A.J. Garbick gets head baseball job at Upland

Upland has a new baseball coach for the first time in more than three decades as A.J. Garbick has been named successor to Mike Alonso.

Garbick, who turns 37 on Friday, previously served as head coach at Charter Oak in Covina the last three years.

He is no stranger to the area, having previously served as head coach at Colony.
Garbick is a resident of Ontario and a 1997 graduate of Damien where he helped that school to a CIF title his senior year.

“My wife teaches in the district and my kids go to school in the district so it was a natual fit,” he said. “Upland has had a great program. I have played against them so I know what to expect.”

There are other ties too. while at Damien Garbick played under coach Bobby Sheridan, who was an Upland graduate.

He currently works as a teacher in a home school program based out of Chino Hills but is hoping to eventually land a position in the Upland School District.

He said his philosophy of the game isn’t much different from that of Alonso.

“Upland teams have always played that hard-nosed type of game and that’s the genre I grew up with so that will be much the same,” he said.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Webb football team looking to get over the .500 hump

Webb FBLast year the Webb football team got off to a 5-1 start and was on its way to the best season in recent memory. But some injuries took their toll and the Gauls settled for a 5-5 record.

Coach Amahl Thomas, now in his fourth year, says this could be the year his team turns the corner provided it can stay healthy.

“We were disappointed last year because we thought we were capable of something a little better. We had four major injuries and when you’re talking a small school and those guys play both sides, it’s like losing eight,” he said. “We just never recovered.”

Thomas singles out his skill position players as the strong point of this year’s version of the Gauls. Many of those will see action on both offense and defense.

Leading the group of experienced players are senior wide receiver-defensive end Apollo Thomas, the coach’s son who was a first-team All-San Joaquin selection last year.

Others include senior wide receiver Nick Jung and junior middle linebacker-tailback Adrian Alvarez. Both were among those players, each sustaining a severe ankle sprain that sidelined them for the stretch run.

The biggest question mark comes on the offensive line which was hit hard by graduation. Thomas will be counting heavily on senior Andy Christiansen, the elder statesman of the bunch.

“We’re going to have to utilize our skill position players and get the ball out there a little quicker,” Thomas said. “We’re just inexperienced up front and we’ll need to make up for that.”

The quarterback spot is up for grabs between  junior Ryan Place and sophomore J.J. Cunningham. Wyatt Albert, who played there last year, is not playing this year after sustaining a third concussion playing soccer in the winter.

Thomas is expecting junior wide receiver-linebacker Spencer Easley, a backup last year, to assume a larger role this season. Among the others who could have an impact are senior linebacker Spencer Stewart, a baseball player who has dedicated himself to football as well.

The new season gets underway on Saturday, Aug. 27 with a 10:30 a.m. home game against North Hollywood Campbell Hall.

Thomas is excited about having three local teams on his schedule – Western Christian Garey and Upland Christian, with Upland Christian, transitioning from the eight-man game to the traditional game this fall.

“I really see this team as a 7-3 kind of team,” Thomas said. “You never know what is going to happen and we’ll need some younger guys to improve as we go but we have good potential.”


Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Diamond Ranch football looking for some coaching stability

San Marino's J.P. Shohfi (81) carries the ball as Diamond Ranch's Kalean Williams (6) attempts to stop him during a playoff game at San Marino High School on Friday night, November 13, 2015. Shofi made two touchdowns in the half. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

The Diamond Ranch football team is coming off a 7-4 season that included a loss to eventual CIF champion San Marino in the first round.

The Diamond Ranch football program is on its fourth head football coach in as many years in Eric Martinez, previously the defensive coordinator at Upland. Usually that means your program is in turmoil and you haven’t been winning, but that isn’t exactly the case.

The Panthers were 7-4 last year, going 7-3 in the regular season and dropping a first round playoff game to the eventual CIF champion. The school decided to part ways with Jimmy Welker in the spring.

Martinez says his association with Upland landed him instant credibility with his team and players jumped on board early in the process. The new coach is hoping that will translate to success in the tough and balanced Hacienda League and a playoff run.

“The kids know what we accomplished there and the caliber of competition we played so I think that did help. The bought in to what we wanted to do right away and they have worked hard,” he said. “The biggest difference here is numbers. I have 80 kids and at Upland we had 150.”

Martinez said the defense will boast much the same philosophy it did last year but the offense will look much different. Instead of the spread offense with multiple quarterbacks Martinez is going to a power running game. He thinks he has the right personnel to do so and singles out the offensive line as the strength of the team this season.

Heading that group are junior tackles Ryan Roh and Matthew Burks.

