Apple Valley HS grad Jonathan Gonzales signs with Portland State

San Bernardino Valley College kicker Jonathan Gonzales (Apple Valley HS) has signed with Division I Portland State.

He spent just one season with the Wolverines and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“It’s definitely tough finding a spot as a kicker,” he said. “It’s not like most positions where you have to recruit multiple players. Teams usually have just one kicker and there are a lot of good ones out there.”

Gonzales credited Hugo Castellanos, a noted kicking coach who works with athletes from all schools all over the Inland Empire. It was that connection that paid off in the end.


–Michelle Gardner

Prep football: A look San Bernardino County’s early nonleague matchups

The 2013 prep football season will soon be upon us, with Week 0 games taking place in four weeks.

Although we are still in the preliminary stages of previews, I thought I’d take a look at some interesting storylines for matchups between San Bernardino County teams from Week 0 and Week 1:

  • Aug. 30 Rancho Cucamonga at Redlands: Redlands always plays a challenging local nonleague schedule, and this matchup off this year’s schedule. Both teams went to at least the second round in the Inland Division playoffs last year.
  • Aug. 30 Barstow at Adelanto: A first varsity game is always a big deal, and the Saints get to host in their first varsity tilt.
  • Aug. 30 Citrus Valley at San Gorgonio: A year ago, Citrus Valley was a favorite to win the East Valley Division title, but was derailed by San Gorgonio in its first game, and never fully recovered. Citrus Valley will look for revenge, but San G. is good.
  • Aug. 30 Eisenhower vs. Alta Loma at Chaffey HS: A year ago, a 54-0 Eisenhower win in this game showed it was a new era for the Eagles. But with coach Vinny Fazio’s departure after 1 year for Murrieta Valley, there are questions again about Ike and new head coach Mike Clark.
  • Sept. 5 Summit vs. Redlands East Valley at Citrus Valley HS: REV plays the most challenging nonleague schedule around, and this game is the only nonleague game for the Wildcats against a San Bernardino County team. It just happens to be against a Summit team that was 9-1 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Sept. 6 Carter at Redlands: A year ago, Carter went 12-1, but had only one nonleague opponent, Eisenhower, that finished with a winning record. This time, they add another former Citrus Belt League rival, Redlands.
  • Sept. 6 Indian Springs at Grand Terrace: A year ago, Grand Terrace was the host in its first-ever varsity game, a loss to Riverside Notre Dame in front of a large and vocal crowd. This time, the Titans get to host an Indian Springs team playing its first varsity game. The two coaches, Indian Springs’ Dave DeWoody and Grand Terrace’s Harold Strauss go back to their 8-man football days, when DeWoody was at Riverside Christian and Strauss was at Bloomington Christian.
  • Sept. 6 Apple Valley at Kaiser: Kaiser surprised some by winning a CIF title and this is its first game in its title defense. Apple Valley felt it got a raw deal in a playoff bid last year.

Officials’ mistake goes against Serrano

It didn’t make my story on the thrilling Serrano-Apple Valley football game Friday night, that was won by Serrano 23-20 in overtime, but Serrano was the victim of an official’s mistake. I didn’t end up writing about it because Serrano won anyway and there was so much other stuff in the game.
Anyway, here was the situation.
Third quarter, Serrano was down 10-7 and driving. A seven-yard run by Adarius Hogan gave the Diamondbacks a first-and-10 at the Apple Valley 16.
On the first down play, Hogan rushed for four yards to the 12, but Serrano was penalized 15 yards for a personal foul. Since it was after the play, the down counted, but somehow Serrano lost an additional down along the way. The down marker looked like it showed second down from the 27 (I was on the opposite side of the field) at this point. So after quarterback Daniel Epperson lost 12 yards on the next play, it should have brought up third-and-33 from the 39. Yet somehow, the down marker said fourth.

“We knew it was a mistake,” Serrano coach Ray Maholchic said. “But we had only one timeout. If we take that timeout and they agree, we get it back. But if they don’t, we lose it.”
So Maholchic declined to take his last timeout to further the argument. So on “fourth” down, Epperson’s completion to Kyle Jergensen for 10 yards was woefully short and the ball went to Apple Valley on downs at the Sun Devils 29 with 2:07 to play in the third. It should however, have been fourth-and-23 at that point after the completion and possibly given Serrano a chance at a field goal.
“It’s inexcusable,” Maholchic said of the mistake.
As it turned out, Apple Valley went three-and-out and after a punt, Serrano went down and scored the go-ahead touchdown. It shouldn’t overshadow an otherwise great game, but it was still a bad mistake by officials.

Eastern Division first-round playoff predictions

Now off to the Eastern Division, where the game is “Catch Kaiser if you can.”

