While there are still more than two weeks until the first prep football games, some area players are already earning honors.
CalHiSports.com released its preseason all-Inland Empire team, featuring players from San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Etiwanda had the most players selected to the first team: LB Khaylan Thomas, DB Treyjohn Butler and multi-purpose Keon Stephens (a transfer from San Bernardino), while Upland had two: QB Tyler Hilinski and LB Josh Woods.
Other first-teamers from San Bernardino County are: Silverado OL Augistin Beltran, Redlands East Valley RB Malik Lovette, Rim of the World RB Jamie Taylor, Chino Hills DL Trent Goens, Serrano LB John Mackesy, Carter LB Lokeni Toailoa, Ayala DB Malik Psalms and Summit’s multi-purpose Damian Alloway.
There were also several local players who made the second team: Chino Hills DB Philip Afia, REV LB Matteo Biscotti, Oak Hills QB/RB Nolan Brammer, Kaiser RB Joshua Johnson, San Gorgonio DB Nathan Meadors, Arrowhead Christian QB/DB Bradley Mowbray, Upland DB Cameron Powell and Los Osos LB Bryce Youngquist.
Roddy Layton may not be the head football coach at Diamond Rancho any longer, but he’ll still have his hand in the athletic department.
Layton will be serving as Co-Athletic Director along with Lisa Cheney, another teacher at the school.
Layton will be in his 11th year at the school. He had been head football coach the last eight but resigned in the spring.
“Football is very time consuming,” he said. “If you’re doing that you really don’t have time for anything else. I love this school and the principal I work for and I am excited about this opportunity.”
Layton says he doesn’t miss football, at least not yet. He has been out to practice a couple of times to lend support to new coach Mario Gomez who was on his staff as an assistant.
Etiwanda High School basketball standout Jordan Naughton has committed to NCAA Division I Wyoming.
The 6-foot-9 center helped the Eagles to a Baseline League title and spot opposite Mater Dei in the CIF Open Division semifinals.
With the Eagles having graduated their top two players in Jordan McLaughlin and Kenny Barnes, Naughton will likely have a bigger role the coming season.
Former Cal Poly Pomona All-American basketball standout Larry Gordon is organizing a fund-raiser for his alma mater Montclair High School.
It will feature Gordon and others who played for the Cavaliers from 2001 to 2013.
It will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at the school. Admission is $3 with proceeds going toward the boys basketball program.
Volleyball player Claire Dietrich of Los Osos High School has committed to NCAA Division II Cal State East Bay.
Dietrich, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter, helped the Grizzlies to a 26-12 record and second-place showing in the Baseline League last year as a junior. She is expected to play a more major role this year as a senior with the Grizzlies having graduated three Division I hitters.
East Bay was 11-19 overall and 7-15 in CCAA play. The Pioneers are the newest member of the conference, having made the move from Division III a couple of years ago.
The community efforts to help the family of former Chino Hills basketball player Nnamdi Okongwu are ongoing. Okongwu, 17, passed away last month after sustaining a head injury while skateboarding.
A bingo fundraiser will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday in the small gym at Chino Hills High School.
Also a fundraiser at Roscoes Famous Deli in Chino Hills Thursday, August 7th 11am- to closing. Roscoe’s will donate 15% of your purchase to the family fund.
Donations are also being taken at www.gofundme.com/4unnamdi
Upland High School offensive lineman Donnie Greene has made a verbal commitment to Fresno State. He visited the school earlier this week and made his commitment on the spot.
“It really seemed like a close-knit family with the players and coaches. I really liked that,” he said.
Greene, who will make the move from left tackle to center this year, said he also liked the community involvement in the football program as well as the fact its relatively close to home. The fact that the Bulldogs run a high-tempo offense is also a plus.
“Football is a big part of the community three,” he said. “The whole town is focused on it so its a great atmosphere.”
Greene is a four-year varsity player. He transferred from Victor Valley to Upland the second semester of his freshman year.
He is the fourth Upland player to commit to a Division I school before the season has even started. Greene also visited USC, Cal and San Jose State. He also went to Utah on an unofficial trip with a former teammate two years ago.
Greene plans to major in kinesiology with emphasis on exercise science.
Upland High School outside linebacker Josh Woods has made a verbal commitment to UCLA. He also visited USC and was considering trips to Boise State and Arizona as well.
He had a handful of other offers too – Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, Boise State and Nevada.
“I wanted to stay close so my family and friends could come see me play,” he said. “t will be a great education and I really like the campus, the coaching staff, the players and what the program has to offer.”
Woods, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, transferred from Victor Valley High School after his sophomore year but was ruled ineligible by the CIF last year so he had to sit out.
He never lost faith that would prove costly. What most likely helped was Woods’ showing at a handful of camps and combines. He participated in the Army All-American Combine in Texas as well as one sponsored by Rivals at Fullerton College and the Nike Football Training Combine at Redondo Union High School.
Having to sit out last year has only served as more incentive for Woods this year, The Highlanders are expected to be one of the best teams in the Inland Empire with two others who have already committed to Pac 12 schools in quarterback Tyler Hilinski and defensive back Kameron Powell.
Etiwanda High School infielder Kyle Isbel has made a verbal commitment to UNLV
He also visited a number of Division I schools including USC, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge but decided he’d take the option out of state.
“I like the atmosphere there and the new facilities,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with the coaches and got to talk to some of the players and it seemed like a great fit.”
It helped that Isbel has another good friend going there in Austin Pritchard of Riverside J.W. North who has also committed to the school.
Isbel hit .347 with seven doubles and 14 RBI as a junior for the Eagles, earning second team All-Baseline League honors. He plans to major in business or sports medicine.
UNLV finished first in the Mountain West Conference last year. The team was 36-25 overall and 20-10 in conference play.
Etiwanda High School softball standout Hailey Freeman (left) has made a verbal commitment to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz.
Grand Canyon had been an NCAA Division II school but recently made the jump to Division I and has forked a lot of money into new athletic facilities.
Freeman, a third baseman who will be a junior in the fall, helped the Eagles to a second place showing in the Baseline League last spring as a sophomore.
She picked that school over Northeastern State and Southern Utah, after visiting the campus last week. It also helps that good friend and teammate Megan Stevens is also going to that school. The two have been playing on the same team since they were 8 years old.
“I was going to wait to decide until maybe the end of my junior year but I really liked it when I went to visit,” she said.
She plans to major in criminal justice or forensics.