Recruiting updates … COACHES, drop me a line …

The responses to Wednesday’s article that provided a recruiting update on some of the players in the area was outstanding.

One coach in the area said that a college recruiter/assistant coach told him that a group of recruiters/coaches got off the plane at LAX on Wednesday morning and saw my story on Fred’s blog and immediately started making calls.

That’s great news!

As I’ve told all of you before, you would be astonished by some of the major names in college and pro sports who have told me they read these SGVN blogs. Astonished! But don’t be. They like it, too.

Say what you want about the blogs, but they are undeniably great exposure for our SGV/Whittier athletes.

So, I am now asking all coaches or even readers to contact me either via email (aram.tolegian@sgvn.com) or thru comments on this blog about players being recruited in ALL OF OUR COVERAGE AREAS (Star-News, Trib and Whittier) and I will certainly be writing more stories like that and possibly even get the opinions of some scouting services.

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West Covina to host Chris Rix Christmas Combine this Saturday!!!

What: Chris Rix Christmas Combine
When: Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Who: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers and Defensive Backs. TOP GUN Division for HS and College players will run from 9am-12pm. YOUNG GUN Division for athletes from ages 8-13 will run from 1pm-3pm.
Where: West Covina High School-ThybergField
Cost: The cost is $30. There are scholarships opportunities available for families in need. Part of the proceeds from the camp will go to charity for the holiday season.

To register call (626) 646-9594 or (626) 872-0068 and also email athlete info to ChampionTraining@live.com

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Glendora hires Jerry Lewallen as head coach …

Glendora has hired Jerry Lewallen to be its new football coach.

Lewallen was the defensive coordinator of the Tartans freshman team last season. He was in the running to replace former varsity head coach Mark Pasquarella last year before Todd Quinsey got the job. Quinsey resigned after one season.

Lewallen is a teacher at Goddard Middle School in Glendora, so that alleviates the complication of supplying the new coach with a teaching job, which was ultimately why Quinsey left.

Final All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 …

1. West Covina (13-1) — Most dominant postseason run we might ever see.
2. Charter Oak (10-2) — Being a top-8 team in this year’s Inland Div. is saying something.
3. Monrovia (11-3) — One of the top programs in SoCal after back-to-back titles.
4. La Habra (9-4) — CIF title run was ended, but losses came to some pretty nice names.
5. Bishop Amat (6-5) — Was right there in second half with PAC-5 champs.
6. Chino Hills (6-5) — A point away from being in Inland semis in a rebuilding year.
7. St. Francis (9-3) — Can say they were ousted in second round by solid Arroyo Grande.
8. Damien (7-4) — Sparty made big strides and may be even better next season.
9. St. Paul (7-3) — Hard to see this team miss the playoffs, but that’s life in the Mission.
10. Covina (11-2) — Gave M-Town an OK test, but still came up short of the finals.
11. San Gabriel (9-5) — Mats exceeded expectations with epic playoff run.
12. La Mirada (8-5) — Certainly had some impressive moments this season.
13. Arcadia (9-3) — Coming up short of the semis was a major buzzkill.
14. La Serna (10-4) — Finals disaster aside, pretty impressive for a rebuilding year.
15. San Dimas (10-3) — Saints gambled and lost, but at least they were at the table.
16. Arroyo (10-2) — Final-minute loss to SG really stings after Mats reach finals.
17. Muir (8-5) — ‘Stangs got hot late, but putting up only 3 on La Serna proves my point.
18. Los Altos (8-4) — Amazing turnaround, but now the expectations are back, right?
19. Whittier Christian (7-5) — Strong season considering what was lost from ’10.
20. Cantwell (8-4) — Showed some fight at times.
21. Azusa (8-4) — Montview dominance in tact and playoff showing was solid.
22. Alhambra (9-3) — Moors probably thinking they’ll be next year’s San Gabriel.
23. Santa Fe (6-5) — Still perplexed by what happened against Muir.
24. Pasadena (6-6) — With Brandon Cox back, are ‘Dogs early Pacific favorites?
25. Maranatha (8-3) — You win 8 games and everybody is disappointed.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT

Sunday Morning Quarterback: The offseason is here and the fun is just beginning …

I thought Big Bob was gonna come out of his chair when I got near the Monrovia victory bell BEFORE the Mid-Valley championship game. Aram and the M-Town bell was such a compelling photo, Chris Rix felt the need to retweet the stunning image to his minions last night. Speaking of Rix, he may have something coming for us all to enjoy this week. Stay tuned on this blog for that … Congrats obviously go out to the Valley’s two CIF championship programs: West Covina and Monrovia. OK enough, let’s get to some buzz. It seems I can’t go anywhere these days without hearing the Kurt Scoby-to-Monrovia rumors. I guess some people are unfazed by all the eligibility denials under the current CIF guidelines these days. It’s an interesting thought: Scoby was a Duarte Hawk, he’s got ties to M-Town, M-Town needs a RB for next season … but he’d still have to get eligible with CIF. Speaking of which, I’m not alone in hoping the current transfer rules are abolished this spring. It makes for fun reporting when dudes are moving all over the place. The rich might get richer at West Covina this offseason. Two of Antonio “Noodles” Hull’s Snoop Youth League teammates are reportedly considering the Mike Maggiore’s empire among a couple of private schools for their high school destinations. Although they’d be frosh next year, they’re reportedly old enough and good enough to be varsity players. Speaking of the Noodler, word was that he gave West Covina’s first-team defense more trouble last week in practice than La Serna QB Frankie Palmer did in the actual game. One West Covina coach said “we couldn’t tackle him, he just kept getting away”. Let’s see how the offseason goes, but my money says that’s your West Covina next year. Speaking of Coach Maggiore (muh-jor-ee), I made the mistake of playing catch with him during warmups for the Southeast Division championship. I had no clue that cold night + cold pigskin + under-thrown ball = sprained middle finger for Aram. I showed Maggiore the damage on the sideline at the Monrovia game on Saturday night … over and over again. Tip Sanders’ firing … yes, I said firing … and Todd Quinsey’s resignation are just the tip of the iceberg in what should be an amazing offseason of coaching changes/moves. Speaking of which, I spoke to former Duarte coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. at the Mid-Valley championship and he said he might be making a return to the sideline. It won’t be as a head coach, but it will be as a defensive coordinator. I asked where, and Crutch said “Somewhere from Pomona to Pasadena“. That tells me little other than Crutch will be in the coverage area, which is a good thing. New Duarte coach Jason Martin is related to former Muir standout Demetrice Martin, who is currently an assistant coach at his alma mater Washington. Back to Charter Oak, in addition to Amat the Chargers might be playing Tesoro next season. That sounds good and that may be, but where you callin from, what city? I guess that would certainly get the Chargers ready for the Sierra and the Inland, but hopefully Big Lou and staff realize that depth is an issue when you’re in the 626 and competing against the 909 (or 951) in Noviembre. Like a lot of people, I’m wondering what will show up on CO’s doorstep this offseason in the form of a QB. If Monrovia was able to land a Blake Heyworth from St. Francis, then you gotta think prospects might be coming from as far away as the OC to throw the ball Aaren Vaughns and Bryce Bobo next season. OK, maybe the OC is a stretch, but you just know somebody is coming from somewhere. Looking back to the summer passing circuit, which feels like just yesterday, I’m wondering if it showed us anything at all. For every Charter Oak that flashed what great things were coming once the season started, there was a West Covina, which lost its first two games of the SGV Shootout and made a short afternoon of things. The Bulldogs were literally eating tacos while the rest of the tourney carried on. Diamond Bar won it … Azusa was runner up. See what I mean? One result that meant something and one result that meant nothing. But it does make for good blog fodder. Back to West Covina and Monrovia. It’s gonna be hard to see them get bumped up in division when league changes won’t be taking place this year. Remember, it’s not just the team that gets bumped up, but the entire league. I could go on and on, but I won’t (for now). You’re gonna wanna keep it here, though, because things are funna to get interesting very soon …

