Damien has opened its brand-new, state-of-the-art weight room. The room is located in the Spartan Hall building and now pretty much completes the superfecta of improvements made to the athletic program: new gym, new baseball field, new football field and now new weight room.
“Nowadays it’s very important,” Damien coach Greg Gano said of the weight room. “Twenty-five years ago, kids coming on your campus didn’t really care about the weight room. I think when a kid comes on our campus now and looks at our facilities, and sees that weight room, he’ll know its as good as any around. It’s a good selling point for the school.”
Aram’s take: A big score for all Spartans athletic teams. But since we only care about football here, I’ll just say that I hope it helps Damien get strong enough to compete in the Inland Division. They’ll need it.
This isn’t exactly breaking news since Maurice Clement was practicing with the team and played special teams in the championship. But nonetheless, you’re going to see a whole lot more of Clement, who transferred to CO from LB Poly toward the end of last season.
Chargers coach Lou Farrar estimated Clement is 6-2 or 3 and about 220 lbs. He’ll be playing linebacker this year and he’s a got a chance to be a big-time stud.
Aram’s take: I’ve heard of SGV teams getting players from other SGV areas, but I’ve rarely heard of an SGV school getting a transfer from a place like LB Poly. That’s why I never worry about CO. They get horses. Kids want to play there. End of story.
Yes, I know interest in football is big, but the San Gabriel Valley Tribune already has a preseason top 25 out for its area teams going into spring practice.
La Puente Bishop Amat is No. 1, with the question: “Who’s going to cover Wallace Gonzalez?” He’s the highly regarded receiver transfer from Glendora who sat out last season. My answer: Any number of players from Los Angeles Loyola, Encino Crespi, Mission Hills Alemany and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. That’s why the Serra League is big-time football.
There’s nothing wrong with making early predictions, but I’ll wait until the summer passing tournaments to see which teams are top 25 material in Southern California because no one knows where the transfers are going to end up.
— Eric Sondheimer
If you want to respond to what Sondheimer said, you can do so by going here.
Aram’s take: I want to clarify something Sondheimer said. He called these predictions, which they are not. This Top 25 is just a guideline going into spring. There will be another one at the end of spring, reflecting all developments, another one after summer passing and then finally a preseason one. Also, I didn’t ask who’s going to cover Wallace Gonzalez. I said I have no idea how anybody will. If there are 6-foot-5 corners in the Serra League, then yes they have a shot. I respect Sondheimer’s right to wait on the Times top 25 because he covers EVERYONE. I’m dealing with a much-smaller pool of teams and it’s much easier to keep tabs on them.
As promised, I have updated the all-encompassing Top 25 going into spring. And there is plenty of movement. I stuck an “N” on the end of SGV to quiet those of you who will say “La Mirada isn’t in the SGV.” Auto Club’s road maps get your back on that, but when you throw the “N”, as in San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group, you’ll see why they’re included. So let’s get to it …
Reloading or rebuilding? I think we all know the answer to that.
1. Bishop Amat — I seriously have no idea how any team will be able to cover Wallace Gonzalez. 2. La Habra — The Highlanders really don’t get all the credit they deserve for being one of the Southland’s perennial powers. 3. Charter Oak — Already hearing rumblings about how good the incoming frosh class is going to be. It never ends. 4. South Hills — Line play will be key for Huskies in new league/division and they’ve obviously got it. 5. Diamond Ranch — Panthers drop a spot over QB concerns. Let’s see what happens in spring and summer. 6. Glendora — Chad Jeffries opens eyes at Nike Camp. But does he have anyone to throw the ball to? 7. West Covina — OK, Coach Maggiore got me. If the Bulldogs truly are strong along both lines, they could go places with all that skill. 8. Muir — It’s kind of dumb to ever sweat the Mustangs’ skill positions, but that could be all that stands between Muir and a deep run in the Southeast. 9. St. Francis — I just can’t get over all that Bonds’ boys lost. A big spring/summer would relieve a lot of concerns. 10. La Mirada — Gotta love the Week 1 date against La Habra. 11. Damien — All I have to go on right now is confidence in the coaching staff. But in the Sierra League and Inland Division that isn’t enough. 12. San Dimas — As promised, Saints leap over Monrovia on the strength of their line play. 13. Monrovia — ‘Cats are going to be tested early and often with that schedule. 14. Rowland — Coach Snyder says there’s more skill talent than Michael Ball on the roster. Line play is all that stands between Raiders and huge season. 15. Schurr — Won’t argue with those picking the Spartans in the Mid-Valley Division. 16. Santa Fe — This ranking is more a vote of confidence that the Chiefs can always reload. 17. Baldwin Park — If the Braves get some QB play, they’ve got a chance to be the upsetter in the Mid-Valley. 18. Whittier Christian — I’m moving the WC up because any team that’s got a d-lineman with an offer from Nebraska is all right by me. 19. Bonita — If the QB Pendleton is as good as they say, then all that stands between Bo-Hi and some noise in the Hacienda is line play. 20. Arroyo — Knights drop a couple pegs because of the Anthony Miller injury, but I fully expect Coach Singiser to develop more capable hands. 21. Rosemead — Going back to the white helmets tells you what type of returnees Coach Koff has and what he wants to do with them. 22. California — Whittier Daily News guru Andrew Campa says don’t put it past Cal-Hi to repeat in the Del Rio. Good enough for me. 23. San Gabriel — Crucial spring/summer for the Mats to find a QB. As many passing games as possible is my prescription. 24. Alhambra — And what about the Moors in the Mid-Valley? I’m smelling a playoff win, maybe two. 25. Pomona — I dropped Pasadena for the Devils since it’s becoming obvious that A-Rice will be the man and the Colony transfers are already signed, sealed and delivered.