Last season San Dimas and Baldwin Park met in the final game of the regular season to determine the Valle Vista League champion, with San Dimas emerging to not only take the league title but the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division championship as well. The two teams play a little earlier this season and with records not as shiny as the 8-1 mark with which each entered last season’s clash, but a league championship could be on the line just the same when they meet Friday at San Dimas.
Schedule changes: San Dimas (3-2) and Baldwin Park (1-4) may not win any beauty contests at this point but difficult nonleague schedules in 2010 may have each playing better than last season.
Pomona isn’t usually the subject of the most curiosity in the Inland Valley. Given that it has a two-time CIF champion coach on the sideline this year, the Red Devils might be the most intriguing team in 2009. Pomona appeared on the rise last season, raising the stakes for this year, but consider that the five teams they beat during a 5-1 start averaged 1.6 wins last year.
Due to a slightly deceiving 6-4 record in 2009, I think a lot of people expect coach Anthony Rice, who won a pair of CIF Central Division titles in four years at Colony, to step in a lead Pomona to its first playoff appearance since 2003. That’s a pretty tall order, especially considering he lost his best player a couple weeks ago when running back Taj Teague transferred to Claremont.
“It’s a work in progress,” Rice said. “We want to pick up where they left off last year when they took a solid leap forward. We want to work hard, add a little more discipline and focus on the little things to win games.”
Bill Zernickow sounded practically as happy a few days ago as he did through the press box wall at Citrus College on Dec. 12 – only a little less muffled. Winning the first CIF championship in school history will do that to somebody, muchless if you defeat the No. 1 seed in a dramatic six-point, rain-soaked victory. “It’s something you can take to your grave,” Zernickow said.
Fortunately for San Dimas, the Saints can probably afford to be a little fat and happy considering they return 14 starters from the team that went 13-1 in 2009. The entire offensive and defensive lines are back as are playmakers Jordan Taylor and Dillon Corona.
But it’s not all gravy for San Dimas. One of those returning starters, junior quarterback Shawn Kennedy, is out until midseason with a shoulder injury suffered playing baseball. In Ryan Kohler and Tre Evans, the Saints graduated 2,374 rushing yards and 37 TDs.
After Pomona received a few incoming transfers from Colony this year, now the school is experiencing a significant one of the outgoing variety. Fred Robledo of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune got comfirmation from Pomona coach Anthony Rice that Pomona running back Taj Teague is transferring to Claremont, the school he attended as a freshman.
Teague, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior already with a few scholarship offers, could be the missing piece to a Claremont team with plenty of talent on offense everywhere except running back. Claremont was prepared to shift their best receiver, Tanner Kuramata, to tailback in obvious running situations before Teague’s transfer. Already with the best quarterback and one of the best receivers in the area in addition to a senior-laden offensive line, Claremont is loaded.
Pomona will not challenge the transfer, according to Rice. “Let him play,” Rice said. “I don’t challenge anything, if he wants to go to Claremont so be it. I wish the kid the best of luck and hope he has a great senior year. You hate to lose a kid of that caliber, but it’s his choice.”
MVP: Derek Penilla, Senior, Pitcher, San Dimas
Pitcher: Jason Martinez, Covina
Pitcher: Eddie Pedroza, Northview
Pitcher: willie Gomez, Ganesha
Infielder: Shawn Kennedy, San Dimas
Infielder: Nick Hynes, Covina
Infielder: Fernando Gonzalez, Baldwin Park
Infielder: Bobby Ramos, Northview
Inland Division (no at-large entries)
Big VIII (4 entries)
Notes: The Baseline League essentially had four entries for the two seasons it was in the Inland Division, claiming the lone at-large berth each year. Last year the at-large team, Upland, won the entire division. In an Inland Division where it produced one collective playoff victory in its last two seasons there, life is going to be different for a Baseline League that produced six of the last eight semifinalists in the Central Division.
Central Division (no at-large entries)
Mt. Baldy (4 entries)
Inland Valley (4 entries)
San Andreas (4 entries)
Notes: Colony won this division two years in a row before the arrival of the Baseline and Sierra Leagues two seasons ago. New coach Matt Bechtel, formerly Los Osos High’s offensive coordinator, likely won’t be disappointed he doesn’t have to face his old league foes in the playoffs.
After his name has been linked to the job for weeks, Anthony Rice was hired as the Pomona High School head football coach on Thursday, pending school board approval.
Following two CIF championship seasons in four years at Colony High School, the Pomona native will be the fifth coach in seven seasons for a program that hasn’t made the playoffs since winning the Valle Vista League in 2003.
“When people think of Pomona, they shed a negative light on it,” Rice said. “But that’s not how I think of Pomona because that’s where I’m from. These kids are in the same boat I was in when I was growing up and I want to turn this program back into what it used to be.”
Unlike when Rice was a record-setting running back at Garey High School, the Pomona Unified School district is saturated with new schools. The dispersed talent is the reason for Pomona football’s lack of recent success but the Red Devils have the talent to end their playoff drought, according to Rice.
After two CIF championships in his four years at Colony High School, head football coach Anthony Rice resigned Tuesday, with his sights set on the head coaching job at Pomona High School.
Rice, 35, desires an administrative position, something that appears difficult to obtain at Colony amidst the financial crisis. His Jan. 25 application for the Pomona head coaching position isn’t Rice’s only link to the job, according to former Pomona head football coach John Brown.
After one year as coach, Brown resigned Jan. 8 on the premise that Rice was offered the Pomona head coaching position behind Brown’s back, a claim Rice and Pomona principal Roger Fasting denied. Rice said he was never offered the head coaching position, but shortly after the season ended in November, Pomona athletic director Tom Sweeney contacted him about an offensive coordinator position under Brown.
Brown’s resignation and Rice’s application for the Pomona head coaching position are not related, according to Rice.
“It’s very much a coincidence,” Rice said. “Everybody can say what they want, but I have to go through the same process as everybody else that applied for the job. Let the naysayers fall where they may.”
Here are the boys basketball matchups for the Martin Luther King one-day event at Los Osos High School. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students.
8 a.m. – Ontario vs. San Dimas
9:30 a.m. – Bishop Amat vs. Charter Oak
11 a.m. – Serrano vs. Claremont
12:30 p.m. – Diamond Bar vs. Rancho Cucamonga
2 p.m. - Chino Hills vs. Los Alamitos
3:30 p.m. – Glendora vs. Garey
5 p.m. – Twentynine Palms vs. Alta Loma
6:30 p.m. – Santa Monica vs. Etiwanda
8 p.m. - Los Osos vs. Ayala
With re-leaguing taking effect next school year, here are the 2010 leagues:
Citrus Belt League:
Redlands East Valley