San Bernardino forfeit upheld

The forfeit of the San Bernardino boys basketball team’s 94-85 victory at San Gorgonio on Jan. 23 was upheld by a 5-1 vote at a San Andreas League athletic directors meeting according to San Bernardino AD Patrick Mills and San Gorgonio AD Matt Maeda.

The Cardinals forfeited the game to the Spartans after a freshman basketball coach, who had been ejected from a game at another site earlier in the day, sat on the end of the San Bernardino bench for the varsity game. San Gorgonio filed a protest of the game shortly after.

“I was notified in the fourth quarter of the varsity game by our freshman coach,” Maeda said. “He told me that the coach had been ejected from the freshman game earlier that day at San Bernardino High and asked if he was allowed to be on the bench. I said absolutely not.”

The athletic directors and coaches talked briefly after the game about the coach in question, though they had different interpretations of what should have been done.

“I talked to (San G boys coach) Cedric Wells at the end of the game and he said that he didn’t want the forfeiture, but would give it to his players for a vote and let me know,” Mills said. “However, Maeda had already sent the paperwork in.

“The coach’s oldest daughter plays on the varsity basketball team and he was there for that and asked if he could sit on the end of the bench. He was told it was OK as long as he didn’t do any coaching.”

Maeda felt that the rule, which is Rule 16.27 according to the CIF rulebook, needed to be enforced, as it was impossible to quantify what affect the ineligible coach did or did not have.

“The rule states that a coach or player that is ejected isn’t even allowed to be in the building to watch, much less on the bench,” Maeda said. “They stated the rule like that so there is no grey area. You can’t just say ‘You can stay there as long as you are not really involved’ because how do you determined how involved you can be?”

The vote Wednesday was for seeding preferences for the upcoming playoffs rather than the overall record. The playoff brackets will be released Sunday by the CIF offices and San Bernardino didn’t want the forfeited loss, or the extra win, under consideration for league seeding purposes.

“It’s happened before,” Mills said. “(Pacific athletic director) Carmel Brand mentioned that Pacific’s 1995 boys basketball team went 10-0 but had to forfeit all of its games due to an ineligible player but we were awarded the top seed out of the league. The league can award its seeds however it wants and that’s what we were asking for.

“We didn’t use an ineligible player. We didn’t have a varsity coach participating illegally. I’ve never seen a coach make a basket for a team.”

Said Maeda: “In my opinion, voting for that would have been a contradiction of why the rule is in place. If you are going to have that rules, you have to enforce the consquences that result from it.”

The ruling puts the Cardinals, who have lost their last two games, in a precarious spot. San Bernardino (14-10 overall, 5-4 SAL) is tied with Arroyo Valley (12-11, 5-4) for third place in the league, one game behind second-place San G (12-13, 6-3). One game remains in the regular season, with San Bernardino playing at first-place Cajon, San G hosting fifth-place Pacific and Arroyo Valley playing at winless Colton.

Should things hold up, the Cardinals will be looking at relying on an at-large bid to qualify for the Division II-AA playoffs. Only three teams automatically qualify from the six-team SAL, which will leave the Cardinals on the edge of their seats for the CIF-Southern Section’s version of Selection Sunday if the expected results take place.

“I don’t know if we’ll make it in or not,” Mills said. “It depends on how many automatic qualifiers get in from the other leagues. It’s going to be a tight one.”

Whatever the result may be, San Gorgonio desires to put the incident in the past and focus on the future.

“We didn’t want this,” Maeda said. “It’s as stressful for our school and our administration as it has been for San Bernardino’s. We want all of the San Bernardino schools to do well and we want to avoid situations like these.

“Had we known about it before the game, we would have let them know. No athletic directors want to go through this.”

Signing Day Breakdown

Here is the complete breakdown of Division I-A and Division I-AA signees per high school and per college.

