Football: Jordan Canada’s mom speaks out

Here’s a quote from Gala Canada, mother of Jordan and Jaime Canada. Jordan and Jaime left Duarte High and are now enrolled at South Hills. With so such speculation surrounding her son’s transfers, Gala Canada contacted the Star-News to give her reasons for the move. I’ve left messages for Duarte officials seeking reaction, and if they choose to do so, we will give you their response.

“I need to make the statement clear, that’s partially the reason,” said Gala Canada in reference to the firing of coach Wardell Crutchfield, who has since been replaced by Tip Sanders. “That’s the only reason (Jordan and Jaime) were at Duarte was because of Wardell, but they’re leaving for a number of things. The athletic programs need help and someone needs to look at that. I have spoken to (Duarte) principal (Eric Barba) and athletic director (Robyn Garcia). The program needs a lot of help. I volunteered all last year to bring as much assistance I could, but I’m one person. They didn’t leave just because of the firing. We love coach Crutchfield but this (lack of support) started last year with the principal. This has been going on for a long time and I’ve had enough. (South Hills) had a little bit of everything. I looked at a lot of schools. This wasn’t just a decision we were going to make out of the blue. There was research that went into it and I evaluated a lot of schools.”

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Football: Blair at St. Margaret’s in Week 0?! Yup

No, that wasn’t a typo. Blair will be traveling to the deep south of Orange County where they’ll take on the defending back-to-back-to back CIF-Southern Section and CIF State champion St. Margaret’s. it’s hard to say why either school would agree to play this game. Sure, Maggies is in the small schools division but talent-wise one can argue the Tartans are the superior team. For answers we went straight to the source and asked Gary Parks, entering his second full season as the Vikings’ coach. He gives us a brief outlook of the season and what went into scheduling such a heavy weight to start the 2009 season.

From The Sidelines: I see St. Margaret’s is on your schedule. What is up with that?!?!?

Gary Parks: (Laughs) … We need to find out where our program is early. We’re returning eight lineman, our front is going to be averaging 6-foot-2, 275 pounds so we want to see what we’re doing early.

FTS: I can see the advantage Blair would have in playing a perennial powerhouse in St. Margaret’s, but what’s the advantage for St. Margaret’s playing Blair? Why would they agree?

Parks: Really, we chatted a bit and, yeah, there would be no advantage for them. It’s be a disadvantage for them because if we win the game it looks bad for them, but they want to see their team competing public schools.”

FTS: How did all this come about?

Parks: Pretty much I knew him through my ex coach and mentor, Lalo Mendoza. I was consulting with him and I told him we wanted to play a quality opponent and I was just asking him what he thought of St. Margaret’s. He said that would be a great game for us. They’re well-disciplined and well-coached. There’s no better coach. it would be good to go back and learn from our mistakes. I just got the number from Lalo and gave him a call and we talked about it. He mentioned to me he had some concerns because they’re a small school. I told him, ‘Coach, you’re back-to-back champions .. ‘ He called back a few days later and said we would play. This is going to be a one-year contract. We want to be able to establish ourselves as a top notch program. We want to be able to compete with whatever CIF offers; league, division championships and state championships. Our goal is to be competitive to claim those titles in the future.

FTS: Why so many road games to start the season?

Parks: We’re doing this because next year we’re getting our artificial surface. The plan is since we don’t make gate money at Pasadena City College, we’ll play on the road and have them play at our new field the following year so we get the gate money.

Here are some of the schedules we’ve received thus far. If you have any more give me a ring coaches. You know my digits:

BLAIR — Sept. 4 at St. Margaret’s; Sept. 12 at Don Bosco Tech; Sept. 25 at La Salle; Oct. 2 at Wilson; Oct. 9 at Brawley; Rio Hondo League action.

LA SALLE — Sept. 4 vs. Village Christian; Sept. 11 vs. Maranatha; Sept. 18 at San Marino; Sept. 25 vs. Blair; Oct. 2 at Monrovia; Oct. 9 at Temple City; Oct. 16 at Verbum Dei; Oct. 30 vs. Mary Star; Nov. 6 vs. Cantwell; Nov. 13. at Don Bosco Tech, 2 p.m. (All games 7 p.m. unless noted)

MARANATHA — Sept. 4 vs. Linfield Christian; Sept. 11 at La Salle; Sept. 18 Bye; Sept. 25 vs. Bakersfield Christian; Oct. 2 at Calvary Chapel Downey; Oct. 9 vs. Kilpatrick; Oct. 16 vs. Brentwood; Oct. 23 at Montclair Prep; Oct. 30 vs. Sierra Canyon; Nov. 6 at Marshall; Nov. 13 vs. Campbell Hall (All games 7 p.m.)

Maranatha football coach Joel Murphy wanted to schedule some local high schools for the upcoming season. He was unsuccessful, however.

“Because of their pre-existing contracts, our new league expansion, and inability to be flexible with some dates, it just didn’t seem to work out,” Murphy said. “That’s what you get when you’re the new kid on the block huh?

“Maybe next year we can get a game with a Rio Hondo or Pacific League school. Now, I’m not saying we’d win by any means, but it’d be good for us to start playing these guys.”

No, it wouldn’t be good. It would be AWESOME. But, again, what team would want to schedule a team like Maranatha. This is no knock on the Minutemen who advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs before losing to, um, yes, St. Margaret’s. I guess there would be no advantage for a team like, say, Monrovia, or Temple City, but starting with baby steps wouldn’t be bad. Try South Pasadena and La Canada.

