San Dimas: Fluke or Area power?

OK, you guys want to really get into it? You want to really break it down and stop pussyfooting around?

First let me say you cannot argue with what Coach Z has done. He told me the night they lost 55-7 to Covina in his first season (2005) that he was gonna get things turned around and nights like that to help get it done. Well, he has. Remarkable job, obviously, and well-deserved Coach of the Year honors. BUT ………. the question I want to know now is: Is this just a good two- or three-year run, or should we start making room on the Valley’s mantle of top-flight football programs?

Here are my cases for Fluke and Area Power:

The case for fluke: Mid-Valley Division. The Saints went from being ridiculously placed in a division that was dominated by Oaks Christian to being in the locals-only Mid-Valley Division. Obviously, that eased everything up and the Saints proved to be one of the better area teams around. But didn’t we already know that? That’s what winning the Mid-Valley proves, right? San Dimas is one of the better local teams around. San Dimas’ road to the title was: Workman, Valley Christian, Azusa and Monrovia. Not exactly murderer’s row. The Monrovia game was in the rain, which quite possibly tainted the results. Then again, Monrovia had to play in it, too, and lost. Did Monrovia choke? Or did San Dimas legitimately turn the tables?

The Saints didn’t play one team during nonleague with a winning record beside Monrovia, and they lost that one 36-17. They did beat Bonita, though, which my hunch is a better win than anything they did in the first three rounds of the playoffs.

And by the way, if you’re going to hold the Mid-Valley Division against San Dimas then you have to hold the Southeast Division against Charter Oak. Be sure you’re ready to do that if you want to go there.

The case for Area Power: Here’s Coach Z’s record since he took over. See if you spot a pattern.

2009: 13-1, CIF champs
2008: 10-2, lost in qtrs.
2007: 9-2, lost 1st round (Oaks Chr.) (I had these flipped earlier, but point remains the same)
2006: 5-6, lost 1st round
2005: 3-7, no playoffs

Not bad for progress, huh? Many area pundits used to believe that San Dimas was a sleeping giant. They felt the Saints underachieved year in and year out. You can’t say that anymore. I think Coach Z knew the reputation when he took the job and in a few short years has wiped it out. No more “Soft Dimas” as 13 opponents found out in ’09 and 10 others found out in ’08.

But how did that happen? What you have here is a very shrewd culture change going on at SD. Coach Z is no dummy and he saw that there would be no CIF titles unless things were shored up on defense. Enter defensive coordinator Brian Mustain, who took San Dimas from allowing 28 points in 2008! to allowing just 8 in 2009! Read that again! Mustain had head-coaching experience before being brought on by Coach Z and seemingly knew exactly what to do. If the Saints can play defense the way they have under Mustain, then they have the key ingredient for being an area power.

I think the last part of the argument for San Dimas being an area power is Rancho Cucamonga. Scheduling an I.E. power like RC would have never been considered at SD until recently. The Saints might be feelin’ their oats a bit too much, but putting RC on the schedule tells you exactly what Coach Z thinks of the “fluke/area power” argument. Will San Dimas win? Probably not, but you never know. However, simply putting RC on the schedule sends a message to everyone.

Summation: Back in 2005-06, Covina had two teams that were easily among the area’s best. The Colts (along with the Saints) played in a MUCH MORE DIFFICULT division than the Mid-Valley. They made the semis both years, losing to TESORO and OAK PARK. Had those Covina teams been in the Mid-Valley Division we all know they’d have won two titles. But where’s Covina now? History tells us that the Colts had an amazing once-a-decade group of talent. Is that what they’ll be saying about San Dimas in three years? Or will the Saints take their place right along side Charter Oak, South Hills and Amat as SGV teams you’d better be scared of when the switch is flipped on Friday night.

Disclaimer: Please don’t reply to this post if you’re just going to give me either rah-rah crap or pure haterade. I want educated replies only.

Share this postShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page
  • Don


    You are right about the Mid-Valley D; with the exception of Monrovia, Whittier Christian, and Paraclete, there are really no programs you can count on to reload season after season.

