Chew on this …

Charter Oak lost to three of the four teams in the Inland Division semifinals. They are: Rancho Cucamonga, Chino Hills and Vista Murrieta.

Aram’s take: If you’re gonna lose five games in a season, why not make three of them to teams that are playing in a 13th game?

Monrovia-San Dimas IV … Zernickow denies SD’s mental ownership of M-Town …


You have to wonder … last year’s title game … blowing a 21-point lead this year ….

“If we beat them three more times in a row, we might own them mentally. We would sure hope to try and foster that, but we don’t own them mentally one bit right now. We’ve been fortunate enough to have circumstances fall in our laps and have taken advantage.”

Aram’s take: Here we go again. You can’t tell me that San Dimas isn’t in Monrovia’s head. But, this couldn’t set up any more perfectly for the ‘Cats. Winning a CIF title without beating San Dimas along the way would be bittersweet. And for QB Nick Bueno’s personal sanity, here’s to hoping they do it. Bueno has had an outstanding career and has laid it all out there each time the team’s have met. But this type of win has been what’s missing. There’s so much on the line for Monrovia these next two weeks. If the ‘Cats can beat San Dimas then win the division, they will be legends for breaking the San Dimas and CIF title game jinx in a two-week period. Amazing the stakes!

Worst high school game I’ve ever attended, thank God I only stayed a half …

I’m very happy for Bonita for making the semis. Coach Podley is one of the best around and deserves a long run like this. And I’m disappointed for Muir. The Stangs could’ve packed up at several points this season, but they never did.

Having said all that, last night’s game was the worst high school football game I’ve ever attended … and I’ve been to many … and yes, it was worse than any 50-0 blowout I’ve seen.

Here’s why:

1. The biggest problem is you couldn’t even call it a game. When the refs are throwing flags on every other play, it cannot be considered a game. No tempo by either side was allowed to be established. I don’t think the refs were bad guys by any stretch, I just think the game got away from them. Kinda like an NCAA tourney game where the refs are blowing whistles early on and it just becomes a vicious cycle.

2. Weather. Arguably the coldest night of the year made it very uncomfortable for everybody there. Not a huge problem, but a problem nonetheless.

3. 7:30 p.m. start time. This one is unforgivable. There’s just no reason why any school would start at 7:30. I may be coming from the angle of somebody who is working on multiple deadlines, but that’s the shape of things. Tell me what the positives are of it and I’ll listen.

Angry readers can’t keep a good man down …

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

Last Friday night, the CIF-Southern Section playoffs for high school football began, and it seems the players weren’t the only with their game faces on.

Only minutes after the first final scores started to roll in did it begin. The vitriol was unprecedented. The San Gabriel Valley and its surrounding areas was alive and well with angry fans.

Did we get a score wrong? No.

Was the coverage not good enough? No.

Did some of our predictions go awry? Yes. And that’s all it took.

The allegations and demands were incredible.

“Go back to journalism school!”

“Wipe the egg off your face!”

“You know nothing!”

Why so harsh? I wasn’t aware you could bet San Gabriel Valley prep football games in Vegas. If so, how much did these people lose?

It didn’t just end on Friday night. It rolled over into the weekend and still burned bright earlier this week.

Readers begging not to have features done on their teams for fear of the same supposed jinx that got Mid-Valley Division top seed Azusa knocked off in the first round.

One local coach even turned down our request to do a story on one of his players this week because he didn’t want the extra attention. You know, because so many things are a secret at this time of year.

Here they were, the same people who scream at the top of their keyboards when their team does something big and they don’t see it splashed across the cover of the Tribune or Star-News not wanting coverage.

It seems to me that some fans need a reset. When a game prediction is given by myself or another of our writers, we do not root for the team we selected.

Some of the most fun I’ve had in this business has been when I was proven wrong and some player or coach from the team I picked against reminded me of that on the sideline.

While I’ll be the first to admit that prep football is very serious stuff, it’s also quite a bit of fun. The players aren’t playing for money, they’re playing for memories — good or bad.

Those are some pretty good stakes, and it’s an honor of ours to chronicle it.

Were SOME of this columnist’s predictions so bad last week that he should have had to turn in his notepad, recorder and pen for the season just like the losing teams turned in their gear? Absolutely.

But it doesn’t work like that. Fortunately, my editor doesn’t judge my performance in terms of prep football picks. So, I’m back. And since you can’t keep a good man down, I’m ready to step back out on a limb.

I’m ready to deliver the easiest prediction of the postseason. You ready? Here goes …

Because deep down you’re addicted to the blogs, because deep down you know how much this staff enjoys bringing the good word of local football to you, because nobody does it better, no matter what, you’ll keep reading.

Happy Thanksgiving: Rosemead’s Matt Fregoso likes to eat yards …


The numbers don’t add up when it comes to Rosemead High School running back Matt Fregoso.

Five feet seven and 145 pounds shouldn’t equal 2,336 yards and 28 touchdowns.

“It’s pretty much heart,” Fregoso said in explanation of his gaudy numbers for such a light frame.

