Sean Dollars inherits Rancho Cucamonga position from Jaylon Redd

Sean  Dollars has big shoes to fill and he knows it.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior will step into a leading role this season as a running back for the defending Baseline League champion Rancho Cougamonga Cougars. Just how daunting of a task is that? Well he is replacing Jaylon Redd. And all Redd did was run for 1,693 yards and 25 touchdowns. He led the Cougars to an undefeated regular season, earned All-CIF honors and was named Inland Valley Player of the Year.

Doillars is pretty good too. He ran for 443 on 44 carries (11.2 avg.) in relief of Redd, mostly when the game was out of hand and coach Nick Baiz was just trying to run out the clock.

Rancho is one of those programs that prides itself on having players step up when given the chance and Dollars will be evidence of that.

He was used in relief last year as a sophomore and yet he already has eight major college offers – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, Utah, Washington, Colorado. Nebraska and TCU.

Dollars admits Oregon has always been his “dream” school but that doesn’t mean that school is a slam dunk at landing him. Ironically, Redd is at Oregon now, along with former Rancho teammate Thomas Graham.

Rivals has Dollars ranked fifth at his position, 43rd nationally and fourth in the state for players in his class.

With a good season in a high-profile role who knows how many more will come.

“He was a great player but I am my own player,” said Dollars, who will wear Redd’s No. 5.  “I know I have big shoes to fill but I am ready for the challenge. I watched him a lot and I have watched a lot of film. I am looking forward for my chance to shine.”

Baiz is confident Dollars will be an impact player as well.

“People saw enough of him last year to know what he is capable of,” Baiz said. “I think he learned a lot by watching Jaylon last year and he will be that guy for us this year.”

Is Dollars actually faster than Redd? Baiz won’t go that far.

“Jaylon was faster than most cars in the parking lot,” he laughed.

 

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Chaffey football team looking to return to successful formula

Tigers mascot photo.

Chaffey used to be known for its running game, made possible by a strong offensive line.

Last year the Tigers (4-6 overall, 2-3 in league in 2016) were a little young and the inexperience showed. But veteran coach Chris Brown thinks this team is capable of having the success on the ground it has in the past.

“I think we’re going to be able to run the ball,” Brown said. “We were young up front last year but all those guys are back and they’re a year older and they worked at it during the off-season. I really like this team.”

Most of the other offensive starters are back too. That group of returning players is led by senior running back Nick Silva who ran for a team-high 838 yards in nine games a year ago. The backfield will also include junior David Ciminiski (234 yards, 46 carries) and senior Micah Gildenrew (219 yards, 45 carries).

Senior speedster Jalen Vivian should see the ball as well.

That unit up front is led by senior Josue Lepes Sanchez, who will also be counted on defensively, as well as senior Gabriel Fuentez. The Tigers are also set at tight end with both George Wusstig and Malaki Tovi factoring in.

Junior Tyler Freeman is set to start at quarterback.

On defense many of those same players will be relied upon. Brown is a little concerned with his secondary, only because many of those playing there will also play full-time on offense.

The other trouble spot will be the kicking game because Brown said right now he literally does not have a kicker.

The team will be bolstered by the addition of senior strong safety0linebacker Kurt Imbach, who older brother Devin was a standout at Colony several years ago.

“He is really gong to help us,” Brown said. “He can play.”

The Tigers are dropping from Division 8 to Division 9. Brown singles out Colony and Don Lugo as the frontrunners in the Mt. Baldy League but thinks his team could factor into that third spot and possibly get into the playoffs.

CHAFFEY SCHEDULE

Aug. 25 – Grand Terrace
Sept. 1 – At Jurupa Hills
Sept. 8 – Patriot (at Rubidoux)
Sept. 15 – Colton
Sept. 29 – Barstow
Oct. 6 – Colony
Oct. 13 – Alta Loma
Oct. 20 – At Ontario
Oct. 27 – At Don Lugo
Nov. 3- Montclair

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Chino Hills football team looking to rebuild after major departures

Chino Hills' Bradley Davis (27), right, gets by the diving tackle attempt of Norco's Michael Porter (6), left, during Friday night's game at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, CA Friday, September 30, 2016. (Photo by Mark Dustin for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Wide receiver Bradley Davis is one of just two returning starters on offense for the Huskies.

