All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 entering spring practice …

Tyrek Adams is 1 big reason the Dena will surprise in ’14.

So yeah, this the opener for the 2014 season. There will be another after spring/before passing tournament circuit and another one after that and then a final preseason one right before the season in August. But don’t hold me to any of that either.

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1. Bishop Amat — You know it’s scary when I’m more excited than Freddie.
2. Charter Oak — Worried about defensive losses, but offense is scary.
3. Glendora — Arguably the best QB around in Fink makes Tarty scary.
4. Muir — Your early favorite in the Southeast.
5. St. Francis — Heavy graduation losses, but program reloads well.
6. Chino Hills — Tons of skill back, but defense has to get better.
7. Los Altos — So much returning line talent. Another big year coming.
8. La Habra — The rumblings haven’t been all positive this offseason.
9. San Dimas — QB, top-two rushers gone. But D is loaded.
10. Diamond Bar — Noodles for a full year and loads of skill talent back.
11. Damien — Lost some studs on D, but RB Thigpen is real deal.
12. La Mirada — Defense has to get faster, but Lara at QB is nice.
13. West Covina — Yet another factor in loaded Hacienda League.
14. La Serna — Program is solid, but how do you replace Frankie Football?
15. La Salle — A tad concerned about proposed new league.
16. Monrovia — New coach, tons to replace. Cats are hard to decipher.
17. Pomona — You’ll know the name Darreon Lockett real soon.
18. Rosemead — Tons of returners. Your early MVL favorite.
19. Diamond Ranch — Lost a lot to graduation, but always solid.
20. Arroyo — Hit hard by graduation, but program reloads.
21. South Hills — Will be in deep in new league.
22. Bonita — Might be hardest hit team by graduation.
23. Montebello — Trajectory of program is up.
24. Pasadena — My surprise team. You’ll see.
25. Maranatha — Lots back and Bogan running the show.

Muir WR/DB Taeon Mason offered by Notre Dame …


Muir wide receiver/defensive back can add Notre Dame to his growing list of suitors.

The Fighting Irish offered the senior-to-be on Tuesday. Mason is reportedly already at USC commit, but is open to all offers. UCLA and Oregon have also shown interest, if not offers.

Although Mason plays both ways for the Mustangs, he projects as a cornerback in college and is one of the top recruits in the country at that position.

Mason was a Star-News All-Area selection last season.

Aram’s Take: If you’re handicapping where Mason goes, you have to think USC will be it. The whole Kevon Seymour (former Muir player now starting DB) connection is going to be tough to overcome. Also, be very afraid of Muir this season … if the Mustangs find a QB.

Brigham Harwell’s Trench Hogs ready to unleash on the Valley this season …

The high school football offseason has plenty going on to show fans just how good their team will be at the skill positions. But what about the linemen?

You don’t see the big guys, err trench hogs, at out passing tournaments unless they’re watching in the stands. No, they’re typically hidden away in smelly weight rooms trying to lay the foundation for success.

That is until former Los Altos standout Brigham Harwell started Trench Hogs, a weekly workout designed to help offensive and defensive linemen get the extra polish that’s usually reserved for skill position players.

“You’re only as good as your lines,” said Harwell, who was the Tribune Player of the Year in 2003 and later played at UCLA. “That’s why I wanted to do Trench Hogs. You only go as far as your linemen.

“I wish their coaches would see see the kind of work they’re doing. The coaches aren’t seeing it, but they’ll see it in camp, because by August these guys are going to be top-notch players.”

Harwell, now an assistant coach at Cantwell Sacred Heart in Montebello, holds the workouts on weekend mornings at Cantwell. Saturdays are for skills work while Sundays are for weight room. There are 15-20 participants on a given weekend.

“It’s amazing to see guys wake up every weekend and be here,” Harwell said. “I went hard during the week in high school, but I would never workout during the weekends. These guys are a different breed. They don’t go on vacation. Football is their lives.”