Monrovia goes from good to powerhouse …

Before we get to my column from Monrovia’s championship win, let me say that M-Town puts on a great show. The new stadium is great. Principal Jackson, the faculty members I rapped with and the fans were all great. I guess I don’t mind donating $5 for parking after all. Awesome to see bloggers New York, Kennedy Bryant and Big Bob, among others, out there. The Wildcats have one of the best and most passionate fan bases in the SGV.

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

There are two undeniable signs that pop up when a high school football program makes the jump from being simply good to a powerhouse.

The first is CIF championships and the second is the presence of blue-chip talent on the roster.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the back-to-back Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia Wildcats.

For the second consecutive year, the Wildcats preside over a division that surely won’t make headlines outside of the 626 area code, but that really isn’t the point. The way the Wildcats have taken ownership of the division and the caliber of players they’ve done it with is.

Saturday’s 53-14 win over San Gabriel was something most fans expected. But why was Monrovia’s stadium packed if the result simply was a formality?

The answer goes back to the original point: championships and blue-chip recruits. Fans want to see the combination of both, and right now nobody around is doing it better than Monrovia. And Saturday’s game certainly was a spectacle, if not a coronation.

For years, the Wildcats and Rio Hondo League were buried in a CIF wasteland. They were in over their heads all throughout the 1990s and for part of the 2000s. Top-notch teams of the past with some super recruits of their own came up short because even they were in over their heads.

Maybe there’s been some sort of over-adjustment because it’s become quite obvious the Wildcats lay over the Mid-Valley Division. That’s not a bad thing. It’s simply proof that this program is ready for bigger and better. And it’s very apparent Monrovia now can handle bigger and better.

At most schools, losing a quarterback such as last year’s star Nick Bueno would be too much to overcome. At Monrovia, the beat goes on. Bueno wasn’t the only standout the Wildcats lost from last year, but even those were replaced.

Super recruit Ellis McCarthy will be gone next year, as will receiver Luke Williams, running back Marquise Bias and all-purpose threat De’Shawn Ramirez. It won’t matter because, as Saturday showed, there’s a star-in-the-making in linebacker George Frazier and a strong-armed quarterback in Blake Heyworth, who can more than carry the show.

It took the Wildcats some time to put things together this season.

Heyworth didn’t hit his stride until October. McCarthy nursed nagging injuries. Both lines didn’t start to dominate until after they had a few nonleague rehearsals.

By November, the Wildcats simply were intoxicating to watch. The big plays and big hits made several good programs that stood in Monrovia’s way during the playoffs look silly.

Monrovia clearly is to a point where it simply reloads. How many teams around these parts can say that? Longtime Wildcats fans always knew they had a potential dynasty if the circumstances were right. With head coach Ryan Maddox at the helm and CIF paying better attention to how to properly place the Wildcats, that moment clearly has arrived.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT

Damien wanted Monrovia in Week 1 next year, but will instead play Orange Lutheran …

Damien has settled on playing Orange Lutheran in Week 1 next season after being unable to line up a game with Monrovia that same week.

The Spartans made a run at trying to play Monrovia, which already had the date filled. So now Orange Lutheran will be Damien’s season opener (at home).

Aram’s take: Wow, O-Lu coming to the foothills/SGV/Inland Valley. That’s a nice test right off the bat. It’s too bad no game against Monrovia could be made. Damien has a LOAD of returning starters next season and who knows what other improvements they’ll make this offseason.

Duarte fires Tip Sanders, defensive coordinator Jason Martin to take over …

Duarte has fired football coach Tip Sanders after three seasons at the school.

The Falcons went winless in Sanders’ first two seasons, but came alive in 2011 with a 6-3 record and almost made the Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

Jason Martin, who was the defensive coordinator this past season, will take over as head coach.

