The Miller High football team is still looking to get some on-field success, but it’s getting it off the field.
Soon-to-be senior linebacker/defensive end Freddy Livai has verbally committed to Brigham Young University.
“It’s been my dream school ever since eighth grade,” said Livai. “And my cousin goes there.”
Livai’s cousin is Sione Takitaki, who played at Menifee Heritage in high school and will be a sophomore this season.
Livai won’t be joining his cousin right away, however. As a Mormon, he intends to go on a church mission immediately after high school.
The BYU commitment didn’t come without plenty of offers. He received interest from several Pac-12 schools and, according to Rivals.com, he received offers from Colorado, Oregon State, UNLV, Washington State and Weber State.
Livai, who is about 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, said he doesn’t think his commitment will help get colleges out to recruit other Miller players.
“It’s already happening,” he said. “Our quarterback, Malik Flowers, just got his first offer at Weber State.”
Big-time college offers are coming in for area football programs, and not all of them are schools that have gotten top scholarship offers in recent history.
Miller, which is coming off three straight 1-9 seasons, is one of those.
Soon-to-be senior linebacker Freddy Livai, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 251 pounds, got offers from Oregon State, Washington, Boise State and Northern Arizona, and previously received offers from Colorado and New Mexico.
He’s not the only Rebel getting noticed. Quarterback Malik Flowers, who will be a junior, received an offer from Weber State. Flowers threw for 925 yards and six touchdowns last year and was also the team’s leading rusher with 848 yards and five touchdowns.
Oregon State is also focusing its efforts on Carter, where the Beavers have made offers to two more players.
While Lokeni Toailoa has gotten a lot of recruiting focus for more than a year, his brother Leni, a wingback/defensive back,is getting noticed now and received an offer from Oregon State. His teammate, Marcus Strong, also a wingback/defensive back, was offered a scholarship by Oregon State.
Earlier this week, the Citrus Belt Area, held its releaguing vote with few changes.
But there was a radical idea on the table, from the Citrus Belt League. The Citrus Belt League’s proposal, which Miller athletic director John Romagnoli said finished third, would’ve had a 10-team “conference” with an East Division of the three Redlands schools, plus Yucaipa and Riverside Poly, and a West Division of Cajon, Carter, Miller, Eisenhower and Oak Hills.
While the 10 teams involved might not have been ideal, I think the idea deserves consideration. It would almost be like it used to be in the High Desert with Mojave River and Desert Sky Leagues, two leagues that were five teams before Adelanto High opened.
But the MRL-DSL deal only provided for cross-scheduling with teams on their bye weeks. What the CBL proposed (probably not necessary to include in the releaguing vote) would’ve been to have a championship game between the two divisions. The last week of the season the No. 1s from the two divisions would face each other, and so would the No. 2s, and so on.
I think it’s an idea before its time, but I think it’s an intriguing one. It would cut down on the number of league games now in the eight-team league, and cut down travel in league and keep schools with similar demographics playing against each other. They could still schedule the other “division” but wouldn’t be required to except for possibly the bye week.
Why were there few changes? First, there were no new schools to incorporate into the area, which includes schools from Riverside County and San Bernardino County east of the I-15. The only change, according to San Gorgonio athletic director Matt Maeda, was moving Indio Shadow Hills from the De Anza League to the Desert Valley League. They are being replaced in the De Anza League by Thermal Coachella Valley, which is coming from the Desert Valley League.
There had been talk that several schools might look for relief, including Miller, which has struggled in recent years in the Citrus Belt League.
“We talked about it, but we don’t want to just be thrown into another league,” Romagnoli said. “The last time we did this, they talked about putting us in a league with (Moreno Valley) Vista Del Lago.”
Romagnoli said ideally, if Miller would move, it would be to a league where they would have some natural rivals, like the Sunkist League.
But the Sunkist wasn’t looking to expand.
Los Osos High School hosts the annual MLK “I have a Dream” Classic at the Cave, a boys basketball showcase event on Martin Luther King day, which this year is January 20.
Here is the schedule:
Pomona vs. Claremont, 9 a.m.
Victor Valley vs. Twentynine Palms, 10:30 a.m.
Corona vs. Washington Prep, noon
Citrus Valley vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 1:30 p.m.
Rancho Verde vs. Miller, 3 p.m.
Muir vs. ML King, 4:30 p.m.
Damien vs. Los Osos, 6 p.m.
Montclair vs. Bishop Amat, 7:30 p.m.