By High School:
1. Upland 4; 2 tie. Cajon 3; Colony 3; 4 tie. Arroyo Valley 2; Diamond Ranch 2; Etiwanda 2; Los Osos 2; Rancho Cucamonga 2; Redlands 2; Redlands East Valley 2; 11 tie. Aquinas 1; Ayala 1; Bloomington 1; Colton 1; Diamond Bar 1; Eisenhower 1; Kaiser 1; Norco 1; Pomona 1; Roosevelt 1; San Bernardino 1; San Dimas 1; Yucaipa 1.

Obviously Upland was the big winner individually, especially since they had two Pac-10 guys (Josh Nunes and Osahon Irabor) and a Big Ten guy (Davion Fleming). But the city of San Bernardino had seven players (Aarein Booker, Chris Bradford, Daron Griffin, Walter Kazee, Michael Philipp, Marlon Pollard and J.P. Ragan) sign, with Colton’s Nat Berhe giving the SAL another signee.

By University
1. UCLA 5; 2 tie. Oregon State 3; San Diego State 3; 4 tie. Fresno State 2; Idaho 2; New Mexico State 2; Northwestern 2; 8 tie. Air Force 1; Arizona State 1; Cal Poly SLO 1; Colorado State 1; Columbia 1; Louisville 1; Montana 1; Navy 1; New Mexico 1; Northern Arizona 1; South Florida 1; Southern Utah 1; Stanford 1; SUNY Stony Brook 1; UNLV 1; Utah 1; UTEP 1; Washington State 1.

A couple things stand out to me. The first one is the dominance of UCLA. Rick Neuheisel seems to recognize the growth of the Inland Empire and made great efforts out here, signing Marlon Pollard, Jayson Allmond, Richard Brehaut, Jared Koster and Brandon Sermons. San Diego State, who “hasn’t been out here in years” according to Cajon coach Kim Battin seems to be making an IE effort under new coach Brady Hoke. Oregon State had a big year, while Fresno State continues its steady haul of local talent.

A couple of oddities exist as you go further. One is Northwestern, which picked off Fleming and Arby Fields from the Baseline League despite its location in suburban Chicago. Another is SUNY Stony Brook, who signed Taj Johnson from Upland this year, took Dominick Reyes from Hesperia last year and was in on Daron Griffin. Seems like this Long Island school is a player.

Also, look out for New Mexico State and Eastern Michigan in the future. The Aggies are now coached by former UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker – who is well-versed in the area – while Eastern Michigan is now being coached by Ganesha graduate Ron English. English recruited Southern California well for Michigan while on Lloyd Carr’s staff and pulled Titus Teague from Pomona for Louisville while serving as defensive coordinator there this past season. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles start coming up in conversation among 2010 recruits.

Signing list

This is what I got so far. If I’m missing anyone, shoot me a comment or e-mail me at tj.berka@inlandnewspapers.com

FOOTBALL
Jayson Allmond, FB, Bloomington – UCLA
Joshua Andrews, OL, Colony – Oregon State
Nat Berhe, DB, Colton – San Diego State
Aarein Booker, DB, San Bernardino – San Diego State
Chris Bradford, DL, Arroyo Valley — Montana (I-AA)
Richard Brehaut, QB, Los Osos – UCLA
Quayshawn Buckley, DL, Colony – Washington State
Lance Evbuowman, TE, Bakersfield CC (REV) – UTEP
Arby Fields, RB, Los Osos – Northwestern
Davion Fleming, RB, Upland – Northwestern
Daron Griffin, OL, Cajon – Southern Utah (I-AA)
Obun Gwacham, WR, Ayala – Oregon State
Osahon Irabor, CB, Upland – Arizona State
Alex Jefferies, WR, Eisenhower – Fresno State
Taj Johnson, DB, Upland – SUNY-Stony Brook (I-AA)
Walter Kazee, RB, Cajon — San Diego State
Jared Koster, LB, Norco – Colorado State
Colin Lockett, DB, Diamond Bar — San Diego State
Rex Meikel, DL, Yucaipa – New Mexico State
Vincent Minor, RB, Etiwanda – New Mexico
Immanuel Mitchell, CB, Roosevelt – Colorado State
Brock Morris, OL, Redlands – Cal Poly SLO (I-AA)
Ibe Nduka, DE, Etiwanda – Fresno State
Josh Nunes, QB, Upland – Stanford
Craig Payne, DL, Colony – Utah
Michael Philipp, OL, Arroyo Valley – Oregon State
Michael Poage, DL, Redlands – Columbia (I-AA)
Marlon Pollard, DB, Cajon – UCLA
David Quiroga, DB, Ayala – New Mexico State
J.P. Ragan, FB, Aquinas – Northern Arizona (I-AA)
Carlos Savala, OL, College of the Desert (Kaiser) – South Florida
Brandon Sermons, DB, Diamond Ranch – UCLA
Irshad Stolden, WR, Rancho Cucamonga – UNLV
Titus Teague, RB, Pomona – Louisville
Bryan Townsend, OL, Rancho Cucamonga – Air Force
Graham Vickers, OL, Diamond Ranch – Navy
Gary Walker, DB, Redlands East Valley – Idaho

