Football: San Marino trio have futures mapped out

Above: Alan Felix, right, has his sights set on Dartmouth.

There wasn’t the slightest hesitation when three San Marino High School seniors talked about the future.

It was only the third day of fall camp, but Alan Felix, Seve Woods and Oliver Campbell already have mapped out their post-graduation journey. The process began early for some and late for others.

Felix, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman, recently attended Dartmouth’s football camp. He was invited to work out after sending several tapes. Felix holds a cumulative 4.1 GPA and is confident about meeting Dartmouth’s high academic requirements. That he’s a student-athlete makes him even more coveted.

“There were a lot of good players there,” Felix said. “It’s always a good feeling that they are looking at you, and I was proud to be chosen. I’ve wanted to go (to Dartmouth), and hopefully football can be my way there.”

Woods is a 5-foot-11 wide receiver/defensive back who has one destination in mind: West Point. Woods comes from a family of several people who at one point or another served in the military. His grandfather served in the Marines, one uncle served in Vietnam and another uncle in Korea.

It was Woods’ great-grandfather, though – who didn’t serve in the military – who had the biggest influence on him setting his sights on West Point.

“My great-grandpa always told us how great West Point is,” Woods said. “I’ve always wanted to serve in the military and serve my country.”

So much so that Woods began inquiring about West Point his freshman year, when he made sure he took the necessary courses that one day would qualify him to the prestigious academy. He got even more serious about it the summer going into his junior year.

Woods also is thinking about the Air Force Academy and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. He’d like to continue playing the same position, but made clear West Point is his first choice.

“Cal Poly is more of a safety net,” he said. “But if I get into West Point, that’s where I’ll definitely go.”

Campbell will play a bigger role at linebacker this season. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder said he wants to lead by example the same way Trent Converse (125 tackles) did before graduating. One thing different about Campbell (76 tackles) is his passion to join the Army – the Airborne Rangers, to be exact.

Over the last five years, Campbell’s eagerness to join the Army has increased, and he recently sat down and talked to a recruiter. His parents were taken aback by the news, but only at first.

“After we talked, they really supported me in my decision,” said Campbell, who added it’s possible he might play football at Army. “I know they’ll always support me in what I do.”

Campbell was within earshot and listening to Woods talk about his plans to serve his country. As it turned out, it was news to Campbell.

“He hasn’t really told anyone about it,” Campbell said. “But that’s very admirable what he’s planning on after high school.”

San Marino coach Mike Mooney, in his first season as the Titans’ head coach, knows all about his patriotic student- athletes, including senior Chris Faulkenbury, who wants to attend the Air Force Academy.

“One thing this community in general has preached is about giving back and loving your country and being grateful,” Mooney said. “It’s a new way of appreciation for the things that have been given to them.”

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Football: Tim Sanderson reflects on coaching carousel

Temple City senior Tim Sanderson didn’t have the best of starts to the Rams’ fall camp opener this week. Sanderson, a punishing linebacker expected to solidify the secondary, pulled a muscle during weightlifting on Monday, and as a result was limited to practice because of continuing back spasms. He saw a therapist early Tuesday morning before the start of practice, but so far there still are lingering effects. Sanderson said he hopes he’s given the green light come Saturday, that’s when Temple City distributes pads, throws them on and give themselves a true gauge of where they stand a week into fall camp.

Of course, you knew all this if you picked up the newspaper today. What didn’t make the paper was our conversation afterward. This year, on the blog, I hope to bring you entries in story format, stories that I’ll reserve exclusively for the blog. It’s my attempt to provide exclusive content for print and exclusive content for the blog. Remember the Nick Bueno and Derrick Johnson story posted on the blog below? Notice it didn’t make the paper? Well, that was by design. In short, I hope to provide you with more in-depth stories to go along with tidbits and banter subjects.

And now, Sanderson …

It was one of the first times I got a chance to speak with Sanderson. The 6-foot-4 senior made a name for himself as a bruising linebacker last season when he made 112 tackles. It’s because he was such an integral part of the Rams’ success that frustrated Sanderson sitting practice.

After we talked about the injury, we touched on some subjects, like playing for a third coach in three years. Sanderson played for Randy Backus, Anthony White and now Mike McFarland. If you include Tim Loya, that makes four coaches (Sanderson was brought up from JV to varsity late his sophomore season). As Sanderson pointed out, “It wasn’t like it was another coach because (Loya) was just taking over the same system.”

I wondered what he thought about McFarland, and so far Sanderson is excited about him.

“He knows what he wants to get done and he’s doing a good job about making sure we’re all on the right page,” Sanderson said.

What’s been the biggest part about adjusting to a new coach, I wondered.

“Definitely the biggest adjustment has been the lingo, the terminology,” Sanderson said. “They all have their different perspective. At first you wonder what kind of coach they’re going to be, but then after a few days you realize they’re going to be a good coach because they’re passionate about the work. We saw that with coach quickly.

“But of course, because he’s a new coach we have to learn new things.”

There also are different personalities.

“We’re starting to get the hang of it all,” Sanderson said. “White was easier for me because I was new to varsity. So it went from finally learning what he wanted to something new.”

Fade, streak. Those were terms commonly used by Anthony White.

Take off. That’s what McFarland says instead.

“The way we call the plays on offense,” Sanderson said, “it’s different.”

The coaching carousel hasn’t been as bad as it may seem for seniors at Temple City, at least not for Sanderson.

