Montclair football team looking for improvement

Cavaliers mascot photo.

The way Eric Kennedy looks at it, there’s nowhere to go bu up. Last year was his first as a head coach and even though he was previously at the school as defensive coordinator, there was a lot to learn.

Just having been in the job a year puts him ahead of where his team was at this time last year. He also has something he didn’t a year ago – a lot of returning starters,

The Cavaliers will be looking to improved a 1-9 showing last year that included an 0-5 finish in Mt. Baldy League play. Like most coaches this time of year, Kennedy is optimistic.

“We had very few players with any varsity experience last year so we really were starting from scratch,” he said. “We’re in the opposite position this year so hopefully that will pay off.”

Leading the charge will be junior quarterback Gabriel Tamba, who saw some time at that position last year. The entire offensive line is back too with that unit led by seniors Diego Sanchez and Lauro Zapata.

Kennedy expects to use a stable of running backs rather than rely on one. Among those who could factor in there are juniors Jorge Reboseno and Denzel Knox. Weapons in the passing game include junior tight end Evan Richardson and sophomore newcomer Devin Amphone.

“We really don’t have that one dominant guy but we will have some balance,” Kennedy said. “I think that will work to our favor.”:

Senior linebacker Juan Chagolla, who had 66 tackles last year a a junior, heads the defense. Some of the key players on offense will help too, including Sanchez at nose tackle and Knox at corner.

The season gets underway Aug. 25 with the Cavaliers taking on San Gabriel, the lone team it defeated last year. Kennedy hedged when asked what he would call a successful season.

“I hate to put a number on wins and losses,” he said. “I just want to see us be more competitive in every game and hopefully that will mean a few more wins.”

Aug 25 – At San Gabriel
Sept. 1 – St. Pius X-Matthias Academy
Sept. 14 – vs. Covina (at Covina District Field)
Sept. 22 – At Ganesha
Sept. 29 – Patriot
Oct. 6 – Don Lugo
Oct. 13 – At Ontario
Oct. 20 – Colony
Oct. 27 – Alta Loma
Nov. 3 – at Chaffey

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Montclair quarterback Andrew Harrison has decided on a college

It was a strange season for Montclair High School quarterback Andrew Harrison but there is a happy ending as he has landed an opportunity to play in college.

Harrison plans to sign with the University of La Verne on Thursday.

He started his high school career at Upland but transferred to Bonita before this school year started. He was ruled ineligible by the CIF, and then transferred to Montclair. He had to sit out five games so his season was limited to the Cavaliers five Mt. Baldy League games.

In those five games Harrison completed 89 for 161 passes for 1,098 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

Harrison said the multiple transfers and not getting to play half the season hurt his recruiting chances but he has tried to stay grounded and welcomes the chance he does have.

He credits his parents for helping him keep things in perspective.

“It was difficult but I knew something would come along,” he said. “You can’t worry about what happened in the past. I am happy for this opportunity.”

Harrison was also considering some other small coaches such as NAIA Sterling (Kan.) and NCAA Division III’s St. Norbert’s (Wis.), Trinity (Conn.) and University of Northwestern-St. Paul.

He was happy with the opportunity to play close to home.

“I really liked the coaching staff,” he said. “I have been over there a few times and had a chance to sit down and talk to them and I felt like it would be good fit for me.”



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Montclair to get quarterback eligible for Mt. Baldy play

Help is on the way for the Montclair Cavaliers just in time for Mt. Baldy League play.

Coach Eric Kennedy confirmed that senior quarterback Andrew Harrison, who transferred from Upland to Bonita but was ruled ineligible there, has been cleared and will be able to play in the league opener against Ontario on Oct. 7.

The Cavaliers (1-3) are off this week and face Patriot next week in the last non-league contest.

Kennedy has used both senior Matthew Mendibles and sophomore Gabriel Tamba at that position but the addition of Harrison will allow Mendibles to go back to his natural position of running back. Tamba can also be utilized elsewhere.

“It will definitely be a big difference having a kid that has played games in big time programs,” Kennedy said. “His experience is going to be huge for us. He has come in here and been very respectful and he has a great work ethic.”

Kennedy was hoping for a better showing in the win-loss but is optimistic his team can challenge for a playoff berth. Even if it finishes fourth in league it could advance to the postseason based on the new divisions. The next two games will be significant because Patriot and Ontario are in the same division.

“We have had these two games on the calendar circled for awhile,” Kennedy added. “They will be very important for us if we’re going to have any chance to make the playoffs.”

Montclair’s lone win thus far has was against San Gabriel (21-7) while losses have been to Murrieta Mesa (70-14), Duarte (44-21) and Covina (31-7).

Kennedy said the biggest issue has been turnovers.

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First-year Montclair HS football coach facing tough challenge

New Montclair High School football coach Eric Kennedy has his work cut out for him – and he knows it.

The school’s football program has forever suffered because of lack of a feeder program.

