The Wait Is Over: PrepXtra Magazine debuts Wednesday

PREPXTRA UPDATE: Have already fielded calls and emails saying newsracks are sold out in some areas, and that the wrong magazine was inserted. If you run into this problem, head on over to the Star-News office at 911 E. Colorado Blvd. (between Lake and Colorado) and purchase it for $1. We don’t have an unlimited supply, so get down here today to get your copy. I’m finding out that home delivery had the right insert and the problem is at the newsstands. Can you guys confirm?

Nobody from the Tribune office will admit that our magazine cover is the best, but it is. Nevertheless, we are excited to bring you the first-ever PrepXtra Magazine, which hits the newsstands and on home delivery Wednesday. This project took all summer, but it was well worth it. As much as it was a lot of work it was also a lot of fun to produce. It’ll be fun from here on out figuring out who we will grace on the cover. Below is Monrovia’s Nick Bueno, arguably the most notable returnee, who also was the only underclassman to grace the cover with four other seniors (Dietrich Riley, Mitchell Crockom, Isaac Valdez, Max Ruckle) in last year’s special preview section. So far, the magazine is receiving rave reviews within our newsgroup. I’m confident our advertisers and readers also will be blown away. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, our fabulous photographer Keith Birmingham shot the covers. The cover below took a lot of planning, throwing ideas here and there before we decided to go with a black backdrop, two fog machines and four lights. The shoot itself took nearly three hours, and in case you’re wondering, that’s mud on Bueno’s face and jersey. We shot it on a hot day early July in a stuffy locker room at Cliffton Middle School in Monrovia where the Wildcstas were holding summer practice. Our thanks to Bueno for his time and Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox for providing us with equipment and free time in the locker room.

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Football: Muir skirmish could lead to punishment

Two football players from Muir High School face possible punishment after their involvement in a scuffle during a scrimmage against Cathedral last week.

Muir football coach Ken Howard said coaches and school administrators are looking into the matter and added a decision might be made by Thursday on whether the players will be suspended for Friday’s season opener at home against San Gabriel.

The altercation happened early in the scrimmage when teams were split into position groups. Howard said he was with the linemen when the scuffle between wide receivers and defensive backs broke out.

“Right now I don’t want to name names,” Howard said. “But basically some players were (fired up) about playing football. We got a couple of names and we’re trying to figure out what happened.

“I’m still discussing with some of our coaches and administrators the situation. We don’t know if there will be a punishment handed out this week or next week, but there will be a punishment.”

There is film of the scrimmage but not of the incident, which happened much earlier than the 11-on-11 scrimmage, which Howard classified as a “glorified practice.”

“In the midst of the scuffle there were guys running to it,” Howard described. “When you turn around and see the guys running to it, it looks like a bigger incident. But in the whole picture you find out that there were teammates pulling other teammates off of guys, so it didn’t escalate into a brawl or anything like that.”

Howard said the matter will be handled in a serious manner.

“We’re going to treat it as if it happened during a real game,” Howard said. “We ask ourselves, `What’s the punishment?’ We’re figuring out what kind of punishment will be handed down, and we’re going to make it clear it’s something that will not be tolerated.”

Mission accomplished

The scrimmage went on as planned, and Howard said he was pleasantly surprised by the progress.

Senior quarterback Jeffrey Davis, in particular, demonstrated patience in the pocket and speed. Davis, a 6-foot-4 speedster with a strong arm, is replacing Jarron Williams.

“(Davis) did a little of both,” Howard said. “He stood well in the pocket, got off some good balls and when he scrambled he ran pretty good. He showed he can get his reads down and proved confident in the pocket.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but he showed us some really good stuff. It was a pleasant surprise, truly.”

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Football: Two-Minute Drills with Melendez, Tolegian: Roosevelt vs. Alhambra at Moor Field, Friday, 7 p.m.

