Happy New Year’s … and you can follow me on Twitter …

Happy New Year’s, everybody! I salute all of you (just don’t flag me).

My suggestion: Get some Chinese food and watch bowl games for the next two days.

My next suggestion:
Follow me on Twitter.

Finally: If I see another values.com commercial, I’m gonna puke. Tell me some of you saw the one yesterday where the high school basketball player tells his coach the ball went out off of him (the ref called it the other way). So the coach commends the kid and they tell the ref … Pathetic. Almost as bad as the hippie who finds some woman’s purse at a bus stop … oh man, I can’t even keep going.

Season in review: San Dimas … Season grade: B-

Record: 8-5
Biggest win: 35-34, OT over Monrovia
Worst loss: 19-14 vs. Baldwin Park
The Good: This one is obvious: it’s how the Saints finished the season. San Dimas entered the postseason as an at-large team, but beat No. 3-seeded Arroyo in the first round and Maranatha in the second round. Making the semis as an at-large is a pretty nice accomplishment, but …
The Bad: … why were the Saints an at-large team in the first place? That’s because they couldn’t seal the deal against Baldwin Park and Covina in Valle Vista League home games that ultimately cost San Dimas a chance at a high seed in the playoffs.
The Ugly: San Dimas’ inability to put two big halves together proved costly. The bottom line is that 8-5 for a defending CIF champ that had a lot of talent back is a bit disappointing. Yes, the Saints made up for it by beating Arroyo and rocking a pretty hot Maranatha team in the playoffs. In the end, there were no tangible results, i.e. a Smudge Pot win, a league title or a CIF title. San Dimas’ season, quite simply, was handful of big moments and a handful of disappointing ones.
Sad to see you go: QB Codee Watts, RB Theo Darlington, RB Damarquis Lawson, RB Jordan Taylor, RB/LB Angel Gonzalez, WR Kevin Kolbeck, OL Allen Brown.
What to look forward to: CIF champion QB Shawn Kennedy is back and hopefully healthy. Dillon Corono and Davonte Christopher are two solid playmakers and should be featured even more in next year’s offense.

Season in review: Monrovia … Grade: A


Anthony Craft gives Monrovia fans something to be excited about in ’11.

Record: 12-2
Biggest win: 38-8 over Whittier Christian in CIF final.
Worst loss: 35-34 to San Dimas in OT
The Good: The Wildcats took an entire football program off the hook by being the first team in school history to win a CIF championship. Monrovia was previously 0-9 in championship games. But beside the Rio Hondo and Mid-Valley Division titles, the Wildcats proved they could overcome adversity, and that’s something that was in question up until Dec. 12.
The Bad: It’s nitpicking, but this team was good enough to go 13-1. It should have beaten San Dimas in Week 3, but there are some who feel that without that defeat, Monrovia never would have developed its championship character. I can buy that.
The Ugly: Wildcats fans will shed plenty of tears at graduation this June, because that’s when legendary QB Nick Bueno leaves the school for good. Bueno has been the face of the program for three seasons and now comes the task of replacing a rare talent like him. It won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean the ‘Cats won’t be just fine at QB next fall.
Sad to see you go: QB Nick Bueno, LB Derrick Johnson, WR Jay Henderson, DB Charlie Cimmarusti.
What to look forward to: Ellis McCarthy TE/DE is back, he will be one of the top recruits on the Left Coast and the best defensive player in the entire Valley. QB George Frazier is supposed to be a good one, but he’ll have huge shoes to fill. K Mason Bryant will be one of the top kickers in the area. Anthony Craft is another WR/DB talent ready to break out.

Season in review: Bishop Amat … Season grade: B


The Colonel and Nine will have a lot to talk about this offseason

And now it’s time for a little something we’ll be doing to wrap up the seasons for most local teams. Will I get around to everybody? No. But I will certainly do all teams in the top 25. We’ll start with Amat, because nothing says “hey, look at this!” like Amat.

Record: 9-2
Biggest win: 31-28 over Crespi
Worst loss: 31-21 to Tesoro
The Good: The emergence of Jalen Moore at running back and Nine at quarterback as two of the top performers in the Serra League was nice, considering the Lancers were replacing their top QB, RB and WRs from last season. Amat averaged 35 points per game this season. Those numbers helped Colonel Hagerty’s boys march to a 9-0 record and had Robledo and the Amat nation mapping out trip routes to Mission Viejo. It was an exciting first nine weeks (10 actually).
The Bad: The defense, which actually carried the show early, turned out to be not-ready-for-primetime later in the season. Amat was hurting in its back seven due to lack of experience and, quite simply, lack of the needed talent to make consistent stops at the level. Turnovers also hurt the team late in the season, and you couldn’t chalk them up to inexperience because by that time, everybody had nine weeks of what they call “big-boy ball”.
The Ugly: Losing to Tesoro in the first round was a horrific step back for a program that was on the rise. In 2009, the Lancers actually won in the first round. In fact, during the 2000s, Amat’s biggest problem has been the second round. But this year it was the first round and it was a seeded team … and the loss was to a Tesoro team that lost to Chino Hills and was banged up going into the game. As I’ve said all along, the excitement about Amat football is definitely back, but the tangible results are not. When the two actually meet, it should be epic.
Sad to see you go: Julian Gener OL/DE, by far one of the top defensive players in the Valley. Wallace Gonzalez WR, you don’t find frames like his, well, ever. Christian Orduno OL/DL, Amat’s one D-1-looking talent in the trenches.
What to look forward to: Whereas Amat was inexperienced in the skill spots entering this season, it will be oozing with experience next year. QB Rio Ruiz, RBs Jalen Moore and Zach Shay, WR Adam Sanchez, TE Sal Velasquez, all return.

SoCal football sucks right now, and Mother Nature sends CIF another sign that it’s time to quit the State Championship Bowl Games …

In case you didn’t know, Saturday was Act II of the rain-soaked CIF State Championship Bowl Games at zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … sorry, Home Depot Center.

Two more Southern Section teams went down, and went down hard. Servite was never close against De La Salle, and Serrra was routed by Folsom.

Yes, I know, Southern Section football sucks. It really does right now. No two ways about it. Do I love it? Yes. But as a whole, the Southland is going through a rut in terms of talent and it showed over the weekend. Our all-everything offensive juggernaut Corona Centennial got held to 13 points, for crying out loud.

Anyway, that’s not my problem. My problem is these games are beyond pointless. They diminish what it means to win a Southern Section championship. Couldn’t we just stop there? No, because CIF wants to make some more cash.

The attendance for Saturday’s Servite-De La Salle game was supposedly over 10,000. I’m gonna need a recount of actual ticket stubs to believe it, however.

It seems to be raining on this weekend every year. Maybe that’s a sign for CIF to call it a day when it comes to these forced showcases of flat football teams, who are a week removed from the titles they care about most.

Disclosure:
Would I feel this way if an SGV team actually made one of the games? I couldn’t tell you until I saw whether we won or not.

UPDATED: Corona Centennial’s coaching staff blows it, opens door for kicker to share blame for shocking, upset loss to Palo Alto in state bowl championship …

EDITOR’S NOTE: I updated the wording of this post to drive home to all of you the magnitude of Corona Centennial’s loss … because God knows you won’t get it put to you like this anywhere else.

The Corona Centennial coaching staff, whose biggest clutch decision this year has been what time to get off the bus, blew it on Friday night at the worst possible time.

Trailing 15-13 to Palo Alto with 35 seconds left, the Huskies’ coaching staff decided to send kicker Ezequiel Rivera out for a 42-yard field attempt on fourth-and-8 from the Palo Alto 25.

Naturally, Rivera’s kick in a driving rain storm, on a rain-soaked field, wasn’t even close. The loss ended Corona Centennial’s bid to be considered the best team in the country after a season in which the Huskies gained the most yardage in California state history.

Following the miss, Rivera was inconsolable on the Centennial sideline and coach Matt Logan came over to hug and try to calm his kicker down. What Logan was hopefully doing was apologizing for shifting all or some of the blame for the loss to Rivera, who he sent out in an impossible situation.

Blame for the loss actually belongs to Logan and what seems like a 30-man coaching staff for being thoroughly out-coached by Palo Alto’s Earl Hansen and his staff.

How many coaches does Centennial have on its staff? Twenty? Thirty?

For the first time all season, Logan and Co. had to coach in the clutch. Centennial’s average margin of victory this season was 37 points per game, so you can understand their deer-in-the-headlights look when they were actually in a competitive game and had to come up with something to pull their kids through.

Instead, what should have been a final drive that put the stamp on one of the best seasons ever ended with Logan essentially deflecting blame by sending his kicker out in a near-impossible situation.

Centennial’s final drive started at the Palo Alto 43 with 2:33 left in the game. To only gain 18 yards in that amount of time with the best offense in state history is an embarrassment.

And for those blaming the rain, let me remind you that Palo Alto QB Christoph Bono, the son of former NFL QB Steve Bono, was able to throw for over 220 yards.

The move for Logan to make was to go for it on fourth down and let his all-everything QB Michael Eubank make something happen. To send Rivera out was tantamount to waving the white flag and letting a player take all or part of the blame for a loss that belong squarely to Logan and his staff.

Did anybody else just hear Matt Millen mention Monrovia? …

I was in a semi-daze, but I swear NFL Network color man Matt Millen just said “Doesn’t matter if you’re Monrovia High School, which just won a championship, Marin Roman Catholic High School, which is about to play for a championship, or in the NFL, you have to be playing your best ball at this time of year.”

This was during the Chargers-49ers broadcast.

West Covina to play Loyola in Week 1 next season …

West Covina will play Loyola in Week 1 next season. That’s after the Bulldogs face Covina in Week 0. As many of you know, Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore likes to step up and play the big boys because he feels his program is one of the big boys.

With two CIF titles in seven years, he just might be right.

Aram’s take: I’ve always said that WestCo has an amazing talent base, especially if the kids stay home and don’t go to Amat, South Hills or Los Altos, as they’ve done in the past and somewhat continue to still do. Well, you can scratch LA off that list and I’m getting the feeling that WestCo may even start to become the beneficiary of kids from outside its area wanting to come in and play for the Bulldogs. There’s no reason why the Bulldogs aren’t a SoCal power and that’s obviously what Maggiore has them on the verge of becoming. Now, can they beat Loyola? Heck, I’m not even sure they can beat Covina, given that Covina will have one of its best teams in years next season. Should be awesome.

Former Los Altos coach and 2000 Tribune Player of the Year Felipe Aguilar to join coaching staff at Arroyo …

Felipe Aguilar, who resigned as head coach at his alma mater Los Altos after just two seasons, has accepted a teaching position at Arroyo and will join Jim Singiser’s staff as receivers/running backs coach.

Aguilar, a former standout quarterback at Los Altos, was the Tribune’s Player of the Year in 2000. He served as head coach at Los Altos for two seasons, compiling a 4-16 record before resigning last offseason.

Aguilar was an assistant coach at Rowland this past season.

Aram’s take: Could be the just beginning of a dynamite staff being built by Singiser. Stay tuned …

FINAL All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 for 2010 …

Here’s is your final all-encompassing Top 25 for 2010.

1. West Covina (13-1) — Season for the ages ends with thrilling Southeast title. Scary in ’11, too?
2. La Habra (11-3) — Won 9 straight to close year with 4th straight CIF title.
3. Chino Hills (10-3) — Strong close to season ended with giving Centennial a scare.
4. Bishop Amat (9-2) — Took a step back this year, but lots to look forward to in ’11
5. Bonita (12-2) — Bearcats were just under two minutes from being CIF champs
6. Monrovia (12-2) — Resounding win in Mid-Valley final quiets all doubters for good
7. La Serna (11-2) — Old-school tactics led Lancers to best finish in years
8. Whittier Christian (12-2) — Not bad for a school with 650 kids. Sad to see Worthy go.
9. Cantwell (10-2) — Still a great season despite attrition at entirely the wrong time
10. Covina (10-2) — One of the teams we’re looking forward to most in ’11.
11. San Dimas (8-5) — Saints came up huge in postseason to numb so-so regular season
12. Claremont (7-4) — Bad late-season collapse, but still beat Chino Hills and Charter Oak
13. St. Francis (6-5) — Replaced a lot and still had so-so year in rough Mission League
14. Azusa (10-1) — Perfect regular season, but mistake-laded loss to VC stings
15. Arcadia (7-4) — Apaches going in the right direction after ’10 turnaround
16. Muir (7-5) — Finished strong, but got yellow-carded against Bonita
17. Arroyo (9-2) — If Knights get by San Dimas, who knows? But still a solid year
18. Charter Oak (6-5) — Beat who they should, but fell short against the rest
19. St. Paul (6-4) — Record was better than most would’ve imagined back in Aug.
20. Schurr (7-5) — Won the Almont, then gave M-Town its best game in the playoffs
21. La Mirada (7-4) — Disappointing year considering the preseason hype
22. Diamond Ranch (5-6) — Question is, will Panthers be better or worse in ’11?
23. Maranatha (8-4) — Hung tough in great league, will be even better in ’11
24. Walnut (6-5) — Mustangs banged hard in Hacienda, then almost stunned seeded La Serna
25. Rosmead (8-4) — Second in league, but won playoff game