Eric Kennedy, head football coach at Montclair High School

He had been on the coaching staff of previous coach T.J. Fiorenza as defensive coordinator. But by the time he was formally appointed head coach, several of the school’s marquee players had jumped ship and bolted for other schools. Among those junior Roy Wiley, named the Bulletin’s Newcomer of the Year last fall.

The Cavaliers, 4-6 overall and 0-5 in league play a year ago, head into a new season with a lot of unknown players expected to contribute.

Instead of focusing on what he doesn’t have, Kennedy chooses to focus on the positive.

“We have a great group of kids and they have come in here every day with a good attitude and they have worked hard,” he said. “We’re really going to build on that.”

Kennedy does have some quality help on his coaching staff which includes two assistants that were head coaches last year – Luis Garcia (Don Lugo) who will serve as offensive coordinator and Randy Reams (Ayala) who will coach running backs and coordinate the passing game.

Fiorenza has stayed on too and will direct the freshman team.

Kennedy will be banking on his team’s balance at each position, with no dominant player. Returning starters asked to shoulder a big load this season will include senior linebacker Jason Le, junior nose tackle-offensive lineman Diego Sanchez, senior corner-receiver Jesse Ramiez, senior defensive end Gonzalo Pelayo, senior free safety Eddy Lugo and senior running back Matthew Mendibles.

Among the newcomers is sophomore quarterback Gabriel Tamba, the starter on the freshman team last year.

Other promising newcomers include sophomore tight end-defensive end Evan Richardson and senior receiver Andres Nunez.

The good news is that other than front-runner Colony, there appears to be balance in the Mt. Baldy League with most of the other teams also losing their top players.

Montclair opens the season on Aug. 26 against San Gabriel, a team it defeated 36-0 in its first game last year. The first league game will be Oct. 7 against Ontario.

When it came to the CIF’s new football division alignment, the Cavaliers were put into Division 12 which also includes Ontario. Kennedy thinks its the perfect place for his school.

“We’re in with schools comparable to us as far as resources, socio-economic background, participation, school enrollment,” he said. “It really puts us on a level playing field and I think we can compete should we make the playoffs.”


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Eric Kennedy named head football coach at Montclair

Montclair didn’t have to look long or far for a new football coach, naming Eric Kennedy the successor to T.J. Fiorenza.

IMG_4578Kennedy had been on Fiorenza’s staff the last three years, the first of those as defensive back and special teams coach and the last two as defensive coordinator. He also teaches social studies at the school.

At 26, he is the youngest head coach in the Inland Valley.

“T.J. brought stability to our program and Eric will continue that,” Athletic Director Bill Blades said. “It will be a smooth transition.”

Kennedy is a resident of Rancho Cucamonga and 2007 graduate of Corona Santiago High School. He is looking forward to taking the reigns of the program and says he will retain all of the coaches from Fiorenza’s staff but wouldn’t rule out new additions as well.

He has been running the school’s conditioning weight program since the start of the semester.

“T.J. brought stability back here, something they hadn’t had in 20 or so years,” Kennedy said. “I’m just picking up where he left off. There are good people here and good kids here and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Fiorenza had been in the football program for 13 years, the last five as head coach, He stepped down ot pursue administrative opportunities.

The Cavaliers were 4-6 last season but 0-5 in Mt. Baldy League play.

Unfortunately for Kennedy, the school’s three top returning players have left the school. It is something Kennedy plans to address immediately.

The Montclair football program has long suffered because of the lack of a youth program in the area. Middle school kids have to go to program’s in neighboring cities and oftentimes decide to go to the high schools in those areas.

“All we can do is make this the best program we can so kids want to stay here,” he said,

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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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Montclair football coach T.J. Fiorenza resigns

Montclair Football

After 13 years in the football program, the last five as head coach, Montclair’s T.J. Fiorenza has resigned.

Fiorenza cited the desire to go into administration. He has been working on his credential in that facet of education and it caused him to misses some time on the practice field with his team late in the season. That ultimately led to his decision.

“It wasn’t fair to those kids,” he said. “We ask them to be on time and not miss practice and here I was having to leave early once a week. I was just trying to get through the end of the season but this was the right decision for everyone.”

Fiorenza’s teams were 20-30 in that five year span the best mark coming in 2012 when the team went 6-4. The school has struggled in the sport largely because the lack of a Pop Warner or Junior All-American Youth program. Kids that live in the school boundaries play in the youth programs in surrounding communities and the better players end up going to high schools in those areas.

Fiorenza is working on an administrative credential and master’s in education through a University of Concordia-Irvine satellite campus in Glendora.
He has three children, ages 2, 6 and 9 and is looking forward to a more traditional work day that comes with a position besides being a football coach.

The school will go through the normal channels in finding his successor but he is backing his defensive coordinator Eric Kennedy.

Fiorenza’s resignation leaves five schools without coaches – Montclair, Chino Hills, Ayala, Garey and Jurupa Hills.

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Mt. Baldy football teams brace for league battles

This could be the best year the Mt. Baldy League has had in football in quite some time.

