Aram “The SGV Tour” continues at Schurr … Mid-Valley Division favorite? …

The Tour took a long rest due to some big news in the area recently, but it was back on in full force as The Fat Man made his way to Montereybello Park High School, aka Schurr on Monday.

First, let’s get one thing established. There was not 150 kids out there. Not 140, 130, 120, 110, 100, 90, 80. 70 or 60. I counted just over 40 on Monday … and one asst. coach told me it’s probably 50-55. Nothing wrong with that, but please take it as another sign that you can’t believe everything you read or hear, nor can you overreact to spring and passing league.

One more thing about the numbers, Schurr has about what every other team I’ve seen in the Mid-Valley Division has. Not much more. Not much less. So those sweating the Almont League being in the division because of the high enrollment numbers should make their way up the hill and check out what it actually means in terms of players participating.

So what about eye test? The Spartans pass it easily. They have the right types of bodies in the right positions. I didn’t get to see too many plays because it was the tail-end of practice.

It’s pretty obvious that Aaron Cantu is the best QB in the division. And that’s saying something given the signal callers in the Mid-Valley. But this guy has size, footwork and a cannon.

OK, on to the interviews …


– I spoke with Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar, who directed all questions about the Aaren Vaughns and Chris Gilchrist transfers to principal Kathie Wiard and athletic director Glen Martinez.

Farrar did confirm that both players are still practicing with the team and will do so until told otherwise.

– I spoke with Charter Oak principal Kathie Wiard, who would not tell me whether the paperwork for Vaughns and Gilchrist has been submitted to CIF. As of late last week, CIF said it had not received the two players’ transfer requests. If it hasn’t been submitted, then Charter Oak has either until the first day of school (Aug. 30) or before the first game on (Sept. 3) to submit it. At that point, it’s reasonable to expect a decision from CIF on the two players’ eligibility.

Randall Varela, who transferred from South Hills to Bishop Amat, has two brothers currently attending Amat. No word yet on whether South Hills will protest his transfer.

– Charter Oak plays South Hills on Nov. 12 in the final game of the season. See you there?

South Hills has formally challenged the transfers of Aaren Vaughns and Chris Gilchrist to Charter Oak …

South Hills High School athletic director Paul Reed confirmed Monday night that the school has filed a protest with the CIF Southern Section office in regard to the transfers of sophomore running back Aaren Vaughns and junior wide receiver Chris Gilchrist.

Reed said that South Hills is alleging that the transfers were athletically motivated and should not be allowed. The protests were made in late July at the same time South Hills also protested the transfer of Brock Booth to Bishop Amat. CIF denied Booth eligibility until April of 2011, thus costing the senior his final chance to play prep football.

South Hills is still deciding whether to challenge the transfer of linebacker Randall Varela to Amat. Varela is vying for a starting position at defensive end and Booth was locked in a battle for tight end with sophomore Sal Velasquez, a transfer from Los Altos. Booth started at tight end last Friday in Amat’s Blue/Gold scrimmage.

“We have nothing against the kids,” Reed said. “If all three of them can’t play, it’s going to be a tragedy for them. But really, it’s not our fault. We haven’t done anything but make CIF aware of the situation.”

South Hills was on the other end of the spectrum last year at this time when the eligibility of Duarte transfers Jordan Canada and Jamie Canada were denied because CIF deemed their moves to be athletically motivated. Reed contends the CIF rule is flawed and that’s a major reason why the school is standing in the way of Vaughns, Gilchrist and Booth’s transfers.

“Undue influence is not a factor, to us, in any of these cases,” Reed said. “We do not feel that Amat or Charter Oak reached out to any of these kids. We just feel that everybody needs to play by the same rules. To us (Vaughns and Gilchrist) it’s clearly athletically motivated. I was personally standing there when Vaughns’ dad said he was taking the kids to Charter Oak because he was unhappy here.”

