Week 1 predictions

Before I get into the predictions, I will take a little time to say farewell. This is my last week at The Sun, as I am leaving the paper for another job. I have enjoyed covering high school sports for the Sun/Bulletin for the past five years and thank the readers for reading my material and giving me feedback, the coaches and players for providing me with gobs of writing material and my co-workers for making the work environment a fun one. Pete Marshall will assume this blog starting next week and will do a great job with it. Show him the same courtesy and support that you guys have shown over the years.

Now to the picks, as I try to end with a bang of some sort:

Alta Loma 28, Montclair 17
Apple Valley 24, Palm Desert 20
Aquinas 27, Twentynine Palms 23
Banning 21, Bloomington 18
Brethren Christian 35, Arrowhead Christian 20
Cajon 48, Eisenhower 15
Carter 20, Chaffey 6
Chino 35, Pomona 13
Chino Hills 28, Corona Santiago 24
Citrus Valley 30, Xavier Prep 17
Coachella Valley 26, Yucca Valley 21
Colony 28, Ayala 20
Don Lugo 24, Ontario Christian 17
Downey Calvary Chapel 36, Western Christian 13
Granite Hills 23, Hesperia 0
Jurupa Valley 20, Pacific 12
Kaiser 38, Barstow 6
La Quinta 18, Rialto 14
Littlerock 28, Fontana 9
Miller 35, North Hollywood 6
Nogales 30, Jurupa Hills 14
Oak Hills 27, Desert Hot Springs 10
Orange Lutheran 38, Los Osos 24
Palm Springs 20, Arroyo Valley 14
Rancho Cucamonga 33, Great Oak 17
Rancho Verde 38, San Gorgonio 19
Redlands 21, Summit 20
Redlands East Valley 31, Compton Dominguez 17
Rim of the World 24, Victor Valley 22
Rio Hondo Prep 28, Big Bear 22
Riverside North 21, Colton 14
Rubidoux 30, Ontario 12
Serrano 20, Silverado 0
Sultana 28, San Bernardino 25
Upland 34, Tustin 28
Vista Murrieta 42, Etiwanda 30
Yucaipa 38, Canyon Springs 12

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Mailo appointed as Colton’s interim coach

Colton defensive coordinator Chris Mailo has been named the interim coach of the Yellowjackets according to a press release sent out by the Colton Unified School District. Colton athletic director Harold Strauss confirmed Mailo’s appointment in a phone interview Wednesday.

Mailo has been the defensive coordinator for several years, serving under Strauss and Rick Bray, who resigned at halftime of Friday’s 35-7 loss to San Diego Torrey Pines after his son, assistant coach B.J. Bray, was pulled off the sidelines in the second quarter. Richard Bray Jr., Rick’s other son and also a Colton assistant, resigned after the game after serving as the coach in the second half.

Besides the Brays, the rest of the exisiting Colton staff remains, according to Strauss. The Yellowjackets will play Riverside North Friday at 7 p.m. at Riverside Community College.

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Week 1 Sun top 10

Sun Top 10

1. Redlands East Valley (0-0)
Previous ranking: 1. Last week: idle. Up next: Friday vs. Compton Dominguez (0-1).

2. Upland (1-0)
Previous ranking: 2. Last week: def. San Bernardino, 63-14. Up next: Thursday at Tustin (1-0).

3. Rancho Cucamonga (1-0)
Previous ranking: 5. Last week: def. Silverado, 52-0. Up next: Friday vs. Temecula Great Oak (1-0).

4. Cajon (1-0)
Previous ranking: 6. Last week: def. Temecula Chaparral, 30-14. Up next: Friday vs. Eisenhower (1-0).

5. Serrano (1-0)
Previous ranking: 8. Last week: def. Paraclete, 7-6. Up next: Friday at Silverado (0-1).

6. Redlands (1-0)
Previous ranking: 9. Last week: def. Apopka (Fla.) Wekiva, 21-7. Up next: Friday vs. No. 8 Summit (0-1).

