What if South Hills was still in the San Antonio League?

… would the Huskies be a playoff team?

We already know they wouldn’t beat West Covina, but what about Walnut or Rowland?

Would this just look like a down year rather than a disaster year? Would the Huskies make the playoffs if they were in the old San Antonio and still in the Southeast?

Would their line actually be living up to the hype?

Pendleton (and Freddie) confident about Bonita’s chances against West Covina …

As senior seasons go, Garrett Pendleton’s couldn’t have started any worse.

The 6-foot-5 Bonita High School quarterback was poised to have a big year for one of the area’s most-improved teams before everything changed during practice a week before the Bearcats’ first game.

Pendleton, while carrying out a fake, tripped and landed wrong. The freak mishap resulted in a hairline fracture of the radius bone in his arm.

“When it first happened, I thought I might be done for the year,” Pendleton said. “But it was a good spot to break. They said it would only take me four weeks to get back.

“It was real hard because I never got to play in the San Dimas game. But it made me focus on playing every play like it’s your last because it can be.”

Without Pendleton, the Bearcats rallied around senior backup Greg Spathias.

And despite another costly injury to star receiver/linebacker Casey Horine, Bonita persevered without its star quarterback and best position player to produce a 7-0 record.

Bonita puts its perfect season on the line Friday when it visits West Covina (6-1) in a game that will go a long way in determining the Hacienda League championship and top seed in the Southeast Division playoffs.

Fortunately for the Bearcats, though, Pendleton is back and looking like he hasn’t missed a beat. But it wasn’t easy or fun.

Pendleton attended every Bonita practice as a spectator, then would head to physical therapy. Right on time, he was cleared to play, but with Spathias and the team rolling, Bonita coach Eric Podley was in no rush to get Pendleton game action while he might be rusty.

“It was exciting to see the team doing so well, but also depressing because I know what I can do out there,” Pendleton said. “I’m just glad we survived.

“Our team worked their butts off. Greg stepped in real well. He could start at any other high school.”

Pendleton saw his first action on Oct. 8 against Diamond Bar. He fired three touchdown passes and racked up 225 yards on 12 completions.

“I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous,” Pendleton said. “It was a big deal for me; first game of the year.

“It came back real quick. I think my first throw was for like 40 yards. I thought it would at least take me a game or two to get back in the flow of game situations, but I guess not.”

Pendleton was right back at it the next week, throwing for 198 yards and three more touchdowns against Los Altos.

Last week against Walnut, Pendleton threw for 209 yards and four touchdowns.

So, that’s 10 touchdowns in three weeks. But none was against a team of West Covina’s caliber. Nor was there as much on the line as there will be this week.

Bonita went 3-8 last season. The Bearcats need victories over West Covina, Rowland and Diamond Ranch to go 10-0.

“West Covina is a really good team,” Pendleton said. “They’re really athletic. Their running backs are all studs. They’re going to be a real good test, but we’ll be ready, though.

“I think we can wear them out with our spread. I’m real confident. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be the starting quarterback for a 7-0 team.”

Glendora QB Chad Jeffries to miss three weeks with shoulder injury …

Glendora QB Chad Jeffries just texted me to say he has a separated ac ligament in his shoulder and will miss the next three weeks.

With just three games left and the Tartans battling for their playoff lives, that means Jeffries’ senior season could be over.

Aram’s take: Would be very sad if we’ve seen Jeffries play his last game in a Glendora uniform.

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 going into Week 8 …

Claremont, Claremont, Claremont

1. Bishop Amat (8-0) — Lancers figure out how to win on the road in the Serra
2. Bonita (7-0) — Bearcats have been continually flattered by Claremont
3. West Covina (6-1) — Bulldogs host biggest game in Valley vs. Bearcats
4. Claremont (6-1) — You try beating Chino Hills and Charter Oak in back-to-back weeks
5. La Habra (4-3) — Played bad-guy role and brought Buena Park back to earth
6. Chino Hills (5-2) — Got some mojo back by waxing Damien
7. St. Paul (5-2) — Can’t fault Swordsmen too much after Serra rout
8. Azusa (7-0) — Aztecs continue to grind out style points while the rest of us wait
9. Cantwell (6-1) — Nice bounce-back win over Mary Star
10. Whittier Christian (6-1) — Rested Heralds set for showdown with weary Valley Chr.
11. La Serna (6-1) — Have to savor it when you blank Santa Fe
12. Covina (7-1) — OK, we get it. Vinny Venegas
13. Monrovia (5-2) — Wildcats caught San Marino at the right time … not that it matters
14. Diamond Ranch (4-3) — Can’t wait to see Panthers against WestCo and Bo-Hi
15. Arroyo (6-1) — What seeds would Knights get if they finished 9-1?
16. Glendora (4-3) — Defense has allowed 39 and 38 points in two Baseline games
17. Charter Oak (4-3) — Could be staring at road playoff game vs. Centennial
18. Damien (4-3) — You could’ve picked every Sparty game in Aug. and been right
19. El Rancho (5-2) — Got key Del Rio win over upstart Pioneer
20. La Mirada (4-3) — For all the nonleague damage, Mats could wind up OK
21. San Dimas (5-3) — Saints got what they wanted from Covina-BP game
22. Schurr (4-3) — Don’t forget about Spartans in the Mid-Valley
23. Arcadia (4-3) — Huge win over Burbank has Apaches thinking league title
24. Maranatha (5-3) — 0-2 in Olympic despite two excellent efforts … at-large?
25. Muir (3-4) — Remember this guys? ‘Stangs on the creep tip in the Pacific