Harwell is set to unleash his proteges on the local scene this fall, headlined by Bishop Amat’s Ryan Munoz and Andrew Vasquez, and Los Altos’ David Jimenez.

Jimenez is already known a quantity. He was a force last season as a junior and figures to be one of the top defensive linemen in the area this fall. Listed at 6-foot, 255 pounds, Jimenez had 65 tackles last season, including 11 tackles for loss.

“Jimenez is just a strong guy, a lot of power,” Harwell said. “He’s going to be a senior and knows that this is his year.”

Munoz and Vasquez saw limited playing time for Amat last year but figure to be counted on heavily in their junior season. Both players could quickly develop into stars for the Lancers, according to Harwell.

“This year would be their year to make their nose in the Valley,” Harwell said. “They know all the tricks.

“Andrew has technique and is really fast and explosive. Ryan is just all around a good defensive tackle. He has it all.”

Is Monrovia about to become a Wing-T offense?

An ad posted on the CIF by Monrovia football seeking an offensive line coach with knowledge of the Wing-T offense created some grumblings among area football pundits that the Wildcats were going to run the archaic offense under new head coach Chris Stevens.

Stevens put those fears to rest on Friday, explaining that while their will be some elements of the Wing-T in his offense, the Wildcats will be a hybrid that works the ball to their play makers in a myriad of ways.

“We are running the Wing in the run part of it,” Stevens said of his offense. “We are going to have a little bit of the Wing-T run scheme up front. We’re going to block down, pull and kick.

“I’m a hybrid guy. I don’t just sit in one formation and run the ball 80 percent and throw the ball 20 percent. It’s a balanced attack. I’ve incorporated the Wing-T run game with the spread passing game.”

The clarification has to be good news for the strength of Monrovia’s returning nucleus — the wide receivers. The Wildcats have a scary collection of talent on the outside led by Octavius Spencer, James Jackson and Kahlil Bradley.

The bad news for Monrovia’s opponents is that Stevens has designs on not only getting his talented wide outs the ball down the field, but also on jet sweeps.

“They are the group that we return the most experience,” Stevens said of his receivers. “We’re going to get the ball in their hands and make them be the play makers that they are.”

Monrovia begins spring practice on May 5.

Bogan hiring the latest sign that Maranatha is on the verge of becoming a powerhouse …


Pasadena is there for the taking. I know it. You know it. Maranatha High School knows it. And more importantly, the school is doing something about it.

Pasadena is well known as an athletics hotbed. It’s also no secret that its public school system, especially in terms of athletics, is a bit of a wreck. Coaches are woefully underpaid and the amount of turnover is staggering in terms of coaches and athletes is staggering.

Who better to take advantage of this than Maranatha?

And why not? There’s currently a pipeline of Pasadena football talent extending to the San Fernando Valley and beyond where schools like Alemany, Crespi and Oaks Christian are being bankrolled by our local talent.

What if those kids looking for an alternative to Pasadena public schools decided to stay close to home and pursue their athletic dreams locally? Maranatha, with its growing list of top-notch coaches, is doing whatever it can to make itself look like the top option.

It simply can’t be on accident that in the last year Maranatha has hired Mr. Basketball in Pasadena, Tim Tucker, to head its boys hoops program. And now four-time CIF champion Steve Bogan has been brought in to coach the football team.

It doesn’t stop there. In the girls basketball program, there’s a marquee name on the coaching staff like Tye’sha Fluker, who starred at Muir before attending Tennessee and playing with four teams in the WNBA. Think she can teach the younger generation a thing or two?

The baseball program has former Temple City standout pitcher Ryan Tucker, who had a brief career recently in Major League Baseball with the Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers, on staff as pitching coach.

Again, none of these things are happening on accident. The collection of coaches being assembled on campus at Maranatha isn’t by mistake. It’s almost as if Maranatha has realized what so many schools fail to understand — the best way to build a thriving high school is through athletics. Especially for a private school.

And the best way to build a great athletics program is to first start by hiring the best coaches around. Many of Maranatha’s athletic programs are already successful. The football team won a league championship last fall. The boys basketball came close to tying powerful Village Christian for the league title. The girls basketball team won league. The baseball team is currently tied for first.

