Damien head coach Greg Gano weighs in on Charter Oak being No. 1 and Travis Santiago … and tries to put Aram in his place …

I caught Coach Gano via cell phone at lunch today trying to get his thoughts on Friday’s big game at Charter Oak. The four-time CIF champ was in rare form and full of good takes. He even zinged me. That’s what happens when it’s Farrar-Gano week.

Gano On Charter Oak: They have the best talent of any team in the Valley. They’re the most talented team we’ve seen all year (Keep in mind Gano’s Spartans played Amat). They’re even more talented than Rancho Cucamonga.” … who the Chargers lost to earlier this season.

(I stopped Gano at that point and reminded him he hadn’t seen Rancho. His answer? “Doesn’t matter, I’ve seen them on film.”) Fair enough.

When I tried to joust Gano on the topic of Rancho-CO, he got a little sour at me and said “Do you want to talk football or do you want to talk like you’re a newspaper guy?”.

Moving on …

Gano on Santiago: “The kid is the top quarterback in the Valley, bar none. He’s the best quarterback I’ve seen in a long time and he’s the best quarterback they’ve ever had throwing the ball. There’s no question. He’s a weapon.

“You go into a game trying to contain that guy and you can’t contain him. I think everybody they’ve played has said the same thing. And guess what, 63 points later they’re still saying the same thing, ‘We should have contained him.'”

Aram’s take: Wish I could be there on Friday night to see it. There’s nothing like Gano and Farrar pretending to like each other. Respect each other, sure. Like? … I digress. Anyway, Fred will get the assignment, partly because I don’t want any argument from him when its time to make the hard decisions about the All-Valley team. And anyway, I’ve made a pact with myself to see just about every Valley team this season, and I will get a chance to add Diamond Bar to that list on Friday. And then Azusa and La Puente. I don’t need any convincing about Charter Oak. Remember, I’m the guy who was telling you all who’s No.1 since summer. And hey, that’s something Gano gave me credit for by saying “You were right about that.”

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  • Amat Bully

    Aram, i been telling you also that you were right about that but i keep forgetting im just a blogger LOL….

    Keep up the good work Aram

  • D-Mo

    Hard to stay humble isn’t it AB, but how great has it been to have QBs like Chris Allen and Travis Santiago? Add to that a duo like Adam M. and AJ P. in Scoby and Vaughns.
    Yeah, Rancho got the win this year, but they better hope we don’t see them again in a few weeks.

  • Rancher Ron

    What is this the final scene from the Bad News Bears????All that’s missing is for one of you Booger eating Morons to throw your Beer at Rancho and tell the,”Yeah, well just wait until next year….”

  • AMAT 73

    It’s all speculation until the game is played. I believe the Saints were suppose to tear the Rams a new one but look what happen there. It’s just too bad we don’t get to see the game the whole valley wants. How about posing the same question to Gano after this weeks game when he actually takes the field against CO then having played both he will have a better view on the subject after palying both teams. And really , what do you expect him to say about AMAT . I’m looking for a big upset this Friday . Damien is very hungry and after that game Friday was literally taken from their pocket they are a dangerous team and Gano needs to put a big feather in his cap . But you are correct , CO has a lot of talent and should be the number 1 team at this point in the SGV’s rankings.

  • CO-Damien says

    Gano is predictable at coaching. If anyone watched the the game against Chino Hills, Gano runs most of the same players on both offense and defense. The players were huffing and puffing by half time. In the third qtr, there were players on Damien who’s legs were tightening and stretching during the game, but Gano doesn’t have the depth CO has. If I’m CO, I would use that to my advantage. CO has depth on their bench, they can easily weardown Damien.
    Gano is predictable, he won’t change his players. I bet on seeing the same outcome. Every Damien game played, the other team comes back in the second half. Gano uses his linebackers as fullbacks and tightend, they don’t rest. He uses his corners as receivers they don’t rest. If you look close enough, the receivers are too slow in the second half to get open.
    Gano is predictable.

  • Spartan Frustration

    You nailed it right on the head. It is frustrating to see our team lose in the end of big games. Gano is very predictable, as many of us parents see in the stands.

    I really don’t think we stand a chance to Co this Friday. If we lose by less than 14 I will be shocked. I think CO is the best team we will face, even better than Amat.

    It feels like we are stuck with a coach that is trying to force his game plan into games where that old game plan has no place. Our boys are playing their hearts out, but they are being led by an old horse that needs to retire to the pastures.