    As for San Dimas, Zernicow has turned the corner in retaining area talent, the second part of building a powerhouse that competes year in and year out, (first stage is always the boosters and raising money). This is evident by the number of underclassmen who contribute at a high level. The real question will be whether he can draw talent from other areas like Charter Oak and South Hills do to move to the next level. Will the BUSD and the SD support that is a whole other question.

    As to this game next year with Rancho Cucamonga, Coach Z seems willing take a page from Roddy Laytons book, playing teams seemingly two or three levels above that of your home league. Works for Layton, lets see how it turns out for the Saints.

    BTW, welcome back.

  • Thanks, Don. Good to hear from you. Good points, although I didn’t get your verdict. Fluke or area power? Sounds like wait-and-see to me …

  • Insider

    2006 lost to Morro Bay: Get your facts straight, you have been gone for a while.

    2007 lost to Oaks Christian: Scored 27 pts, most any team scored on them all year.

    Monrovia… Flat out got out coached… Can’t wait for the rematch.

    2010: Record may not be as good as 2009 but they will go deep in the playoffs.

  • insider

    I think San Dimas is right where they need to be. They are playing the Boise St role to the fullest. One thing is for sure you will not find a staff thats treats its kids as good as these coaches. Are they a power right now? No, but they will be 10 years from now. There is a very consistant and steady plan thats been in place for a while now. They are just following the plan Z has had.

  • Covina Vs San Dimas

    Covina vs San Dimas,

    Different School different coaches and dynamics. If I had to pick between the caches who would have more success in the long run its — Coach Z by far. Look at Z and DT head to head over the long haul. Z was beating DT every year when he was at the View! Z hands down over DT. Sustained success is a lot about Wt room, systems, demographics, and leadership.


    Aram, don’t add San Dimas to the area power list just yet. Any team with South El Monte on the Schedule is still pretty weak. Dont get me wrong I love having two CIF champs on Covina Blvd it’s great for the SGV but you cannot start to compare San Dimas to CO, BA or even SH just yet. We all know CO, SH, DR, BA, Glendora would win the Mid Valley title every year if they were in that division. If San Dimas can make it back to the finals and win we can say that they are now an area power. If not, just like every other team that had one good run.

    Glendora were coming for you week 0.

  • Don

    Definitely an area power although behind guys in the higher Divisions like Amat, C O, South Hills, Damien, and Glendora, (not listed in any particular order). lol

    The question has always been the schedule with Monrovia and Bonita having been the only decent teams the Saints have faced outside the playoffs these past few years. RCHS is a BIG step up from that.

    Your point on the Covina Decade team was spot on, thats how it works for most programs. Gomez, James, McNair, Esquivel, Dumont, and of course McDonough led a Senior heavy crew the likes of which wont be seen on Hollenbeck anytime soon. SDHS has a lot of their talent in the ranks of the classes of 2011 and 2012.

  • Aaron

    Fluke, no not at all. They play defense and have a power run game which can do great things against weak defenses. Will he win another title, idk, back-to-back? I’d put more money on Monrovia running the table a second time and finally winning it all in their 10th title game. I just like Monrovia’s group of kids better.

    On Rancho I don’t think he knows(maybe he does) the level at which they play at as San Dimas has never played about Div IX level of ball. Division IX also used to be a lot tougher when they played Bonita twice and got beat twice. I think San Dimas has a good group of kids that will continue winning a lot of games. The Saints will be interesting to watch this is for sure. And I’m not a fan of let’s schedule up every single non-league game to get thrashed and then back into the playoffs with two league wins and a losing record. Yes schedule up and schedule the tough teams in the division, but don’t let your kids get thrashed and embarrassed every single week.