Apple Valley at No. 1 Kaiser
If I’m the Sun Devils, I’m pretty bitter right about now. While Apple Valley’s 5-5 record wasn’t ground-breaking, the Sun Devils are hardly the worst team and shouldn’t be the sacrificial lamb to the undefeated Cats. But that’s precisely what they are. Apple Valley is intriguing on offense, but Kaiser has murdered people all year and will do the same tomorrow.
Kaiser 45, Apple Valley 6

Granite Hills at Beaumont
Granite Hills, which lost to Apple Valley in the regular season and had the exact same league record and finish in league as the Sun Devils, got a winnable draw, at least for the first round, as Beaumont isn’t exactly a dominating opponents. But the Mountain Pass League champs are good and will win a low-scoring, hard-hitting duel.
Beaumont 14, Granite Hills 12

Norte Vista at Victor Valley
This is a rough draw for the Jackrabbits, as Norte Vista’s grind-it-out, ball-control style netted it a trip to the semifinals a year ago. You can bet that the Braves will rely on Ryan Ruiz to play keep away from Victor’s potent offense. However, the Jackrabbits took a huge step in beating Burroughs for the Desert Sky League title last week and that confidence will carry over.
Victor Valley 24, Norte Vista 16

Oak Hills at No. 4 Elsinore
The continuation of the Bulldogs’ building process has Oak Hills in a tough spot, as the Bulldogs didn’t get much respect for being the No. 2 team in their league. Elsinore held it own in recent years in the Central Division, advancing to the finals in 2006, and will be a tough go of it. Marshaun Coprich and Jeremiah Armstead will have success, but not quite enough.
Elsinore 26, Oak Hills 17

Silverado at No. 3 Heritage
If there was any proof necessary to validate the theory that tough nonleague schedules mean something, it came with the selection of 5-4-1 Silverado to the playoffs over 7-3 San Jacinto. The Hawks’ philosophy of taking on all comers worked once again, albeit in a different way than normal. However, a 10-0 Heritage team is a tough draw for the Hawks, who just don’t have the guns this year for a long run.
Heritage 34, Silverado 20

West Valley at Summit
West Valley has been a playoff underachiever recently, getting bounced in the first round as a higher seed in each of the last three years. They don’t have to worry about that, as they’ll be the clear underdogs against a Summit team with the best skill-position talent in the division. Summit is prone to lapses, but if the SkyHawks are on, this will get ugly quick.
Summit 38, West Valley 6

Ridgecrest Burroughs 35, Citrus Hill 30

Temescal Canyon at No. 2 Serrano
Kaiser is getting the hype in this division, and for good reason, but seasonal progression indicates that it’s the year of the Diamondback. Serrano has gone from losing in the first round (2006) to the quarters (2007) to the semis (2008) to the championship game last year (2009). So the logical progression is a title. While that may not happen, a comfortable win over Temescal Canyon will.
Serrano 28, Temescal Canyon 7

SAL, MRL to face off Thursday in boys soccer

An interesting twist in the Division 5 boys soccer playoffs presents itself today, as the Mojave River League and San Andreas League face off in three separate first-round games.

Two of the games, Pacific at D5 No. 2-seed Hesperia and San Gorgonio at Serrano, will take place in the High Desert while Apple Valley will travel down the hill to face SAL champion Cajon. Both Pacific and Apple Valley helped create this unusual triumvirate by winning their wild-card games Tuesday, as Pacific defeated visited Monrovia 2-1 while the Sun Devils went on the road to beat Salton City West Shores 3-1.

It’s almost similar to college bowl season, as two of the more notable league in the area get to butt heads in postseason play – definitely providing a juicy little subplot to the boys soccer playoffs.

Mojave River League playoff breakdown

No real drama here, as everything is basically decided, especially since there are no at-large berths in the Eastern Division. But whatever, I’ll give equal time.

1. Hesperia (9-0, 3-0): The Scorpions have clinched the No. 1 seed out of the league for the MRL playoffs by virtue of their victory over Serrano a couple weeks ago. Hesperia will likely be the No. 2 seed in the bracket behind Perris Citrus Hill if it defeats Apple Valley Friday.

2. Serrano (6-3, 2-1): The Diamondbacks have clinched the No. 2 seed by virtue of their victory over Rim of the World in the league opener. Serrano will likely clinch a first-round home game with a victory over Sultana Friday.

3. Rim of the World (5-4, 2-2): The Fighting Scots have clinched the No. 3 seed by virtue of their win over Apple Valley two weeks ago. They’ll be starting the playoffs on the road no matter what.

4. Apple Valley (4-5, 1-2): Eliminated from playoff contention.

5. Sultana (0-9. 0-3): Eliminated from playoff contention.