    Say what you want about my comments, but I tell it like it is.

  • Depth

    Damien has depth, but it is on the bench. The young coaches handling the WR & DB’s could be using some of that depth in certain plays and downs to give the other guy’s a breather. The same “guy’s” are on the field every single play. Kick Off’s, Punts, Punt Returns, Offense , Defense. There are some young guy’s who could be getting a little experience a play here or a play there to give these guy’s a breather. But the “young coaches” don’t do that. Take 10 or so plays off resting and maybe they have some legs in the 2nd half. Every game the same way. Damien comes out swinging in the first half, then for some reason, slows down in the second half. Might even find out some of those other guy’s standing on the sidelines could be effective also…

  • gotcha

    Agree with Damien having depth…they did try to throw to #29 but time and time again he was either double covered or ball will not reach him. Always evident at practice that the young gun can’t throw the ball to his fast receivers…..great with the short passes. Pucci is a great QB no doubt but a young one…he really does not have the arm to throw bombs at least not yet (maybe next year)Gano needs to utilize Zaldivar for the depth throws.
    I’m glad someone else noticed that some of the players were very tired at 2nd half #20 and #11 were looking very tired and cramping. These two boys work hard and are great players but going both ways and on special teams really tired them out. Chino Hills was a win but again coaching was at fault.
    Gano needs to stop and take a breather himself to be able to see what is really going on during the game.

  • Game Time

    Pucci can throw a bomb. He has an arm and he can throw the quick pass. The problem is it’s not going to get any better. This kid is an old sophomore, he ain’t getting any bigger but with time will have defense awareness. Damien has no choice but to be predictable as they are limited in the pocket since many passes are tipped or blocked which is why they run the quick slant or deep pass.

    I agree that Damien does have “some” depth but aren’t being utilized. We need to give the regulars a break to catch a second wind.

  • Damien coaches suck

    Coaching is the problem…..
    We have none, all you need to do is go to ONE of Damien’s practice and you have seen them all. We have been doing the same thing, same routine, carbon-copy practice for the past 5 months. It’s a joke, not ONE kid has gotten the opportunity to compete for a spot, once they pencil-in the starter’s that was it. We have at least 10 kids that could play a nice role on this team and they havent been given the chance, half of the team stands around at practice. NO COACHING at all

  • Gano lost control

    Gano has no control of this team. He let’s these idiot coaches make decisions on who’s playing and who’s not playing based on what ? Competition ? No-one compete’s for a spot at Damien, the senior QB hasnt gotten a chance to earn his spot back, same with WR’s and please explain to me how we cannot find someone to play safety, nothing against the two transfers but I havent seen anything from them that tells me they should start every-game. We have a lot of young talent, and some seniors that need to be given the chance to play at PRACTICE and show what they can do. we have two games left and maybe it’s too late now.

  • Damien fan

    I will tell you what the problem is at Damien :

    Fair : Never makes adjustments, runs the same things and the kids don’t relate to him, he needs to retire.

    Lopez : Has no idea what he’s doing, runs the same drills every single practice, he’s way over his head, not ready to be a varsity coach

    Estrada : Well, just look at him (that’s your strenght and conditioning coach). The kids are not in shape, how can you be doing ten yard sprints. What a joke.

  • Gladiator Daze

    You Damien fans are a crack up! c.o. is the best team we will face this year? How do you know? You haven’t even played c.o. this year and already your conceading that they are better than you? I hope they (c.o.) drop 50+ on you guys. The spartans have turned into a bunch of whinny a$$ football babies w/meddlesome, over bearing parents who sound like the REAL cause of discord over in Sparta!

  • TURNED INTO ???????

    Turned into a bunch of whinny a$$ , they have always been that and more . Nothing new out of Damien , why do you think they are the only Catholic school in a public school league ?????? . Looks like they need old coach FC to take over the program . By they way he seems to have dissappeared along with rah,rah,rah Gano posts . Maybe the old warhorse has let him down .

  • Wow

    After reading these posts, if I didn’t know any better, I would think that Damien’s record was 0-8 as opposed to 6-2.

  • the OC

    Why is it that almost every thread there is an Amat fan telling people that they play no one? i mean come on your starting to sound a bit repetitive.

  • AMAT 73

    the oc ,
    As far as I can see I am the only AMAT fan to have posted on this thread and my post made no mention of any team not playing anyone . Why come on this thread with that if it is not posted on here. At least go to a thread where you find one of those posts . This thread seems more like a let’s get Gano out of Damien then anything else.

