Rosemead taking it back to the old school next season with all-white helmets …

Rosemead football coach Matt Koffler, upset by his team’s lack of physical play last season, is ditching the Panthers’ usual maroon helmets for a pure-white color that’s intended to remind his players of the old-school brand of smash-mouth football the school is synonymous for.

“We want to express to the kids that we’re not happy about what happened last year,” Koffler said. “Giving up over 200 yards on the ground to San Marino and not being able to run on them left a bad taste in our mouths. This was a change we’ve been wanting to make and the kids are excited about it.

“They understand that this year they’re going to play that Rosemead, hard-nosed football. Last year, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t our style. This year, we’re going with that old school, I don’t care if I have a face mask style. I don’t care if I have shoulder pads or how they look.”

Koffler speculated the school hasn’t worn all-white helmets since the 1960s.

Aram’s take:
You absolutely gotta love it.

SEMI-BREAKING NEWS: Bassett names Craig Cieslik head coach …

Bassett High School has named Craig Cieslik to be its next football coach, replacing Leon Ward.

Cieslik’s last job was at La Sierra where he was the head coach for the 2007 and ’08 seasons before resigning just prior to the ’09 season due to personal issues. He is the youngest coach to ever reach a CIF title game, something he did at A.V. Christian in 1991 at the age of 18. His offense is “No huddle double wing fly” … which means Wing T with absolutely no breaks between plays. His teams have set state and national records for plays run per game (71) and points in a quarter (58), according to Cieslik.

Here’s the bad news, though. Cieslik reports he’s practicing with about 20 players in the week since he’s taken over. Not good! Cieslik says most of the players are sophomores because the returning upperclassmen don’t feel like they have to show up. Again, no bueno.

“It’s going to be tough,” Cieslik said of his task at Bassett. “I come from a completely different background of you’re going to show up and you’re going to run. So I don’t know if that’s scary to the kids, or they’re just not used to showing up.”

Here’s a Web site I found about Coach Cieslik.

Workman update: The Lobos reportedly have their man and it’s somebody most of us will recognize. They’re excited about it, but won’t have official word until early next week.

Karavedas pulls out of running for Temple City job; McFarland the man? …

Whittier Christian defensive coordinator Pete Karavedas has withdrawn from the running to be the next coach at Temple City.

Karavedas was a finalist along with Pasadena coach Mike McFarland, a source said last week, but has withdrawn his name.

Aram’s take: Seriously, how hard is it to hire a football coach? When are schools going to understand that the football is the most important position on campus? And the football program means EVERYTHING to the school. You have a good football program and I guarantee you’ve got a good everything else. It’s kind of like what obesity is to health problems, but in a good way. Trust me. So an administration and/or school board HAS TO make this hire the most important thing around. No teaching position? OK, cut one of the 10 asst. principals every school has but doesn’t need. What? Do I need to run for school board and show people how it’s done? This has nothing to do with AD John Van De Veere (he’s actually a football guy with his hands tied) and everything to do with the administration/school board. Word is that Karavedas got tired of waiting on a school that’s dragging its feet. So does this make McFarland the man? Either guy seems like a great choice, so hopefully the school doesn’t lose out on McFarland, too.

South Hills lineman Aiono and Glendora QB Chad Jeffries shine at Nike Camp over the weekend …

South Hills lineman Sioasi Aiono and Glendora QB Chad Jeffries earned MVP at their respective position over the weekend at the NFTC at USC.

Here’s an excerpt of what ESPN had to say about Aiono: The talent at the guard position was especially strong, led by Sioasi Aiono (West Covina, Calif. South Hills), who took home the MVP for the group. Though he sports only two offers at this time, he continues to impress whenever we see him. He took reps inside and out, but projects to guard. He has a quick set and good punch. Aiono plays with good knee bend and moves his feet well to be able to mirror rushers.

… and something from Rivals about Jeffries: Boise State is the main school showing interest in Glendora, Calif., prospect Chad Jeffries and after Sunday’s performance it’s easy to see why. Jeffries looked good in his drops, scanned the field well, showed off a strong, consistent arm and usually seemed to hit the receivers right in the numbers. Jeffries won the MVP award and Los Angeles Loyola’s Jerry Neuheisel was right there with him.

“He’s just the most solid overall,” quarterbacks coach Matt James said of Jeffries. “He and Jerry Neuheisel were the best two kids mechanically-speaking and depths in their drops, understanding of the game, their reads and throwing the ball, timing of throwing the ball. Jeffries and Jerry both had really good days.”

Whittier Christian’s Jeff Worthy also competed and had a strong showing.