Both of the quarterbacks Welker used last year graduated. It looks like the starting nod will go to senior Justin Tong, who Martinez thinks will do a good job of managing the offense.

The backfield will feature senior Chase Steward, sophomore Connor Clark and junior Augie Arellano.

Top defenders will include senior defensive back Donald Green, senior dedensive end Julius Sulia, junior corner Devin Dabich and junior defensive back Alec Flangan.

Green and Flanagan should also see time at wide receiver.

“We have some talent,” he said. “Our weakness is probably just numbers.”

Diamond Ranch starts the new season on Aug, 26 at South Hills, which also has a new coach in Matt Bechtel who came over from Chino Hills where he helped that team to a Baseline League title and semifinal playoff berth.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Claremont football looks to make up for disappointing 2015

Claremont High School junior running back Duy Tran-Sampson, 16, is one of the main reasons the Wolfpack are 5-0 so far this season. (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)


Senior Duy Tran-Sampson has been one of the area’s top rushers the last two seasons and is expected to shoulder the load again this season.



The Claremont football team did alright in the win column last year at 7-3. But the Wolfpack were 5-0 in non-league play so their collapse late in Palomares League play cost them a playoff spot.

They’ll be looking to make up for that misstep when the new season gets underway on Aug. 26. Coach Coco Jarin has a hard time containing his excitement when discussing the coming season.

“We’re going to put a good product on the field,” he said. “People are are going to be impressed. I can’t wait for the first game.”

“We were very disappointed at not making the playoffs last season and it was our own fault,” he said. “The kids haven’t forgotten that and they have been working hard.”

Of course Claremont returns its top weapon on each side of the ball and that will be a bit help. Junior running back Duy Tran-Sampson will ignite the offense. He ran for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and built on that with a strong showing in track season.

On defense junior linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu heads the effort, after recording 140 tackles as sophomore.

“Those guys are the leaders but we have good players around them too,” Jarin added.

Tran-Sampson will have a solid line to run behind. That group features senior guard Ricky Sandoval, who will start on both sides of the ball, senior tight end Caesar Arranga, senior center Noah Garcia, junior tackles Ricky Martin and Ryan Bush and junior guard Noah Gonzalez.

In the skill positions Claremont has the potential to throw the ball it they choose with a standout receiver in senior Laquamie Bond and solid fullback in senior Gabriel Gonzales.

The quarterback spot is up for grabs, the candidates being sophomore Reggie Retzlaff, a transfer from Webb, and senior Jacob Grajales, the backup last year.

Standouts on defense will also include Bond at free safety and Sandoval at linebacker as well as linebacker Jacob Gentry, senior safety Jordan Cardosa and senior cornerback Cameron Winfrey.

Jarin is also high on varsity newcomer Cammeron Thomas.

The biggest question mark is the defensive line which lacks returning player with experience. Junior Jason Hall, up from the junior varsity, is expected to be an impact player.

A tougher and more compelling schedule starts on Aug. 26 with Riverside Norte Vista.

“Our schedule will definitely have us more prepared,” Jarin said.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Etiwanda pitcher Michael Berg headed to NAIA Trinity

Etiwanda High School pitcher Michael Berg will continue his education and play baseball at Trinity International, just outside of Chicago.

Berg was 6-3 with a 2.31 ERA in 12 appearance (10 starts). He pitcher 76 innings and managed four complete games in helping the Eagles to a playoff berth. He was a first-team All-Baseline League and All-Inland Valley honorable mention selection.

“I like the coaching staff and the atmosphere,” he said. “I thought it would be the best place for me to develop as a baseball player.”

Berg was also considering Biola or going to Grand Canyon University and just focusing on academics. He plans to major in accounting.

Berg hasn’t visited the school but has several friends that are going there so he has gotten a full scouting report on the school. He has another friend in Brady Lange, who just graduated from La Verne Lutheran, who will be going there as well and told the coach there about him.

Trinity went 23-24-1 overall last season and 11-17-1 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Claremont football team looking at more attractive schedule

Claremont's Duy Tran-Sampson carries the ball against Bonita's Logan Zylstra at Bonita High School in La Verne, CA., Friday, October 9, 2015. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Senior running back Duy Tran-Sampson is among the large group of returning players who hope to help Claremont to a playoff berth this season.

One of the first things Jose “Coco” Jarin wanted to address when he took over as head football coach at Claremont High School was its non-league schedule.

The Wolfpack had quality competition in the Palomares League but the teams it faced in non-league play did little to prepare them for more important games and hardly generated any buzz on campus or in the community.

El Rancho, Hemet West Valley, Covina, Bell Gardens. Nothing against those schools, but they are hardly compelling non-league opponents. Yes that other game was Damien, but the schedule needed work.