7. Etiwanda (1-0)
Previous ranking: NR. Last week: def. Summit, 49-36. Up next: Friday vs. Vista Murrieta (0-0).

8. Summit (0-1)
Previous ranking: 3. Last week: lost to Etiwanda, 49-36. Up next: Friday at No. 6 Redlands (1-0).

9. Kaiser (0-0)
Previous ranking: 10. Last week: idle. Up next: Friday vs. Barstow (0-1).

10. Yucaipa (1-0)
Previous ranking: NR. Last week: def. Oak Park, 52-0. Up next: Friday at Moreno Valley Canyon Springs (0-1).

Just missed the cut: Chino (1-0), San Gorgonio (0-0), Chino Hills (0-1).

Dropped out: No. 4 Colton (0-1), No. 7 Chino Hills (0-1).

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Bray leaves Colton game at halftime; future in doubt

Thanks to a very good San Diego Torrey Pines football team and a bizarre set of circumstances that led to the halftime resignation of head coach Rick Bray, Friday was a very bad night for the Colton High School football program.

Any lasting satisfaction left from last year’s CIF-SS Central Division title disappeared in the span of two quarters, as the Yellowjackets were whipped by Torrey Pines 35-7 and might have lost their coaching staff in the process.

Bray, last year’s All-Sun Coach of the Year, left the game at halftime after addressing his team in response to his son, assistant coach B.J. Bray, being pulled from the sidelines in the second quarter by the Colton High School administration. Another one of Rick Bray’s sons — Richard Bray Jr. — led a shaken team in the second half.

“They pulled my brother off the sidelines and my dad isn’t going to allow one of us to be treated like that, so he left too,” Richard Bray Jr. said after the game. “He talked to the kids at halftime and asked the rest of us coaches to get the kids through the second half.”

According to Richard Bray Jr., B.J. Bray was disciplined Friday as a response to his actions at the Colton Joint Unified School District’s school board meeting May 5, the one where Rick Bray’s contract to coach the Yellowjackets was renewed after a lengthy soap opera in which the school district opened the job because Bray, a campus security officer, is not a credentialed teacher.

At the meeting, B.J. Bray emotionally defended his father, yelling at the parents of former CHS running back Tyler Irvin, who criticized Rick Bray during the open forum session.

When asked why the Colton adminstration waited until Friday to mete out punishment, Richard Bray Jr. didn’t have an answer.

“I’m really not sure what to say and what I can say,” Bray Jr. said. “All I know is that this team might not have a coaching staff. I really don’t know what the next move is. This is a tough night for all of us.”

Colton athletic director Harold Strauss did not comment when asked about the situation.

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San G legend Miner to be honored Wednesday

Legendary San Gorgonio baseball player Tim Miner, who pitched all but one inning in San Gorgonio’s run to a CIF championship in 1977, will be honored in a special ceremony Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Sportswatch Bar and Grill by the Hampton Inn in Highland. The Spartans’ championship run, which ended with a victory over Lakewood in the CIF title game, has been dubbed “The Miner Miracle”, as the pitcher guided the Spartans, who finished third in the San Andreas League, to glory, pitching every inning but the first inning of San G’s second-round win.

Miner is being celebrated separately from the other inductees in the San G Hall of Fame, who will be honored in October, because he currently lives in The Netherlands and is currently making a rare trip back to the United States. Several notable former teammates – including Ted Rozzi, Tim Mead, Don Parnell, Tony Curtis and Tim Burroughs – will be in attendance along with Dennis Rogers, the manager of the 1977 championship team.

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Week 0 predictions

My favorite time of the year is back. We’ll see if I got any smarter from last year.

