Hey Amat, is that your QB on the mound at Yankee Stadium? …

Yep, it sure is. How are the rest of you spending your dead period? Robledo’s in Cabo, Rio was in New York, Charter Oak defensive line stud Charlie Avila was in Virginia at the FBU Top Gun Camp along with 120 offensive and defensive linemen from all over the country and Tribune Coach of the Year Bill Zernickow is in Maui, where he even picked up my call to bug him about preview stuff.

Anyway, back to Rio Ruiz. He’s was in New York this week at Yankee Stadium with his “area code team.” I know, you’re wondering what an area code team is. I was too, and Rio explained it like this: About 15 MLB franchises have teams consisting of players between ages 14-18. The teams will get together in Long Beach from Aug. 10-15 and play a bunch of games. Sounds to me like a pretty exclusive internship.

Here’s the kicker, though, you have to be good enough to get invited to be on a team. And naturally, Rio was good enough for the Yanks to want him on their team. So, he went to N.Y. this week to workout with his team, which is made up of mostly New Yorkers.

“I didn’t have to go, but the Yankees are my team,” Ruiz said. “So it was my dream to come out here and play in this stadium.”

The players got a tour of the stadium and then hit the field for a workout. Rio pitched and played third.

“Oh man, we went through the locker room and I saw Jeter’s locker, A-Rod’s locker,” Ruiz said. “I saw all the underground tunnels. You can get lost in that stuff. Then we went out to the field through the dugout.”

When Avila, who plays d-line for Roger Lehigh’s stop unit, wasn’t cracking skulls on the field, he toured the Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown and old Williamsburg with his parents.

“The weather is very hot and humid, but the history of the area is worth visiting,” Avila said.

Part of Avila’s trip included an unofficial visit to William & Mary University after the school’s linebacker coach saw him compete and asked him to visit the campus and football facilities with his dad for a tour.

“William & Mary is over 375 years old and they have one of the best law schools in the country,” Avila said. “They are also the preseason No. 1 team in Division I-AA.”

Aram’s take: So there you have it. Fred’s in Cabo, Rio’s auditioning for his future team, Avila’s planning his life after football with a law degree, Zernickow’s in Maui (game planning, he told me (No BS, he really said that)), and I’m here in the lovely SGV. If anybody is doing something fun and want to share it, drop me a line at aram.tolegian@sgvn.com

Preseason all-encompassing SGV(N) All-Area Team …

After several careful discussions, this is what I’ve come up with. I don’t pretend to have the area as clocked as I will in a few months, so I leaned on other staffers for key input.

These are the best of the best heading into the season. A couple of things really stood out to me — 1. the area is loaded with offensive and defensive line talent and 2. it’s also loaded at quarterback. I tried to include the college destinations of the choices on this list so you can have an idea just how GREAT the SGVN coverage area is. As always, you’re free to tell me where I went wrong.

QB – Chad Jeffries, Glendora, Sr. (QB MVP of Nike Camp at USC; headed to San Diego St.)
RB – Mikey Vasquez, Arroyo, Sr. (1,361 yards, maybe more if he didn’t sit so many 2nd halfs)
RB – Nate Harris, Chino Hills, Sr. (Speedster also one of the best DBs around)
WR – Dennis Rufus, Charter Oak, Sr. (CO’s top playmaker already has 3 offers)
WR – Aubery Coleman, Walnut, Sr. (Headed to Washington)
ALL – Nick Bueno, Monrovia, Sr. (Mike McDonough-esque 1,461 yards rushing in ’09!)
TE – Travis Talianko, St. Francis, Jr. (All-Star-News performer as a soph.)
OL – Allen Brown, San Dimas, Sr. (All-CIF as a jr., 6-3, 250 leads way for SD ground game)
OL – Christian Orduno, Bishop Amat, Sr. (Another in a long line of stud Amat linemen)
OL – Isaac Luatua, La Mirada, Sr. (Headed to Alabama)
OL – Patrick Carroll, St. Francis, Sr. (Rivals calls him a college-ready body)
OL – Sioasi Aiono, South Hills, Sr. (Headed to Utah)
K – Sean Wale, La Habra, Jr. (6th-ranked kicker in country, according to Chris Sailer)

DL – Jeff Worthy, Whittier Christian, Sr. (Headed to Boise St.)
DL – Ellis McCarthy, Monrovia, Jr. (6-5, 245 was All-CIF in ’09 as a soph)
DL – Donell Wilson, Blair, Sr. (Has offers from Kansas and Tennessee)
DL – Austin Johnson, Chino Hills, Sr. (Cleaned 320 this summer, All-CIF last year as a jr.)
LB – Maurice Dupleasis, West Covina, Sr. (Maggiore calls him the best LB he’s had)
LB – Wardell Crutchfield III, Baldwin Park, Sr. (Headed to UTEP)
LB – Max Gama, La Mirada, Sr. (Headed to Washington St.; 81 tackles last year)
DB – Jacoby Carter, Diamond Ranch, Sr. (35 varsity starts already!)
DB – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Chino Hills. Sr. (Best specimen in the area?)
DB – Demetrius Jackson, Baldwin Park, Sr. (Verbal to UTEP after sitting out jr. season)
DB – Will Peppard, La Habra, Sr. (Hard to believe there’s a better safety around)

Baldwin Park’s Demitrius Jackson commits to UTEP …

Baldwin Park defensive back and all-purpose player Demitrius Jackson committed to UTEP over the weekend, where he will join current Braves teammate Wardell Crutchfield III, aka WC3, next fall.

Jackson sat out last season after being ruled ineligible by CIF following his transfer from Duarte. He’ll play defensive back and a myriad of skill positions on offense for the Braves this season.

Aram’s take: Congrats to Demitrius! This should make it very easy for Crutch Jr. (former Duarte head coach and current BP defensive coordinator Wardell Crutchfield Jr.) to watch both play at the next level. This is particularly impressive for Jackson, who had to sit out last season after being ruled ineligible by CIF following his transfer from Duarte.

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Charter Oak wins North CountyTournament …

Charter Oak made its only passing tournament of the offseason count by beating Crescenta Valley to win the North County Tournament hosted by Rancho Buena Vista and El Camino high schools.

The Chargers picked up wins along the way against Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita. Charter Oak also beat defending Division I state bowl champ Oceanside on Friday afternoon. The 32-team tournament consisted of teams from Arizona, Utah, Nevada as well as teams from various California sections.

Aram’s take:
Impressive considering that Charter Oak is replacing quite a bit from last year’s team. Not sure what this means once the pads come on, but I’m sure it helps the confidence of the youngsters. It’s also a good sign that CO won’t miss a beat skill-wise, so the pressure’s really on the rebuilt lines

Baldwin Park’s Demetrius Jackson offered by UTEP …

Baldwin Park defensive back and (who knows what on offense) Demetrius Jackson has received an offer from UTEP.

Jackson sat out last season after being ruled ineligible by CIF following his transfer from Duarte. He’ll play defensive back and a myriad of skill positions on offense for the Braves this season.

Earlier this summer, Jackson’s BP teammate Wardell Crutchfield III, aka WC3, committed to UTEP where he’ll play either linebacker or safety. Jackson also has offers from New Mexico St. and Stonybrook.

Aram’s take: Jackson and WC3 could room together at UTEP … that’s probably the Miners’ best selling point. Jackson is expected to wait for bigger and better offers once the season starts. No bad for somebody who didn’t play his all-important junior season.

Chew on this …

USC president Max Nikias ordered the removal of Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy from Heritage Hall today. Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson’s still proudly stands.

… (It isn’t about not getting caught anymore, kids. It’s about not getting convicted.)

Post-passing circuit All Encompassing SGV Top 25 …

This will be your last edition until the final preseason Top 25 is released, probably right around the last week in August. But now that the offseason is over and most of the secrets are out, I think this will be a pretty reliable guideline.


Hmm … while I’m at it, why not a game between La Habra and Amat?