The Wolfpack went 5-0 last year in non-league play, but were never the same once non-league play started. They finished 7-3 and were 2-3 in league. That tied them for fourth with Claremont but the CIF took a 3-7 Ayala to the playoffs INSTEAD of Claremont. That had to have been a slap in the face and was another indication the schedule had to be addressed.

Yes Claremont lost to Ayala head-to-head, but at 7-3 Claremont would have been in the running for an at-large berth had it not been for the weak schedule.

“We got off to that 5-0 and our guys got a little too high on themselves,” Jarin said. “We weren’t as good as we thought we were.”

The first two opponents were a combined 1-11. And the five foes were a total of 18-34. Take away 7-5 Covina, by far the best of that lot, and Claremont played four teams that were 11-29.

Claremont had also been losing players from the feeder middle school who were opting to go to other programs nearby.

The best way to get those kids back? Put those schools on your schedule and beat them. And that’s just what Jarin did.

Claremont football enthusiasts now have some non-league foes for whom they can get excited. Damien is once again there and that could be quite a rivalry.

Then there are Riverside Norte Vista, Pomona, Alta Loma and Upland. Yes, the one and only Upland.  So this year’s opponents were a combined 35-21 a year ago. That’s a major upgrade.

Credit those schools for wanting play Claremont.

“We want to make this a place kids want to play football,” Jarin said. “We want to show them were a good place to go not just because of the academics but because we’re a pretty good football team too.




Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Pomona High football team facing major rebuilding job

Sierra Canyon’s Kohl Hollinquest hauls in a touchdown pass Friday against Pomona.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Pomona made it to the CIF semifinal before losing to Sierra Canyon last fall.

The Pomona High School football team is just two years removed from a storybook season that ended with a CIF title. The Red Devils (10-3, 4-0 in Miramonte League) were also pretty good last year, marching all the way to the semifinal before losing to eventual champion Sierra Canyon, 65-26.

But this season second-year coach Keith Richardson will have his work cut out for him. The Red Devils return just a few players with significant experience and they start out the season with a game against defending CIF champion in Oak Hills.

So they young team is going to have to get better – fast.

“We’re going to be very young,” Richardson said. “You have years like this when you graduate a lot of guys and are basically starting over.”

Returning impact players are lineman Oliver Deerr, running back-corner back Chris Trimble, wide receiver Ricky Lua and defensive end Joel Trujillo – all seniors, But that’s about it

Richardson was fortunate to get a couple significant transfers with brothers Roy and Robin Wiley coming over from Montclair.

Roy, who will play linebacker and wide receiver, was the Daily Bulletin’s All-Inland Valley Newcomer of the Year last year as a sophomore. Last year he tallied 125 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 interceptions, caused 7 fumbles, blocked 2 punts and a field goal.

Robin, now a senior, will see time at safety and wide receiver. He had 52 catches for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns last year.

“It’s definitely a great to have them, especially in a year we lost so many guys,” Richardson said. “They’re going to have to play a lot on both sides of the ball.”

Sophomore Mariano Verdusco will be the starting quarterback. He is up from the freshman team.

Richardson also singles out senior corner back-wide receiver Nygerron Crouch and sophomore fullback-linebacker Talon Cobb as players off the junior varsity who should contribute greatly.

Rebuilding or not, Pomona is capable of repeating as league champion. The Miramonte isn’t one of the tougher leagues by the time league play rolls around Pomona will have played some quality competition.

“That’s always our goal – to win a league title,” Richardson said. “We can do that. We just have to keep getting better.”

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Upland pitcher Ryan Rodriguez commits to UC Davis

Upland pitcher Ryan Rodriguez has made a verbal commitment to UC Davis.

The 6-foot right-hander also visited to Pepperdine, Seattle University and Florida International but opted to go with the school offering the best combination of athletics and academics.

Rodriguez plans to major in pre-law.

The academic part was super important to me,” Rodriguez said. “It is a very good academic school so it was the best option as far as both go.”

Rodriguez visted UC Davis earlier this week which helped solidify his decision.

“I really liked the campus and it seemed like the right fit for me,” he said. “I also think I might have more of a chance to play earlier. That’s not usually the case with the bigger Division I schools.”

Rodriguez is currently playing with the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal with the last tournament of the summer coming up.


Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Don Lugo football team hopes to build on strong summer showing

The Don Lugo football team made great strides in the last two years under coach Luis Garcia. Well a veteran has taken over the reigns and should keep the ship headed in the right direction.

