Are you ready for some football? PHS is ready to roll!

Above: Ain’t it a beauty? (Photos courtesy of Rudy Mendez)

PHS and Muir will play in brand spankin’ new fields when the season kicks off in a few weeks. ‘Stang Nation will beam with pride when Diamond Ranch comes to town come Week 0, a rematch of last year’s first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs. Then there’s PHS, playing its first home game on campus ever when the season begins, never mind that PHS’ schedule on CalPreps has them listed at PCC. Playing on a state-of-the-art field surely will give both the schools and the surrounding communities a sense of pride, too. These photos were provided by PHS alumnus Rudy Mendez who e-mailed to say: “(I) was allowed access to tour the new football field at the school. …. I spoke to the crew working on the field and they told me they’ll install aluminum bleachers next week.” Funding also was provided to upgrade and begin construction for new fields at Blair and Marshall high schools next summer. There’s a reason why Blair agreed to play its first five games on the road this season, to have those teams return the favor next year when Blair unveils its new field. Blair will spend less money this season by not having to play at PCC and the Vikings will generate some revenue next year when Blair Blair ends its second-year contract with this year’s nonleague opponents. Finally, some exciting news for Pasadena-based high schools.


Football: Muir, PHS getting new athletic fields

Football: Upgrades are taking shape at Muir, PHS

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BREAKING NEWS: Anthony White to teach at TCHS

Anthony White received approval of employment by the Temple City Unified School District at a Wednesday night board meeting. White will join the social science department.

White was hired earlier this year to replace Randy Backus as the Rams head varsity football coach. White previously taught two years of AP U.S. history and economics at Rosemead High. His official assignment begins Sept. 1, according to the school board agenda posted on the district’s Website.

White sounded excited when reached by phone Thursday morning.

“It’s incredible to be closer to the boys,” he said. “I used to teach AP honors history, economics and that’s pretty much what I’ll be teaching (at Temple City).

“It’s great to teach at a school district like Temple City where the academics prestige is there. it helps me in my professional career on and off the field.”

White will be part of a teaching staff that also includes Backus, who teaches English and previously coached the football program in one capacity or another for over a decade. White, however, said there will be no awkwardness.

“Randy’s a great guy and I’ve talked to him throughout this whole off season, talking about the guys on the team,” White said. “I don’t think it’ll be awkward at all.”

White went through a rigorous interviewing process where he had to make a 30-minute presentation in front of the TCUSD superintendent, asst. superintendent, TCHS principal and the head of the social science department.

White, who prepped at Rosemead High, will not only leave behind his colleagues but also his younger brother and Panthers junior running back Matt Fregoso.

“I’m really sad about that but we raised him tough,” White said. “My mom and my sister and my other brother we’re a close family. We’re together every weekend.

“I’ll make sure that his grades are up to par and does what he has to do. I’ve been coaching him and teaching him since he was born. One semester without me shouldn’t make that much of a difference.”

In other news, Temple City baseball coach Barry Bacon and Backus both were tenured by the school board, according to the agenda highlighting the approval of certificated personnel.

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NYT: Leagues see bloggers in the bleachers as a threat

Interesting story in today’s New York Times about leagues implementing rules on where game videos are broadcast and photos are published.

This is very similar to how the CIF-Southern Section set restrictions on live blogging of playoff and championship events

From The New York Times:

The dispute has reached high school sports. In Wisconsin, for example, Gannett, the newspaper chain that owns The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wisc., has been enmeshed for months in a legal battle with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The controversy touches on a number of issues, including the live streaming of games, the definition of live blogging and the ownership of photographs taken during games.

“They are challenging our authority to run our tournaments,” said Todd Clark, a spokesman for the athletic association.

Debate over in-game blogging has been particularly contentious in Wisconsin. Last year, the athletic association sent $100 invoices — the fee it charges radio stations to cover games — to newspapers that it determined were publishing play-by-play blogs. The newspapers ignored the bills.

“It was absolutely ludicrous,” said Peter Fox, the executive director of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. “You can’t do play-by-play in a blog. You can’t type that fast, for crying out loud.”

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Football: PHS altering its mentality one day at a time

Above: Pasadena football coach Mike McFarland, far right, with some of his players during Tuesday’s practice. (Keith Birmingham /Staff photographer)

What’s to make of Pasadena this season? The morale hasn’t been the best at a school more known for its boys basketball team than anything else. Despite the strong fan base, the football team has generated very little interest among football fans in the West San Gabriel Valley. Yet, when Kevin Mills resigned last year, the PHS job became one of the more coveted jobs in the Southland because of what it can represent.

Mike McFarland has journeyed from Missouri. Call him the prodigal son, returning to his roots where it all began: The West San Gabriel Valley.

The Arcadia alum is battling with Pasadena’s past: its lack of continuity, success and passion. It’s why McFarland won’t define the Bulldogs’ success by wins or losses. It’s about taking the necessary steps to improve each day. It starts with the little details first before making grand aspirations.

In talking to McFarland on Tuesday during a 40-minute interview you easily sense the passion, determination and willingness to lift up the program to where it once was.

It’s what gives Pasadena more than a great shot to battle the Muirs and Arcadias. Perhaps not this season just yet, but definitely sooner rather than later.