Due to him being a freshman last year, Vaughns is able to transfer and maintain eligibility so long as there’s a valid change of address. But Reed believes that rule will be trumped if the transfer is deemed to be athletically motivated.

The Southern Section said it still had not received any transfer request forms from Charter Oak for Vaughns or Gilchrist as of late last week.

In Booth’s case, CIF originally granted him eligibility until South Hills challenged the transfer. Booth is going to challenge the decision, according to Amat coach Steve Hagerty.

“I talked to him today and I don’t think as far as he’s concerned it’s a final matter,” Hagerty said. “I don’t understand how it all works, but it would be disappointing for the young man more so than for us because he’s worked so hard.

“We reduced his reps today and gave more reps to other kids. Brock’s a great kid. He understands what’s going on and went out there today and practiced just as hard as ever. I don’t know enough about what’s going on at South Hills to comment about it. It’s not my place to say whether they’re doing the right or wrong thing. I’m sure it’s worked both ways and they’ve benefited from kids who went to their school for the right reason.”

Reed acknowledged that South Hills protesting the transfers breaks ranks with the school’s policy in such matters under previous principal Judi North, who retired after the ’09-10 school year.

“If it would have been up to me, I think we would have challenged (transfers) in the past,” Reed said. “But they decided if a student didn’t want to be at South Hills, then they didn’t want me to write a letter. This current administration thinks that everyone should follow the rules and if we’re a kid is leaving for athletic reasons, we’re going to challenge it.

Reed acknowledged that he’s aware that some fans will view South Hills as being hypocritical in this or allege the Huskies are being sour grapes because the Canada decision went against them last year, but he’s quick to point out that the CIF rules have changed and so has school policy under new principal Steve James.

“It’s a different world now,” Reed said. “Athletically motivated transfers wasn’t even in the rule book a few years ago. The rule everyone concerned themselves with then was undue influence (recruiting). We don’t think it’s accurate to look at the transfers we didn’t challenge in the past few years because it’s a totally different climate.

“Before we did anything, we met with our new principal and told him where Coach (Steve) Bogan is at on this and he said ‘I will support this as high as you want to take it.’”

EXCLUSIVE: First-ever Tribune Coaches Poll released …

I’m very pleased to present the first-ever Tribune Coaches Poll. This is a top 20 as voted on by the majority of coaches in the area. ALL VOTES WERE DONE ANONYMOUSLY, which was key in getting the coaches to participate. Teams were given a point value in relation to where they were ranked in each coach’s top 20, and first place votes are included in parentheses. Enjoy!

1. Bishop Amat (14) 470
2. Charter Oak (2) 437
3. Chino Hills (7) 423
4. South Hills 373
5. Glendora 357
6. West Covina 356
7. Diamond Ranch 324
8. San Dimas 300
9. Damien 257
10. Rowland 244
11. Bonita 229
12. Claremont 220
13. Ayala 206
14. Azusa 149
15. Walnut 148
16. Baldwin Park 145
17. Arroyo 133
18. Rosemead 116
19. Diamond Bar (1) 68
20. Covina 58

Others receiving votes: Pomona 54, Wilson 37, Bassett (1) 20, Los Altos 18, La Puente 13, El Monte 10, Sierra Vista 9, Duarte 6, Northview 4, Gladstone 3, Workman 2, Ganesha 1.

Coaches reactions …

Steve Hagerty, Amat on being No. 1: We’re flattered the coaches think enough of our program to think we’re the top team in the San Gabriel Valley. I’m fired up, but in a respectful way, it really means nothing. I hope they’re right. I hope they’re prophets and they are absolutely correct.

Lou Farrar, Charter Oak on being No. 2: I think it’s crazy, because I’ve watched us practice for the last week or two. Our kids who are a part of that ranking, they’re graduated. It puts a lot of pressure on our kids. We haven’t tackled anybody or scored a touchdown yet.

