Claremont’s Teague may not play until Week 1 …

As much as Claremont coach Mike Collins would like to take the gift wrap off Pomona transfer running back Taj Teague, he’s not going to do it until Teague is fully recovered from a calf injury he suffered early in camp while still at Pomona.

Teague will miss tonight’s scrimmage against West Covina and is likely out for the Wolfpack’s Week 0 game vs. Cajon. He stands a pretty good chance to return for Week 1 against Bonita on Sept. 10.

“He’s not 100 percent, so I really don’t want to chance anything,” Collins said. “I’m more of a guy who looks down the road. It’s not even a day-to-day thing. We’re keeping him off it. With these injuries, you never know.”

Collins said that Teague is likely to be Claremont’s starting tailback once he returns. For now, though, the team is going running back by committee. Teague also figures to eventually get work at safety.

Teague started his prep career as a freshman at Claremont where he shared running back duties with Tanner Kuramata, who is now the Wolfpack’s star receiver. Teague played at Pomona as a sophomore and junior.

Scrimmage night in the SGV …

Coach Greg Gano begins to put his cards on the table tonight

I will attend Bonita at Damien tonite (6:30 p.m.). I’m hoping that either on Fred’s blog or my own that people from all over the Valley will comment about what they saw at the various scrimmages. I will do the same from Bonita-Damien.

What I’m looking for from Damien: A sign, any sign, that the Spartans have the firepower needed to hold up in the Sierra League and against a rough nonleague schedule. I already know the Spartans will try hard and be well coached, but I want to see what the talent looks like. Granted, tonight is only a scrimmage, but there will still be clues. With questions at nearly every skill spot, Damien can use all the “live” reps it can get. Let’s see if Gano has been sandbagging.

What I’m looking for from Bonita: Take a guess. That’s right, QB play. With Garrett Pendleton sidelined for a while, the ‘Cats are scrambling to get a replacement ready. Greg Spathias is supposed to be the man with K.C. Huth seeing action as well. Let’s see how either/both do tonight against a Spartans defense that should have some bite. I also want to see just how Bonita’s defense looks. If the QB spot is shaky, the ‘Cats will need to rely on defense a bit more … will that be doable?

Opening All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 … Amat opens at No. 1 …

This is the big boy Top 25. All the teams from all three zones we cover here at the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group. So digest it and it will be updated weekly once we get into the games.

If Amat’s defense comes through, it could be another special year in La Puente.

1. Bishop Amat 0-0 — Offense is a force, but is defense built to handle Pac-5 heavyweights?
2. La Habra 0-0 — Should we just pencil in another CIF title?
3. Chino Hills 0-0 — Huskies have to hope QB Chavez’s fall form is as good as his summer form.
4. La Mirada 0-0 — Just how good the Mats are will be found out on Sept. 9.
5. West Covina 0-0 — My fear is that lack of passing game will hurt ‘Dogs in November.
6. Glendora 0-0 — QB Chad Jeffries is a lock, but what about the run game?
7. Claremont 0-0 — Getting Taj Teague takes ‘Pack to a whole different level.
8. St. Francis 0-0 — Reloaded, but up against it in the also-reloaded Mission League.
9. Charter 0ak 0-0 — If Chargers don’t have Vaughns/Gilchrist, that’s a blow to the O.
10. Monrovia 0-0 — QB can’t be stopped and man-child McCarthy can’t be contained.
11. Diamond Ranch 0-0 — Going to trust Roddy here, but I’m a tad skeptical.
12. Muir 0-0 — Love the talent, but been burned before by the Muir hype.
13. South Hills 0-0 — Sans Canada, the Huskies will have an uphill climb in the Sierra.
14. Ayala 0-0 — Defense and super sophs might be enough to pull Sierra shocker.
15. San Dimas 0-0 — The Codee Watts era begins … but defense is still the key.
16. Rowland 0-0 — Raiders have the firepower, but have to wonder if defense is stingy enough.
17. Schurr 0-0 — Spartans look more than good enough to knock off San Dimas/Monrovia.
18. Whittier Christian 0-0 — Being top-two in Olympic is no gimme for Heralds.
19. Damien 0-0 — Spartans have their work cut out in Sierra League.
20. Baldwin Park 0-0 — The size is there to not be bullied by anybody on the schedule.
21. Arroyo 0-0 — My money says the Mission Valley is better than the Montview this year.
22. Santa Fe 0-0 — Chiefs get my nod in deepest Del Rio in ages.
23. Bonita 0-0 — ‘Cats can manage if Pendleton is gone for only half the season.
24. Azusa 0-0 — We’ll see how far Aztecs have come against Bell Gardens.
25. Rosemead 0-0 — Koffler has the team to pull off ground and pound methods.

San Dimas lands transfer QB Codee Watts, who will start right away …

Codee Watts, who played last season at Denair High School near Modesto, has transferred to San Dimas and will be the Saints’ starting quarterback on Sept. 3 in the Smudge Pot game against Bonita.

Watts arrived on Aug. 12 and is cleared to play. He alleviates a key concern coach Bill Zernickow’s offense had with last year’s starter Shawn Kennedy still injured and not expected back until mid season.

“He has good quarterback qualities,” Zernickow said of Watts. “He’s got good physical skills and leadership.”

Making Watts an even better fit for San Dimas is that he ran the Wing-T offense at his previous school for the past two years. Watts is listed at 6-1, 182 pounds on San Dimas’ roster and will not avoid contact, according to Zernickow.

“One of the first comments he told me was that he does like to dish it out at the end of runs,” Zernickow said.

CIF’s Simmons to South Hills: Just because you’ve changed principals doesn’t mean you should change principles …

South Hills isn’t winning any popularity points these days after challenging the transfers of four local football players who left the Huskies for Bishop Amat and Charter Oak.

Bishop Amat senior tight end Brock Booth and Charter Oak junior receiver Chris Gilchrist have already been denied eligibility this season by CIF after South Hills alleged their transfers were athletically motivated. Charter Oak sophomore running back Aaren Vaughns is currently awaiting his fate.

The fourth player, Bishop Amat defensive end Randall Varela, has kept his eligibility and will do so unless South Hills can prove his transfer was athletically motivated.

The part that’s not sitting well with most local fans is that South Hills is viewed as a school that has benefited in the past from transfers and is now crying foul after seeing a rash of players leave its program. It should also be the Huskies were denied two impact transfers last season in brothers Jordan and Jamie Canada, who weren’t allowed to play after CIF determined the left Duarte for the athletically motivated reasons.

In the past, South Hills did not challenge transfers who left the school for other destinations. So why the change? The answer is two-pronged and neither is sitting very well with CIF Director of Information Thom Simmons.

The first reason is because South Hills views the rule that cost the Canada’s their eligibility last season is flawed. It’s the same rule the Huskies are invoking to challenge he transfers of Booth, Gilchrist, Varela and Vaughns.

The second reason is a change in school policy under new principal Steve James.

“Just because you change principals doesn’t mean you should change principles,” Simmons said. “As members of CIF, South Hills has the right, responsibility and duty to make the rules as part of the organization which they are members of.

“If they are not happy with the rule the way it is now, then they should go to their league and have the league present to the CIF Southern Section a proposal to change the rule. They make the rules, we don’t. We enforce them. And at the end of the day, you can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.”

Simmons also said he’s disappointed in the timing of South Hills’ protests given that Booth, Gilchrist and Vaughns all transferred last spring and spent the spring and summer practicing with their new teams. South Hills challenged the transfers in late July, according to Huskies athletic director Paul Reed.

“I can’t remember challenges ever happening this late,” Simmons said. “I can’t say it’s never happened, but I just don’t remember any happening this late. I know one thing for a fact, no school has ever challenged as many as South Hills. The rule has only been in a place for a couple of years, so there’s not a lot of history. But in those two years, nobody’s challenged as many.”

Simmons went on to confirm that South Hills did not check the box on Booth’s paperwork saying it thought the move was athletically motivated. There is no statute of limitations in place to challenge a transfer.