 10-3 under previous coach Tom Martinez, now the school’s athletic director.

Price has made some subtle changes he hopes will pay off. He has restructured practices, in hope of getting better quality practice time out of a squad that has seen a decline in numbers the past few years.

Mike Randall had been serving as offensive coordinator and coaching the offensive line, but Price has taken the position responsibility off Randall’s plate so he can focus on the play-calling.

“The last couple of years have been frustrating,” said Price, given the head coaching nod in 2012. “We have made some changes we think are going to help. The numbers are down but we have a lot of kids here that have worked hard and they’re all in. I’d rather have this group of kids that are all in then 20 more players who aren’t fully invested.”

Junior Brett Cabral, younger brother of former offensive lineman Cohl Cabral, will get the nod at quarterback. He got some experience last year, taking over the starting job late last season.

He’ll have a couple experienced lineman up front in junior tackle Brandon Trejo and senior guard-center Aaron Meraz, with junior Jacob Nielsen helping out at fullback and/or tight end.

It will be a running-back-by-committee with the Grizzlies having graduated their top player in running back Donovan Williams. Among those looking to factor in are junior Kyle Jorgenson, a linebacker last year, junior Marco Martinez, who is up from the junior varsity and senior Evan Marks.

Price is quite high on senior wide receiver Tyler Riley, who is a lanky 6-foot-5 and has good hands.

“I think we’re going to be strong up front on both sides of the ball,” Price said. “It really all starts there. If we have success there it makes it easier to do everything else.”

The top returning player on the team is senior defensive end Garrett Kohler.

Others top performers pitching in on that side of the ball include senior defensive end Daivan Allen, senior safeties Ryan Esparza and Jacob Ray, with Ray also getting some time at wide receiver.

The new season kicks off Aug. 26 with a home game against Carter, a team to whom Los Osos lost 30-3 a year ago, although Carter looks to be in rebuilding mode this season.

The Grizzlies will compete in Division 5 in the CIF’s new divisional alignment. Price thinks that was a fair place to put his school and hopes it means it can contend should it make the playoffs.

“I like it,” he said of the playoff system, which puts schools in different division based on results the past two years. “It gives us a chance to sort of get out from under. If we can make the playoffs we’re competing to teams similar to us.”



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Los Osos football standout Mason Vega decides on college

A lot of local athletes will be signing National Letter of Intent next Wednesday. Los Osos High School senior Mason Vega never imagined himself being one of those guys. But he indeed will be.

Vega had never played football at any level before this season but will be signing with Division I Portland State.  He felt good about the decision after a visit to the school last weekend.

He has played basketball but it wasn’t until this year that he decided to try football.

“I had a lot of people telling me I ought to try,” he said. “I was going to go out last year and then for whatever reason I just didn’t. This was my last year and I didn’t want to have any regrets.”

Vega says he had a former basketball teammate in Shane Johnson whose dad talked about having a family member whose biggest regret was not playing football, or at least given it a try.

“That was the person that really put me over the edge as far as actually doing it,” Vega said. “I never would have thought I would get this far this far so it turned out to be a great decision.”

Vega, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, also had an offer from Idaho and took an unofficial visit to San Diego State. He played defensive end for the Grizzlies but was recruited as an outside linebacker.

Vega tallied 48 tackles, 13 of those for a loss, and had a fumble recovery for the Grizzles (4-6).

Vega plans to major in psychology.

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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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Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga to play at Chaffey College

The Rancho Cucamonga and Los Osos football teams will play their annual rivalry game this year at Chaffey College at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Both teams use Los Osos as their home field but this is a Rancho home game and the decision was made by that administration.

Principal Cary Wilborn said Chaffey seats an extra 800 to 1,000 people and in recent years spectators have had to be turned away when the games as held at the high school.

The other benefit is the stadium is better set up for crowd control. While there was no issue at last year’s game between the two, there were problems at the one two years ago.

The down side is the added cost to rent Chaffey which is about $2,500.

This will be the last time the Rancho administration will have to make that decision as it will open a new stadium on campus next school year.

The Cougars (5-2 1-1), ranked ninth in the West Valley Division, are looking to bounce back from a 24-10 loss to Chino Hills while Los Osos (3-4, 0-2)  is coming off a 42-17 loss to Etiwanda.


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Baseline League once again to be hotly contested

Non-league games are over. The race for league titles is on and again it is the Baseline League with numerous compelling match-ups looming.

Damien and Los Osos were the bottom two teams a year ago and both of those have shown much improvement over the course of the non-league season. Damien has RB Dylan Thigpen upon who they rely while the Grizzles have a couple of Division I signees in LB Bryce Youngquist (Oklahoma) and OL Cohl Cabral (Arizona State).

Los Osos has also come up on the winning end of some close games so they seem poised when it matters.

Have those teams improved enough to actually contend? They are probably going to be hard-pressed to do so but they’re god enough to pull an upset that could throw a monkey wrench into some team’s title hopes.

The top team a year ago was Upland but the Highlanders graduated a majority of their starters including nine who advanced to Division II schools. Is Upland as good as in years past? Only time will tell. But if the Highlanders are going to repeat, it will take big contributions from those who weren’t the headline performers a year ago.

Rancho Cucamonga is the team with the most returning starters with that group including quarterback Angel Matute, running back Aaron Manning and DB Jaylon Redd. The Cougars also added a top-notch DB in Thomas Graham, who has committed to USC.