Matt Koffler, Rosemead on Arroyo and Rosemead’s rankings: It just kind of shows what maybe people in the coaching world think of the Mission Valley League. I think (Arroyo coach) Jim (Singiser) and I can use that to our advantage. Azusa made their run and I assume everyone is basing it off of last year’s records. Throughout the years, I know Rosemead and Arroyo have been among the most consistent programs in the Valley and we’re going to try and stay consistent and handle our business on the field.

Bonita QB Garrett Pendleton injures elbow, awaiting MRI …

Bonita quarterback Garrett Pendleton has suffered an injury to his right elbow, but what it is and how serious remains a mystery to even his doctors.

Bearcats coach Eric Podley said Monday that Pendleton has gotten differing diagnoses from his doctors about the injury and was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to better understand the extent of the situation.

“We’re not positive on the extent of the injury yet,” Podley said. “He’s had differing opinions from different doctors and we don’t really know what’s wrong yet.”

Podley did say that Pendleton is likely out for the Smudge Pot game vs. San Dimas on Sept. 3. How much longer he’ll miss will be determined once the team has a clearer picture of the injury.

Senior Greg Spathias will take over as the starter and senior K.C. Huth will also see time. Junior Aaron Burgett also figures to get reps.

Aram’s take: This is terrible news for Bonita with the Smudge Pot vs. San Dimas less than two weeks away, if anybody can get a QB ready, it’s Podley. More importantly, everyone’s thoughts should be with Pendleton, who by all accounts busted his butt this offseason and was poised for a huge senior year. Hopefully he’s not gone long.

Impressions from Amat’s Blue/Gold scrimmage …

First of all, there were more fans at the scrimmage than most teams in the area get for a regular-season home game. You Amat people are sick, but I like it!

Anyway, there was lots to say about Friday night. I will give you my impressions and you can also listen to coach Steve Hagerty’s thoughts.

Offense: Guess what, Nine was under center and Jalen Moore started at tailback. Moore got the bulk of the carries with the first-team offense. Adam Sanchez started at one receiver, but Wallace Gonzalez did not come in until the third play. That could just be a package thing. Brock Booth started at tight end and looked good physically, but didn’t get any balls thrown his way. The line looked big enough, but not necessarily big.

Nine didn’t get to totally unveil his wheels for obvious reasons, but he did have a nice dash toward the pylon that ended with him getting rocked at the end of the play. Didn’t see who hit him, but Hagerty had to cringe … and then the red jersey came on next time he was out there..

The highlights offensively were about a 50-yard run by Moore and a nice fade from Nine to Wallace G. for about an eight-yard touchdown. That play is going to be nearly automatic for Amat. There’s just no guarding Wallace G. on jump balls.

Is there a home-run hitter on Amat’s offense? It would probably have to be Sanchez, if there is. I didn’t see last year’s team, but I assume Darien Johnson was the home-run threat.

Lastly, sophomore running back Dionza Blue is back at Amat and he was working with the second team. Hear me now and believe me later, that kid could be your next big-time back at Amat. And I do mean big time. He was holding his own while running with the back-ups against the first-team defense (I think it was first team). I understand he needs to get cleared by CIF and if he does, watch out.

Defense: Amat looks small, but tough. They fly around well enough and hit even better. I would be worried about this unit against some of the bigger PAC-5 schools … especially ones that have some skill to go with their size.

Defensive end Julian Gener looks like he’s going to have a huge season. He was coming off the edge with ease and even picked off one of Nine’s passes and took it to the house, but that’s because Nine didn’t really try to tackle him. Aaron Bowens looks good, too. Austin Lacy got a little bit of time.

Overall, what Hagerty says in the video is spot on. There’s no secret to Amat’s formula and it seems partly by design and partly necessity, the Lancers are going to try and play smart and take advantage of situations when they arise, and with that staff, they’ll be able to find those situations.