Why? Well for starters there looks to be a very formidable threat to the Colony throne in the Chaffey Tigers. Last year coach Chris Brown’s team went toe-to-toe with the Titans for a half. Then lack of depth hurt and the Tigers wore down.

Colony graduated 25 or so players from the CIF Central Division winning team of a year ago. So yes the Titans are still good and they have been primed by a tough non-league schedule on which I have harped before. But they aren’t quite as good as they were last year. And the Tigers, led by diminutive dynamo Mikey Dean, are better.

The showdown between those teams is Oct. 30, the next to last week of the regular season. Mark it down!

Second, the teams that have traditionally been at the bottom of the pecking order, namely Ontario and Montclair – appear much improved with both taking 4-1 marks into play. No they haven’t played a challenging schedule but both have still beaten teams to whom they have lost in the past and that bodes well.

Then there are Don Lugo and Alta Loma. Don Lugo has played the toughest non-league schedule outside of Colony so I don’t think they’re as bad as their 1-4 record. I was impressed with how they played in the 22-21 triple overtime loss to Chino and i like what I see in that coaching staff.

Alta Loma? Well the jury is still out and I don’t quite know what to think. I have seen them once, a game they struggled to beat Fontana which was playing with its third-string quarterback.

I have heard great things about first-year coach Mark Pasquarella. But a first year is always a transition year and I try not to read too much into what happens in that first year. So call the Braves a wild card.

I’d say the playoff teams are Colony, Chaffey and Don Lugo – the same three that came out of here last year. But I’m not counting out the other three. If nothing else I think there will be more competitive games this year than ever before.



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Montclair football team looks to improve to 4-0

The Montclair High school football team looks to improve to 4-0 tonight when it squares off against defending CIF Mid-Valley champion Pomona. But how good are the Cavaliers? No one really knows. Montclair’s three wins have come over teams that are a combined 1-10 so far.

That isn’t lost on head coach T.J. Fiorenza who has is guardedly optimistic.

“This will be the best team we have faced,” Fiorenza said about the Red Devils. “They graduated some players but they still are very athletic and have some good players. We’re going to have our hands full.”

The Cavaliers are coming off a 3-7 showing last year so they have already equaled their win total of a year ago – officially. They would have been 5-5 had it not been for a pair of forfeits.

Fiorenza is hoping his team contend for a playoff spot in the Mt. Baldy League.

The coach singles out the steady play of senior quarterback Jose Campos, who played some last year but fought injuries. He has thrown for 542 yards and rushed for 204.

Junior Matthew Mendibles (234 yards), a quarterback on the junior varsity team last year, is the leading rusher. Other offensive weapons include slot receivers Robin Wiley and Devin McLee.

On defense the standouts have included senior safety Dan Carlin, and senior middle linebacker Cris Arismendez.

“I think we’re better but we’re going to find out,” Fiorenza said.

The Cavaliers close out non league play next week against Hacienda Heights Wilson which is 1-2. They start league play on Oct. 8 against Colony which has struggled against a difficult schedule.

“They’re still the team to beat,” he said of Colony. “They have just played the toughest schedule known to man.”


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Montclair football looking for better start to new season

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Rarely do the first few games of the season prove to be a turning point. For the Montclair Cavaliers that was indeed the case.

Montclair officially went 3-7 but it was on the field at 5-5. The difference were forfeits of the first two games of the season both of which they won decidedly over San Gabriel (42-0) and Garey (23-6).

That came after the Cavaliers won a third game which would have made them 3-0. Alas, it was 1-2.

Coach T.J. Fiorenza tried to stress that his team did win on the field and that the ultimate goal of a league title was still in sight but he doesn’t think his team ever really bounced back mentally.

“I don’t think out guys ever bounced back,” he said. “I know it was early but we never really were the same after that.”

But it’s a new year and Fiorenza is as optimistic as most coaches. He returns seven starters on offense and four on defense so improving on last year’s fifth-place finish in the Mt. Baldy League is doable.

Montclair FootballⓂ

“I think we’re going to be a lot better,” he said. “Our guys worked hard and I liked what I saw out of the passing leagues. We’re definitely looking forward to that new start.”

Senior Jose Campos inherits the starting quarterback spot after seeing some playing time a year ago.

Fiorenza expects the wide receiving unit to be his best. Among the other experienced athletes coming back there are  seniors Joseph Martinez and Gustavo Herrera and juniors Devin Mclee and Robin Wiley.

Othe veterans are senior corner back Dante Haro, senior offensive lineman Nick Orozco, senior safety Daniel Carlin, senior defensive end-tight end Jose Rivera and senior linebacker Cris Arismendez.

Among the newcomers is sophomore strong safety Roy Wiley, younger brother of Robin, who Firoenza says has outstanding potential.

Other promising newcomers include sophomore defensive tackle Diego Sanchez, junior running back-linebacker Matthew Mendibles and junior linebacker Jason Le.

“The key for us, like it always is, is staying healthy,” Fiorenza says. “We can’t afford to lose guys, especially for a long time.”

The Cavaliers open the season Aug. 28 at San Gabriel. The first game will be the following week against Garey.

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