Monrovia’s De’Shawn Ramirez working his way back to re-joining team …

Suspended Monrovia running back De’Shawn Ramirez appears likely to be back on the team next season if he continues to progress at Canyon High School.

Ramirez, a junior, was suspended prior to the season for undisclosed reasons. Most are fans had him pegged for stardom after a strong sophomore season in ’09. The Wildcats did just fine without him, winning the Rio Hondo League and Mid-Valley Division championships.

“He’s definitely looking to come back next year,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “He just has to keep correcting things and put himself in a position grades-wise to come back to the high school.

“He’s an excellent football player and athlete, but more importantly, this is about him getting back on track.”

Aram’s take: I know losing guys like QB Nick Bueno and WR Jay Henderson hurts, but the ‘Cats remain totally loaded and could be celebrating another CIF title if Ramirez makes his way back and is toting the rock for Maddox. As all of you know, I believe everyone deserves a second chance when they’re young and that it especially hurts and does more damage to star football players when they’re denied the privilege to play the sport they love. I’m not saying players who make mistakes shouldn’t be punished, but I always root for them to turn things around and make the most of their abilities.

Mooney has officially resigned from San Marino … Titans have started process to find new coach …

I spoke to San Marino High School Principal Loren Kleinrock this morning and he confirmed that former football coach Mike Mooney has resigned and the school is moving forward in the process to find his replacement.

The exact date of Mooney’s resignation is not known, but it came well before Christmas break. He was originally placed on administrative leave during the season. Kleinrock said the position is now officially open and the school has received about 15 applications thus far.

San Marino is putting together an interview committee and hopes to begin interviews Feb. 4. Kleinrock has confirmed there’s been interest in the position from coaches on last year’s staff.

Aram’s take:
Sad. Bums me out on multiple levels. Coach Mooney was/is one of my favorite coaches and I have nothing but respect for him. Hope he lands on his feet. And San Marino holds a special place in my heart, having seen so many games there as a kid and recalling all the success the Titans had under the legendary Bill Maloney.

Podley recovering at home from infection …

Anybody who saw Bonita High School football coach Eric Podley in the weeks leading up to his team’s runner-up effort in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs knows the veteran football coach just wasn’t right.

Podley, suffering from what he thought was a bad disc in his back that needed surgery, was forced to use a walker to get around and lose a good amount of weight due to the back pain and medication to help control it.

Turns out, Podley had something even more serious than a bad disc. Just prior to having surgery, Podley’s doctor had a hunch he might be suffering from an infection in his back. Subsequent tests proved the doctor and Podley was hospitalized for six days to receive treatment.

“Once they figured out it was a staph infection, they started loading me up on the antiotics,” Podley said. “I had the test done on a Monday and I was in the hospital on Tuesday for the next six days.”

Podley avoided surgery, but remains on antibiotics while he recuperates at home. The good news is he’s seen a significant reduction in pain and has even gained some weight back.

“I’m pretty much off all of the pain meds and muscle relaxants. Going from having to use morphine to nothing is a good day.”

All totaled, Podley will miss six weeks of work and is aiming to be back at Bonita in late January.

Bonita had its best season in years, going 12-2 and reaching the Southeast Division championship on Dec. 12. Despite the pain, Podley stuck it out until the end.

“There were days I was missing school so I could make practice,” Podley said. “There were a couple weekends where I had to go home because I was in pain. When you’re having a good year, I kind of felt an obligation to finish it out. I just needed to end about 30 seconds shorter than it did.”

You guys are putting me to sleep, Fred’s hijacking my content, I’m still stuck in bowl pool mode, so now it’s time for the offseason buzz …

Disclaimer: For those of you who get offended about speculative reporting, then please go somewhere else and save the journalism ethics stuff for somebody who cares. If you don’t like a town called Rumorville, then please keep driving until you reach Boringville.

What I’m about to give you is a combo of what I’ve heard and what I know. The “what I know” part is from very reliable sources. You can check back later to see if anything I wrote came true, which most of it will. This isn’t something I heard from the guy standing outside the fence watching practice with his sunglasses on … and everybody’s wondering who’s dad is that, but then they realize he’s just a guy, probably associated with the Aram Mob. OK, there may be some of that.