BP’s WC3 and Demetrius Jackson give their thoughts on Rowland, South Hills and more …

Aram “The SGV Tour” continued at Baldwin Park on Wednesday. The Braves are yet another team adding confusion to not only the Valle Vista League mix and the Mid-Valley Division as well. On pure size, the Braves are one of the biggest teams I’ve seen so far … and I was at Charter Oak yesterday. BP is a little bigger than CO. So that should tell you something. There’s a QB battle ongoing (see Coach Heggins VIDEO below for more on that). There appears to be athletes in the right spots elsewhere. Looks like the Braves are only good QB play away from another big season. Enjoy the videos with WC3 and Demetirus Jackson, and Heggins below.

Rosemead may be homeless this season …

Aram “The SGV Tour” took me to Charter Oak in the morning and Rosemead in the afternoon. Only problem is that while Charter Oak was where I thought they’d be, Rosemead was practicing not on campus, but at Rosemead Park next door.

Turns out that there’s been a set back in the installation of Rosemead High’s all-weather track and the football stadium is not available for use. And the team’s practice field just so happens to be being re-sodded and won’t be ready for use until early/mid September.So, the Panthers are displaced and could soon be officially homeless.

The practice field is one thing, but the football field is something entirely different and the possibility of Rosemead playing somewhere else beside on the corner of Lower Azusa Ave. and Rosemead Blvd. is a real possibility.

Rosemead is set to open the season Sept. 10 at home against Montebello, but that’s looking in doubt now. Panthers coach Matt Koffler said the team will either have to play every game on the road or find another field in the district to host its home games.

The problem with the track is that the asphalt base laid before the track is installed was laid too high. It now has to be shaved down and then the track can be put in. Needless to say, it’s a disaster. For now, the Panthers have to walk to the park from the team locker room in order to practice.

South Hills WR/DB Jamie Canada to have knee surgery, may miss season …

South Hills High School wide receiver/defensive back Jamie Canada is scheduled to have knee surgery on Sept. 2 and may miss the 2010 season.

Canada, a junior, injured the knee earlier this offseason during a practice. An MRI revealed a torn meniscus, but it’s unclear whether there’s ligament damage. If there is, the surgery will include repairing the ligament and Canada will miss the season. If the procedure is just to repair the meniscus, Canada may miss only a month.

“It’s hard losing this kid,” South Hills coach Steve Bogan said. “You can’t make up for it, you just do the best you can. We’re going to move guys around and we have some good athletes, but obviously this kid is a phenomenal athlete.

“In the back of our minds, we’ll hope we have a miracle from heaven. We’re hoping it’s just meniscus.”

Canada was expected to be South Hills’ main deep threat on offense and a shutdown corner on defense. He transferred to South Hills from Duarte along with his brother Jordan Canada following the 2008 season, but both were ruled ineligible last season by CIF on grounds that the transfers were athletically motivated. Jordan Canada went on earn a scholarship to Montana, where he has already begun fall practice.

Aram’s take: Terrible news. If injuries keep this South Hills team from having the type of season its capable of having, then that will be a huge disappointment. Let’s hope that the it’s just meniscus and Jamie will be back in time for league. The Huskies still have excellent weapons in Jordan Gutierrez and Jamel Hart, so the offense should still be dangerous. But Canada takes things to another level.

Aram “The SGV Tour” continues at Arroyo …

There’s really nothing like that Monday in August when you know that EVERYBODY is officially practicing no matter if they start Week 0 or Week 1. So, the tour took me to Arroyo on Monday, where the Knights are one several teams in the area feeling confident about ’10 because of a good returning QB.

(Photo gallery of Arroyo’s practice CLICK HERE)

For Arroyo, that man is junior Steven Rivera, who is one of the best around. And Arroyo also has RB Mikey Vasquez back. It should be a sick offense and the Knights are easily one of the top contenders in the Mid-Valley Division.

Here’s my talk with Knights coach Jim Singiser.