Can undefeated Bo-High avoid the Walnut trap on Friday? …

Walnut beat Bonita last year, 30-15. Walnut is 5-3 in the last eight games of the series. Bonita-Walnut now really counts since both are in the same league. Read more …

Before the Bonita High School football team can start thinking about its showdown with West Covina in two weeks, it has a dangerous proposition to deal with in Walnut on Friday night …

Claremont RB Taj Teague will start at RB this week vs. Charter Oak …

Claremont coach Mike Collins confirmed Sunday that running back Taj Teague will start Friday against Charter Oak.

Teague started last week against Chino Hills and even scored on a short touchdown run in his first action of the season. Teague transferred to Claremont from Pomona in August, but had not played due to a hamstring tear.

Teague was limited by team doctors to 20 plays against Chino Hills. There should be no limitation this week.

Aram’s take: An intriguing game just got even better. If Claremont wins, is the league title wrapped up before November?

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 going into Week 7 …


The Wolfpack is out for blood after getting a taste of Chino Hills

1. Bishop Amat (7-0) — Lancers have gone viral on the internet after Crespi win
2. Bonita (6-0) — Bold prediction: Seasons like this will become the norm for Bearcats
3. West Covina (5-1) — One more week before the Bonita/D-Ranch exacta
4. La Habra (3-3) — Highlanders are tasked with spoiling Buena Park’s party
5. Claremont (5-1) — Sierra League is now about Wolfpack offense, not Chino Hills defense
6. St. Paul (5-1) — Got by Cathedral, now Serra comes calling … good luck with that
7. Charter Oak (4-2) — QB Santiago announces return with quick destruction of Ayala
8. Azusa (6-0) — Aztecs have probably reached their ceiling until playoff time
9. Chino Hills (4-2) — Self-destructed a bit vs. Claremont, but defense should’ve help up
10. Glendora (4-2) — Mistakes did in Tartans, now the uphill Baseline climb begins
11. Cantwell (5-1) — Lost to Montgomery, but rest of the Del Rey is very doable
12. Whittier Christian (6-1) — Took big step toward winning Olympic by deflating Maranatha
13. St. Francis (3-3) — Quietly riding 3-game losing streak at entirely the wrong time
14. La Serna (5-1) — Win over El Ranch makes rest of Del Rio smooth sailing, right?
15. Monrovia (4-2) — ‘Cats can spend next four weeks posturing for high playoff seed
16. Diamond Ranch (4-3) — It must be October …
17. Covina (6-1) — Covina’s biggest fan this week? San Dimas
18. Arroyo (6-1) — QB Rivera is back and flinging, but here comes Rosemead
19. Damien (4-2) — Have to give Sparty credit, they take care of business when they should
20. Rowland (4-3) — Season in peril as Raiders are look like Hacienda’s odd-man out
21. Baldwin Park (2-4) — Can start thinking league title IF Braves can slow Covina down
22. Maranatha (5-2) — Good showing vs. WC … may need at-large love in Nov.
23. El Rancho (4-2) — Need to rebound vs. surprising Pioneer
24. La Mirada (4-3) — A special season still possible if Mats get hot at right time
25. San Dimas (4-3) — Saints remain one of about eight teams with true Mid-Valley title hopes

Amat improves to a healthy 2-0 …

LA PUENTE – If a doctor could prescribe a diagnostic test to prove a football team’s well being, Friday’s 31-28 victory for Bishop Amat High School over Crespi would be the blueprint.

You don’t learn much from blowouts. You don’t learn much from weak nonleague schedules. But you learn plenty when a heart is put on a treadmill and has stress applied to it.

That’s the medical equivalent of what happened to Amat in its Serra League opener on Friday night.

The Lancers walked into the doctor’s office for their latest checkup full of confidence. At 6-0, everything looked and sounded fine. Amat was the picture of health and continued to be just that as it stormed to a 17-0 first-half lead behind a defense that seemingly knew what play Crespi’s high-powered offense had called before each snap.

Then, right before halftime, something didn’t feel right. Crespi got back in the game with a touchdown just seconds before the break.

That was just the start of a 21-0 run by the Celts that had Amat coughing like a sick baby. Literally coughing, as in what the Lancers did with the ball on fourth-and-goal from inside the Crespi 1 with a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter.

What was once a stadium of sure-headed fans certain their team was well on its way to a win in the biggest game of the season, became concerned family members of the suddenly ill patient.

Trailing 21-17 entering the fourth quarter, Amat’s season was on the line. Starting out 0-1 in the Serra League with games against Loyola, Notre Dame and Alemany still to come isn’t quite a flat line, but probably good cause to get warmed up for some CPR.