For now, Murphy was able to schedule Bakersfield Christian. Not exactly a name that pops out, but look at their resume. Bakersfield Christian comes to town on Week 3. They are the back-to-back CIF Central Section champions. They went 12-1 last year with its only loss coming to Oaks Christian in Week 0.

“Needless to say,” Murphy said, “we’ve got our hands full with some big desert boys.”

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Football: Ramses Barden the next Plaxico Burress???

This is one of the headlines in the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger after the New York Giants selected former Flintridge Prep and Cal Poly star Ramses Barden in last weekend’s NFL Draft:

New York Giants’ wide receiver pick Ramses Barden can expect comparisons to Plaxico Burress

From The Star-Ledger:

The new big target for Eli Manning is Ramses Barden, a 6-6, 229-pound receiver from Cal Poly the Giants selected in the third round of the NFL Draft Sunday at Radio City Music Hall. The team traded up six spots — with their division rival, the Eagles — to grab Barden, who is one of only three players in Division 1-AA/Football Championship Subdivision history (Jerry Rice being another) to catch more than 50 career touchdowns.

Barden’s measurables are similar to those of Plaxico Burress (6-5, 232), to whom he was being loosely compared before the draft. He and the Giants can expect those comparisons to continue as he joins first-round pick Hakeem Nicks in a group of receivers trying to compensate for the loss of Burress.

“They have similar body types,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “But the Plax we saw was a seasoned veteran. This is a young kid coming from Cal Poly with a huge wingspan and was very productive.

“Small-school guys, we like them to dominate and he stuck out like a sore thumb like Kevin Boss at his level of comp.”

It’ll likely be a while — if ever — before Barden is able to dominate at the NFL level the way Burress often did. So there’s still a matter of the immediate upgrade the Giants need for their passing game, particularly after the offense struggled in the aftermath of Burress accidentally shooting himself last November.

The Giants believe they did upgrade over the weekend — with several targets and not just one. They believe Barden can contribute immediately as a red-zone threat while Nicks’ strong body type makes him “NFL-ready.”

Click here to read the rest of the Star-Ledger’s story Ramses Barden

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Softball: Is it possible for Prep League to get hotter? Yes!

Taking a closer look at the Prep League this week….

It has been an interesting week for the Prep League where things have tightened up significantly and it is still up in the air as to who will take the crown. Currently there are three teams in a virtual tie for first place – all with two losses. Rio Hondo Prep (6-2), Mayfield (6-2) and Flintridge Prep (5-2). Don’t count out Pasadena Poly with three losses either – there is definitely a scenario where the Prep League ends up with a four-way tie for first place. But first….

RIO HONDO PREP – Rio Hondo made the biggest move last week beating both Mayfield (4-1) and Flintridge Prep (3-2) behind the outstanding pitching of sophomore Charley Parker and a solid defense. Rio Hondo was able to take advantage of mistakes by their opponents without making any errors on their part. Rio Hondo should be able to take care of business in their next three league games and will finish league play vs. Pasadena Poly on May 15th. Next up is Westridge on Tuesday.

FLINTRIDGE PREP – After a disappointing 3-2 loss to Rio Hondo Prep, Flintridge Prep will be hungry for a win against Mayfield on Tuesday. Lydia Kay was excellent on the mound and hit a two run homer in the bottom of the first against Rio Hondo to tie the game at 2-2. She held the Kares until the top of the 7th when mistakes allowed a runner to score and put the Kares up for good. Of the top three teams, Flintridge Prep has the toughest remaining league schedule with games against Mayfield and Pasadena Poly. Flintridge beat Mayfield in their first meeting, 4-1, but lost to Pasadena Poly, 7-3, in their first meeting.

MAYFIELD – Mayfield started the week slowly coming off spring break with a 4-1 loss to Rio Hondo Prep, but picked things up significantly with a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Pasadena Poly on Friday. In the Poly game, Katie Clancy struck out 14 and now has a league-leading 90 strikeouts and an 0.65 ERA in league play. This is the first year that Mayfield has swept Pasadena Poly in league play in at least 25 years, possibly ever. Mayfield has a big challenge against Flintridge Prep on Tuesday at Brookside Field No. 3, hoping to avenge the earlier loss to Flintridge.

PASADENA POLY – Pasadena Poly has had a tough season but can rebound if they can mount a late season surge. Last week they started the week with a convincing 10-0 win over Chadwick, but then suffered a disappointing loss to Mayfield. This week they face Webb and Chadwick and should win both games. Their biggest challenge will come against Flintridge Prep the following week and then against Rio Hondo Prep to close out their league season on May 15th. If they can overcome these challenges they will at worst be tied for second in the Prep League or possibly in a 4-way tie for first.

So, here is the four-way tie scenario: I am assuming the four league leaders all beat Chadwick, Westridge and Webb in their remaining games. If Flintridge Prep beats Mayfield then Pasadena Poly beats Flintridge Prep and Rio Hondo Prep all four teams would have three losses in league play and there would be a four-way tie. Somebody check the rulebook, because I am not sure how you would settle that one….

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NFL Draft: Blair’s Sean Smith picked by Miami Dolphins

Former Blair Viking star Sean Smith was slected in the second round (61st overall) by the Miami Dolphins in last weekend’s NFL Draft. The All-American was Rio Hondo League offensive back of the year, leading Blair to one of its best seasons while rushing for 1,500 yards with 18 rushing touchdowns. He also had 547 yards receiving and over 400 yards in kickoff returns.

Click here for a Q&A with Smith from the Florida Sun-Sentinel

Click here for a story on Smith by the Florida Sun-Sentinel

Click here to read Smith’s bio

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