Here we go …

At Damien, coach Greg Gano is going back to play-calling duties on offense. Last year’s offensive coordinator Ryan Merrill, who still teaches at Covina, may either join Darryl Thomas’ staff if something can be worked out, or focus on coaching his children in Little League, AYSO and basketball. As you might expect, Gano didn’t last long not calling the plays. It was something I joked with him about even before the season, because if you know him, there’s no way he’d be content even letting Norm Chow call his offense. Just how he is … So what about Dave Merrill, who was also an asst. at Damien last year? Well, he’s going back to Wilson to “oversee” the football program. What does that specifically mean and why is it needed, I’ll let you guys draw your own conclusions. I asked Merrill if he’s going to be head coach Brian Zavala’s boss and his answer was “I won’t say I’m his boss. I’m his advisor. The principal and athletic director are his bosses. I’m more somebody he can talk to. There’s nobody really on that campus he can talk football with. There are no other football coaches on campus.” … Who will replace the Merrills on Gano’s staff? The plan is for former Los Altos/New Mexico receiver Travis Brown to join the staff. Brown was at Diamond Bar last year under now-resigned coach John Martin. Gano also wanted former Los Altos/Colorado defensive back Chappelle Brown, but he has accepted at a graduate assistant gig at Colorado. But there’s nothing stopping former Los Altos standout running back Keith Brown from joining Gano’s staff, which he’s expected to do as running backs coach … Speaking of Diamond Bar, Martin’s recent resignation makes no sense to me. They brought the guy in to turn around the program and it looked like he was well on his way to doing that. Now, he resigns when it looks like they’ve got great momentum? … Over at Amat, the word is that coach Steve Hagerty has covered up the mirrors in the team’s weight room in some sort of exercise to … well, I don’t know. I’m sure it’s to get the players to focus on the football aspect of lifting and not the cosmetic side of it. … What’s up with Rosemead’s Matt Koffler? As you know, I reported that sources told me he would resign following the Panthers’ last game of the season. Since then, there have been rumors that Koffler would join Jim Singiser’s staff at Arroyo, which could create a powerhouse program in the Mid-Valley Division. Well, Koffler is still at Rosemead and word is he’s hopeful the administration will accommodate his needs. Don’t rule out anything just yet. … “Is Pasqy leaving Glendora?” How many times have I heard that? I really don’t know. My last contact with Coach Pasquarella was before Christmas and he told me “everything’s fine”. But he and I always speak in code, so he could have been talking about the weather. The natural progression is for La Puente coach and Glendora alum Brandon Rohrer to take over for Pasqy should he decide to bolt. … I’ll leave you on this last juicy tidbit: A local football standout tells me that Covina’s Vinny Venegas will transfer to West Covina where he will play his senior season. The player is convinced this will happen, but I’m not buying it at all. Not sure the Bulldogs will even be the better team next year.

West Covina honors its beloved Bulldogs …

Beejay Lee addresses the crowd on Tuesday night at city hall.


WEST COVINA – Think the celebration is over for the West Covina High School football team following its CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship won on Dec. 10?

Think again.

The Bulldogs and their fans still were in party mode on Tuesday when the City of West Covina honored the champs with a ceremony in a courtyard at City Hall.

West Covina mayor Steve Herfert spoke to the crowd before Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore called to the stage his team and announced each player by name in attendance.

“We have a tremendous support group in West Covina,” Maggiore said. “It’s the only high school in the city. The city council has been great with us.

“The community has been great. I’m extremely proud of our guys and this is another way that we can recognize them.”

West Covina capped off a 13-1 season by beating Bonita in the Southeast Division championship game at Walnut High in front of a crowd estimated at 10,000. It was the Bulldogs’ second CIF championship in seven years and second under Maggiore.

The Bulldogs began the year with a loss to Covina but reeled off 13 consecutive victories, including a Hacienda League championship.

Following Tuesday’s ceremony, those in attendance received a free meal from an In-N-Out truck. Fans got a chance to talk with players and relive the season.

“It was enough for the fans to come out every game and give us a packed house every week, but it’s even more for them to give us a celebration as far as the city, and not just the school,” West Covina senior running back Beejay Lee said. “For the city to celebrate with us, that makes it a lot more special.