Greg Gano, who has had stints at Hacienda Heights Wilson, Damien and Los Altos, has retained most of the previous coaching staff and there are a lot of returning players so the transition has been a smooth one.

The Conquistadores were impressive over the summer winning two passing league tournaments. If nothing else, Don Lugo will start the new season with momentum and confidence.

Football coach Greg Gano, who coached at Northview, Los Altos and Wilson locally, is now at Don Lugo and has seen some positive signs this summer. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

“Those things don’t always mean a lot but we did beat some good teams,” Gano said. “I think we opened some eyes. We’re very excited about starting the new season.”

Of course it all starts and ends with a quarterback Don Lugo has one back in junior Rudy Garcia. He spent most of the season as a backup but had to step in when starter Dane Ford got injured late in the season and did an admirable job.

There are plenty of other starters returning too though, particularly along the offensive line, an area that Gano singles out as the strength of the team this season..

That unit is led by center Trevor Goulet, who will also play on the other side of the ball. Others pitching in there will include seniors Chris Torres, Tito Torento and Aaron Ngyuen and junior Chris Randazzo.

The Conquistadores graduated their top two rushers, one of those Ford, but there are plenty of contributors ready to shoulder the load – most notably junior Khoury Bethley, senior Zak Murray and sophomore Chris Perez.

The stable of receivers features senior Kendale Taylor, juniors Daniel Munguia, Thomas Delgado and Nico Lara, a transfer from Chino who won’t be eligible until the sixth week.

The biggest question mark appears to be the defensive line but Gano isn’t overly concerned. That group is headed by seniors Jason Gardner and Connor Wilt, junior Andy Esparza and sophomore Jack McNaughton.

“We have players at every position,” he said. “We don’t have as much experience there. We just have to find the right combination.”

Bethley and Taylor will also be important to the defensive effort in the secondary.

Among the others expected to be big contributors defensively are linebackers Tzion Dixon, Anthony Miller, Steve Quijada and Albert Luevano.

“The job really has energized me,” Gano said. “I can’t wait for the first game.”

Don Lugo plays a difficult non-league schedule, starting with Warren on Aug. 26. That’s a foe that went 8-3 last year. Other teams on the schedule are reigning league champions Pomona (Miramonte) and Northview (Valle Vista) as well as Chino and Rancho Cucamonga who look to be among the best teams in the Inland Valley this season.

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email

Sykes, San Dimas football looks to keep the ball rolling

Jarell Sykes of San Dimas carries the ball for a first down in Valle Vista League action against the Covina Colts. The Saints shut out the Colts in the first half 28-0 Friday, October 30, 2015, at Covina District Field.

Senior running back Jarell Sykes (above) will again lead the charge for the San Dimas Saints.

The San Dimas football team is coming off quite the season. The Saints marched all the way to the Mid-Valley title game before falling to Sierra Canyon.

The Saints have more than enough talent to get to another title game, although the Mid-Valley Division is gone and a new playoff alignment is in place.

“I really like what we have,” second-year head coach Mark Holman says. “We have a lot of players that had really great off-seasons. We think we can pick up where we left off.”

Of course the Saints (10-4 in 2015) are going to do what they do well – run the football. And why not when you have a quality back like Jarell Sykes returning. He ran for 2,129 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and was the catalyst of the 12th-ranked rushing team in the state. Oh yeah, Sykes is also a top defensive player.

Among the other returning veterans on offense are senior quarterback Joey Tamayo, senior lineman Abbas Darwiche, a three- year starter, and junior lineman Pablo Donoso.

Holman is also high on junior tight end Andre Zarate, senior wide receiver Josh Marquez, junior running back Noah Maldanado and senior running backs Daniel Jackson and Kai Rodriguez.

San Dimas head coach Mark Holman has the Saints back in the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division semifinals.
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

“I’m more excited about our offense than I was last year,” Holman added. “We have more options so it doesn’t have to be all one guy.”

On defense Holman will be counting on many of the same players – most notably Darwiche and Sykes.

He singles out junior middle linebacker Dylan Ware as the best pure athlete on the squad.

Other major contributors will include junior lineman A.J. Placentia, senior outside linebacker Evan Haas and senior  Anthony Bernal who has excelled at both linebacker and free safety.

Holman is looking for his team to get off to a better start. It was only 2-2 through the first four games last year and one of those was the Smudge Pot loss to Bonita, something else he hopes to avenge.

The Saints also settled for second place in the Valle Vista League behind Northview.

The new season starts on Aug. 26 with that rivalry game at Bonita.

“We haven’t won that in a few years so we’re due,” he said. “For whatever reason we always seem to get off to a slow start. We’d really like to change that.”

Share this
Plusone Twitter Facebook Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Email