1. Bishop Amat — The Lancers stay No. 1 because Rio is the real deal, Wallace G. is a major matchup problem and the coaching staff, while not talkative, is outstanding. Just please don’t tell me that Amat will somehow be the same or better without Jay Anderson. That stuff works on Freddie, not me. Thanks.
2. La Habra — All the skill players are in place for another CIF plaque to go on Coach Mazzotta’s mantle. Season opener vs. O-Lu will tell us whether Highlanders are even better than usual.
3. Chino Hills — Passing games and tire throws are very overrated, but cleaning 320 pounds is cleaning 320 pounds. It’s not hard to argue that the Huskies had the best offseason around. Scary.
4. Charter Oak — QB Travis Santiago got rave reviews from those I’ve spoken to. Unlike recent years, offense may have to carry the show.
5. South Hills — Size + skill players + Coach Bogan = scary. But the Huskies are banged up in two key skill spots. Those concerns cannot linger too far into the season.
6. La Mirada — Offseason was highlighted by the D-1 signings of several key players and Coach Moschetti’s downplaying of how good the Mats will be.This is your Southeast Division favorite. Can’t wait for the La Habra game.
7. Glendora — Nobody’s questioning the Tartans at QB, but what about the other skill spots? Pasqy isn’t sweating it, so why should we?
8. St. Francis — All reports are the Knights have reloaded. A very popular line around the Pasadena area is “Watch out for Travis Talianko.”
9. West Covina — Bulldogs look like the consensus early favorite in the Hacienda League. That’s not a distinction they should like.
10. Diamond Ranch — This is the most difficult D-Ranch team to read in a while. But one thing we do know is that the secondary will be sick.
11. Muir — Is it me, or do the Mustangs have a lot to prove in order to justify the hype? They always have skill, but this year they have size. Consistency shall be key.
12. San Dimas — If Kevin Kolbeck doesn’t get at least five balls thrown his way per game, then something’s wrong. Then again, if he doesn’t, that probably means the Saints are rolling.
13. Rowland — Ball-to-Freeman is one of the scariest combos in the Valley … kinda like Capital Dim Sum and BBQ.
14. Monrovia — I had no problem with what I saw from the ‘Cats on the field during the passing circuit. But that was while the ball was in play … get it? Remember, jerseys should stay on and your teammates are your friends. I have faith Coach Maddox will get that corrected.
15. Schurr — Taking on St. Paul in the nonleague — audacious or smelling blood in the water? Sparty could be one scary sight if it heads into league play undefeated.
16. Whittier Christian — Got the sense at the SGV Shootout that there was one team constantly thinking “let’s put the pads on” … and that was these guys.
17. Claremont – If you put your ear close to the SGV (and surrounding parts) pulse, you’ll hear lots of whispers about how good the ‘Pack are going to be.
18. Baldwin Park — Coach Heggins might just have the team capable of taking BP to the next level. Only problem is that San Dimas stands in the way everywhere the Braves turn.
19. Ayala — The Bulldogs have the talent to be higher on this list, but you have to wonder if they’ll get lost in the mix of the new Sierra.
20. Santa Fe — There could be a Mahlstede leading the Chiefs on the field as well as on the sidelines. Stay tuned … The Chiefs are your early Del Rio favorites.
21. Damien — Coaching can only go so far … give it a couple of years.
22. Bonita — I’ve seen dangerous Podley in the past. And this is what it felt like prior to those seasons.
23. Arroyo — Pointless passing circuit point: Knights QB Steven Rivera may throw the best deep ball in the area. He’s a good bet to keep doing it once the pads come on, so I thought I’d mention it.
24. Rosemead — Koffmead looked ho-hum on offense when I saw them throw and tenacious on defense. If you understand Rosemead football, that should tell you the Panthers are going to be very good.
25. Azusa — Giving the Aztecs the nod here over Pomona simply because they had a great offseason. But forget about winning the SGV Shootout, the Aztecs showed grit and that, and little else, makes them dangerous.

Chino Hills adds to its scariness by winning Los Osos line competition …

Chino Hills picked up more offseason hardware on Saturday by winning the Los Osos linemen competition. That’s the second line competition the Huskies have won this summer. Last week, Chino Hills won a tournament at Santa Fe.

The highlight of the day for the Huskies was nose guard Austin Johnson power cleaning 320 lbs. and teammate Brad Bergen doing 300 lbs. Needless to say, they finished 1-2 in that portion of the competition.


Austin Johnson blasts 320!


Brad Bergen blasts 300!

Earlier Saturday, Chino Hills’ skill players finished third in the Wolfpack Challenge passing
tournament at Claremont. Earlier this offseason the Huskies won the Bonita Air Assault.

“This has been our most successful summer,” Chino Hills coach Derek Bub said on Saturday. “We’ll find out in September what it means to how our football season goes. Who knows if it will translate into wins, But at least we know our kids will go out and compete for us.”

Aram’s take:
Scary. Downright scary. Again, if you’re a Sierra League team the last thing you want to see is that Chino Hills has a combo of skill and good line play. It’s only passing league and it means nada when they get it into pads, but things couldn’t be going better for Bub’s team. Are they the No. 1 team in the area? I’m certainly leaning that way.

Click here for a gallery of the Los Osos line competition.