“My motto with this team is to improve every day,” McFarland said. “We just take it one day at a time and we’ll look for ways to improve. I’m not worried about wins and losses. We feel we have enough talent to be very competitive.

“My ultimate goal for this team is that we play good football and put a good product on the field and compete at a very high level. The wins and losses shake out after that.”

Pasadena doesn’t have the J’Quan Hamilton to quarterback the offense. In fact, the Bulldogs will be a run-friendly team this season with senior Nick Escoe and sophomore Cleo Bates Jr. battling for time in the backfield. For those with a sense of history, Cleo Bates is the son of the great Cleo Bates Sr., a PHS running back in the 80’s and then went on to play at Colorado. Bates Jr. is a lanky (6-foot-1) speedster with the ability to take the ball the distance. PHS returns eight starters from last year’s team, including lineman Anthony Boykins.

“The first thing we have to get really good at what we can do well,” McFarland said. “We have to be able to execute a well-rounded scheme that has answers within it for different ways we can be defended. Offensively we have to present a scheme that a defense has to account for multiple ways it can be attacked. It can’t just be three plays, line up and run it.

“Through formations and personnel adjustments we have to have ways to come back so a defense can’t just line up and play us. Our scheme needs to be flexible enough that we can take advantage if a line wants to stack the box. We will have the ability to have a little bit of a spread dimension and spread the field and take advantage of the defense if they don’t adjust.”

Still, there are battles within the program McFarland is addressing first, which is why there are no bold expectations this season.

“There’s ups and downs,” he said. “We’ve battled demons here for the first few months with kids in terms of consistency not only in the past and maybe past disappointments, but I can’t put it all on it. I can just go on what what I’ve seen since I’ve been here.

“A lot of times when there’s not a level of success that has been achieved the passion isn’t there. It’s human nature, not just in sports. If you’re not being successful people don’t get excited. It’s the most important thing, to generate that passion. The passion comes when players start seeing themselves successful. When they know things are headed int he right direction and feel themselves the player they want to become, then you start to get guys with passion.

“We’re still in the building process and get this thing going at a consistent level. What we as coaches have talked about is our players need to get closer to success and see it and feel it, and when that happens that’s when you start to get more of a buy-in from your players.”

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From Week 0 to Week 10, the Must-See games in 2009

WEEK 0: Arcadia at Monrovia, Sept. 4
Monrovia got off to a horrendous start last year, though things did pan out for the Wildcats in the end. Arcadia hopes to keep season-opening momentum going the rest of the year.

Prediction: Monrovia

WEEK 1: Maranatha at La Salle, Sept. 11
Last year’s epic battle is renewed as both teams test their new quarterbacks in what promises to be yet another showdown. No truth to rumors of building a wall to separate La Salle fans from Maranatha’s.

Prediction: Maranatha

WEEK 2: Rosemead at Monrovia, Sept. 18
The Wildcats will have vengeance on their mind when they take on the Panthers, which ousted Monrovia in last year’s semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs. Rosemead QB Matt Macias vs. Monrovia QB Nick Bueno will be fun to watch. Lets see who out runs who.

Prediction: Monrovia

WEEK 3: Temple City at Arcadia, Sept. 25
Randy Backus spent 14 years at Temple City but he’ll be wearing cardinal and gold when his Apaches take on the rookie Anthony White and the Temple City Rams. “Brawl for the Mall” … uh, yeah, real clever. Who came up with that?…

Prediction: Temple City

WEEK 4: Temple City at Rosemead, Oct. 2
Last year’s Mid-Valley Division championship game that never happened, thanks to our friends in the desert. Perhaps a preview of this year’s final?

Prediction: Rosemead

WEEK 5: La Salle at Temple City or Rosemead at South Hills, Oct. 9
La Salle beefed up its schedule considerably and it’ll only help the Lancers in the long run. Still, Rams run away in the second half.

Prediction: Temple City

WEEK 6: Arcadia at Muir, Oct. 16
The Apaches had a tough time handling the Mustangs’ speed last year. Things are not as even but Arcadia will compete and give Muir a run for its money.

Prediction: Muir

WEEK 7: Monrovia at Temple City, Oct. 23
A shot at the Rio Hondo League championship will be on the line when the WSGV’s two best offensive line meet. Monrovia’s core of returning players at key positions will propel the Wildcats to a victory.

Prediction: Monrovia

WEEK 8: Alhambra at San Gabriel, Oct. 30
The Almont League’s two best quarterbacks clash when Darrian Cazarin leads the Moors against Isaac Valdez and the Matadors. Alhambra came away with a 30-14 victory courtesy of a surprise rushing attack. The Moors offensive prowess again will overwhelm San Gabriel.

Prediction: Alhambra

WEEK 9: St. Francis at Alemany, Nov. 6
The Dietrich Riley show continues. This could be a make-or-break game for the Knights who hope to secure a playoff berth with a victory.

Prediction: St. Francis

WEEK 10: Muir vs. Pasadena at Rose Bowl, Nov. 13
The Turkey Tussle won’t be as lopsided this year, though the Mustangs figure to be the odds on favorite to win, again.

Prediction: Muir

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