Matheny new Aquinas football coach

Aquinas wasted very little time filling its head football coaching position, hiring Nick Matheny Tuesday to replace Josh Henderson, who left to take the job at Los Angeles Baptist last Friday.

Matheny, a 2002 graduate of Fontana High School, has been an assistant coach at Aquinas since 2004, mostly coaching the offensive and defensive lines while serving as defensive coordinator. He has also been a full-time physical education teacher at the school.

“Nick is a good young coach and I think he’s the perfect guy to keep this going,” said Aquinas athletic director Chris Ybarra, who is also a Fohi graduate. “We have a pretty good thing going here and Nick keeps the stability.”

He also continues the Fohi legacy at Aquinas, as Ybarra and Henderson, a 1993 graduate, were also Steelers. Matheny hopes to continue a lot of what Henderson – who won two CIF titles and won the last two Christian League titles – has established at Aquinas.

“Josh did a great job and I really am thankful that he recommended me,” said Matheny, a Cal State San Bernardino graduate. “I want to continue the emphasis of hard work and Christian ideals that this program has established and am I dedicated toward keeping Aquinas as a winning program.”

A more detailed story will be published in Thursday’s Sun.

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Ian Johnson signs free-agent contract with Vikings

Former Damien running back Ian Johnson, who played at Boise State, has signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings according to this article by the Idaho Statesman. Johnson was a highly-productive player at Boise State and joins drafted players Patrick Chung (2nd round, New England), Jarron Gilbert (3rd round, Chicago) and Cameron Morrah (7th round, Seattle) as local products catching on with new NFL teams this weekend.

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Gilbert, Morrah drafted

A couple of former Inland Valley standouts saw their names called in the NFL Draft Sunday, one fairly early this morning and one just about 10-15 minutes ago.

San Jose State defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert, a Chino High School graduate, was picked by the Chicago Bears with the fourth selection of the third round (68th overall). Gilbert, who can play both end and tackle, was the Bears’ first selection of the 2009 Draft and the second Chino grad to be picked in the last two years – joining defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, the first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints a year ago.

California tight end Cameron Morrah, a Claremont High School graduate, was recently picked by the Seattle Seahawks with the 39th pick in the seventh round (248th overall). Morrah, the ninth-to-last selection, was the second Baseline League alum to be drafted this season, along with Rancho Cucamonga’s Patrick Chung, and the fifth to be drafted in the last three years (Morrah, Chung, Rancho Cucamonga’s Gerald Alexander, Rancho Cucamonga’s Terrell Thomas and Alta Loma’s Eric Weddle).

Not drafted today, but likely to be signed as a rookie free agent, is Boise State running back Ian Johnson, a Damien graduate. Johnson, a native of San Dimas, is most famous for scoring the winning 2-point conversion in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma and proposing to Boise State cheerleader Chrissy Popadics on national television after the postgame interview.

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Chung goes to New England

Oregon safety Patrick Chung, a Rancho Cucamonga High School graduate, has just been drafted by the New England Patriots with the second pick of the second round (34th overall). Chung, a four-year starter for the Ducks, is the third Cougar defensive back to be a second-round pick during the last three years, joining the Detroit Lions’ Gerald Alexander (2007) and the New York Giants’ Terrell Thomas (2008).

San Jose State defensive end Jarron Gilbert should also be drafted before the end of the second round today. Gilbert is a graduate of Chino High, just like Sedrick Ellis, the New Orleans Saints’ first-round draft pick a year ago.

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Henderson leaves Aquinas for LA Baptist

Aquinas football coach Josh Henderson, who has led the Falcons to two CIF titles in his career, resigned from Aquinas Thursday to take the head coaching job at North Hills Los Angeles Baptist.

Henderson, who won CIF titles in his first season in 2000 and in 2005, took the L.A. Baptist job because it included a full-time physical education teaching position, something that Aquinas could not offer him. He broke the news to his players this morning.

“It was an unbelieveably tough decision,” Henderson said. “Aquinas is a great place filled with some of the best kids you’ll find. It will be hard to leave them, but it would have been even harder had I been on campus. I missed teaching and LA Baptist provides that opportunity.”

Henderson leaves behind a loaded squad for the next Falcon coach. His younger brother Jake, who will be a senior, was a first-team All-Sun selection at linebacker last season while his nephew, incoming senior wide receiver Jim Jones, led the county in receptions and receiving yards en route to first-team All-Sun honors.

Henderson was also a standout linebacker under Dick Bruich in Fontana, graduating in 1993. Look for a more detailed story in Saturday’s Sun.

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Kistner leaving Hesperia for Oak Hills

Hesperia football coach Robert Kistner comfirmed just now his plans to leave Hesperia High School – where he coached the last six seasons – to take the job at brand-new Oak Hills High School, which will open its doors this fall. It was supposed to be approved at a school board meeting today, but the meeting was postponed. But pending board approval, Kistner will be the first coach of the Bulldogs.

“It’ll be an exciting challenge to open up a new school,” said Kistner, who was the 2007 All-Sun Coach of the Year. “It’s going to be a big challenge, but it’s something that will be fun to do. The opportunity to start your own program is something that I’m excited about.”

Kistner leaves Hesperia after six seasons, including a 2008 one where the Scorpions went 11-1 and won the Mojave River League championship, setting a school record for victories in a season in the process. Kistner compiled a 43-22 record in his tenure at Hesperia, including a 21-3 mark and first-round playoff victories in each of the last two seasons.

“I had a great run at Hesperia and this move has nothing to do with any ill feelings toward that school,” Kistner said. “I enjoyed my time there a great bit and it meant a lot to me personally.”