  • Good post, Aram.
    Zernickow is doing exactly what he did at Northview, but because of the move to the Mid-Valley, he was able to win a CIF-SS title.
    Some people forget, that after the initial feeling out years at Northview, like San Dimas, he had three highly-competitive seasons, nearly beating South Hills for the league title in 2001 and nearly upsetting La Habra in the quarterfinals in 2002 He only left Northview after the then principal wanted to bring in one of his former players to run the show. But Zernickow has down the same thing at San Dimas, using the same offense with same type of kids. Like someone said, they are not yet at the top tier – Bishop Amat, Charter Oak, South Hills – but they are definitely the leader of the next group.
    As for Covina, the question I would ask is would the McDonough Colts beat the Ulrich Colts of 2000?

  • silly

    Not a Z fan. However I will give props for his CIF Championship. Tough to do no matter where you are. The talent has always been there, just needed the right combination of coaches, players and parents to pull it off. Lets see if they can sustain that level over the next season. Then I will join the voices proclaiming his accension to the upper tier of local football. As for them doing what Layton and DR is doing successfully, No. Z is not Layton and staff. I would have thought he would have taken a stab at Glendora first then climb that ladder. Glendora was beaten by Rancho last season, soundly. Glendora would handle San Dimas in the same manner. I am not saying blow outs, however the outcome would not be in doubt. As for a great coach and staff I would take Podley and Medina any day over the combination of Z and Mustain. Respect for Mustain, but I believe it is the steady hand of a strong HC that ultimately drives the team. Z will blink when cornered.

  • bhs


    I’m not so sure of your assessment. From watching these two staffs match up the last few years. Medina is Coach Z’s toy. He plays with him every year. Silly your statements are laughable almost embrassing! Podley needs to fire Medina. He coaches a style of football that gives up too many plays. It’s a hot and cold defense. Live by the blitz and die by the blitz. Podley is still a good offensive mind, but he needs to call the plays because coach Rod sucks and is too inexperianced. Make Medrano the DC he had success at SD!

  • mad scientist

    SD is here to as long as they stay in the lower divisions of CIF.

    If all things are equal on the talent side then
    Ball control offense + minimize turn overs + solid defense = sucess

    The lower ranks will have a void with SH and CO moving on and SD can easily fill that void.

    The harder question is can Bonita step up with the change in league?

  • Not the real thing

    It is funny how everyone bashed Layton for playing tough teams early in the season and now are following in his footsteps. We all thought he was crazy or egotistical to take on such powerhouses as Oaks Christian, BA, Edison, Servite, etc., but quieted down when players started to get scholarships and DR suddenly popped up in CIF Championships. When you influence other coaches in the Valley to alter their beliefs you are significant. Top in the Valley? NO! Sorry SD I respect the fact that you won a CIF Ring, but playing in a weak division and an even weaker league does not put you in the top of the Valley territory. 1st Tier are BA, CO, DR, SH, and Glendora. All but CO have played tough opponents (BA in League and not crazy about weakening their schedule this year. Hags we are suppose to be the top so play the top, to remain on top) CO needs to play more than one tough team. San Dimas is good but would get worked by the real top teams in the valley. With that, good luck this year.

  • Are you serious?

    1st Tier is BA and BA alone

    Who else has beat Orange Lutheran, Mater Dei, St. Bonaventure, Crespi, Loyola, and SO Notre Dame?

    Please don’t group BA with the likes of Charter Oak, South Hills, Diamond Ranch, etc. That’s like comparing tuna with peanut butter.

  • Stang

    Aram T. ,
    Can we get your top 10 rating of the valley teams east and west?

  • BA fans are so annoying, who else beat so and so, bottom line is championships…. and they havent won any in quite a few years… nobody cares… i really had nothing against B A …until now

  • Insider


    You are a fool. Medina doesn’t own Z. SD scores TONs of points on Bonita. How about 2 years ago when they put 50 on them. Or two years before that in Z’s 1st year, the worst SD team ever, scored 30. Last year they scored 20 +. Your statement is false, the offense rolls over Bonita and they have the Smudge Pot the last 3 years to prove it.

