Ambassador League honors: Football

Aquinas High School running back Branden Rankins has rushed for more than 2,000 yards this season. The Falcons face St. Anthony for the CIF Division 10 title on Saturday.
, is featured at Aquinas High School football stadium in San Bernardino, Calif. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Photo by/The Sun, SCNG)

Offensive Player of Year: Branden Rankins, Jr., Aquinas
Defensive Player of Year: Dylan Petti, Sr., Notre Dame
Co-Coaches of Year: Jordan Brusig, Aquinas; Matt Hoesktra, Ontario Chr.
Sportsmanship Award: Western Christian

First team offense
OL: Ben Coleman, Soph., Linfield Christian
OL: Dylan Petti, Sr., Notre Dame
OL: Stewart Van Dam, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
OL: Zyon Mathis, Soph., Aquinas
OL: Brad Whitworth, Soph., Linfield Christian
QB: Niles Harrell, Sr., Notre Dame
RB: Ian Zamudio, St., Notre Dame
RB: Branden Rankins, Jr., Aquinas
WR: Savai’l Cravens, Sr., Linfield Christian
WR: Jared Baytosh, Jr., Notre Dame
UT: Joshka Gustav, Jr., Aquinas
K: Salieu Ceesay, Jr., Aquinas

First team defense
DL: Clayton Dahl, Sr., Ontario Christian
DL: Dylan Petti, Sr., Notre Dame
DL: Joshka Gustav, Jr., Aquinas
DL: Ben Coleman, Soph., Linfield Christian
LB: William Barbato,Sr., Linfield Christian
LB: Anthony Solis,Jr., Notre Dame
LB: Sean Yost, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
DB: Simeon Burns, Sr., Linfield Christian
DB: Nick Manuel, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
DB: Nick Baytosh, Sr., Notre Dame
DB: Savai’l Cravens, Sr., Linfield Christian
P: Brad Slayman, Jr., Arrowhead Christian

Second team offense
OL: Nathan Abelon, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
OL: Jasper Frils, Jr., Aquinas
OL: Zeke Zaragoza, Jr., Ontario Christian
OL: Henry Mitchell, Sr., Notre Dame
OL: Ethan Wattler, Jr., Notre Dame
QB: Kevin Jack, Jr., Ontario Christian
RB: John Henry, Sr., Linfield Christian
RB: Blake Biby, Sr., Ontario Christian
WR: DJ Botello, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
WR: Ian Ulloa, Sr., Ontario Christian
UT: Simeon Burns, Sr., Linfield Christian

Second team defense
DL: Joey Benson, Jr., Ontario Christian
DL: Stewart Van Dam, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
DL: Travion Brown, Soph., Linfield Christian
DL: Michael Hotetz, Soph., Aquinas
LB: Ruben Fabian, Jr., Aquinas
LB: Ryan Simpson, Sr., Notre Dame
LB: Andrew Kelstrom, Soph., Aquinas
DB: Ian Zamudio, Sr., Notre Dame
DB: John Henry, Sr., Linfield Christian
DB: Carson Kidd, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
DB: DJ Botello, Sr., Arrowhead Christian

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Ontario football team to open new stadium against local foe

Hundreds of students, faculty and community members attend the much-anticipated dedication ceremony Tuesday for the new football stadium at Ontario High School. The facility is expected to be completed next month.

Dedication festivities for Ontario’s new football stadium were held in the spring. Now the Jaguars get to play in it!

Ontario High School will finally get to play a varsity game on its own campus this Friday night and it should be a real shot in the arm for a program that has struggled in recent years although last year’s .500 record was a step in the right direction.

The opponent will be Ontario Christian, a school only a block away. Both schools are looking forward to the contest.  Matt Hoekstra is starting his second year as coach at Ontario Christian while John Kusleika is in his third at Ontario.

The teams have scrimmaged the previous two years and this year Ontario spent much of the spring walking over to Ontario Christian to practice because work was being finished up on its stadium.

“Matt was very helpful to us when we needed a place to practice,” Kusleika said. “It should be a fun game. It can be a fun, friendly rivalry. They’re a small school but they’re always pretty good.”

Hoekstra is looking to rely on his running game with a solid trio of Zac Cupp, Blake Biby and Travis Struiksma the contributors. Other key players are senior wide receiver Ian Ulloa and junior quarterback Kevin Jack, who missed much of last season with an injury.

On defense Hoekstra singles out senior outside linebacker Clayton Dahl and senior defensive back Giovanni Debonis.

There has been a battle for the quarterback spot at Ontario with Aaron Delgado and Luis Rivera the candidates. Kusleika said he’ll likely use both and see what materializes. The Jaguars also have a solid running back in junior Antoine Paul, who saw a lot of playing time late last season.

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Football Roundup for Sept. 25

ONTARIO CHRISTIAN 14, CERRITOS VALLEY CHRISTIAN 12>> Quarterback Ian Ulloa threw an 18-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Grayson Kline in the Knights’ victory over the Crusaders with 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Knights sealed the game with an interception in the final seconds of the game.

CAJON 65, EISENHOWER 6 >> The Cowboys’ Tyrone Gasaway caught three touchdown passes, Elijah Lilly returned two kickoffs for touchdowns to lead  the way. Wilbur Murray added over 130 yards rushing and a touchdown in the Citrus Belt League win over the Eagles. Cajon will play at 7 p.m. Friday against Miller.

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Ontario football team cautiously optimistic after 2-0 start

VIDEO: Ontario coach John Kusleika talks about his team’s win.

The Ontario football team improved to 2-0 with a 42-0 win over Bloomington on Thursday. That comes on the heels of a season-opening win over Garey a week ago.

Coach John Kusleika wants his team to be confident and enjoy that success since there had been little of that in the football program recently. But at the same time he doesn’t want his team to get too excited because those two wins have come against teams that could both go winless this season.

So yes he is keeping things in perspective.

“We have talked about taking the same approach win, lose or draw,” he said. “No matter what happens you have to put that aside and move on to the next week.”

Ontario went 2-8 last year so they’re already ahead of where they were last year.
Kusleika says staffing has been a big help. Last year he had just eight coaches to handle all three levels and this year he has 13 – nine for the varsity.

He also credits Joe Szczepanski, previous the head coach at Alta Loma, for being a major help.

“All of our guys are getting coached at every position,” he said. “It has made a big difference.”

Senior Cameron Poe has been the catalyst of the offense. The head coach also singled out the play of senior safety Demetrius Jones, junior running back-defensive back Sheldon Osborne, senior offensive lineman Daniel Estrada and senior center Jorge Navarro.

Next up for the Jaguars will be Nogales. Kusleika and Szczepanski are planning to watch that team’s game against Mountain View tonight in person.

VIDEO: Cameron Poe talks about win over Bloomington.

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Matthew Hoekstra named football coach at Ontario Christian

Displaying c. hoekstra.jpg

Matthew Hoekstra has been named head football coach at Ontario Christian. He replaces Rick Martin who had the job just one season, with the Knights going 3-7.

Hoekstra is no stranger to the school or the community. He is a 2001 graduate of Ontario Christian and has been on staff in the football program since 2009. He has served in several capacities, most recently as offensive coordinator.

Hoekstra earned a degree in exercise science from Northwestern College (Iowa) while a member of the football team. He also has a doctorate of physical therapy from Western University of Health Sciences.

He currently works as a pediatric rehabilitation therapist for San Bernardino County. – See more at:

“We’re excited to have him,” Ontario Christian Athletic Director David Parkes said. “He knows the school and the community and will be a good fit.”


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