The regenerative process began with a return to basics. That meant a large dose of Jalen Moore that Crespi just couldn’t swallow. Moore got Amat the lead back with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Next, the defense came roaring back to life by forcing Crespi into a three-and-out. After that, it was more of Moore and another 4-yard score to put Amat on the radar of every Pac-5 hopeful.

The fourth quarter is when Pac-5 Divsion football teams either stamp themselves as contenders or pretenders.

The X-rays never lie and Friday night they revealed something that will surely be needed again in the next heavyweight throwdown – a healthy heart … one Amat can rely on when everything else is a little under the weather.

It was a healthy win, indeed.

It’s time to find out about 1-0 Amat …

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

Is it me, or am I the only sane Bishop Amat fan left in the Valley?

Disclaimer: I’m a fan of every team in the area. I did not attend Amat. I’m not Catholic. Gold is my favorite color.

Here we are on the day of the Lancers’ second real game of the season and it appears everybody but me already is wondering where to put the next couple of banners in the gym. You know, the ones for winning the PAC-5 Division and state championship bowl game.

You’d think the office would be the one place I could take refuge from the hysteria, but Fred Robledo has gone so far off the deep end if you say anything rational about Amat, he’s liable to lose his ageless cool.

What’s this all about?

Amat has played only one game this season, and it was a nice 21-15 win on the road against Compton Dominguez.

The other five weeks of the season the Lancers have either been showcasing themselves to the masses in East L.A. or hosting scrimmages against highly overmatched opponents.

It all adds up to a 6-0 record … but I’ve whittled it down to 1-0 because, unlike so many others, I’m old-school and hold Amat to the highest of standards.

I don’t know what’s in those red cups, but I’m very glad that tonight we’ll finally be sipping from the same truth serum. That’s because Crespi hits town for the Serra League opener and the truth about just how good the Lancers are is going to come out.

Are they 14-0 good? Who knows? Are they about to break up the party by catching a dose of reality from the Celts? Who knows?

That’s my point: 6-0 to you, 1-0 to me and the jury’s still out for all of us.

We do know the Lancers seemingly have gotten better on a weekly basis. A team with a new quarterback, running back and group of receivers is averaging more than 35 points per game.

The defense has been just as impressive, considering there’s only one or two players on that side of the line who legitimately weighs more than 200 pounds and probably none of them have 40-yard times that will wow recruiters.

Despite that, Amat is allowing just 10 points per game.

All that’s great, but now comes the proving ground. The age-old argument about whether a weak nonleague schedule is a good or bad thing will be put to the test against fellow heavyweights Crespi, Loyola, Notre Dame and Alemany. It could go either way, and that’s what I’m here to warn those of you who already are banner shopping.

The Serra League will throw things Amat’s way that the Lancers haven’t seen yet, i.e. truly good quarterback play, good speed to go with good line play and good coaching to go with good talent.

Is Amat ready for all that? The record says yes. The stats say yes. But the strength of schedule says check back in mid-November.

There’s great reason to be excited. The program clearly is headed in the right direction. The parking lot tailgate party has become the social event of the Valley’s Friday night scene.

Yours truly would love nothing more than to be driving back to the Tribune at 10 p.m. dreaming about an Amat-Mission Viejo Pac-5 championship game.

None of that means anything, though, if business isn’t handled over the next four games. That’s what I keep telling myself. How about you?

It starts tonight.

You want the NFL in Industry? This guy doesn’t …

Hey man, it’s only business. So you can’t fault AEG CEO Tim Leiweke for his quasi plan to build an NFL stadium in downtown L.A.

Trouble is, if you like the idea of your weekend going something like …

Friday night: Amat game (or whatever your favorite team is)
Saturday: Couch for college football or heaven forbid the Rose Bowl or Coliseum
Sunday: 10 minutes away to INDUSTRY to watch the Los Angeles Jaguars

… then you won’t like Leiweke’s innuendos about a possible competing plan with Industry.

Anyway, The Fat Man was in downtown on Tuesday taking in a luncheon with guys who make 10 times what you and I do. And at this lunch, Leiweke made yet another innuendo about bringing a team to downtown. And guess what, The Fat Man caught it all on tape (digital).

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 going into Week 6 …


WestCo is up to five straight wins and counting ..