Aram’s take:
I guess we’re starting to see who the top recruits in the area are. If Aiono and the rest of South Hills’ lines are as good as advertised, then the Huskies should be able to handle the boost in league and division.

DRAFTED: Congrats to D-Ranch’s Charles Brown and West Covina’s Walter Thurmond III for being selected in the NFL Draft …

Congrats go out to Diamond Ranch’s Charles Brown, who was selected by the Saints in the second round and West Covina’s Walter Thurmond III, who was taken with the 111th overall pick by the Seahawks.

Brown, an offensive tackle out of USC, will play for the Super Bowl champs. Thurmond, a cornerback out of Oregon, was injured for most of his senior season.

Aram’s takes: Brown played TIGHT END at Diamond Ranch. I think he was pre-Roddy, during the Tommy Leach era. Nonetheless, the entire SGV is proud. As we are of Thurmond, who led WestCo to the CIF-SS Division VII championship in 2004. I can still feel Thurmond’s jarring hit on Blair’s Sean Smith on the VERY FIRST PLAY of the ’05 Hall of Fame All-Star Game. And now they’re both in the NFL!!!!!

What’s for lunch? NOTHING … I’m too fat … it’s over for a long while. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk like we would over a burger and fries …

I don’t want to scare any of you into thinking that I’m not eating lunch. I still am. But unless you want to see a pic of Healthy Choice chicken noodle soup, I’ll abstain from positing pics. Eh, screw it, I’ll still do it from time to time.

On to our next orders of business. The Temple City job is down two final candidates … and they are … drumroll …. keep it going …. Whittier Christian defensive coordinator Peter Karavedas and Pasadena coach Mike McFarland, according to a source.

Hey, I like it. Both guys are strong. Have to think that Karavedas has played a big role in making Whittier Christian what it is today and also the development of all-everything d-lineman Jeff Worthy.

Figuring out the Ryan Longoria situation at Los Altos remains a toughy. We reported earlier that Longoria had transferred to Cathedral. Multiple sources said it was so. But none of them were coach Jim Arellanes or the school. In fact, both Arellanes and the school confirmed that Longoria is in fact still attending Los Altos.

But is he playing football? Were the sources right, but just a tad early? That’s a little less clear. Longoria has not attended any team meetings yet, even ones designed for kids who are participating in spring sports like he is with track. Personally, I’m rooting that he stays and plays because he’s one of the better players around and could really help LA. And if he goes to Cathedral or some place else, I won’t be able to cover him. Stay tuned …

If any of you are dumb enough to think that my putting out an item a few weeks ago saying the search is on for Charter Oak’s next running back led to South Hills frosh RB Aarel Vaughns transferring to CO, then please have your head checked. By that logic, Damien would have gotten 10 speed kids in at the semester. Or Monrovia would’ve checked in three stud linemen to replace what was lost to graduation. Or San Gabriel would’ve checked in some pure passer to play QB. Or Freddie would have his 50-yard line season seats at Amat by now.

This may come as a shock to some of you, but right now there are multiple media outlets reporting the search is on for the next RB at USC, the next QB at Notre Dame and the next WR at Texas.

I’m happy to have Mike Mooney back in the coaching fraternity. Maybe Mooney, combined with that dynamite frosh team from this past season, will turn back the clock at SM to 1988. OK, that might be a bit too much to ask, but even something from the early/mid-90s will do. And if he can do the same for home prices, maybe I’ll make my San Marino return as well. You’re right, that won’t happen.

Speaking of Mooney, just like with coach Greg Gano and the ’03 Los Altos team, not a conversation goes by when I don’t bring up the 2001 team. You know the one that went 11-1 but was stuck in the wrong division. I wonder what that team would’ve done in the present-day Mid-Valley Division. Actually, I don’t wonder what, I wonder by how much.

Freddie has some breaking info about a South Hills frosh stud checking out … but where he’s going?

Hit Fred’s blog to find out what’s up.

By the way, kudos to South Hills if what Fred says is correct about how the school never challenges departures for being athletically motivated. The Huskies have gotten their fair share of transfers and they’ve also lost some, too … that’s the part of the story that’s rarely remembered. This is a hot-button issue, but if you agree that kids should be allowed to chase dreams all over, then it’s refreshing to see a school that won’t stand in their way. What you also don’t hear about is the amount of kids who transfer for greener pastures and it doesn’t work out. Cuts both ways ….

San Marino names Mike Mooney head coach

San Marino named Mike Mooney its head coach on Monday, ending weeks of speculation that the former USC fullback would take over for D.R. Moreland, who resigned in late March.

Mooney, a Temple City grad, was San Marino’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. San Marino gave Mooney his first head coach job in 1996. He left after the 1998 season to become head coach at Temple City where his teams won four Rio Hondo League championships between 1999-2006.