Simply winning league championships won’t be enough. Bogan will be expected to do that and then follow it with postseason success. It won’t be easy because building a football program is the longest job a coach can have. But Bogan is starting with a good foundation and should some of that Pasadena talent come trickling in, things may get real good, real fast.

Tucker is already well on his way. Maranatha had several transfers into the program last year and there figures to be another good haul this season. The girls basketball team just saw standout Channon Fluker, formerly of Muir, earn Star-News Player of the Year honors.

The ball is already rolling at Maranatha. The city is there for the taking. The coaches are in place to take it both in terms of getting talent in and knowing what to do with it when they’ve got it.

We will never know what goes on behind closed doors at Maranatha, but we don’t need to hear the conversation when the actions are right under our noses. Maranatha is making its move. It’s bidding to become a Pasadena sports powerhouse. And if you’re good here, you’re good anywhere.

In a city where so many other schools are content to sit back and let it happen, who’s really going to bet against the Minutemen?

Bishop Amat’s Tre Sidney and Tyler Vaughns, and St. Francis’ Dylan Crawford pick up offers from USC …

Tre Sidney (right) doing what he does.

It was quite a weekend for the Bishop Amat WR/DB tandem of Tre Sidney and Tyler Vaughns, and St. Francis WR Dylan Crawford. All three juniors-to-be picked up offers from USC.

Sidney was the Tribune’s Newcomer of the Year last season after intercepting eight passes. Vaughns had 395 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

Crawford was St. Francis’ leading receiver with 993 yards and 10 touchdowns.

St. Francis’ Dylan Crawford doing his thing vs. Monrovia.

Charter Oak Spring Showcase passing tournament field set … May 17 at Charter Oak HS

Fans who can’t wait until fall to get their football fix will appreciate that Charter Oak is hosting one of the earlier passing tournaments of the offseason just over a month from now.

The Charter Oak Spring Showcase is set for May 17 and field of 24 teams is entered led by several top local programs. The tournament will be a one-day event with the champion not expected to be crowned until early evening after a day’s worth of competition.

The field is: Charter Oak, Bishop Amat, Arroyo, Rosemead, Diamond Ranch, El Rancho, La Habra, Duarte, La Salle, Bonita, Etiwanda, La Puente, San Jacinto, Paloma Valley, Westlake, Saugus, West Ranch, Sonora, Eastside, Upland, Sierra Canyon, Calabassas, Hart and Redlands East Valley.

Bogan’s Back! Former South Hills coach takes over at Maranatha

Steve Bogan, who won four CIF championships during a highly successful 20-year run at South Hills High School, was named the new varsity football head coach at Maranatha on Thursday.

Bogan replaces Jude Oliva, who stepped down last month after one season.

“Maranatha is a destination job for me,” said Bogan, who had shown interest in the Maranatha job two years ago when it was previously open. “When I believe that the lord is opening a door, and the time is right, I enter where I’m called.

“I feel that the environment on campus, the commitment to excellence and Maranatha’s focus on Christ aligns with how and I where I want to end my career.”

Bogan resigned from South Hills following the 2011 season. The move ended a wildly successful run that included four CIF championships, 13 league championships and a 32-12 record in the playoffs. He recently returned to coaching at South Hills, but at the freshman level.

Maranatha went 8-3 and won the Olympic League last season under Oliva. The school has been very aggressive in its push to build a top-flight athletics program. Last year, Maranatha hired Pasadena coaching legend Tim Tucker to head its boys basketball program.

Bogan inherits a program that looks ready to build on last year’s success. The Minutemen return one of the top players in the area in running back Caleb Devine. Also back is 3,000-yard passer Eli Snyder at quarterback.

Aram’s Take: Absolute coup by Maranatha. Bogan’s track record is just about unparalleled around these parts and he should be the long-term fit that Maranatha’s been needing to take things to the next level and beyond. Maranatha hasn’t publicly said so, but it’s clear they are trying to build the school through sports and having coaches like Bogan and Tucker around is proof of that. Could become quite the scary place considering how much Pasadena talent prefers to leave town and head to private schools … why go too far?

