The football teams from Alta Loma and Ontario will square off tonight at Montclair High School in a Mt. Baldy League game that will have little impact on the standings. But it will have quite the meaning for a couple of coaches on the Jaguar sideline.
Head coach John Kusleika spent seven years the Alta Loma program from 2002 to 2008 and among the players he had then were current San Diego Chargers standout Eric Wedell.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Szczepanski is less than a year removed from his four-year stint as head coach there. He was let go last year after the Braves only finished fourth in the league a year after moving over the Baseline League. The prevailing thought among school officials was that the Braves should have been able to finish in the top three in a league that was far less competitive and it didn’t happen.
Szczepanski compiled a record of 15-25 at Alta Loma but took over after the program had back-to-back 0-10 seasons. The school had a 24-game losing streak in the Baseline League that dated back to the last game of the 2008 season.
Kusleika was only too happy to welcome Szczepanski, who still maintains his teaching position at Alta Loma, to his staff at Ontario.
“I have been a couple of other places since then so it isn’t as big a deal to me,” Kusleika said of facing his former school. “It’s different for Joe because he was just there and he has coached a lot of those kids.”
The Jaguars are 4-4 overall and 0-3 in league play.
The Braves, now directed by much-respected veteran coach Mark Pasquarella, are 3-6 and 1-2 in league play and need to win their last two to equal the record that Szczepanski had at the school last year.
We’ll see how this plays out.