Ontario Christian football hopes to climb out of unfamiliar territory

Ontario Christian is only two seasons removed from a trip to the CIF finals. Success of this nature isn’t surprising for a program with one of the longest standing traditions in the Ambassador League.

What is surprising? The Knights have just one league championship over the last nine years outside of their banner season in 2012. Even more surprising? Last year, Ontario Christian missed the playoffs for the first time in at least 15 years.

A new coach, a strong returning nucleus and a promising young quarterback are plenty of reasons to believe this year will begin the Knights’ climb toward their traditional spot near the top of the league. The Ambassador League is deep, but Ontario Christian could benefit from the league’s expected parity. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Azusa Pacific scrimmages at San Gorgonio

I talked to some San Gorgonio players (I didn’t do video because music was playing) who watched Azusa Pacific’s scrimmage held at San G. and they were very impressed, as you can read in my story about the scrimmage.

Think about it. NCAA Division II football in Southern California wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for APU. The next closest Div. II school in California is Humboldt State, which if you know where that is, isn’t that close at all.

This is the 3rd straight year scrimmaging in the Inland Empire and coach Victor Santa Cruz thinks it really helps in recruiting.

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A first look at Indian Springs High’s stadium

Above, a look at Indian Springs’ new stadium. Much of it is done, a grass field, lights, bleachers and press box.
Next week, the track is poured and the remainder of the concourse area, as well as ticket booth and concessions. At the end of the video, you see a heavy construction site. That’s the pool which won’t be ready for a few months now.

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18U Baseball National Team picks Reggie Lawson

Team USA baseball announced its 18-and-under National Team on Wednesday, and Victor Valley High’s Reggie Lawson was one of 20 players across the country to be picked for the team.

The 6-foot-4 Lawson, who will be a senior next season, went 6-4 with a save and a 2.25 ERA in the regular season for the Jackrabbits while striking out 67 batters in 53 innings. He was even more impressive at the plate, batting .461 with four home runs and 26 RBIs in 24 games for Victor Valley, which won the Desert Sky League title before falling to eventual champion Serrano in the second round of the CIF-SS playoffs.

While Lawson is listed as a pitcher, shortstop and third baseman on Victor Valley’s roster from last year, he is listed as only a pitcher on Team USA’s roster. He is one of seven Southern Californians on the 20-man roster. The team is expected to play in the 2015 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Japan Aug. 28-Sept. 6.

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John Romagnoli returns as Miller High’s boys basketball coach

He’s back as boys basketball coach, and it would seem, for the foreseeable future.
John Romagnoli, who first became head coach at Miller High in 1998, is back after his second one-year hiatus since then.
“I realized I was 46 years old and I wasn’t ready to hang it up (for coaching),” Romagnoli said.
Romagnoli’s teams at Miller have probably been the school’s most consistent, missing the playoffs only once (his first season) in 15 years as head coach. After serving as assistant coach to Gary West beginning in 1995, Romagnoli replaced West as head coach in 1998 and was the head coach until he first became athletic director in 2010, when he stepped down to concentrate on that job.
He returned after a year in which Miller missed the playoffs, then served as head basketball coach and athletic director for three years until last year, when the district forced to choose between the two positions.John Romagnoli mug shot
Romagnoli said he chose to remain as athletic director last year because he needed to get ready to move his mother-in-law out from Chicago to live with his family. He said the year away this time (when the team missed the playoffs) was much worse.
“Last time, I took the new (athletic director) job and that was kind of exciting,” he said. “I had coached 10-11 years at that point. Now, I’m completely revitalized, I got the (Inland Valley) all-star game resurrected. … Even when I wasn’t coaching, I was a (basketball) junkie, going to college basketball practices.
“I guess I’m at that point, where the coaching part comes easy. I feel like I’m back.”
School has started at Fontana, and as a result of returning to coaching, Romagnoli had to step down as athletic director and is back teaching. He monitors online classes that Miller students are taking.
“I’m a little bit of a tech guy,” he said. “I really wanted something different.”
So, as a result, long time Miller coach Jeff Omar is taking over as athletic director.
“Jeff’s learning the ropes and I’m there to help him out,” Romagnoli said.

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San Gorgonio High hosting Azusa Pacific football next week

Interested in what NCAA Division II football is about but you don’t want to leave San Bernardino County?
Then San Gorgonio is the place to be, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.

San Gorgonio logoThe Spartans’ stadium will be the site of an Azusa Pacific University football scrimmage at that time. Yes, UCLA football has been practicing in San Bernardino, but playing for the Bruins is not a attainable reality for 99 percent of high school football players.
Division II Azusa Pacific, however, is more attainable. Coach Ron Gueringer sees many advantages to the event. APU was looking to showcase their football team outside of their home in Azusa, and Gueringer not only wants people to see the school’s quality athletic facilities, but also show them another option for college.
“We’ve had a good relationship with those guys for a few years and they were looking for a place to go,” Gueringer said. “It’s a great opportunity for our kids to see college football.”

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Dan Williams returns as Rialto High athletic director

Dan Williams stepped away as Rialto High athletic director three years ago to spend time away from his family, now he’s paying it back.
Kevin Gilbreth has stepped down as Rialto A.D., as his football-playing son Cameron, is a freshman at Cajon High. Williams, 54, who had served in the position from 2008-2012, agreed to return. Gilbreth said he will be an assistant baseball coach at the school.
“I had conversations with the principal about it,” Williams said. “I knew what I was getting myself into. If I wasn’t going to do it, would someone else do an adequate job? That was my main reason.”

Rialto High logoHis wife supported him in the decision.
In Williams’ return, his focus is on the student portion of the student-athlete.
“One of my main goals is to make sure they graduate and stay eligible and go on to college,” he said. “We have had kids go to state, and I’d like to experience that again.”
Williams has coached football, wrestling, track and field, cross country and badminton during his career. In returning as athletic director, he is having to drop his position as head badminton coach and is seeking his replacement.
Williams got into teaching later than some, so he said he might have a decade before he can retire.
“I don’t have a lot more years to go,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘If I come back in, my plan is to ride it out (as A.D.).’”

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Jurupa Hills football’s community day is Friday

While high school football is still extremely popular, the proliferation of high schools in the area has given it perhaps a little bit less of a community feel.
Jurupa Hills logo

Remember when Fontana had just one high school? Now there are 5, located in 3 different leagues. While many people go to support their local school, others go to see the best game of the week. Jurupa Hills, the 5th of the 5 high schools in Fontana to open, has been trying to build a community feel for its football program. For several years, coach Ed McMillon has has a community day, where the community can come out and meet the football team.

This year’s event is on Friday, Aug. 14, from 3-6 p.m. McMillon said there will be “music, food, fun, and games for the kids.” It’s an opportunity to meet and take pictures with players. While you could go to just about any practice at schools and take pictures with and of players, Jurupa Hills is making an active effort to interact with the community.

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Jaylon Dean transfers from Kaiser to Ganesha

Christmas came a little early for Ganesha football coach Don Cayer.

Jaylon Dean has transferred from Sunkist League champion Kaiser to Ganesha, Cayer confirmed.

The CIF has already ruled him eligible for the coming season. Dean, a 5-foot-10, 225 pounder, is expected to make an immediate impact.

“He will be a difference maker, especially on defense because that’swhere he has played the most,” Cayer said. “We have some skill players on offense but he gives us more options there.

Dean was an All-League selection last year on defense with 53 tackles and four sacks. Cayer says he will use him on both sides of the ball.

“We don’t get a transfer of this caliber that often,” he said. “We’re talking an All-League kid on a first place team. We’re excited to have him.”

Ganesha opens the season at Mark Keppel on Aug. 28.

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San Bernardino High’s Alexander Mattison weighs college options

San Bernardino High’s Alexander Mattison made a name for himself rushing for a county-leading 2,017 yards last season as a junior and continued to draw the eyes of college scouts at various offseason football camps.

Alexander Mattison carrying the ball during practice at San Bernardino High School on Thursday, August 6, 2015 in San Bernardino, Ca.  (Micah Escamilla/The Sun)

Alexander Mattison carrying the ball during practice at San Bernardino High School on Thursday, August 6, 2015 in San Bernardino, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/The Sun)

While the Cardinals’ faithful can expect another solid performance from the running back as he conclude his high school career. It will be up to opposing defenses, especially from

the Mountain Valley League, to stand in his way and try to stop him.

But the elephant in the room is what will be next for Mattison following his senior year.

Mattison has several scholarship offers which include Pac-12 programs, according to head coach Jeff Imbriani, but it is not a guarantee that the running back will play in the conference.

The senior confirmed that Boise State, Washington and Arizona State are at the top of his list.

“Out of my offers right now those are the most communicative and interesting to me,” said Mattison.

He also mentioned Washington State as a program that completes his top four at the moment.

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