Mission Valley League votes to press forward with its proposed playoff grouping appeal on Apr. 4 …

The Mission Valley League voted unanimously, 6-0, to continue forward with its appeal of the CIF-Southern Section proposed playoff grouping for the Mid-Valley Division.

Represented by El Monte High School Keith Richardson, the league will have its appeal heard by the Southern Section playoff groupings appeals committee on Apr. 4.

The league needed to reassess its appeals bid after the Montview League had its appeal denied on Monday. Both leagues prefer that the division remain as is, as opposed to having the powerful Alpha League brought in while the Montview and Olympic leagues move to the Northwest Division.

Under the CIF proposal, the Mission Valley League would remain in the Mid-Valley Division. But staying put combined with the Montview and Olympic being replaced by the Alpha has prompted coaches and administrators to request that they also be moved to the Northwest for better competitive equity.

“You’re trying to make Monrovia play those (Alpha League) teams, but what about everyone else?” El Monte coach Joel Sanchez said. “They’re bringing them in to compete with Monrovia, but they’re not caring about the rest of the leagues.”

Given Monrovia’s dominance the past two seasons, easily winning the past two division championship games by a combined score of 91-22, CIF felt compelled to do something to beef up the competition. Rather than moving the entire Rio Hondo League, on behalf of Monrovia, to another division, assistant commissioner Glenn Martinez felt it was better to make the Mid-Valley more top heavy by bringing in the Alpha League, which features defending Division IV State Championship Bowl winner Sierra Canyon (15-0 in 2011) and Paraclete (11-3 in ’11).

The Montview League, which was one playoff victory in the past two seasons, would be given what CIF feels is relief by moving the Northwest Division. The Mission Valley League, with just two playoff wins the past seasons, would stay put. The Olympic League, which has seven playoff wins the past two years, would also go to the Northwest Division not because of competitive equity but because it’s a better fit enrollment-wise, according to CIF.

The Mid-Valley Division, as it currently stands, consists of six leagues, with five of them local. If you go by this San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group’s circulation area, the sixth league, the Olympic, has two schools considered local and three from out of the area. It all makes for a much easier division travel-wise and creates the kind of local rivalries local fans and coaches embrace.

With the Montview League having already been shot down, the Mission Valley League may need to tweak its argument in time for its Apr. 4 hearing. What that argument will be is something Sanchez said the coaches and principals are currently working on.

“We’re either going to do the same thing (as the Montview), or we’re going to take a different approach,” Sanchez said. “That’s the thing we’re trying to figure out now. Obviously, they got denied. If we want to present the same thing the Montview did, are they going to say ‘OK, these guys are coming in with the same idea. It’s already a ‘no’.’ Or, are they going to say ‘They’re coming in with the same thing and now we have two leagues on board.’

“I just don’t know what CIF wants to do. Are they really going to hear us? Or are they going to hear us out and just say no.?”

Aram’s take: It’s worth a shot. It is a longshot, given what happened to the Montview’s attempt on Monday. Nonetheless, there’s an outside shot the appeals panel hears two league’s not in favor of the change and decides to scrap it. You never know …

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I’m very sad to report that Duarte/Monrovia football fixture and my friend “Big Bob” passed away in his sleep early Wednesday evening at age 52 …

The Duarte/Monrovia-area football fan fixture known as “Big Bob” died in his sleep at home early Wednesday evening. He was 52.

Big Bob, whose real name was Henry Clark, was best known in recent years for becoming one of Monrovia’s biggest football fans. He made appearances this past season on this website’s PrepXtra Live show as an outspoken Wildcats fan.

He was also a fan of Duarte, where he went to school and graduated in 1977. Despite being confined to a mechanical wheelchair due to his weight, Big Bob still made it out to Monrovia games and even was seen at passing games as far away as Glendora this past summer.

Big Bob was also a key cog in rekindling the Duarte/Monrovia rivalry and getting the two teams to play each other annually in the “M/D Classic”, which Big Bob had hoped would turn into something like the Turkey Tussle between Muir and PHS. The series has since been canceled.

“I will just really remember him as a guy who tried to work hard and get things put together for the kids, like the M/D Classic,” former Duarte coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. said. “He would do stuff in the community, like when all the shootings were going on. He was really involved in trying to get that stuff cleaned up.

“He had a lot of opinions, I’ll tell you that. He believed in what he believed. He was a guy who would get on a bus to come to a football game. I would offer to give him a ride and he would say ‘No, it’s alright. But I’ll be there.’ And sure enough, he would be there. He definitely loved the Monrovia-Duarte connection.”

Aram’s take: Words can’t describe how sad I am right now. I got a call from Big Bob on Monday and although I was still asleep and missed the call, I was very happy to see that he called. Big Bob hadn’t been doing well since the football season ended. Anyway, I called him on Tuesday and spoke to him for 15 minutes and he ranged from coherent to incoherent. I asked him several times if he was OK. He said he was. We talked about his favorite topics — Duarte and Monrovia football — and he was excited for the offseason activities that were about to begin. Big Bob was in the hospital a couple months back and I spoke to him at that time. Among all the funny things he ever told me he said “DON’T YOU GO PUTTING IT ON THE BLOG THAT I’M HERE. WAIT ‘TIL I’M DEAD TO DO IT.” I didn’t meet Big Bob until this season, but I’m happy I did. I got to take in the entire second half of Monrovia’s semifinals win over Covina standing next to Big Bob. He couldn’t have been happier. I also got to hang with him a bit before Monrovia’s championship game win over San Gabriel. All you Duarte and Monrovia players out there will never know just how much he loved you guys and loved watching you play. Big Bob was one of the funniest people I ever met. He made me fall over laughing one time when he abruptly asked/told me “You’ve never had a black man’s barbecue, have you?” Big Bob was one of a kind and he will be missed in a BIG way.