Aram Tolegian, AKA Chemical A.T., and I will discuss the Two-Minute Drills on video this season, starting today with Roosevelt vs. Alhambra at Moor Field on Friday night at 7. Tuesday I’ll have San Gabriel at Muir. Week 0 is light for us, but we’ll have plenty more to choose from next week, so now’s the time to lobby for your team to be dissected. I’ll have up to three Two-Minute Drill videos next week.

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Star-Picks: Fire up the grill and cook up a little pigskin …

Vacation is over and it’s time to bring out the clipboard and enjoy Friday nights on the sidelines. Year 3 of my tenure begins, and I’m holding onto the reigns a little stronger. This fresh face has some new wrinkles and the body armor needed to dive right into the action. Our weekly Star-Picks kicks off Monday on the blog. I challenged Stang Fan and Goldenarm for picks last year, but I’m unsure if they’re willing to go at it again. I’m sure the 1-9 start from last year won’t be a problem this time around. Later today I’ll have Two Minute drills with Aram Tolegian as we profile the Roosevelt-Alhambra and San Gabriel-Muir games. For now, here are the predictions. Game of the Week votes, anyone?

WEEK 0
Thursday’s Games
Brethren Christian at Pasadena Poly, 3 p.m. — Pasadena Poly
Blair vs. Fulton at Muir, 7 p.m. — Blair

Friday’s Games
Bassett at Keppel, 7 p.m. — Bassett
Roosevelt vs. Alhambra at Moor Field, 7 p.m. — Roosevelt
San Gabriel at Muir, 7 p.m. — Muir
Cerritos vs. Gabrielino at Gahr, 7 p.m. — Cerritos
Westchester at Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Pasadena

Saturday’s Games
Maranatha vs. Big Bear at Big Bear Middle School, 1:30 p.m. — Big Bear
Westview at Bosco Tech, 4 p.m. — Bosco Tech
La Salle vs. Village Christian at Glendale, 7 p.m. — Village Christian

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We’re big fans of McCutchan … so is the Patriot League

Got this press release from Lehigh University, which announced today that former La Caada volleyball star Courtney McCutchan was selected Rookie of the Week in the Patriot League.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Freshman Courtney McCutchan of the Lehigh volleyball team was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Monday, as announced by the league office.

McCutchan was instrumental in the Mountain Hawks’ three victories over the weekend, posting two double-doubles and 11 or more digs in each of her last three matches at the Courtyard by Marriott Invitational in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Courtney got off to the start that we expected from her,” Lehigh coach Jenny Maurer said. “She is a solid all-around player and her stats are indicative of that. She helped from the service line, she had key blocks and the double-doubles speak to her offensive and defensive skills as well.”

The La Canada, Calif. native tallied eight kills and 16 digs against St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday as the Mountain Hawks won their first game of the 2010 season. McCutchan followed the performance with a 13-kill, 11-dig outing against Robert Morris and an 11-kill, 12-dig line vs. Radford on Saturday. McCutchan also chipped in with six block assists and six service aces over the weekend as the Brown and White completed the tournament with a 3-1 record.

Lehigh has not opened a season with three wins in the first four matches since the 1995 campaign when the squad started 4-0.

The Mountain Hawks will look to continue their fast start on Friday, September 3 in the Sacred Heart Invitational in Fairfield, Conn. Lehigh opens the tournament against hosts Sacred Heart at 4 p.m., before taking on Jacksonville and Dartmouth the following afternoon.

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Star-Jibber: Who gets the cover in Week 0?

My laptop currently is with our I.T. department, meaning if I don’t get it by the end of today, this could very well be my last entry as I depart for my week-long vacation. In any case, Keith Lair will provide daily reports beginning in Tuesday’s paper. The season begins in two weeks, and with that comes time to make some big time decisions, like which teams we’ll give the cover on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It won’t be as hard for Thursday and Saturday, but certainly Fridays are up for grabs. But be careful what game you pick Friday, because whichever one you pick also means that you’ll get yours truly as the reporter. Don’t grow restless next week. Keep visiting and be on the lookout for our PrepXtra Magazine, slated to hit a newsstand near you Sept. 1. I promise you you’ll be blown away.