  • Jason Segal

    the OC – because it remains to be true. Is your name Sean?

  • the OC

    Amat 73
    its not saying exactly what i put but you will still find it on every blog and im from the OC where real football is played, not knocking the SGV but Amat fans need to stop beating on there chest.

    Aram T said

    “If you really want to play competitive football and have an opportunity to compete for a position every day, then you know where to transfer to…


  • Damien Person

    “Competition ? No-one compete’s for a spot at Damien, the senior QB hasnt gotten a chance to earn his spot back,…”

    Ummm… wasn’t he out for a month with mono?

  • The U

    Bottom Line is Damien’s Senior Football Parents are a bunch of whiner’s….Most of them went to Damien because they knew their kids werent going to be able compete for a starting job at the high schools nearest their homes…Senior QB lost his starting spot prior to claiming he had mono, therefore upon his return to the team he earned his spot back (WHICH IS THE BACK-UP)
    As far as competing for a spot goes, I believe more 1 on 1’s in practice will help eliminate some of the whining….IT’s hard to argue with the coaches decision on personnel, when their youngsters are 6-2 and most likely headed to a CIF berth compared to the results of the Senior class…Time for daddy’s to wake up and realize not everyone is going to get a D-1 scholarship in Football, and if this was the case you wouldn’t have sent them to Damien anyways.

  • AMAT 73

    I think that post had more to do with being able to win a position by what you put on the field as opposed to what bloggers say about how it’s done at Damien . Competitive football could be read in the same manner as in competing for position not about who one’s team plays. I love your “I’m from the oc where real football is played , not knocking the SGV but” so where is it you go on Fridays to see real football ???????? As far as I know we also play real football in the SGV but depending from what part of the oc and who you root for your statement is debatable also .

  • Damien Dad

    What the hell is the U ?

    Are you from the University of Miami ? 1st of all parents don’t send their kids to Damien to get D1 scholerships, we send them because they are going to college anyways, I have a senior & Freshmen at Damien and the only complaint I hear is about the opportunity to compete and earn a spot, you sound like you’re on the outside looking in, if so stay out of it. If the only hope for your kid to go to college is by playing football, then you failed him.

  • tothepoint

    @Damien Dad: LMAO Good point! agree!!! The U….is in lala land!!. He needs to look at Damien’s College lists.

  • more total teams in OC too

    OC – are Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran in the OC? you might want to ask them about what kind of “real football” Amat played the last time they faced us. Amat beat OLu in a year they won the Trinity and sent tthe Monarchs packing in the playoffs. So unless you’re from Servite you have NO bragging rights right now. One team does not a county make.

  • the OC

    more total teams in OC too said and Amat 73

    im an Edison alum and believe me we gave all we had against Servite but they were the better team that night. But we are one of the two teams to defeat them in the last 2 years. But i love SGV football i now live in the SGV but still rots for my Chargers.

  • Participant?

    man OC, you’re hurting. if Edison was in the SGV that NonSense character would be ALL over you for not winning a championship game since 1980. amat has you beat by 15 years! LOL!

  • Checking In

    Gano is “stale” as a coach, and the play calling is obvious and extremely predictable. Damien is about as boring a team to watch as Chaffey—-and they are atrocious.

    Damien was, at one time, known for their offensive innovation and aggressive defense.

    That, unfortunately, is a thing of the past.

  • Wow, 1 play away from being 7-1 and the guy is horrible???
    Get a life your coach knows waaaay more about football than you do.

  • the OC

    yeah he probably would but then he’ll show some type of respect because unlike Amat the Chargers actually makes it far in the pac5.

  • CO-Damien said:

    Gano is predictable. Like I said earlier, if every team Damien played caught on to his same players going both ways earlier in the game, I’m sure Damien would not be 6-2. Every team caught on too late and Damien won some, but lost two.
    CO will not allow Damien to get a start off the ball. The problem will be Gano won’t change his game and doesn’t have the depth to play others. He chose to keep his bench “on the bench”.
    Now he going to try to move the ball by playing the short plays. Five yards gains. Hopefully, Pucci can sustain that game against CO.
    You would think Gano had enough common sense to start using some of the bench players during practice, but again, you can’t teach an old horse new tricks. Gano is predictable.