“It’s fun because (the city) keeps reminding of us of the work we put in this season. Usually, with most stuff in life when you accomplish something like this, it ends really fast. We didn’t know it was going to be this big, but West Covina is a really supportive city.”

As Maggiore explained it, the football team’s championship has set the tone for the school year and electrified the campus.

“It’s big deal. Football starts off the school year and it’s a marquee sport,” Maggiore said. “When you can go and have the type of season that we had, it does mean a whole lot. The kids put in so much time and effort, so it should mean a lot to people.”

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Season in review: Covina … Grade B+

Record: 10-2
Biggest win: 27-21 over West Covina
Worst loss: 49-42 OT to Walnut
The Good: The Colts arguably arrived a year early, which is a scary thought going into next season. QB Billy Livingston got even better, as most expected. RB Gevontray Ainsworth was as advertised. WR/DB Vinny Venegas emerged as one of the top WR/DBs around. The highlight of the season is probably a tie between beating West Covina and winning the Valle Vista League. You don’t get patches for a win in Week 0, but it’s pretty obvious that’s what most people will remember the ’10 Colts by.
The Bad: It’s hard to find much wrong with the season. The loss to Walnut, although close, was a setback that kept the Colts from having an undefeated regular season. But everybody is allowed a slip up.
The Ugly: Covina’s draw in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs stunk, and it ultimately cost the Colts. Yes, everybody has to play a good team at some point in the playoffs, but getting Whittier Christian in the second round when that was really a semifinal-quality matchup was what sent the Colts packing. I think it would’ve been easier to swallow had the game actually taken place in the semis. Maybe that’s just how the Mid-Valley playoffs will be every year, but when you’re 9-1 entering the playoffs, you don’t expect to be playing another league champ from the other toughest league in the division.
Sad to see you go: WRs Remontay McClain and Randy Robledo, DB Antonio Contreras, DB Charles Cooper, RB/DB/LB Matt Murray.
What to look forward to: This is easily a top-5 team in the Trib area. QB Livingston, RB Ainsworth, WRs De La Cruz and Venegas are back. Leading tackler Johnny Padilla is back as is top lineman Nick Hynes. Scary.

Charter Oak to play La Habra in 2012 …

… that’s Kurt Scoby’s junior year, to you and I. By the way, how much will Fred will be all over that kid by the time he’s a junior/senior?

Anyway, I guess the two schools were trying to play this coming season, but it didn’t work out. But the 2012 game is a done deal, and you can bet Big Lou and Co. are already game planning (OK, may not).

Season in review: Charter Oak … Season grade: C

Record: 6-5
Biggest win: 31-17 over Damien
Worst loss: 28-21 to Glendora
The Good: If you’re me, you have to look long and hard for the good in a season that saw the Chargers lose every step-up game and basically stay wide-eyed from Week 0 thru Week 11 about the fact they got moved up in league and division. Charter Oak did take care of business against the teams it was supposed to, so that can count as good. QB Travis Santiago and WR Dennis Rufus put up great seasons, stats-wise, so that’s good also.
The Bad: So much of what’s made the CO machine go the past 10 years or so is the ability to simply reload at running back. That didn’t happen this year. The position remained inconsistent from August to November, with nobody really stepping up. That’s what happens when you’ve got a freshman, two sophomores and a converted fullback to choose from. Without a running game, CO’s easy on the eyes group of receivers were a lot easier to handle for opposing defensive coordinators.
The Ugly: Lack of a signature win. What do you want it to be? A life-and-death victory over a 3-7 South Hills team with its best player playing on one leg for the entire game? Shutting out Santa Fe 17-0? Each time CO had a big game — Glendora, Rancho, Claremont, Chino Hills, Vista Murietta, the Chargers battled hard, but lost. That isn’t Charter Oak football. And that probably won’t sit too well with Big Lou over the offseason, which means a fun time (not really) is in store for next year’s returnees.
Sad to see you go: WR Dennis Rufus, DL Charlie Avila, OL Andy Orozco, LB Tanner Gibas, OL Travis Doll, WR/TE Josiah Thropay.
What to look forward to: QB Santiago will be back along with several talented skill players — RBs Kurt Scoby, Khari Garica, Aaren Vaughns and WR Chris Gilchrist.