ALL-CITRUS BELT LEAGUE FOOTBALL
Offensive MVPs: Malik Lovette (Redlands East Valley) and Tawon Green (Eisenhower)
Defensive MVPs: Matteo Biscott (REV) and Terry Clarendon (Eisenhower)
First Team Offense
Marquane Harris, Eisenhower
Armando Herrera, REV
Tawon Green, Eisenhower
Alonzo Anderson, REV
Gavin Westover, Cajon
Zack Lindsey, Redlands
Micah St. Andrew, Eisenhower
Joseph Price, REV
Steven Chaparro, Yucaipa
Josh Esco, REV
Lauuli Fata, REV
Brett Landon, Redlands
Malik Lovette, REV
Anthony Grayson, REV
Erik Abrams, Yucaipa
Brandon Scott, Yucaipa
Marcus Durham, Redlands
All – Citrus Belt League Baseball
Jacob Nottingham 12 Redlands – Player of the Year
Justin Hendricks 12 Cajon
Mike Quinonez 12 Cajon
Cody Swanson 12 Cajon
Marc Barajas 12 Eisenhower
Andrew Agundez 12 AB Miller
Anthony Aguila 12 Redlands
Roman Cross 12 Redlands
Angel Landazuri 12 Redlands
Sean Smith 12 Redlands
Jimmy Walker 12 Redlands
David Barela 10 Redlands East Valley
Zachary Kirtley 11 Redlands East Valley
Dayton Reeves 12 Redlands East Valley
Yanni Thanopoulos 12 Redlands East Valley
Scotty James 12 Yucaipa
Dillon Rezendez 12 Yucaipa
Kyle Roy 12 Yucaipa
Matt Acosta Cajon
Kurtis Kloke Cajon
Andrew Rios Cajon
Chad Butler Redlands
Ryan England Redlands East Valley
Isaac Gonzalez Redlands East Valley
Broderick Robinson Redlands East Valley
Blake Tuthill Redlands East Valley
Marcos Vega Redlands East Valley
Billy Baldwin Yucaipa
Joey Chapman Yucaipa
Breyer Gayle Yucaipa
Tom Lerouge Yucaipa
Taylor Pelissero Yucaipa
Tyler Wells Yucaipa
Zach Grande Cajon
Michael Tillman Redlands
Mark Lucas Yucaipa
You may have seen the story about Clovis High assistant Justin Nast named as the next Miller coach.
I was cautioned that it not only is pending board approval, but it is pending reference and background check by the district’s human resources department. So it is not done, quite yet.
But if he does become the next coach, here are the pros and cons I caught from a phone interview I conducted with him.
- He is young (26) and he has the energy to take over a program that needs a nudge in the right direction, not an overhaul despite a 1-9 record last year.
- He has experience working at two schools that have had success under different offensive systems and will adapt his offense based on personnel, not the other way around.
- He is already breaking down film from last year, coming up with ideas on how to stop the offensive schemes of Miller’s opponents. That’s getting a head start if you ask me.
- Coming from outside the area, he can have some fresh ideas and not have preconceived notions about Miller or the Citrus Belt League.
- Especially at his current school, Clovis, he has shown a dedication to the athletic program as a whole, not just football.
On the surface, there might be little to enjoy about Cajon’s girls basketball 55-53 Citrus Belt League victory over Miller on Thursday.
- Cajon won despite being held scoreless for the final 2:50.
- The teams went a combined 0-for-4 from the line in the final 1:01, with Cajon twice missing the front end of a one-and-one.
- More than 4 1/2 minutes into the game, the score was 4-4.
- Miller made just eight of 18 free throws in the game.
But despite all that, it was an incredible game. It was probably one of the best league girls basketball games I’ve seen in a long time. It had a great pace to it. Both teams are fast, move the ball and play tough defense, and neither team led by more than seven points at any point in the game. Every shot and pass was contested. Neither team goes deep into their benches for a game like this, and both teams were in foul trouble but that made the game interesting.
Miller definitely has more size and experience. Miller has 6-foot-3 senior LaCrisha Mackall and starts two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Cajon has no player taller than 6-feet, and starts three freshmen, a junior and a senior. The contrast in styles was interesting.
I am already looking forward to the rematch, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at Miller. But both teams need to be careful as there is plenty of talent in the league. On an off-night, Miller or Cajon could lose to someone else in the league.
This Friday and Saturday, Eisenhower High is hosting the Inland Empire Shootout, a two-day showcase event for mostly boys teams, but also one girls game.
Friday, Jan. 4
Corona Santiago vs. Eisenhower (girls), 4 p.m.
Summit vs. Miller (boys), 5:30 p.m.
Riverside M.L. King vs. Eisenhower (boys), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 5
Moreno Valley Canyon Springs vs. Cajon (boys), noon
Citrus Valley vs. Carter (boys), 1:30 p.m.
Miller vs. Rialto (boys), 3 p.m.
Long Beach St. Anthony vs. Chino HIlls (boys), 4:30 p.m.
Damien vs. Eisenhower (boys), 6 p.m.
Etiwanda vs. Riverside M.L. King (boys), 7:30 p.m.