Apple Valley 28, Barstow 6
Aquinas 28, Desert Hot Springs 21
Big Bear 27, Pasadena Maranatha 20
Bloomington 16, Chaffey 12
Cajon 21, San Diego Torrey Pines 17
Chino 31, Diamond Ranch 17
Chino Hills 34, Lakewood (Colo.) Bear Creek 21
Citrus Valley 28, New Westminster (B.C) 14
Diamond Bar 30, Ayala 20
Eisenhower 35, Alta Loma 26
Granite Hills 17, Lancaster Eastside 14
Indio Shadow Hills 30, Jurupa Hills 12
La Quinta 17, Los Osos 13
Los Angeles Baptist 20, Arrowhead Christian 6
Miller 35, Lake Elsinore Lakeside 14
Montclair 34, Ganesha 12
Ontario Christian 28, Bakersfield Christian 22
Rancho Cucamonga 38, Silverado 7
Redlands 24, Apopka (Fla.) Wekiva 17
Rialto 25, Moreno Valley 9
Ridgecrest Burroughs 28, Hesperia 6
Serrano 16, Paraclete 14
Summit 35, Etiwanda 27
Temecula Chaparral 28, Cajon 16
Twentynine Palms 28, Palm Desert Xavier Prep 14
Upland 49, San Bernardino 6
Victor Valley 21, Riverside Patriot 15
Walnut 33, Don Lugo 16
West Covina South Hills 20, Colony 18
Yucaipa 38, Oak Park 14
Yucca Valley 24, Rubidoux 21

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Sun preseason top 10

1. Redlands East Valley
The Wildcats had an uncharacteristically early exit from the playoffs last year, but they went undefeated in the Citrus Belt League with a junior-dominated team. Fifteen returning starters, many of whom play in the trenches, and depth at the skill positions made the Wildcats my No. 1 pick. How quarterback Austin Decoud matures could make the difference between a short and a long playoff run.

2. Upland
The Highlanders ran into the Corona Centennial freight train in the playoffs last year, but there is a lot coming back to Upland. Wide receiver Kenny Lawler, a soft commit to Arizona State, is the top recruit in the county while running back Donta Abron is also legit. The Highlanders should also be legit on defense, led by defensive end Christian Pwwell, should be salty as well.

3. Summit
I was tempted to put the SkyHawks No. 1, as they return 13 starters from a team that went to the Eastern Division championship game. Only reason I didn’t is because I want to see how the Summit compensates for the loss of Devon Blackmon and Montigo Alford from the offense. That being said, there’s a lot of talent here and this may be the year which Kaiser’s hold on the Sunkist League is broken.

4. Colton
The one team to win a CIF title last year, the Yellowjackets lose a lot of studs from last year’s team, namely RB Tyler Irvin and all-everything LB Devan Hussey. But Colton is well-coached, reloads extremely well and has the size to ram the ball down people’s throats as it loves to do. Colton might not play to this ranking early, but I wouldn’t want to mess with the Yellowjackets come November.

5. Rancho Cucamonga
They may be three spots removed from Upland in these rankings, but the difference between the Cougars and Highlanders is razor thin. Rancho returns a host of starters and contributors from last year’s Inland Division semifinalist. If they can find a workhorse offensively to replace Sateki Finau, they could easily switch spots with Upland in these rankings.

6. Cajon
The Cowboys were a failed 2-point conversion away from possibly being a CIF champion last year, as they lost to Colton in a Central Division semifinal classic. The Cowboys actually won the SAL last year and led by WR/DB Damontae Kazee, have the personnel for a repeat. Cajon tends to start slow but come November, I expect this team to be a beast.

7. Chino Hills
The Huskies gave Corona Centennial a better game than anyone else in Southern California could last year, losing to them in a relatively-close semifinal game. They do lose some big-time players in WR/DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, RB Nate Harris and DE Auston Johnson, but Chino Hills has gotten to a point in its program where it just reloads. Don’t sleep on the Huskies.

8. Serrano
The Diamondbacks are one of the most consistent high-achieving programs in the county, as they’ve won 11 Mojave River League championships since 1997 and have been to the semifinals or better the last three seasons. Serrano has a host of RBs and a deep, experienced offensive line. If they can get some typical D-back production out of a young defense, they could be a dark horse CIF title contender.