Mooney left Temple City after the 2006 season to take the assistant principal position he holds today. Mooney will be both an assistant principal and head coach at San Marino, something he was not allowed to do at Temple City, which led to his departure.

Aram’s take:
Uh … I’m gonna resist saying anything about TC. My hope is that Mooney’s name is enough to keep San Marino’s better talent from playing in another places, like Loyola or La Salle. This is a coup for San Marino football. But as good of a coach as Mooney is, he’ll need players to take things to the next level. Meanwhile, Temple City remains on the prowl for its next head coach (I almost lasted).

CORRECTED: In honor of the Almont League joining the fray, here’s your opening Mid-Valley Division top 10 …

CORRECTION: Special props to New York, who brought to my attention that Paraclete is OUT of the Mid-Valley Division. I confirmed it with CIF’s Thom Simmons, who thought he’d make it through his Friday without having to talk to me. Perhaps it was old news, but it’s news to me. That changes everything … so here’s your revised top 10.


It’s still San Dimas and Monrovia 1-2.

Here’s your Mid-Valley top 10 heading into spring ball

1. San Dimas – This is different from my opening all-encompassing top 25 of area teams where I had Monrovia above San Dimas. The reason for the change is that San Dimas returns a lot on both lines and Monrovia does not. So unless the ‘Cats can close that gap in line play, San Dimas gets the nod.
2. Monrovia – Nobody can question the amount of skill M-Town has coming back. But what about line play? That’s the ‘Cats big question. If I see something I like from the big uglies over spring and summer, then don’t be shocked if M-Town goes to No. 1.
3. Schurr – Best passing team in the division? The return of QB Aaron Cantu makes me think so. The big wild-card is just how much “the relief” helps the Spartans in the playoffs. They might just be the team in the division.
4. Baldwin Park – Love what coach James Heggins is doing over at BP. Then you throw in WC2 calling the defense with WC3 doing the enforcing, and this could be BP’s best team in years if Demetrius Jackson is all that … like we hear he is.
5. Arroyo – I’m sure the Knights are rolling their eyes at the thought of Schurr being the best pass attack in the division. It’s close. It’s certainly close. It’s not Arroyo’s offense I’d be worried about, it’s whether the Knights’ defense is ready for prime time.
6. Whittier Christian – Best defensive player in the league in Jeff Worthy and some decent skill returning makes The WC the favorite in the Olympic. Of course that means they’ll have to score on Paraclete this year.
7. Rosemead – Koffmead had several players get their feet last year. That meant playing Arroyo tough but also getting worked by San Marino. Expect Rosemead to be a notch better and a true title contender with a little luck.
8. San Gabriel – I think the Mats will like their first-round opponent much better this year than, say, the past two years when they hooked up with West Covina and La Serna. So that means if a QB is found, SG is looking at a Thanksgiving practice.
9. Alhambra – The Moors have consistently put out a solid product and now get a chance to let all that enrollment show through. Like SG, Alhambra should enjoy the first round much better than recent years and that means playing into Thanksgiving is a very live prospect.
10. Azusa – I’m throwing the Aztecs for a fewreasons. The first is that they have to be considered one of the surest league champs, so that puts them in the field and probably with a good record. The second is that they were in the semis last year. The third is that quite a few people have told me my concerns about Azusa in the post-McDade era are somewhat unfounded, meaning the Aztecs remain talented.

Playoff spots on the line in September!!! Welcome to the Mid-Valley Division …


It’s a sign!!!! Teams like Covina had better come out firing in September

Most of you are sleeping on this CIF decision from today to deny the appeals made by the Valle Vista and Montview leagues. I get it, you guys don’t quite get it yet. What’s it mean? Well, here’s some fuzzy math for you …

… The Mid-Valley now has FOUR AT-LARGE BERTHS to be spread among SIX LEAGUES. That means any coach who doesn’t think he’s a slam dunk to win his league (Ryan Maddox, you can leave the room now), had better KICK BUTT when he’s facing another team from the division in the nonleague. And even guys like Maddox better do the same because they’ll be doing their league brethren a big favor. Why? Because it would behoove each league to make itself appear to be the BEST league in the division and therefore improve its chances of getting a piece of the at-large berths.

And in games like Covina-Gladstone (both teams could be vying for those at-large berths) it’s important to note that head-to-head scores the most points for a team under CIF’s at-large formula. Even Temple City-Rosemead, where the Rams could need a little help making the dance, is important to build the case that the Rio Hondo is a better league than the Mission Valley.


T.C. had better be Ram tough during its nonleague … especially when it takes on Koffmead.