“I just like playing football and I do it with passion.”

Fregoso’s passion is part of the reason Rosemead (8-3) will visit Village Christian (7-4) in the second round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs at

7 p.m. on Friday at Glendale High.

It’s no secret what Rosemead wants do to when it has the ball. Panthers coach Matt Koffler was a standout quarterback in high school who earned his way to USC, but when it comes to play-calling he keeps the ball heavily grounded.

And when it’s time to hand the ball off, the instructions are simple: get Fregoso the ball and watch him roll.

In last week’s first-round win over Temple City, Fregoso racked up 374 yards and scored all seven of Rosemead’s touchdowns in a 49-36 win.

The week before, he ran for 336 yards and six scores against El Monte while helping Rosemead secure second place in the Mission Valley League and a spot in the playoffs.

Following the progression, that means Fregoso is headed for eight touchdowns against Village Christian on Friday.

“I sure hope so,” Fregoso said, “but I try to not to look at the stats and just worry about the game.

“I just worry about getting wins for my team.”

Fregoso’s huge senior season has made him the second-leading rusher in the state, but at Rosemead he’s just the latest in a long line of exceptional ball carriers. Rosemead has had a 1,000-yard rusher every year since 1999.

“He’s right up there with all of them,” Koffler said. “He doesn’t get caught. I’ve had some good ones, but the one thing that separates him is that he just refuses to lose. He does whatever it takes to win.

“Last week, I just knew he was ready to play and I was going to give him the ball until he fell.

“What’s even more impressive is they load up the box and just can’t stop him. It must be demoralizing because they have eight, nine, 10, 11 guys in the box and still can’t do anything about it. But it’s a fun thing to watch on my side.”

Fregoso comes from a family that’s no stranger to athletic success. His half brother, Anthony White, was a star football player at Rosemead before playing at Utah. White now is head coach at Buena Park, where he’s led a resurgence of that school’s football program.

Fregoso’s half sister, Jennifer White, was a standout basketball and softball player at Rosemead while brother Justin Fregoso was a decorated wrestler.

Last week’s win over Temple City was special because both of his brothers saw him run wild in one of his best statistical performances of the season.

“It was a pretty close game and I pretty much kept on scoring and scoring,” Fregoso said. “I was just worried about beating Temple City, and then after the game is when I realize how many touchdowns I had.

“My brothers were there and they mentioned how great I did, and it made me real proud.”

The longer Rosemead’s season lasts, the scarier Fregoso’s numbers are likely to become. To keep the Panthers playing, though, Fregoso will need the game of his life against a Village Christian team that just knocked off top- seeded Azusa.

Whether Rosemead can pull it off remains to be seen, but for now Fregoso is just soaking up the pleasure of helping his team be one of just eight in the division still practicing.

“My sophomore year, we went to the finals,” Fregoso said. “It felt real good that year to practice during Thanksgiving. My team is real pumped about being able to do that again.”

Chew on this …

The offseason uproar in the Mid-Valley Division was about the addition of the Almont League and how it was unfair because the Almont had six of the seven highest enrollments in the division.

BUT!!!!!

One round into the playoffs and it’s the SMALLEST league (in terms of enrollment) that’s dominating the Mid-Valley. That’s right, the Olympic League is 3-0. Interesting …

Baldwin Park defensive coordinator Wardell Crutchfield Jr. resigns …

Baldwin Park defensive coordinator and former Duarte head coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. resigned Friday following the Braves’ 31-7 loss to Schurr in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

“That was always the plan,” Crutchfield said. “Even if I was still at Duarte, it would have been my last year. I was just coaching until all my boys were done.”

Cructchfield’s son, Wardell III was a senior linebacker at Baldwin Park. He will play at UTEP next season along with Baldwin Park teammate Demetrius Jackson.

Crutchfield was fired at Duarte following the 2008 season and quickly landed on his feet at Baldwin Park, calling the defense under head coach James Heggins. Baldwin Park allowed 24 points per game this season and 14.8 ppg. in 2009.

“It was a little bit different because I wasn’t the head guy,” Crutchfield said of his time at Baldwin Park. “Coach Heggins is a good dude and we had some former Duarte coaches over there, so that made it good for me, too.”

“It was fun. I think we made some kids better and some programs better. I was able to get some kids out and help them become better young men, so it was good.”

Crutchfield didn’t rule out a return to coaching, but said it would only be as an assistant to his cousin Tony Crutchfield if he got a head job and wanted help.

Crutchfield was head coach at Duarte between 2004-08. In that time, he brought the Falcons program back to prominence with several high-profile D-1 signees, two Montview League titles and a trip to the semifinals.

Aram’s take: Crutchfield has an 11-year-old daughter who runs track and plays volleyball (look for her to be at Diamond Ranch in a few years), so he wants to spend time getting her athletic career off the ground. And with WC3 headed to UTEP, he’ll have more time to go to his games over the next few years. I for one am sad to see him go. You can’t argue with his record and his ability to get kids on to D-1 schools. Plus, Coach Crutch always told like it is.