9. Redlands
The Terriers lost a heart-breaker to Redlands East Valley last year in what was a prime opportunity to win their first league title since 2006. Redlands will be younger this year, as the Terriers are depending on a host of juniors, but will be physical and hard-nosed as always. Senior WR/DB/QB Mike Stallone is the player to watch for Redlands. If they can keep him involved, they’ll be dangerous.

10. Kaiser
It feels weird to put the Cats this low and this is something I could easily regret in a couple of months. But Kaiser was ravaged by graduation after a wonderful 12-1 season last year, losing 18 of 22 starters. The Cats seemed to replace quality with quality and will probably produce another physical, hard-hitting behemoth, but their youth, combined with Summit, puts me in a wait-and-see mode.

As far as teams that barely missed the cut, San Gorgonio was a tough omission. They played as well as anyone in the county last year to finish second in the SAL, but I need to see how Monroe Offield handles things at QB before moving them in. Chino lost quite a bit of talent from its 11-1 season, but returns QB Sean Molles and RB Xavier Browne and looks to be the favorite in the Mt. Baldy League. Etiwanda should be as exciting as ever, with senior QB Larry Cutbirth and senior LB Chandler Scott returning.

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Arroyo Valley hopes to profit from culture change

When it comes to discipline and doing things the right way, new Arroyo Valley coach Rock San Angelo is as rigid as his nickname. The Hawk players have learned that ever since San Angelo, a former assistant at Colony, Rancho Cucamonga and San Dimas, was hired in May.

“I’ve kicked a few seniors off this team that didn’t want to buy in,” San Angelo said. “The first thing the administration told me what they wanted me to do, even before winning games, was to change the culture. There’s going to be no more coming to practice whenever you feel like it and playing for yourself on the field. There’s no reason why this team hasn’t been more than a seven-win team with the talent in place.”

San Angelo isn’t bashful about his expectations for the Hawks, who have missed the playoffs two out of the last three years. After balling out in the summer passing league circuit, the new coach thinks that the sky is the limit for his new team.

“I don’t think anyone is really taking us seriously, and to me that’s a mistake,” San Angelo said. “There’s no reason why we can’t be a top team in this league if we play with discipline and purpose.”
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San Bernardino going with youth in 2011

San Bernardino coach Nick Monica can count the number of returning seniors he has on two hands. In a competitive San Andreas League, that makes for quite the challenge for the Cardinals as they strive to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

“We have about 8-10 seniors and roughly 43 juniors and sophomores,” Monica said. “Because of that, it’s taken a little bit longer than normal to come together and get that camraderie, that family atmosphere. We had a lot of seniors last year and we’ll have a lot coming back this year, but we are caught in the middle right now.”

Having a lot of juniors isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when they are guys like quarterback/safety Khleem Perkins. Perkins (6-4, 185) has already started receiving Division I recruiting interest and is rated among California’s top 25 for the 2013 class by ESPN.com.

“Khleem is a stud,” Monica said. “We are looking for big things out of him, both on the field and as a leader. He’s definitely a guy that we are going to lean on both on offense and on defense.”
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Teaching a premium at Fontana

As far as enthusiasm goes, this year’s Fontana High School football team is one of the best that Tim Pike has been around. Pike, a longtime assistant who was hired in the spring to replace Lance Ozier, is enjoying coming to work every day and working with his enthusiastic players.

“I have a great bunch of kids,” Pike said. “It’s just fun sitting back and watching them get after each other and compete. They are great around campus, great in the classroom and really want to learn on the football field.”

While the eagerness to learn is a positive for Fohi, the amount of material they have to absorb is one of the more daunting tasks the Steelers – who went winless last year – face in their final year of the Citrus Belt. Of the 75 kids combined between the JV and varsity teams, Pike estimates that nearly half have not played football.

“It’s great that they are coming out and want to play, but a lot of these kids haven’t played before this year,” Pike said. “We are having to go over a lot of basic fundamental things to get these kids familiar with what’s going on. But as a staff, we enjoy teaching.”
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