1. Bishop Amat (6-0) — Now the season finally begins
2. Chino Hills (4-1) — Can anybody reach double figures on the Huskies in league?
3. Bonita (5-0) — Pendleton returns on fire with 3 TDs vs. D-Bar
4. West Covina (5-1) — Two biggest league tests still remain; D-Ranch and BoHi
5. Glendora (4-1) — Etiwanda provides first Baseline test for Tarty
6. La Habra (2-3) — Rested Highlanders ready to run through the Freeway again
7. Cantwell (5-0) — Ran over Whittier Christian; Del Rey slate up next
8. Azusa (5-0) — Gave Sierra Vista a hefty dose or reality … now just waiting for brackets
9. Claremont (4-1) — Wolfpack better have a healthy Taj Teague for Chino Hills
10. Charter Oak (3-2) — QB Santiago’s health holds the key to CO’s Sierra chances
11. St. Francis (3-2) — There’s nothing like a trip up to Paso Robles
12. St. Paul (4-1) — Back in August, nobody would’ve bought St. Paul would be 4-1
13. Whittier Christian (5-1) — No shame losing to Cantwell … everybody else does
14. Ayala (4-1) — Bulldogs D can prove its mettle vs. Charter Oak
15. Monrovia (3-2) — Can’t get caught napping in league
16. La Serna (4-1) – Del Rio showdown right off the bat with El Rancho
17. Rowland (4-2) — Pressure’s on Raiders now to salvage at least third in Hacienda
18. Arroyo (5-1) – Rivera returns and Knights roll, it’s just that easy
19. Covina (5-1) — QB Livingston comes off bench to light up Wilson
20. El Rancho (4-1) — Dons get shot right away vs. La Serna in wide-open Del Rio
21. Maranatha (5-1) — Getting the feeling this ranking isn’t high enough
22. Damien (3-3) — Hard to tell if Spartans are good enough to hang in Sierra
23. Diamond Ranch (3-3) — Got a scare against Walnut, but Panthers are back to .500
24. Baldwin Park (2-4) — WC3, WC2 and DJ show detractors where to stick it
25. Arcadia (3-2) — Surprising Apaches look very live in Pacific

Time to give it up for Mrs. Coach …

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. Well, I say behind every high school football coach there’s an even greater woman.

It’s no secret being a football coach these days is beyond a full-time job. Coaches go to work in the morning just like any other teacher, but their day rarely ends at 3 p.m.

Long after school lets out, they’re out on the field or in their office making preparations for that week’s games. And that says nothing for when they’re physically home but mentally still on the field.

The time involved is staggering and gets even more demanding with offseason activities and practice allotments growing annually. The pay, however, stays about the same and works out to pennies per hour, if that.

And behind all of it, for the coaches who choose to get married and have a family, is the wife … taking care of the house and kids and often holding down a job of her own.

After thinking about it, I’m starting to wonder just how much credit we should give Mrs. Coach for each win, league title or playoff berth. Because there’s no way any successful coach could be that good without his wife taking the load off in terms of home life.

But I’m a man, and that’s how we think. As I was reminded, however, by Nancy Farrar, the wife of longtime Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar, women don’t usually view things in terms of wins and losses.

“It goes beyond the wins and learning how to play the game of football,” she said. “I believe in the work these coaches are doing. It has enriched our family’s lives, and I think it would have done so whether it was 0-10 every year or CIF championships.”

The Farrars have been married for 41 years. Nancy said she knew exactly what she was getting into when she married Big Lou, but it was a generational thing that made it easy for her to realize football came first.

Some women may not be so lucky these days because admittedly this generation is different. So Farrar has some sage advice to any would-be coach’s wife.

“There doesn’t need to be a choice between family and coaching,” Farrar said.

“The family can be integrated into the process. Just enjoy it. I’ve seen young women who make it a choice, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

An example of a coach who’s decided to integrate the two is Arroyo’s Jim Singiser, whose 7- and 13-year-old daughters can’t seem to get enough of the gridiron.

“I think the thing that’s huge is my wife likes football,” Singiser said.

“And now that my daughters are getting older, everything to them is eye candy. I’m looking for the exit door and they’re saying, `You can’t retire.’ My wife says, `You’re not retiring because the girls are having too much fun.’

“They want me on the sidelines because they want to be a part of it. They don’t care about eligibility or wins and losses. Honestly it’s neat, because at the end of the Hart game (a 44-3 loss), they give you a hug and kiss and it’s on to the next week. They’re fairly therapeutic in that way.”

Whether the family is integrated, the bottom line remains that most coaches often put other people’s kids above their own. They don’t do it for money. They don’t do it for fame. They do it to make a difference. And behind the scenes, Mrs. Coach is picking up the slack.

These days you can find proof of society’s deteriorating moral compass anywhere you look, but if you want to find examples of the opposite the guy wearing the headset on Friday night and the little lady up in the stands rooting him on are great first places to look.