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Kurt Scoby makes it official with Fresno St. …


Monrovia High School running back Kurt Scoby made good on his promise to get his academics in order and signed with Fresno St. on Tuesday afternoon.

Scoby, one of the top running back recruits on the West Coast, originally chose Fresno St. in fall but was unable to sign in February due to some unmet academic requirements. Fresno St. reserved Scoby’s scholarship in hopes of him qualifying and that’s exactly what he did.

“It was either do or die for me and I’m not going to die,” Scoby said. “That’s one thing I’m not going to do. I’m going to be successful and I have something to prove.

“My reaction is thanking God and proving people wrong. I’ve dealt with adversity for a while and I wanted prove people wrong and do what people said I couldn’t really do.”

Nobody’s ever doubted Scoby’s football talents, but many area fans were skeptical that he could reach the next level after bouncing around several schools since spending his first two prep seasons at Charter Oak.

Scoby left Charter Oak for Duarte in 2012 following a stellar sophomore season that saw him rush for over 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns. Scoby never played a down at Duarte and eventually wound up at St. Paul where he played half of his junior season.

Scoby left St. Paul and briefly enrolled at Cathedral and Alemany before finally winding up at Monrovia. It was a decision he said helped him get his academics straightened out while still being able to shine on the field.

“It was just teaching myself how to be a student all over again,” Scoby said. “I know I could ball out, but it was just my time to show people that I could really ball out in the classroom and show people I’m not just a meat head and I can do my thing in the classroom as well as the football field.

“Being at Monrovia, I was back home and people really didn’t care about the athlete I was. They wanted me to be successful. They taught me how to be a student and it came out good.”

Scoby rushed for 2,206 yards and 35 touchdowns for the Wildcats last fall. He’s hoping to compete for a starting job at Fresno St. this season and said the Bulldogs’ non-conference schedule, which includes games against USC and Nebraska was a major draw for him.

Damien coach Mark Paredes sounds off about Baseline League, playing Amat in future …

With the votes counted and Damien headed back to the Mt. SAC Area for league grouping and into the Baseline League beginning next fall, Spartans football coach Mark Paredes isn’t exactly breathing a sigh of relief.

Before Damien won its arbitration hearing to get out of the parochial grouping, the Spartans appeared on their way to being in a PAC-5 Division league along with several catholic football powers.

Now, Damien will be in the Baseline League where it traded the likes of Bishop Amat, Notre Dame and Serra for Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Chino Hills. Not exactly a huge relief.

“I like the league we’re in now and it’s a good opportunity to play great competition and I’m looking forward to it,” Damien head coach Mark Paredes said. “To me it doesn’t matter. We’re going to work hard and be ready to play in whatever league we’re going to be in.

“Whether we’re in the Pac-5 or where we are now, it’s really neither here nor there because we are where we are and I’m really excited about being in the Baseline League.

Damien went 5-5 in Paredes’ first season. The Spartans were hit hard by transfers out of the program following the leadership change of former head coach Greg Gano and the transition to Paredes. But still, Damien managed to beat Chino Hills in the final week of the season.

The Spartans’ nonleague schedule was unaffected by the league change and a few former Sierra League foes in the form of Ayala, Charter Oak and South Hills appear on it.

Notably missing is Bishop Amat, which Gano took off the schedule before leaving. Paredes, who originally said he didn’t like the idea of playing Amat because of his ties as a former coach of the Lancers, has softened on that position a bit and said Amat is likely to be added back to the schedule if an opening arises in the future.

“I’m going to say it straight out — I’ll play Bishop Amat,” Paredes said. “Right now our schedule is full and we’re not moving anything. But in the future I’d be open to anything.

“Coach Hagerty called me and he wants to play us. We’ll go ahead and we’ll play Bishop Amat if we have room in our schedule. Right now, we don’t.”