Charter Oak’s Travis Santiago sprains ankle at practice, may miss Thursday’s championship showdown at Chino Hills …

Charter Oak standout quarterback Travis Santiago may miss Thursday’s Sierra League championship game at Chino Hills after spraining his ankle in a freak accident before the Chargers’ practice on Wednesday afternoon.

Santiago removed his helmet and placed it next to him while he made warm-up throws prior to Wednesday’s walk-through. After getting a drink of water, he went to find his helmet and accidentally stepped on it, spraining his ankle in the process.

“It was a freaky thing,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said. “You can’t plan that.”

At Farrar’s urging, Santiago left to have x-rays performed. Results will not be known until Thursday morning, but the doctor called it a bad sprain and Santiago was placed in a walking boot and given crutches.

Farrar said that at this time he is not expecting Santiago to play on Thursday. Sophomore Kory Brown will likely get the start.

“I’m really not expecting him to play, but Travis is a tough kid,” Farrar said. “If his doctor says he’s OK, his family says he’s OK and Travis says he’s OK, then we’ll go with him.

“It’s a doctor and family decision, not a coaches decision. We’ll be OK. We have 45 other football players on this team.”

Charter Oak did get some good news, though, on Thursday. Sophomore running back Kurt Scoby is expected to play, but will not be at 100 percent. Scoby suffered a sprained ankle in last week’s loss to Damien and has not practiced this week.

RETRACTION/CORRECTION: Bishop Amat practicing for a game it may not play …

The following statement in my article from Nov. 9 “Bishop Amat practicing for a game it may not play” is incorrect:

The Lancers’ regular-season schedule is over. The team is on a bye week and its playoff fate is up in the air. And if you go out to Amat any afternoon this week, the Lancers are in pads practicing for a future they don’t know for sure exists.

I wrote that the Lancers were practicing in pads, which would be a violation of CIF rules. I wrote that on my own volition, not through observation. I’m confident that Amat is in full compliance with any CIF rules as to practice regulations during a bye week.

I apologize for any inconvenience or problems this may have caused Bishop Amat.

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 after Week 9 …

The CO brain trust must find a way to make Chino Hills look big … and slow.

1. Charter Oak (8-1) — Have to hope speed outdoes size vs. Chino Hills.
2. West Covina (8-1) — A little drama to end the regular season is healthy.
3. Chino Hills (6-3) — Have to hope size outdoes speed vs. Charter Oak.
4. Covina (8-1) — Rivalry game vs. Northview is a nice prep for the postseason.
5. La Habra (6-3) — Will Troy meet the same fate as the rest of the Freeway?
6. Bishop Amat (6-4) — Defense did its job in league. Now Lancers need luck.
7. St. Francis (7-2) — Win over St. Paul punches postseason ticket, IMHO.
8. Arcadia (7-2) — PHS tried to shoot it out with Apaches and found out.
9. San Dimas (7-2) — Saints get their shot at Mid-Valley wildcard Pomona.
10. Damien (6-3) — If Spartans make playoffs, things may not be pretty.
11. St. Paul (6-3) — Have to believe that Swordsmen were better than this.
12. Whittier Christian (6-3) — Amazing showing after losing so much from ’10.
13. Arroyo (8-1) — Hoping to deflate the feel-good story that is El Monte.
14. La Puente (9-0) — Barrientos is running wild again at just the right time.
15. Santa Fe (5-4) — Mahlstede Magic could bring a special postseason run.
16. Monrovia (6-3) — Big Bob has Wildcats’ ticket punched to the finals.
17. La Serna (7-2) — Defense could carry Lancers a ways again in Southeast.
18. Diamond Ranch (5-4) — Cue up the “us against the world speech” from Roddy.
19. Pomona (6-3) — Loser of San Dimas game faces tough test on road in first round.
20. El Monte (6-3) — Riding B-Mart as far as he’ll take them.
21. Azusa (6-3) — Warriors hoping to take Aztecs’ crown. Can’t wait!
22. Bonita (5-4) — Yes, I’m scared to buy back in on ‘Cats. But they’re on a little roll.
23. Pasadena (5-4) — Win over Muir would put season back on track.
24. San Gabriel (5-4) — Here’s another one I will take credit for.
25. Alhambra (7-2) — Have to believe Moors are better than shown on Friday.

Charter Oak RB Kurt Scoby has badly sprained ankle, doubtful for Thursday’s showdown at Chino Hills …

Charter Oak sophomore running back Kurt Scoby has a badly sprained ankle and may not play Thursday when the Chargers visit Chino Hills for the Sierra League championship

Scoby injured the ankle late in Friday’s win over Damien. X-rays were negative, so there’s no break. But Scoby is on crutches.

The Chargers would likely use a running back-by-committee approach against Chino Hills if Scoby isn’t able to play.

Muir head coach Ken Howard charged with misdemeanor battery, remains on leave …

Muir football coach Ken Howard was charged with misdemeanor battery on Thursday. Here is the story from the Star-News.

Aram’s take: Keep in mind that Howard is only “charged” and not convicted. But it sounds like this is going to get real ugly, with talk of federal law suits. I just don’t see Howard surviving this situation. And just reading between the lines, it sounds like the school has somewhat left Howard out to dry on this. The article says Howard was not on-staff at the school, but yet he’s on administrative leave? How does that add up? Is he only on leave as a football coach? And if he’s not on staff, then what’s he doing on campus? Odd. Anyway, Howard has always been great to myself and the Star-News as far as access to the program. Hopefully this thing resolves well for all parties concerned, but I get the feeling you can add Howard to the ever-growing list of coaches who resigned or were let go recently for a myriad of circumstances. Like I said in a column last year, these coaches are walking on eggshells with the ways things are now. These are the times we live in.

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.”