  • Football Jones

    SD coach Dane Johnson is also an important part of SDHS’s success. He started with the freshman team of 2005-6 and has moved on up to the varsity. He has a great rapport with the boys and should also be recognized as an important part of the program.

    SD – fluke or power? We all know there are talent fluctuations at the high school level, especially at small public schools. Having said that, I don’t think SDHS is a fluke. I am sure there will be a down year here and there (probably not next year), but if Z & Co. stay around, I think they will consistently do well and can establish SDHS as a football power.

  • Tears of Blue

    Paul – Picture me in my Lancer Armour standing by the side of the road as you toss an F-bomb at my feet and drive away shouting insults towards the Amat Family. As the camera pans up to my head the camera focuses in on the tear running down the face of my helmet – NOT!!! So what, no one cares about your declaration of hatred towards the Amat family. The Amat Hater club has been around for years and years. Haters come and go. They also come in all shapes and sizes and they all join the club for their own reasons. The bottom line is….We of the Amat Family don’t care. All you’ve done is identified yourself as one of them. The intellectual types in here. You know, like Draaannch(Bills), SGVsBest(idiot) and all the other drive by haters that LOVE to hate AMAT. I will look forward to your streaming posts of intellectual put downs and racial slurs during the upcoming season. Isn’t great to be considered one of the boys Paul? Lancer for Life – Go Big Blue!

  • Dan

    SGV top Tier level would have to be BA & CO for the past 3 or 4 years, BA because of their tradition and big game success in the Hagarty era and CO belongs there too because of their dominance in their division the last few years, although I think CO will drop down to the second tier next season.
    The next level would be South Hills,Diamond Ranch, Glendora, West Covina, and Damian in no particular order, the truth is all in this group are very capable of beating each other, and in some years you can add Rowland & Bonita to the mix.

  • BHS

    FLUKE!! smudgepot coming back to BONITA

  • Tier ducks

    Top Tier Teams today

    1) Bishop Amat
    2) Charter Oak
    3) Glendora
    3) Diamond Ranch

    Midlevel Teams

    5) South Hills
    6) San Dimas

    Lower Mid Level Programs
    7) West Covina
    8) Damien
    9) Bonita

    Criteria: Playoff wins, next level athletes and quality wins

  • Tears of Blue- like i said… who cares

  • Phase 1 Sports Says

    Don’t forget our football combine at Citrus college on Saturday Feb.20th at 1pm! GET NOTICED!

  • Tears of Blue

    Obviously YOU – Paul! Why else would you respond?

  • for real

    Tier ducks,
    Based on your own qualification Glendora wouldn’t make your own list.

    Big wins..players at the next level….hahhaha

  • Dan

    Tier ducks,
    Your either biased or new to SGV football if those are your tiers, top tier today is BA and CO, no one
    else has been on their level the past couple of years.
    South Hills, D Ranch, Glendora, West Covina, Damien
    and recently Rowland would be in the second tier because they have all pretty much beaten each other in the recent past.
    San Dimas doesn’t belong there yet because they don’t have any recent history of beating the first or second tier schools, that may change in the next few year if coach Z. can build up their program but they aren’t there yet, it’s just my opinion but I think there is evedence to back it.
    Whats your reasoning for the tiers levels you made?

  • I like the tier debate. I would have to agree with Dan that right now it’s CO and Amat at the top. As we all know, these things can change in a matter of a few years.

  • Another try

    Are you related to sgvsbest. You fools write the same old things .Come up with some new and original material you shiat is getting old. Lakewood this 95 that it’s old already. Let see what your Lakewood team does this upcoming season since you hang so much on them . Amat will be there in the playoffs will they. Let us know .


    Are you going to let this sgvsworst start to bring down this blog the way he has done to Fred’s . I was hoping for a no nonsense football blog with relevent posts by bloggers. Guess not if this guy is going to start his stuff over here. Pretty soon he will be all over just bashing Amat with his racist comment and degrading the community of La Puente. Not to mention stalking Hags . Just ask Fred for the skinny on him.