Kistner was hired by Oak Hills athletic director Darren Goodman, who is also leaving Hesperia for the new high school. Tuesday’s Sun will have a more detailed story.

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Citrus Belt Area releaguing is in

Got back from the releaguing meeting at Norte Vista High School a couple of hours ago and here are the new leagues. A detailed story of the proceedings can be found in Saturday’s paper.

Here are the schools that moved:
Banning – Mountain Pass League to a brand-new league
Carter – Citrus Belt League to San Andreas League
Hemet – Sunbelt League to Mountain Pass League
Hemet West Valley – Sunbelt League to Mountain Pass League
Menifee Heritage – Mountain Pass League to Sunbelt League
Rialto – Citrus Belt League to San Andreas League
Rim of the World – Mojave River League to a brand-new league
Riverside Notre Dame – Mountain Pass League to a brand-new league
Riverside Rubidoux – Mountain Pass League to a brand-new league
Temescal Canyon – Southwestern League to Sunbelt League

Brand-new schools:
Citrus Valley – brand-new league
Jurupa Hills – brand-new league
Mesa Murrieta – Southwestern League
Oak Hills – Mojave River League

And now, the actual leagues:

BIG XII (remains the same)
Corona Centennial
Corona High
Corona Santiago
Eastvale Roosevelt
Riverside King
Riverside North
Riverside Poly

CITRUS BELT LEAGUE (drops from 8 teams to 6)
Redlands East Valley

DE ANZA LEAGUE (the same)
Big Bear
Desert Hot Springs
Desert Mirage
Twentynine Palms
Yucca Valley

Granite Hills
Ridgecrest Burroughs
Victor Valley

Moreno Valley Canyon Springs
Moreno Valley High
Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
Moreno Valley Valley View
Moreno Valley Vista del Lago
Riverside Arlington
Riverside La Sierra
Riverside Ramona

Apple Valley
Oak Hills

Hemet High
Hemet Tahquitz
Hemet West Valley
Perris Citrus Hill
San Jacinto

NEW LEAGUE (6 teams)
Citrus Valley
Jurupa Hills
Rim of the World
Riverside Notre Dame
Riverside Rubidoux

SAN ANDREAS LEAGUE (6 teams to 8)
Arroyo Valley
San Bernardino
San Gorgonio

SOUTHWESTERN LEAGUE (Mesa Murrieta for Temescal Canyon)
Mesa Murrieta
Murrieta Valley
Vista Murrieta
Temecula Chaparral
Temecula Great Oak
Temecula Valley

SUNBELT LEAGUE (Temescal Canyon and Heritage for West Valley, Hemet)
Lake Elsinore Lakeside
Menifee Heritage
Menifee Paloma Valley
Temescal Canyon
Wildomar Elsinore

Riverside Jurupa Valley
Riverside Norte Vista
Riverside Patriot

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Shirley gets two more offers

Kaiser defensive end Josh Shirley, a first-team all-Sun player last year, has added offers from Arizona and UCLA to the three other offers he’s already received. Shirley – the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle and Kaiser graduate Jason Shirley – was offered by Arizona today and UCLA over the weekend according to this article by

Shirley has also been offered by San Diego State, Fresno State and Stanford. As a junior, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end had 17 sacks, leading the county in that category.

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San G athletes to compete in Penn Relays

Eight members of the San Gorgonio track and field team will get a chance to compete in one of the more prestigious meets in the country next week, as they’ll fly to Philadelphia a week from Wednesday to compete in the Penn Relays, which will take place next Thursday-Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania.

Discus throwers Monique Armon and Jasmine Johnson-McKeown will make the trip, as will runners Anthony Carradine, De Marrio Brooks, Tracy Babers, Cameron Upshire, Greg Valdivia and Jimi Alde-Chester. Carradine, Brooks, Babers and Upshire will run in the 4×100 relay while Carradine, Babers, Valdivia and Alde-Chester will run in the 4×400.

“This has been a long-term goal for us,” San Gorgonio coach Ed Clark said. “We really wanted it to happen this year but we weren’t sure it was possible. Between raising the money, getting verification on the standards, getting board approval and setting up travel plans, it’s been quite a process.”

It was a process that was approved by the school board last Tuesday, as the San G track program raised over $9,000 through concession stands at Junior All-American football camps this past summer and through revenue brought in by the Sparta Relays late last month. It was also a tough qualifying standard, as Johnson-McKeown and Armon had to finish in the top 19 in the nation just to qualify for the event – which features college and professional track athletes as well as high-schoolers.

“We had 13 athletes that we applied to get in, because you have to be approved to even qualify for this meet,” Clark said. “Getting this all together and competing in a meet of this magnitude is just a special thing for this program.”

And its something that Clark hopes will be a regular thing for the Spartans. Plans are already in place to run at either the Penn Relays or the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas next year. As for this year, the Spartans will take the redeye early Wednesday morning out of Ontario Interntational Airport to Philly, where they’ll see the sights Thursday before competing in the discus and 400 relay Friday and the mile relay Saturday.

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ACA coach leaves for College of the Desert

Arrowhead Christian girls basketball coach Barbara Grainge is leaving the school to become the head women’s coach at College of the Desert, according to ACA athletic director Richard Yaross.

Grainge, who turned ACA into a consistent contender in the Christian League, announced the decision to Yaross last week.

“Barbara did a great job in this program, but she felt it was time to move on,” Yaross said. “It’s a disappointing loss and I hate to see her go. We’ve won four or five league titles and been to the semifinals a couple of times under her, so it’ll be tough to fill her shoes.”

The open position will be a walk-on position that will first be floated within the school before it is opened up to out-of-school candidates.

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