“You learn that each coach has their own philosophy and you learn to adapt to make it work,” Sanderson said. “You know they all want to be successful, and they were successful before coming here.”

Randy Backus was a top assistant coach under Mike Mooney and was the architect behind the 2008 Rams team that reached the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

Anthony White won the Wendy’s High School Heisman, a prestigious national award, before playing for Urban Meyer at Utah.

Mike McFarland was a stellar prep athlete at Arcadia where he was a three-sport athlete, lettering in football, basketball and track. He served assistant coaching stints at Occidental College, Minnesota State University-Moorhead and Missouri Western University.

“So when you realize all that, and you put it all together, you take little things from each of them and you learn to make yourself better,” Sanderson said. “And when you do that, you hope that you give yourself more variety as a player and as a person.”

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Football: McFarland, Temple City in search of top QB

There’s a three-player race for the starting quarterback job at Temple City. Almost a week into fall camp, Temple City football coach Mike McFarland said he still hasn’t seen any of the three emerge as the front-runner. The quarterback position seemed to be the one position the Rams were not so worried about when last year’s disappointing season came to an end. Brandon Cox, a 6-foot-2 speedy passer, was expected to take the reigns from Justin Smith. Cox was to provide another element to the Rams’ dynamic with his elusiveness and playmaking ability.

But wasn’t to be. Cox transferred to Pasadena where his father is now a strength and conditioning coach under first-year Pasadena coach Randy Horton. Suddenly, Pasadena goes from having the talented Aaron Simpson taking snaps to Cox creating a quarterback competition. It’s looking a lot like Cox will be the Bulldogs’ quarterback this season.

Pasadena looks set, but what about Temple City?

Senior Alec Vigil, senior Bruce Pacilio and sophomore Mike Quintanilla are the three vying for the starting spot. McFarland said after Tuesday’s practice that Temple City didn’t start fall practice as if from scratch. The Rams have played together and built cohesiveness since the start of spring and throughout summer camp. Still, between the start of the year and through summer, neither Vigil, Pacilio nor Quintanilla have taken ownership of the position.

That can be taken in one or two ways: All three are creating such a competitive atmosphere and each one has their own unique talent that so far it’s been difficult to pinpoint one particular QB as the front-runner. That’s great and all, but with pads ready to go on Saturday, McFarland hopes someone starts separating himself from the pack, given the season is only a few weeks away.

“These guys are all getting reps,” McFarland said. “But I’m still not ready to catapult anyone to the top. It’s still very much a competition.”

Should someone have taken an edge anyway, McFarland still wouldn’t have had a clear picture of his new quarterback.

“We gotta be in pads to make that assessment and see what they look like,” he said.

Vigil was a junior wide receiver/defensive back on varsity last season. He’s the lone player in the three-man rotation with varsity experience, and that could play to his advantage. He recorded 24 tackles on the defensive side. Pacilio was on the junior varsity last season and Quintanilla was a freshman.

Whichever quarterback emerges, one thing is for sure: replacing Justin Smith won’t be easy. Smith completed nearly 60 percent of his passes (99 of 170) for 1,737 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for 419 yards and six touchdowns.

Temple City scrimmages El Monte on Sept. 3 and opens the season Sept. 10 at home against Arroyo.

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PrepXtra Magazine Preview: Top 5 lists coming soon

Our first-ever PrepXtra Magazine will hit the presses Friday, meaning we’re in the final stages of editing proof pages and making sure we covered all our bases. The magazine is tentatively scheduled to run Sept. 1, and it’ll be a newspaper insert just like our past football preview sections. We have your favorite features ready to go, like your top 10 poll, cover story, and much much more. I spoke with my managing editor Tuesday and I’ve been told the magazine sold very well, and we’ll have 40 pages dedicated purely to prep football coverage. Folks, this doesn’t include the advertising pages, which bumps the page-count to over 50 pages. We compiled Top 5 lists that I’m planning on publishing next week on the blog while I’m on a week-long vacation. I’ll have top 5 quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs and defensive players. Here’s where I want your input. Do you folks want them in that order, one each day next week, or all on Monday so you have all week to discuss the list? I’ll let you guys pick. I’m heading to San Marino later this morning, so later I’ll post more notes from that practice, as well as Temple City. Keith Lair will takeover next week, but before I leave let me know which schools you’d like for Keith to visit beginning next Tuesday. In short, you’re all in the driver’s seat for what you want reported in the paper and the blog, too.

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Dylan Covey the subject of Baseball Tonight on ESPN

I was taking a nap when I woke up and saw the image above on TV. There’s been an outpouring of support for Maranatha’s Dylan Covey, who forfeited a huge signing bonus with the Milwaukee Brewers after it was learned Covey was Type 1 diabetic. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel goes on to report that blood tests aren’t always included in physicals but one was performed on Covey, with a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, which often comes at an earlier age. Covey was selected with the 14th overall pick by the Brewers in the MLB Amateur Draft. Family and friends erupted in celebration when Covey’s name was announced as the 14th pick. He felt ready to turn pro and begin his road to the big leagues. The road there, however, will now take a detour, as Covey will attend the University of San Diego before he realizes his big league dream. This much is certain: It’s a matter of when, not if. I’ll go as far as saying Covey may be a top 5 draft pick in a few years, and then the celebration will be even sweeter. Good luck, Dylan.

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