  • Try to stay on topic and keep the conversation to San Dimas please. If you want to compare where SD ranks to Amat, that’s fine. But this is not going to degenerate into a conversation about strong or weak Amat’s schedule is. Once I found out what Amat’s sked is, you’ll have your chance to comment away.

    Also, I have no clue what a Chilean Junta Leader is, but I know I don’t find it funny. I’m not offended, but if it’s an attempt at humor, it sucked.

  • Tier Ducts

    Aram here’s my Tear Duct rationale. Correct me if I”m wrong.

    Top Tier:

    Bishop Amat: two season record, quality wins, next level players, beat the tar out of everyone in the SGV. Unbelievable coaching staff. In my mind Amat is in a league all their own, and one more season like the last one will have even their biggest detractors speakless. The coaching just gets so much out of their players and Lancer players just have too much pride, tradition and commitment to be judge by any local measure especially when EVERY school they play in league has just as much coaching, pride, tradition and resources, if not more. How may local school can say that? None!

    Charter Oak: Back to Back CIF Championships, 4 D1 signees, more to follow, tapped into a nice reload trend. Tenured coaching staff who have upped their game to reflect their talent, and will need to be to be compettiive in the SL and beyond. If CO wins a third straight CIF title or gets to the title game…well then I’m a believer.

    Glendora: Back to Back to Back Sierra League Champions, beat Diamond Ranch, Plays up, quality players next level possible but not willing to travel. Still Glendora is solid and in three years has been stopped cold once, by Damien on Fluke Night, considering Gelndora has owned Damien for the past six years. Next year Coach P will have to force his players to take the next MTC step, we’ll see.

    Diamond Ranch: Nobody plays a tougher schedule in the preseason than Diamond Ranch and second place ain’t close. Tons of next level players, all levels. Outstanding coaching staff, former NFL and D1 coaches/players. Without Viramontes who was as tough as nails the Panthers have to do some work do but maybe that’s what Roddy and staff love about their jobs, getting to work. Still hard to argue DR has run step to step with CO to two Finals, that’s huge i my mind. Next year’s opener against Damien will be huge, as Gano and Layton resume their old ways.

    Middle Tier:

    South Hills: Can’t be ranked over Diamond Ranch when DR beats you twice in a row and puts twice as many in D1 rides. NIce supply of quality players coupled with a very solid coaching staff that has maybe grown complacent with their past success. Still Bogan has a way of getting transfers to help out his locals so well see next year whether Bogan is over rated as I believe of just on bored.

    San Dimas: Coach Z has the program going in the right direction and if winning a Championship makes a staff and players 20% better as it does with boxers than maybe SD has a run in them. Their DC has the players popping, as always, but now they are in better, more efficient spots and it shows. They are a very young team and have stepped up their schedule in ways CO should have years ago. Still a very sweet program who’s doing it with 4 year players.

    Lower Tier Teams:

    West Covina: Losing to El Rancho made them take huge hit this year. Some teams can survive tough games while others can not and the jury is out on West Covina. Not seeing or hearing as many D1 players coming out recently but maybe that’s just a lack of reporting, I don’t know. Still Coach M is a stud and playing for West Covina is a wild affair that reminds me of teams that want to beat up people rather than win games. One year WC had it going and them had several players either removed from the team of something else. Still would love to see their playoff runs match their potential and bravdo. Sorry Dan.

    Damien:Clearly as the “other” private school this is a disgrace to be in anyone’s lower tier grouping. Yes the three SL titles in 7 years says they have talent but the playoffs beatings and BA thrashings mean they were either woefully under coached or poorly coached. Pasquerella beat BA and Gano gave them a Hearns/Hagler run for their money but too many years of poor coaching has left the Spartans respected by few as no one has compared San Dimas’ success with anyone with a Spartan logo. Lancers, Huskies, Chargers and Panthers yes, Spartans no. That’s not hate that reality. Next year should be interesting with CH, CO, SH, Ayala and Damien all fighting for three playoff spots. The SL might be the best coached league this side of Amat’s.