GIRLS SOCCER
Kellie Bohner, MF, Yucaipa – SMU
Hannah Carroll, MF, Redlands – SMU
Jessica Cortez, MF/F, Kaiser – UC Riverside

Three soccer players to sign

Sometimes lost in the hoopla of the football signings on National Signing Day are soccer signings. But there will be three local girls soccer players signing this week.

Redlands midfielder Hannah Carroll and Yucaipa midfielder Kellie Bohner, who play on the same club team, will both sign with SMU this week according to Yucaipa athletic director Mark Anderson. Carroll has five goals and nine assists for the Terriers this year while Bohner – Yucaipa’s leading scorer a year ago – has missed much of the season with an ankle injury.

Kaiser midfielder/forward Jessica Cortez is also signing this week, as she’ll be heading to UC Riverside. Cortez has been the leader of a powerful Kaiser team for the past few years, Cortez has 12 goals and six assists for the Cats this season.

Cajon duo commits

Wednesday morning at Cajon High School will be a busy one, as running back Walter Kazee and offensive lineman Daron Griffin will be signing letters of intent. Kazee, the All-County Most Valuable Player, verbally committed to San Diego State after taking an official visit there over the weekend according to Cajon athletic director Rich Imbriani, while Griffin verbally committed to Division I-AA Southern Utah over the weekend. Griffin, another all-County first-team selection, also made his commitment after an official visit.

The two will be joining cornerback Marlon Pollard, who is expected to sign with UCLA after verbally committing to the Bruins three weeks ago. Pollard was committed to Notre Dame, who is still recruiting him heavily, before he switched to UCLA.

Super Bowl prediction

With as fantastically horrible as I have been in the postseason, I almost didn’t pick this game. But I figure a season of comic relief (or shaking of the head) needs to be ended well. So here we go.

Pittsburgh (-7) vs. Arizona
Well, I picked Carolina over Tennessee in this game, which shows how incredibly stupid I was this postseason. I’m 0 for 3 on the Cardinals, so one would expect me to go with Arizona here out of pure desperation. But I refuse to do it. If history has taught us anything, it’s to bet big on defense. Last year’s Super Bowl, where the Giants blitzed and battered the 18-0, NFL-record setting Patriot offense, was another in a long line in examples of this.

The Cardinals have the best wide receiver in the game right now in Larry Fitzgerald, who fittingly went to the University of Pittsburgh. It would be easy to go with Kurt Warner to Larry Fitz in the upset special. But the Steelers have the No. 1 defense in the league for a reason and I think it will be on full display. With James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley providing pass rush, Larry Foote and James Farrior hitting everything in sight and Troy Polamalu cleaning up the mess in the secondary, the Steelers will be unlike anything the Cardinals have seen. Santonio Holmes has emerged as a big-play threat in the playoffs, giving the Steeler offense enough juice to generate some points.

The Steelers, who were the first to win four Vince Lombardi Trophies, will be the first to hoist a sixth later today.

Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 14