Chino Hills the most formidable test for Upland a year ago and looks like it too poised to challenge. The Huskies had newcomer at QB in Caleb Arreola. He was banged up in the Huskies win two weeks ago. His backup is already out for the season, so much of the Huskies hopes hinge on his health and development.

Just where does Etiwanda fit in? The Eagles wee a disappointing fourth a year ago and they have a new and energetic coach in Kevin Davis. The got off to a tough start this season but stayed the course and have momentum going into league play. They face Upland tonight so we’ll see right away what Etiwanda is made of.

The battle for the top spot could take place the last week of the regular season when Upland and Rancho square off. But no doubt, every battle is going to be a big one.

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It’s Oklahoma for Los Osos linebacker Bryce Youngquist

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Los Osos senior linebacker Bryce Youngquist has picked one O over another.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder announced today he’ll be attending the University of Oklahoma. He picked the Sooners over 14 other programs with Oregon being the other he most seriously considered.

He visited the school two weeks ago and that sealed the deal. He also made trips earlier to Oregon, Utah, Oregon State, Wisconsin and Washington State.

“I really fell in love with it when I went there,” he said. “It really seemed to have a family atmosphere and environment and it seemed like the right fit for me. I don;t need to have a big city. I think it’s a place where he can fit in and focus on what I need to do.”

Youngquist, a four-star recruit, got to take in the team’s spring game so he got a feel for the atmosphere that comes with football in Norman.

He also liked Oregon and said the recruiting process was stressful at first. Once the offers started coming in he felt less pressure and actually enjoyed the experience.

He wanted to announce his decision so he concentrate on his senior season with the Grizzlies.

Last season he played in only five games, recording 43 tackles, two sacks, one blocked punt and two caused fumbles.

Youngquist added that me plans to major in communications.


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Los Osos football team looking to compete in tough Baseline

LOHS Football Photo.jpg

Not much went right for the Los Osos High School football team last year. The Grizzlies and coach Kevin Price knew it was going to be tough competing in the Baseline League even if they were healthy. Well, they weren’t.

The Grizzlies went 2-8 overall and 0-5 in league play. Of the 53 players on the roster, 29 were injured, most of those missing multiple games.

“It was tough,” he said. “Everyone has injuries so you hate using it as an excuse but it was a major factor. We just couldn’t put the team on the field we thought we were going to have.”

Price is doing everything he can to see that history doesn’t repeat itself. He had called the offense the last two years but is going back on the other side of the ball and will be defensive coordinator.

Mike Randall, previously the offensive line coach, will call the offense.

“It’s just where I feel the most comfortable,” Price said. “And it’s where I think I can contribute the most.”

The Grizzlies will boast a couple of the area’s best players and that’s a good place to start. Senior Cohl Cabral, who has committed to Arizona State, will anchor both lines. Price also singled him out for his work ethic and leadership.

Then there’s senior linebacker Bryce Younquist, who has a half a dozen major college offers. He too missed a couple of games last season.

Senior running back Donovan Williams who has the potential have an impact in both the running and passing games. He has also been used at quarterback at times.

Among the others who saw significant playing time last year were cornerback Aiden Christensen, offensive lineman Miles Dutton, defensive tackle Chris Ekokobe, inside linebacker Mikael Fakhoura, slot receiver Michael Martin and wide receiver Koa Mattson.

Among the others coming back are senior quarterback Dominic Slouka, who played five games in place of the injured Jason Crain last year as a junior.

“He has come a long way,” Price said of Slouka. “Obviously it was tough on him because it was a lot to ask of him to begin with and a lot of his weapons weren’t on the field either.”

Among the newcomers Price is hoping make an immediate impact are senior defensive end Mason Vega, junior defensive end Daivon Allen and junior wide receiver Trevon Clark.

“I’m not coming out an saying we’re going to win the league but we can compete,” Price said. “These kids work hard and at the end of the day they’re going to leave it all out there.”

Los Osos starts the new season on Aug. 28 against Carter. It opens league play on Oct. 9 at home against Chino Hills.



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Lineman Cohl Cabral of Los Osos commits to Arizona State

photo of Cohl Cabral

Los Osos High School offensive lineman Cohl Cabral isn’t going to draw the recruiting process out any longer. He has made a verbal commitment to Arizona State, even before his senior season begins.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive lineman had 14 offers from which to choose. He has visited Arizona State three times and also made trips to Washington State, Oregon State, Boise State and Utah. Arizona State was the first to offer.

Michigan, Oregon and USC were among the others

“I really liked the program, the players, the atmosphere, everything about it,” he said. “I thought it would be the place for me to be for the next four year.”

Cabral, a our-star recruit, is ranked as the nation’s No. 20 offensive
tackle and the No. 34 prospect in California in the 2016 class by 247Sports.com.

He played both offensive and defensive lines for the Grizzlies but was being recruited to play on offense.

Cabral is the third player to commit to coach Todd Graham’s next recruiting class, the second offensive lineman.

Arizona State has been high on his list all along. The school saw him at a satellite camp at Upland last summer and has pursued him ever since.

“I had time to get the visits done,” he said, of the groundwork that resulted in an early decision. “I’m glad the decision is made so I can concentrate on having a great senior season.”

He plans to major in exercise science.

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