    Bonita: Podley does miracles with his talent as DR win against Bonilla and Co proves yet their playoff record or lack thereof means something I missing. Stlll have to admire a program who welcomes two and three sport athletes, provides an outstanding community supportive environment and still plays football the old fashion way, for School Pride. Tough to put Bonita in a lower tier but unlike Damien Bonita does it with homegrown players.

    Well there is my assessment of the local powers that be and why. Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone or any school. the reality is every school controls what people think of them. Congrats goes out to Coach Z but let’s not forget the players who laid the foundation for that Championship Barbone, Joseph, Bronze, Doll ect ect ect

    Aram I hope that helps stir up some constructive discourse, maybe other see things differently. At least no one can say I didn’t spell it all out.

  • Aaron

    Good Tier system, except I wouldn’t put Diamond Ranch With CO because they haven’t beaten CO ever! But they would definitely be the far ahead leader of that second group.

    I understand where you place my alma mater, it’s sad to see but I agree with everything you said.

  • Dan

    Tier Ducts,
    Glad to see you came back with reasons for your tier level assessment, can’t say I agree with all of it but it makes for good dialog.
    When I speak of tier levels I think more of who would win head to head on the field, and the past 2 or 3 years I would have to say it’s Amat & CO alone on top, no other SGV school has been able to beat those two and it’shame the two didn’t meet in this era, I
    think CO will drop to the second tier next year because of all the key players they are losing.
    South Hills and Los Altos used to be in this group
    but South Hills has shown they are vulnerable lately
    with losses to D Ranch this year and last and to WC last year and a thrashing by CO in the 06 playoffs, Los Altos unfortunately has fallen off the table since 06 and is a shell of what they once were.
    The second tier are all teams that have a decent shot of beating each other in any given year, in my view that would be: South Hills, West Covina, Diamond Ranch,
    Glendora, Damien and lately Rowland. These schools have all shown the capability to beat other schools in the top two tiers, I don’t think any other schools in the SGV have done this[correct me if I’m wrong].
    San Dimas may be there if they can beat some of the top tier teams in the next few years but they haven’t done it yet. From reading this blog [Aaron & KH] it looks like Bonita has most of their starters coming back next year and could make a nice run to get back in to the second tier, earlier in the decade they would have been a 2nd tier team.
    As for your assessment of West Covina and their playoff runs not matching their bravado, since 04 they have either been to the quarterfinals, semifinals, or championship in every single year except 2005 when they had several key injuries at playoff time and your right, injuries have affected us big time in some years. As for the year that they lost players for disciplinary reasons, it was in school and not on the football field where they got in trouble. Maggiore and staff teach their kids to walk away from trouble when it happens on the field, it still happens once in a while but the coaches get on top of it quickly when it does, the WC kids for the most part have good attitudes and it usually doesn’t start from our side.


    Did you bother to read Aram’s post after your first post. Stay on the subject. Many have posted replies to the tier system but you choose to jump on the one post of Amat that wrote only Amat should be tier one. Granted this is the extreme level of an Amat honk but still ones opinion of the topic. CO and Amat are defintely tier one teams and the voices of the SGV by all the noise on a CO vs Amat game speak for themselves. A close second and getting stronger every season are DR , WC , as their respective programs are continually testing themselves against tough competition . SD, Damien , Rowland , Glendora round out the next level but seem to be on their way up. As far as SH well I feel they just might be headed in the direction of LA . Their recent problems with transfers and huge losses in the playoffs to teams who in the past would have been no problem for them just seems to spell a program on the way down. I think it’s great to see our SGV teams starting to test themselves against stronger competition as it can only help them in building their programs .We really should not doubt wheather SD is biting off more than they can chew by scheduling RC. We should just get behind them and root them on to victory. Now back to sgvsbest, what is your take on the teams of the SGV. Be a man once and post something worthy based on the subject matter at hand not something that needs to censored due to jealousy of Amat and name calling of the moderators.