Sanders was 6-22 at the school. He stepped into a bad situation in 2009 after previous head coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. was let go despite a very successful run, causing a mass exodus of the program’s top talent.

Sanders struggled through low player turnout in first two seasons, but the Falcons turned things around this past season.

One of Sanders’ assistant coaches is expected to take over.

West Covina 84!!!!!!, La Serna 21 …

WHITTIER — Dominant isn’t a strong enough word to describe it.

In fact, rather than use words, how about I suggest you think of the image of a lion hunting down a three-legged gazelle to eat for dinner?

That’s probably the best way to describe what the West Covina High School football team did to La Serna in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship.

Like a lion deciding it’s hungry when a gazelle happens to stroll by, West Covina versus La Serna was over before it started. The Bulldogs got off the bus at a stadium not big enough to house their fans, to play on a field that was supposed to give their opponent a better chance and ran roughshod over La Serna to the tune of a 84-21 final score. The 84 points were a record for a CIF championship game.

“Is this real?” West Covina defensive end Justen Meaders asked out loud on the sidelines during the early stages of the rout.

You can’t blame Meaders for wondering that. The entire first half was a “pinch me” moment for West Covina’s fans, players and coaches. On its way to a 49-7 lead early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs were scoring, on average, every two minutes.

In that time span, they passed the ball only twice. Both went for touchdowns with one of them coming from running back Chris Solomon on a 68-yard halfback pass to Lonzel Barnett … two plays after Jimmy Frazier’s 62-yard touchdown run was negated by a holding penalty.

Don’t feel bad for Frazier, though. He got his. When La Serna scored its first touchdown to briefly make it 28-7, Frazier took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. As for a playing on natural grass instead of the Bulldogs’ home surface of FieldTurf?

“Not a problem,” Frazier said.

Championship games aren’t supposed to be so easy. Nor are the playoffs. West Covina scored more points in each successive round than the previous. The Bulldogs’ margin of victory in the postseason was 30, 43, 29 and 63 points. You can’t even accuse West Covina of running up the score because it only passed the ball THREE TIMES in the game and the fourth quarter was played with a running clock!

The best part about West Covina’s back-to-back Southeast Division championships is the way the Bulldogs have done it. Head coach Mike Maggiore and his staff have taken a boring style of football and made it exciting. How else can you explain 84 points in a championship game while only throwing the ball three times?

There was nothing complex about West Covina did to its opponents this season (and last). It was simple smashmouth running football that put up points so quickly that a spread offense would blush. On defense, it was pressure football at the line of scrimmage in front of a secondary that either laid lumber if a ball carrier got to them or simply intercepted whatever came their way.

Maggiore and his staff have no doubt put in place a system that plays to the talent on hand. It fits perfectly with the type of hard-nosed kids who wear the Bulldogs uniform. And who needs the pass anyway when you’ve got three running backs with over 1,000 yards rushing?

Friday’s score and how it happened was so outrageous that it will no doubt get CIF’s attention. Time for a division change perhaps? Well, it’s only natural for media types to start speculating about how a team would fare against better competition in a higher division. But on Friday night, this sportswriter found himself wondering how West Covina would fare against the Packers, let alone the Inland Division.

For years, West Covina was considered by many to be the Valley’s sleeping giant. After three CIF titles in eight years, the giant is clearly awake. And now it might be on to bigger and better things.

Last year, Maggiore and his staff said goodbye to players like quarterback George Johnson, all-purpose star Beejay Lee and All-Area linebacker Maurice Dupleasis. This year, they’ll lose reigning Tribune Player of the Year Solomon, defensive stalwart Meaders and speedster Frazier.

It matters not. There’s plenty of talent waiting in the wings to step in. That’s just how it goes when you become an elite program. And in case anybody was wondering before Friday’s game, West Covina is an elite program and there’s 84 reasons why you’d better believe it.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT