NFL, ABC-7 honors San Gabriel coach Keith Jones

The 2008 season is just a few days away from kicking off and the first recepient of this year’s NFL Southern California High School Coach of the Week honors goes to San Gabriel’s very own Keith Jones.

Every week ABC’s SportsZone with Rob Fukuzaki will honor a high school football coach with the honor and a $1,000 check to be used for the football program.

During Saturday night’s broadcast after the Cal-Michigan State game, Jones was honored with the award. ABC-7′s John Hartung reported from San Gabriel High.

His passion for football and teaching the game are undeniable.
Keith jones has brought energy and winning attitude to the Matadors sidelines.

“I’ve gotta give my coaching staff credit,” Jones said. “Now that we’re starting I can see it working together well and I can see it (winning the Almont League) hapenning (again).”

So what does Jones think of this year’s squad?

“These are the next guys in line and we’re just going to re-load,” Jones said.

I’ve been watching college football all day while also browsing the net. I recognized the stadium in the tease as they headed to commercials when Fukuzaki said they were going to honor the first Coach of the Week honoree. So I immediately opened a new browser and got ready to type as fast as I could whatever reporter John Hartung said about Jones.

Congrats, coach Jones.

Sound Off with Miller, Robledo and Melendez

Time Warner’s Reginald Miller, Tribune prep writer Steve Ramirez, Tribune prep editor Fred J. Robledo and myself discuss Muir vs. Diamond Ranch and give our predictions, too.

By the way, Miller does a great job following our local teams and beyond on his popular site “A Local Sports Show” … go check it out.

Click here for the Muir-Diamond Ranch breakdown.

The rest of the Week 0 Games
Friday, Sept. 5

Monrovia at Arcadia, 7 p.m.
Pasadena vs. Arroyo Valley at PCC, 7 p.m.
Ayala at Duarte, 7 p.m.
Gabrielino at La Puente, 7 p.m.
Cathedral vs. San Gabriel at St. Matthias, 7 p.m.
Pomona at Keppel, 7 p.m.
Maranatha at Linfield Christian, 7 p.m.
Bosco Tech at Contreras, 7 p.m.

Training Camp: San Gabriel football enjoying view

SAN GABRIEL — I headed over to San Gabriel’s practice Wednesday morning. As soon as I walked on to the bleachers there were a handful of architects carrying blueprints while San Gabriel principal Jim Schofield gave the grand tour.

The Matadors field and part of their school will have a significant face lift later rather than sooner and that’s the way the football team would like to have it.

San Gabriel’s field was supposed to get major renovation in June but that was postponed to August. There was talk about the Matadors possibly not playing any home games this season on their field. I’ll have more on that and the rest of the Almont League in Thursday’s paper.

The Matadors looked good on the field. Coach Jones is excited about the team he’s fielding.

It includes junior quarterback Isaac Valdez, a 4.0 student with a respectful demeanor. He went through some growing pains last year and now as a junior is taking on the leader role.

San Gabriel’s former running back Nick Castillo transferred to Schurr after last season, but the Matadors don’t seem fazed by the fishy move that might have CIF violations written all over it.

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Football tab coming Sept. 3

Not sure how many pages we’ll have this year but you guys pretty much get the gist of what to expect in the football tab. Here’s the breakdown:

*Cover story on Top 5 players this side of the 626

*Top 10 teams story

*My intro column

*League-by-league previews

*Capsules on every area team

*Team schedules

*Feature on new coaches in the area

*And story on how league realignments will shake up the CIF playoffs

All my copy has to be turned in by Tuesday, Aug. 26 so I’m cranking it out quick to make deadline. Don’t worry, I got this.

My top 5 players will meet Friday for their photo shoot, which will be the centerpiece photo for the football tab.

Also, In case you’re wondering how league rankings stack up, Calpreps.com ranked the top leagues in California.

Here’s how it looks between our three coverage areas, the Star-News, Tribune and Whittier Daily News.

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New coaches, new attitude

There are five new coaches in town. Some want to change the perception of their teams and others want to continue the rich football tradition.

Below are the new coaches and my $0.02 on my impression of them. I will have more about them in a feature I’m working on that’ll run with our high school football preview.

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KEPPEL

Miguel’s Take: I haven’t talked to Raul Solis. Our very own Andrew J. Campa wrote the Almont League preview for our football tab. The Aztecs have a 27 game losing streak so it’s safe to say Solis has his work cut out for him.

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BLAIR

Miguel’s Take: Coach Gary Parks spent the better part of his coaching career at Verbum Dei and he played college ball at the University of New Mexico, the new home of former preps editor Scott Galletti. He’s going to make quite a lot of changes but good changes. Like starting the first annual Blair Alumni football game that he’s calling Viking Family Day. There’s talk about doing more fundraising to buy a scoreboard and buy bleachers. Parks envisions a Blair stadium with bleachers so they can play under the lights and use Pasadena City College no more. Among other things, Parks also hired an academic counselor for the football team and the school followed suit by hiring another academic counselor for the sports program. That has never been done before at Blair. Parks is enforcing academics first and he says he believes in being a student first. He’s implemented a one hour session for academic counseling that is mandatory, and any player who doesn’t make that class will not suit up. Nice.

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LA SALLE

Miguel’s Take: Antoine Petersen is no stranger to the Lancers program. He has been involved with the school for nine years and now heads the football team. I don’t imagine there being many changes. The Lancers will build on a 4-0 league record last season and going forward from there. Petersen sounded to me like a man with a good head on his shoulders.

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MARSHALL

Miguel’s Take: Ricky Pickens has been involved with the program for a few years unofficially but now comes on board as the head coach. Pickens is a natural motivator and that’s something Marshall has lacked over the last few seasons. I spent about an hour on the phone with PIckens and the words he mentioned most were “motivate” and “heart”. Pickens job from the start is to get Marshall to compete. He says he CAN teach heart and if Marshall can play with heart like Pickens thinks they can then don’t expect another winless season.

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MONROVIA

Miguel’s Take: I wrote an earlier entry about Monrovia and new Coach Ryan Maddox. He spent about 10 years coaching at West Covina coaching various positions. He understands the tradition at Monrovia and wants to continue that with a bit of his own flavor.

*UPDATED – Pasadena: Where’s the love, Miguel?

**UPDATED (8/21, 3:04 p.m.): Here’s an excerpt of another e-mail from today:

I am wondering why to date there has been absolutely no mention of the PHS Bulldog Team. Is there some sort of problem that I am unaware of? It has been abundantly clear to me now, that we may never see any ink in this paper … Please let me know if there is something that has been done by anyone that would create such a situation. Pasadena is a large city with a rich football history and Pasadena High School happens to be a part of that history. I am going to give you and this paper the benefit of the doubt, and see that maybe if we win, you will give us the space in the paper that the young men practicing and playing their behinds off, that just so happen to represent Pasadena High School, a school that is named after the city in which we live, a school that has the name of the paper for which you work for, their just due!!!!!

Here was my response in its entirety to the Pasadena parent:

Hello XXXXX,

Since I started working here three weeks ago I have written ONE
article in the paper but have written numerous blog entries. Below
are two links highlighting Pasadena and a Pasadena football player
who made my Top 5 wide receivers list.

Pasadena did nothing to me. I’m sorry if Bulldogs Nation feels
they’ve been snubbed but that’s not the case at all. There will be
plenty of stories down the road and I’m certain Pasadena will get
plenty of ink in the paper.

Hope this helped =)

Aaaaaaaannnd the Pasadena parent responded with this:

Thank you Miguel for your prompt response, this does make me feel as
though there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks Again

Like I said, it’s still early and it was just ONE story. Robledo thinks I’ve been one-sided, too, but I don’t buy it.

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Training Camp: When in doubt look for the “M”

MONROVIA — I found my way over to Monrovia High late Tuesday afternoon but not before I got lost and misread the directions from the CIF Directory of Schools.

What I read was exit Colorado but somehow overlooked Santa Anita, which was the actual exit.

Ended up getting off on Myrtle since I didn’t want to cross past the 605 freeway. Drove around and around until I finally ran into Colorado making my way West.

There’s a nice little strip on Myrtle. I have to go check out one of these days.

I had been to Monrovia twice before. Once to cover a football game about six years ago and around the same time when I went to visit an old friend who was Monrovia’s marching band director.

I found my way onto campus and saw the freshman practicing on the baseball field. I got to meet Coach Mendoza whom I told about my little adventure from the Star-News office to Monrovia.

“When in doubt look for the big ‘M’”, said Mendoza as he pointed towards the large “M” that was imprinted on one of the mountains.

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Training Camp: An hour at St. Francis

LA CANADA — I’d wish I had a nickel every time a coach would say, “If we can overcome injuries, then I think we’ll be OK”. I’d be a thousandare by now.

But it didn’t feel like a cliche when Coach Jim Bonds said those 11 words.

It’s always tough when a team loses a key player to a season-ending injury especially early in the season. It’s even tougher when you lose your starting quarterback.

That was the case last season for St. Francis when Austin Heyworth went down with a torn right ACL. You guys know the rest: St. Francis finished 4-6 overall and 1-3 in Mission League.

How good was Heyworth? Well, lets just say he’s now playing Division I ball at UC Davis.

I got to practice Monday afternoon and things were running smoothly as I’d expect from a team like St. Francis.

The parking wasn’t as bad as I expected. It was a nice ride down the hill on Foothill.

I walked across the field and headed to a bench where there was shade (you know, the side where the home team sits). There were a handful of parents watching from up high on the stands.

I sat there and watched Dietrich Riley play mostly defensive back. He was vocal and definitely the anchor on defense, if not the team.

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Muir: (Diamond Ranch) don’t impress me at all

In today’s sports section (front page, bottom right corner) … I’ve gotten some positive feedback on the story and some, well, you knew negative feedback was also coming …

It looks like Muir has provided bulletin board material for Diamond Ranch and with that in mind here is the first of many polls to come so have your say on this one.


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By Miguel A. Melendez
Staff Writer

PASADENA — Being a high school football coach can sometimes mean not being a coach at all.

The logistics of running a program can become too tedious at times and even overwhelming for others.

Is the right equipment in stock? Is the field ready to go? Have the kids filled out and turned in all the necessary paperwork?

All of which are things every coach wants taken care of, preferably before the start of fall camp.

And as September approaches and the smell of the freshly cut grass roams campus, that can only mean one thing: getting back to the business of, well, coaching.

While some high school teams opened fall camp last week and others open next week, most opened Monday in preparation for their first game under the lights, which is just a few weeks away.

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