  • CO-Damien said:

    Gano is predictable. Like I said earlier, if every team Damien played caught on to his same players going both ways earlier in the game, I’m sure Damien would not be 6-2. Every team caught on too late and Damien won some, but lost two.
    CO will not allow Damien to get a start off the ball. The problem will be Gano won’t change his game and doesn’t have the depth to play others. He chose to keep his bench “on the bench”.
    Now he going to try to move the ball by playing the short plays. Five yards gains. Hopefully, Pucci can sustain that game against CO.
    You would think Gano had enough common sense to start using some of the bench players during practice, but again, you can’t teach an old horse new tricks. Gano is predictable.

  • Going both ways is not that big of a deal in HS. It should be expected of your best players.

  • St. Lucy Dad

    There’s a reason coaches don’t put in their bench players and leave in their starters. THEY ARE BENCH PLAYERS! It sounds like there are alot of disgruntled football players at Damien who aren’t getting much playing time. Welcome to the real world. It’s obvious your little johnny isn’t as good as you think he is. You mean to tell me there are better football players at Damien sitting on the bench not playing because of favoritism? You really think a coach plays a kid over another player who is better because his dad is in Gano’s ear at parctice? Maybe it’s just that you can’t stand the fact that all these “small” football players are better than you or your kid! I have to agree with the U. You Damien parents sound like you are parents of St. Lucy girls crying cause your kid didn’t make the cheer squad.

  • CO-Damien said:

    When you got kids cramping on the field during third and fourth qtr in front of the your opponents sideline,they are no longer your best players to go both ways. They couldn’t even run faster than their linemen.

    St. Lucy’s Dad:
    Coaches who teach and prepare their kids shouldn’t have bench players. True coaches go to their bench with players who are just as good as their starters. It is very apparent Gano does not have this skill set. That’s why he had to go out and get recruits. He doesn’t know how to teach and prepare his bench. If you haven’t seen a CO game, who will see what a true coach should do. CO coach sends in many players from the bench and they play just as hard and determined to win as the starters. Go is predictable.

  • The U

    Damien Dad, You must be one of those senior parents I am talking about…If you read the post, you will see it is intended for only a select few SENIOR FOOTBALL PARENTS who want to whine and bi**h about why little johnny isn’t playing..Has nothing to do with your Academics, other sports or underclassmen on the football team…Those with a little sense know why YOU parents whom i’m talking about sent your kids their in the first place…Enjoy watching little johnny pick up the pylons after practice and continue bit**ing or better yet confronting coaches after a game in the locker in front of other kids..

  • St. Lucy Dad


    Just go to max preps, look at the stats for Damien. Look at how many players are double digit in tackles. Look how many players have tackles in a game. There are plenty of kids playing, I’m just sick of all the Damien daddy’s crying because junior isn’t starting or getting enough playing time. Crying because a couple of players from Paraclete took their son’s starting job. At 6-2, it seems like Gano knows what he’s doing. There is still the possibility that Damien can win a co-championship in the Sierra league.

  • Damien Dad

    The U :

    I am a senior & freshemen parent, never complained to a coach about either one of my boys, I have heard complaints from Junior and Sophomore parents, everyone will always complain, it’s part of high school. The point is, kids attend Damien High School for the education and because 95% of them go straight to a four year school…… Sorry I can’t write this in crayon for you to understand. COLLEGE BOUND

  • Sierra League Fan

    Gano is feeling the pressure to win at Damien. The parents at private schools feel so “entitled” just because the pay the $9,000 a year or whatever to send their kids there. They think that they have power over the coaches and can b*tch when things don’t go their way. The Damien parents need to wake up and realize their kids are going to DAMIEN…not Servite, O LU, Mater Dei, or even Amat. Like the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. Damine is average football program in a public school league…nothing more, nothing less. They thought Gano would be the savior….he is passed his prime. He has tried to recruit, but the recruits he is getting aren’t “program changing” kids.
    Last week, Damine played not to lose in the second half. the first half they were given a few “gifts” by Chino Hills and took advantage of them. The second half they didn’t get those gifts and were unable to score. Chino Hills made the adjustments needed to stop Damien’s offense and Gano made zero halftime adjustments. Then with less than a minute left and facing a 3rd an 33….Damien played man coverage instead of a prevent and got burned….that was a HUGE coaching error. Like I said before, you get what you pay for.

  • Game Time

    Look at what Damien has become. Senior parents crying foul over playtime. Junior/Sophomore Parents defending their Napolean complex, attempting to stand tall behind an anonymous blog. Disgruntled parents/fans calling out coaches behind the same nameless blog.

    Truth: There is not one person on that Damien team that is D1. Not the seniors on or off the field, not the “stars” of the show going both ways or even one way. The transfers might get to play at a JC. Truth be told, support your team. Be happy for the moments that were successful and don’t dig to deep for when there is less than successful moments. Enjoy the season. No one thought Damien would be 6-2.

    As for Coach Estrada, that man gives 100% of himself. You or your kid could learn a few lessons from this man. You have no idea what it takes to be loyal or to be a team.

  • Game Time that’s the best post I’ve seen in a long time. Hit the nail on the head.

  • D-Mo

    Game Time, amen to that.

  • DP

    I’m a Charter Oak fan, and it’s true that COHS has an explosive offense, but their defense is a little suspect this year. I mean, lowly Ayala scored 34 points against us (fortunately we scored 62). I can tell you that if COHS is not ready to play this week, they could very easily get beat by Damien… especially if they are looking past Damien to the Chino Hills game (in what could be the league championship game). And Gano has a history of getting his team up when they play Charter Oak. Should be interesting.

  • Charter Oak On My Mind

    Cal Prep State Ranking:
    #32 Charter Oak (Covina, CA)
    Inland Division (II) 7-1 3-0 (1st) 5-1 45.8 25.7

    Cal Prep PROJECTION:
    Fri 11/04
    Damien at Charter Oak (Covina, CA), 7:00pm
    Projected Final: Charter Oak (Covina, CA) 40 – 21

    I can tell you that the CO Chargers are ready to play this week. And, they will very easily get beat Damien…As they have the last several years!


  • Just The Facts


    Thr3ee Reasons why Amat will LOSE on Friday against NOTRE DAME:

    1) Offensive Line is Very small. It got even smaller when Hauser decided to “Take His Talents NorthEast!”

    2) Defensive Line is Soft, Small, and has NO back-ups

    3) QB is a sophomore with no experience reading defenses and can’t throw the bal past 15 yards with accuracy!

    I present the following as EVIDENCE!

    NOTRE DAME 35 – lancers 14

    Case Closed, Amat Nation!

    Happy Thanksgiving…


  • Just askin’

    Facts – what does that have to do with Damien/Charter Oak?

  • damien upsets

    last year: claremont beats chino hills & charter oak, chino hills crushed damien, damien come back last game to beat claremont! Now that’s how you earn respect. All these cocky c.o fans here counting damien out already will learn all it takes is heart and good coaching to create another upset. Go Spartans play a whole 4 qtrs no matr what! CO will regret their simple schedule with their big stats..

  • Coaching????

    Damien upsets,
    “all it takes is heart and good coaching to create another upset”

    I agree 100%….. But where is Damien going to get the coaching???? Last week they had chino hills 3rd and 33 with less than a minute left and they are playing man coverage…..Really? I wouldn’t expect that from a freshmen coach.


    Where is Damien and Gano’s biggest suppporter. You would think with such a big game this week we would hear from FC on Damien’s chances tonight and also talking up Gano

  • CO-Damien

    Let’s see if Gano can remember to make good calls tonite. I would guess not much will change. I agree, it will take heart and coaching, but if you don’t have both against a good solid team, chances are slim you will win.
    Also, Damien Fan: If you don’t know Coach Estrada, he is a great person who will give 100% to the kids. Coach Estrada’s body type has nothing to do with his work ethic and heart. I would support him always.

    Gano and the rest of his staff, not the same case. Gano will be held responsible for his actions.

  • Where’s jhykron???

    Oh jhykron where are you??? I thought you would run to daddy’s defense by now. Guess u can’t defend him like he can’t defend at the end of the game.

  • Old Coach

    Well this is very funny,

    All of this talk of lack of coaching and parents up in arms over their son not playing. Times have not changed at all from the time I coached at the Big D. Believe me coach Gano and his staff are very capabable and with continued support will make Damien very competative year in, year out. I1m not suprised by how these parents conduct themselves. They did this when I was coaching there from 89to93.

    More over,on several occasions I was approached at different times by parents of kids I was coaching and givien the $100 to $200 hand shake to play their son`s, which I responded by letting them know their son will only play if he can beat out the guy ahead of him, which was not going to happen. By the way I, did not except the money because my integrity and hard work meant more to me than any money offered.

    As you can see, I did it for the love of the game and to teach young men how to deal with life through football. I had a great time at Damien and will never forget it.

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