Koffler and Singiser: Two of the best around …

Here’s my column from Friday, in case you missed it.

Death, taxes and Arroyo and Rosemead being good in football.

You can thank God, Uncle Sam, Jim Singiser and Matt Koffler for that.

Are there two better coaches in the Valley than Singiser and Koffler? Equal to? Absolutely. But I’m talking truly better coaches, the kind who get the same type of talent every year, never get impact transfers yet post winning seasons on a seemingly annual basis.

The short answer is there aren’t, and that’s saying something because I’m not sure there’s a region anywhere in the Southland that crams so many good coaches into one area like our cozy little Valley does.

At the end of the day, the Farrars, Bogans, Ganos, Zernickows and Maggiores of our Valley will dominate the headlines. They’ve won CIF titles, league titles and put their respective programs on the map.

You won’t hear enough about Koffler and Singiser, though. But when Arroyo and Rosemead meet tonight, it will mark the umpteenth time in forever that their programs have met for the Mission Valley League title. Both teams still have three games after this but let’s be honest with each other, this is for the title.

It seems not enough credit is given these days for consistent success. But consistent success eludes just as many programs as CIF titles do. Just not at Arroyo and Rosemead, however, where winning seasons are the norm.

Weak competition, you say? Not exactly. Since 2000, Rosemead has wins over Diamond Ranch, Monrovia, San Dimas and South Hills, to name a few. The Panthers have been to the semifinals and a championship game in that span, too.

In that same period, Arroyo has won five league titles, including not losing a league game for three consecutive seasons, and has been to the semifinals once. The Knights have made the playoffs every year since 1984.

“When we play teams that look like us, we do well,” Koffler said. “We have gained our opponents’ respect over the past 10 years. We can’t sneak up on anybody anymore.”

But the true proof of success of Koffler and Singiser’s success isn’t all about wins and losses. Both coaches have successfully implemented schemes their teams run with precision year in and out no matter whose name is on the back of the jersey. And those systems couldn’t be more opposite.

At Rosemead, Koffler came to the realization he isn’t going to out-athlete anybody with his homegrown talent. So, the obvious move was to tailor a brand of football around the tough and gritty kids who attend Rosemead.

That meant a power running game, a defense that loves to leave marks and strong special teams. Barring injury, Rosemead running back Matt Fregoso will become the 12th Panthers tailback in a row to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

Singiser takes a different approach. It’s a stubborn one because polished quarterbacks don’t exactly grow on trees in El Monte. But that hasn’t stopped Arroyo from annually having one of the better passing attacks around and it doesn’t matter who’s playing quarterback.

This year, it’s Steven Rivera. A few years ago it was Brian Partida. Before that it was Dominic Salmon. Again, the names change but the numbers and explosiveness do not. It takes a certain degree of coaching acumen to annually run a successful spread with the type of talent Arroyo starts with.

“If you look at our two programs, we both take paths we believe are suited to the kids we have,” Singiser said. “If Matt (Koffler) didn’t have good running backs and good-sized linemen every year, he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing.

“And for us, we’re fortunate to have had some quarterbacks come through who happen to be the smartest guys in the program. It’s probably a lot easier to find a hard-nosed running back in El Monte than it is to find a legit, quality quarterback. But I firmly believe Steven (Rivera) would start at just about any school in the Valley.”

Nobody throws more during the summer than Arroyo and nobody probably spends more time lifting weights in the offseason than Rosemead. When the schools meet tonight, it will be a battle of similar-size talent using two different styles with the same hopes of winning the league title.

Some years back I wrote a column questioning Koffler’s coaching ability. I was wrong about that. What he’s done isn’t easy. Same with Singiser. Most programs don’t win. Others wait several years between winning spurts, then go back into mediocrity. It’s not like that at Arroyo and Rosemead, where winning is a constant and mediocrity doesn’t exist.

CIF titles are nice, but they aren’t always the only indicators of who the best coaches are. Winning consistently might be a measuring stick. Get to Arroyo High tonight and see two guys who do it as good as anybody.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply