A season for the ages ends tonight in the East …

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

It seems like just yesterday that I was strolling out to the Covina High School practice field to perform my due diligence on the Colts.

As I baked in the August sun, a Covina assistant coach saddled up to me and in a low voice, as if the cops were listening, asked “What’s West Covina look like this year?”

My reply: They look like the best team in the area.

A week or so later, Covina beat West Covina. Nice call, Aram.

Thirteen weeks later, West Covina is playing for the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship and a chance, in this writer’s eyes, to be considered the top team in the area. Nice call, Aram.

And so it goes on the high school football beat where geniuses like myself are made to be mere mortals on what seems like a weekly basis … and the literate Valley masses are there to remind me.

I should have known that this season would be like no other. The writing was on the wall when the CIF-SS changed things up last spring with its division realignments. I should have known that in the chaos great fun would be had.

After being away for three seasons, I can’t tell you how much I missed the drama of an SGV prep football season. And it seems like I got three years worth of drama crammed into one season. A kind welcome back to be sure. And now the season is drawing to a close. West Covina and Bonita will bring down the curtains tonight.

I can’t recall a bigger buildup to a season than the one we experienced this past summer. Once the party got started, the intensity flowed uncontrollably. You think I’m just referring to what took place on the field? Try the Tribune office.

After one of many arguments I had with (prep editor) Fred J. Robledo this season, I thought to myself that there’s got to be something wrong with me because at 35 years old, I shouldn’t be arguing with the ageless wonder Robledo (he’s older than me) about who’s played the tougher schedule – Amat or Chino Hills.

But that’s me. I’ve got the sickness. I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t know who I caught it from, but there’s many like me out there who are infected, too.

Chino Hills Tom’s videos from the biggest games were priceless. Mike “The Cousin” Robledo’s live chats from the biggest games brought things to another level. Robledo’s teenage-like enthusiasm for a man his age was epic.

And you, the fans, with your passion were unmatched.

Perhaps what captures us is the allure of watching in real time as a lifetime of memories are made. It’s not only the winning teams who make those memories, it’s the losing teams as well. One play, just one 10-second speck in a lifetime of events, can stick with a player or coach or fan or writer forever. That’s some powerful stuff.

So as West Covina and Bonita take the field tonight to play for the best type of memory, I will be thinking back to August when everybody had hope and everybody was undefeated.

I will think back to September when Glendora’s Chad Jeffries was simultaneously running wild and throwing darts. When Azusa was cracking skulls. When Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz took his first snaps as the unquestioned starter.

I will think back to October when Vinny Venegas helped Covina take control of the Valle Vista League. When Claremont quarterback Daniel Kessler was torching everyone. When Arroyo rode quarterback Steven Rivera to a win over rival Rosemead.

I will think back to November when a down-and-out South Hills picked itself up off of the floor and stunned Claremont before seeing another valiant effort end in dramatic fashion to Travis Santiago, Dennis Rufus and Charter Oak. When Amat saw a 9-0 start turn into a 9-2 finish. When Azusa’s party came to a screeching halt.

When San Dimas showed it still had the heart of a champion.

It’s sad it has to end, but it does have to end. And end it will with two teams – Bonita and West Covina – who represented the Valley like the championship teams they both are.

If this season has taught us anything, it’s that the Valley’s landscape has changed. It’s probably temporary.

A cycle. Last year, the final act belonged to Charter Oak, Diamond Ranch and San Dimas. This year it’s Bonita and West Covina.

In another 12 months, we’ll find out who’s next. But for now, there’s one last bit of business to take care of and one huge memory to be made.

  • Dan

    Really like the columns you write, thanks for your work all season.
    Bonita team and fans,
    Congratulations on your hard work and making it to the finals, no matter who wins tonight you’ve got an outstanding team, and you have had an outstanding season, no one can take that away from you. All you Bonita players who were interviewed by video and newspaper impressed me with your humility, well spokenness, and respect that you have for the game and your opponents, good luck in your game tonight and I pray for a good clean game with no injuries.
    Congratulations also on a fine season, but we’re
    not done yet, one more job to do tonight.Play smart, play hard, play clean, play well, and leave no regrets on the field. Forget about the first game it means nothing, zero, nada, zilch. Whole different team out there, you guy’s are a different team too,your better than before, prepare your mind and go to battle on every play until the whistle blows. Play with a controlled fury. Win the mental game, give it your best effort and let the chips fall where they may. Good luck, God bless, and see you tonight.

  • Don


    Always the high road. Well said. I look forward to meeting you and more WestCo fans tonight.

    To the Boys: Great job all year to both teams, you guys have played an outstanding season and tonight is your reward. When you walk off that field tonight, leave nothing behind, especially any regrets that you might have done more. Winners or loser, be proud, modest and know that your season will be a lifelong memory to remember and enjoy.

    Stay safe, finish hard and finish healthy.



    Aram, I still believe AZUSA should have won Village Christian! But that’s history for the books now.

    I know Coach Scherf will have AZUSA ready again, and learn more as each season goes underneath his belt!

    AZUSA, still accommplished something big and that was winning the Montview League for three years in a row! Aram, you and I know there’s alot of people in that league that care about that title and it’s like a FISH BOWL within a Fishbowl if you know what I mean!

    Aram takecare and AZTEC PRIDE isn’t going anywhere and I believe one day will play in that SUPER BOWL GAME, and i’ll be right here hitting the keyboard buttons!

    COACH SCHERF and to all the Coaches, your doing an OUTSTANDING JOB with what AZUSA has to offer! You have made the residents of AZUSA real proud and to come out to watch the GREATEST GAME EVER!!!



  • ????

    Who in the heck are these band wagon know it alls Dan & Don? Man are you two a boor.