The Chino Hills football team is used to challenging for a Baseline League title. This year that goal might be a little difficult.

Not only are Rancho Cucamonga and Upland loaded as usual but the Huskies (6-5, 3-2) graduated the majority of their starters on both sides of the ball. So it will be up to a completely new cast of players.

“The good thing about that is we have a lot of seniors that are really hungry for a chance to play because they sat behind some very good players,.” Coach Chris Stevens says. “They’re going to have their chance now.”

Among those departing are the athletes that made up the offensive and defensive lines that have been the foundation for success the last three years.

Huskies mascot photo.

On offense the only returning starters are junior running back Water Carl III and senior wide receiver Bradley Davis. Carl rushed for  1,391 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a sophomore, earning Inland Valley Newcomer of the Year accolades.

Davis caught 25 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns.

Stevens had hoped to have senior running back Sean O’Donnell back in the fold but a knee injury he sustained the first game of last season has yet to heal completely and his status is till up in the air.

There are two newcomers fighting for the quarterback spot -senior  James Linn, a transfer from Ayala, and junior Braydon Fawcett, a transfer from JW North.

Among those looking for time at wide receiver are seniors Anthony Cole and Curtis Smith and  junior Gio Isles.

Returning starters on defense are linebackers Frankie Flores, Mickey Rosales and Justin Barcenas – all seniors.

Other key contributors will be senior inside linebacker Jake Michael and senior nose guard Matt Fonomoiana.

“We’re definitely the underdog this year and that;’s OK,” Stevens said. “We have a lot of players that are unproven so far but we think we can surprise some people.”

CHINO HILLS SCHEDULE
Aug. 25 – Ayala
Sept 1 – Diamond Ranch
Sept. 8 – At Newport Harbor
Sept. 15 – At Elsinore
Sept. 29 – At Norco
Oct. 6 – At Damien
Oct. 13- Etiwanda
Oct. 20 – At Upland
Oct. 27 – Los Osos
Nov. 3- at Rancho Cucamona

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REV’s Daniela Popa makes commitment to Cal State Northridge

Cajon's Deja McBath and Jada Johnson fight for a loose ball with Redlands East Valley's Daniela Popa, during the second half of Tuesday's Citrus Belt League girls basketball game at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, Ca., February 7, 2017. (Photo by John Valenzuela/SCNG)

Redlands East Valley basketball standout Daniela Popa (right) has committed to NCAA Division I Cal State Northridge.

The 6-foot-2 center averaged 13 points, 10.5 rebounds and three steals last year as a junior for the Wildcats (17-10, 11-3) who placed third in the Citrus Belt League.

She was a first-team All-Citrus Belt League selection. Popa recorded double digits in points 18 times with a high of 25 coming against West Valley. She hit double digits in rebounds 17 times with a best of 18 coming against Carter.

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Jurupa Hills looking to take San Andreas Crown from San G

 

Jurupa Hills' William Brock carries the ball against Arroyo Valley defense at Jurupa Hills High School in Fontana, CA., Thursday, October 6, 2016. (Staff photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

For three years Jurupa Hills has finished second in the San Andreas League to San Gorgonio. Even though it has a new coach, Jurupa Hills leader Citos Marinez says San G remains the favorite.

“Until someone knocks them off they are the team to beat,” Marinez said. “They have a great program and  they will be tough again. They may have a new coach but they still have great athletes.”

Jurupa HIlls is coming off a 6-5 showing in 2016 that included a 4-1 in league play. It lost a first round Division 11 playoff game to Twentynine Palms 19-14.

Marinez expects his team to score some points but it will boast a lot of inexperienced players on defense. So how the newcomers there progress should be the key to unseating San Gorgonio, which Jurupa Hills faces in the very first league game.

Because there is some inexperience on defense Martinez will use some of his key offensive players on the other side of the ball. Among those will be junior wide receiver Dedrick Taylor-Akins who had 49 catches for 808 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. He’ll see time at corner as well.

Then there is Sir King Cody Atkins who will see time at strong safety and receiver.

You’re also one step ahead of the game when you have a quarterback returning and that is the case as Zane Scarbrough returns after throwing for 1,380 yards 10 touchdowns starting last year as a sophomore.

The running game will be ignited by senior William Brock, an all-league performer the last two years. Paving the way for him will be senior linemen Nicolas Talbert and Nick Guadalquivir, both of whom will be counted on defensively as well.

Among others who will be counted on defensively will be senior defensive end John Rodriguez, sophomore linebacker Miguel Rodriguez.

The Spartans also got a key transfer from Bloomington in senior Larenz Lawson who will see time at safety and slot receiver.

JURUPA HILLS SCHEDULE
Aug, 25 – Hillcrest
Sept. 1 – Chaffey
Sept. 8 – At Citrus Valley
Sept. 15 – At Moreno Valley
Sept. 22 – Hemet
Oct. 5 – At San Gorgonio
Oct. 12 – At Arroyo Valley
Oct. 20 – Indian Springs
Oct. 27 – At Rialto
Nov. 3 – Rim of the World

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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.”

MONTCLAIR SCHEDULE
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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Don Lugo’s Chris Randazzo casts commitment for Oregon

After not getting any offers as a junior, Don Lugo offensive lineman Chris Randazzo decided to take matters into his own hands. He got a personal trainer and spent the summer going to camps and showcases.

It paid off as Randazzo, a 6-foot-8, 330-pounder, has committed to the University of Oregon.

He visited that school twice and also took a trip to Fresno State which was the first Division I  school to extend an offer. Others later came from Washington State, Arizona State, USC and Utah.

Randazzo chose the school based largely on his relationship and faith in offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal, previously an offensive line coach at Alabama. He also was overwhelmed by everything he saw on his trip.

He said the school made an offer after seeing him at a Nike camp at Cerritos College over the summer.

“It felt like a home there,” he said of Oregon. “:It was impressive, very high-tech, everything you’d expect Oregon to be and more.”

Randazzo was eager to make a decision so he could focus on his senior season. The Conquistadores will try to repeat as Mt. Baldy League champions. They are also coming off a berth in the CIF Division 8 semifinal and will be moving up a class to Division 7.

“I really want to be able to sit back and enjoy this season without having all that pressure,” he said.

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Recruiting expert to hold free lecture for parents, athletes

Parents and student athletes wanting to learn more about the college recruiting process can do so at a free lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the auditorium at Montclair High School (4725 Benito St.) .

It is open to those from all sports from all schools.

The guest lecturer will be Jack Renkens who has coached at all levels, served as an athletic director and had children go through the process. He founded Recruiting Realities and tour the country speaking on the topic.

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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.

LOS OSOS SCHEDULE
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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Rancho Cucamonga’s Nick Acosta looking to build on solid junior season

One of the biggest question marks going into the 2016 season for Rancho Cucamonga football coach Nick Baiz was who who would step in at quarterback for the graduated Angel Matute who had turned in a stellar three years at the position.

Not only did junior Nick Acosta meet expectations, he is exceeded them.

He completed 156 of 256 offerings for 2,288 yards with 27 touchdowns and only four interceptions in leading the Cougars (12-1) to an undefeated regular season for the first time in school history. Rancho advanced to the Division I semifinal before losing a hard-fought game to national power Mater Dei.

So Acosta, a first team All-Baseline League selection and second team All-Inland Valley choice, is ready for an even better senior season.

“He did a great job of not trying to do too much,: Baiz said. “He knew he had good weapons around him and used them.”

This season the 6-foot, 175-standout comes in more confident than ever with that experience behind him. He is one of just two returning starters on offense, the other being senior lineman Joshua Gray.

The biggest difference is that Acosta has matured into the leadership role that typically comes naturally for most quarterbacks.

“I definitely feel ready to take that on this year,” he said,. “I know a lot will be expected but I am ready. I learned a lot last season.”

Colleges are starting to take notice too. His stature is working against him but he has drawn some Division I interest. Ivy League schools are starting to come calling too and that woudln’t be a bad fit given that he boasts a grade-point average of 4.2.

We’ll have a more in-depth story on Acosta coming up in the newspaper soon. Stay tuned!

 

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