WEEK 0
Thurs. Sept. 2

Brethren Christian at Pasadena Poly, 3 p.m.
Blair vs. Fulton at Muir, 7 p.m.

Fri. Sept. 3
Bassett at Keppel, 7 p.m.
Roosevelt vs. Alhambra at Moor Field, 7 p.m.
San Gabriel at Muir, 7 p.m.
Cerritos vs. Gabrielino at Gahr, 7 p.m.
Westchester at Pasadena, 7 p.m.

Sat. Sept. 4
Maranatha vs. Big Bear at Big Bear Middle School, 1:30 p.m.
Westview at Bosco Tech, 4 p.m.
La Salle vs. Village Christian at Glendale, 7 p.m.

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Football: There’s a four-man race for QB at San Marino

San Marino football has been spoiled with some very good quarterbacks as of late. First, it was Steven Wright making waves with his consistency, leadership and patience in the pocket. Three years ago, Wright threw for 1,179 yards and seven touchdown passes before his 2008 season was cut short because of injuries. In that injury-marred season, Wright threw for 597 yards and nine touchdowns against only two interceptions. He was poised for a breakout season before a separated shoulder derailed his senior season.

Joe Forgatch stepped in. The rocky start (Forgatch was intercepted in his first two passing attempts) soon after became an easy transition. He threw for 355 yards and six touchdowns in the latter part of the season. As a senior, Forgatch completed nearly 56 percent of his passes (135 of 241) for 1,748 yards and an astonishing 17 touchdowns against only four interceptions. He also led the Titans to a thrilling win over Temple City to finish second int he Rio Hondo League and a dominating 42-20 win over Rosemead in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

That there’s a four-man race to takeover the heralded Forgatch can be taken in one of two ways: Forgatch left some really big shoes to fill or afforded the opportunity for one of the four in the running to emerge and make a name for himself, just like Wright once did as well as Forgatch.

Here are the candidates:

Chris Faulkenbury, Sr. — The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was a backup to Forgatch last season. He perhaps of any other candidate has the experience after watching Forgatch in action from the sidelines.

Kody Gerrick, Sr. — Gerrick is a transfer from Arcadia. The 6-foot, 150-pounder is also the nephew of San Marino baseball coach Mack Paciorek.

Garret Glazier, Jr. — The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has the frame and winning mentality to swoop in and take the spot. He was a proven winner as the JV starting quarterback.

Matt Wofford, So. — He was the place kicker during the Titans’ playoff run last season. But we’re talking quarterback now, and Wofford has the least experience of the four. The 5-foot-9, 150-pounder is only a sophomore, and that could play well for him, given that the Titans will now want to start thinking about grooming the quarterback for the future.

San Marino lost nine starters from last year’s playoff team. The majority of returning starters come from the defensive side, led by Oliver Campbell and Seve Woods. It’s no secret the Titans lost an explosive offense with the graduation of Forgatch and, of course, Mr. All-World, Stevie Yortsos (337 yards rushing, 707 yards receiving, nine interceptions, 14 touchdowns).

But if Titans coach Mike Mooney had his druthers, and could pick one returning starter from any position, Mooney without any hesitation said it would be a quarterback.

“A quarterback is an extension of the offensive coordinator,” Mooney said. “He’s like another coach on the field, coordinating the offense.”

So far, nobody has yet taken ownership of the position, Mooney said. Even then, Mooney said he wants to see how they look with pads on, which came on today. That will be a real gauge of where the QB’s stand, and whether they can weather the pressure that comes with being a quarterback.

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High School football correspondents wanted

We have a few high school football correspondents returning to cover high school football games in the fall, but are looking for more. Those who have covered high school football games before or are studying journalism are ideal. Or, if you have a passion for writing and football, and can spell, that works too. If interested, feel free to email me at miguel.melendez@sgvn.com.

A press pass will be provided that will get you into the game and access to the sideline or the press box (if available). You will be paid a small fee for your time and efforts.

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