Here’s Big Bob’s last appearance on PrepXtra Live from Nov. 29, 2011. It starts just after the 30-minute mark. It was classic Big Bob!


UPDATE: 911 caller arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter AFTER ALLEGEDLY LYING ABOUT GUN in case of slain former SGV ‘baller Kendrec McDade …

UPDATED: Pasadena police chief Phillip Sanchez announced Wednesday the arrest of the man who made the 911 call that brought police to the scene of an alleged armed robbery involving Kendrec McDade.

The reporting party, whose name is Oscar Carrillo, was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter.

For more, please go HERE.

Former Azusa football standout Kendrec McDade was shot and killed on Friday night by Pasadena police.

McDade was an all-Montview League standout in 2009 after rushing for 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns. Azusa went 11-2 that season.

“I am shocked, I never would have forseen this,” Azusa coach Joe Scherf said. “The thing I will remember about Kendrec, for football reasons, was the kid was always very committed.

“He always gave 100 percent in everything we did on the field. He was one of those kids you could count on. I knew he was going to be there if we needed him. He was tough, He played through injury. He played sick. He did some amazing things on the field for us.”

McDade came up big for the Aztecs during the 2009 postseason. He ran for 479 yards and six touchdowns in the playoffs as Azusa reached the Mid-Valley Division semifinals before losing to eventual champion San Dimas.

Aram’s take: Always sad to hear about the WAY TOO EARLY passing of one of our former SGV gridiron standouts, no matter the circumstances.

CIF denies Montview League’s appeal of new playoff grouping proposal. Mission Valley up next …

A CIF-Southern Section playoff grouping appeals committee on Tuesday rejected the Montview League’s appeal of Assistant Commissioner Glenn Martinez’s proposed playoff grouping that would move the Montview League out of the Mid-Valley Division and into the Northwest Division.

Represented by the Workman High School contingent of assistant principal Scott Cavanias, athletic director Victor Perdomo and varsity football head coach Scott Morrison, the league argued that a move out of the Mid-Valley Division and into the Northwest Division did not make sense on grounds of competitive equity, enrollment and geography.

The playoff groupings appeals committee, however, stood by Martinez’s proposal to move the Montview League to the Northwest Division to give it relief after the league posted just one playoff win in the past two seasons. The Southern Section reviews its playoff groupings every two years and bases its proposals on the past two year’s results. The current proposals would go into effect this fall.

“We thought what we presented was a better fit,” Perdomo said. “We got shot down, but they heard us.”

The Montview League can appeal Tuesday’s decision at the Southern Section council meeting on Apr. 25, at which time the new groupings will be ratified and put into effect. Perdomo said he was unsure whether the league would appeal again at the council meeting and that the next step will be to find out what the league’s coaches and principals want to do in the wake of Tuesday’s denial.

“The principals would have to vote on it and at this point I don’t know if that’s something they want to do, or if they’re ready to pick up the fight,” Perdomo said. “I don’t know how passionate they are about this. I guess we’ll find out when I get back to school tomorrow.”

Also Tuesday, the Tribune learned that the Mission Valley League is scheduled to appeal the new Mid-Valley Division proposal in another appeals hearing on Apr. 4. The league will be represented that day by El Monte principal Keith Richardson, and like the Montview League, will argue to keep the division as is.

Unlike the Montview League, the Mission Valley League would be staying put in the Mid-Valley Division under the new proposal. However, the league would face increased competition in the new-look division with the addition of the Alpha League and the omission of the Montview and Olympic leagues.

The prospect of playing in such a division has caused the Mission Valley League to state it will request to be moved along with the Montview and Olympic leagues to the Northwest Division on the grounds of competitive equity should CIF decide to move forward with the new proposal. The Mission Valley League has two playoffs wins in the past two seasons.

Tuesday’s denial, though, has Arroyo football coach Jim Singiser thinking his league may need to reconsider whether it wants to go forward with its appeal hearing.

“We wanted to keep it the way it was, but now that it’s not an option, we need to ask the (league’s) football coaches ‘How strongly do you feel about wanting to stay in the division?’” Singiser said.

The Mid-Valley Division is currently made up of the Almont, Mission Valley, Montview, Olympic, Rio Hondo and Valle Vista leagues. Its appeal to local coaches is that five of the six leagues are located in the San Gabriel Valley, and the sixth, the Olympic League, has just three schools that would represent any significant travel if a Valley team was to play them in the postseason.

If the Montview League does land in the Northwest Division, its teams could be faced with having to travel to Ojai or San Pedro for playoff games. Conversely, road games against Alpha League teams would possibly mean traveling as far away as Lancaster or Malibu for teams in leagues that remained in the new-look Mid-Valley Division. That’s a major reason why representatives from both the Montview and Mission Valley leagues argue it would be better to keep the division as is.

Monrovia has won the Mid-Valley Division the past two seasons. It’s victories in the last two championship games by a combined score of 91-22 have faced CIF with the conundrum of either moving the Wildcats and the rest of the Rio Hondo League out of the division or keeping the league in the division while beefing up the competition.

“I hate to move a league,” Martinez said earlier this month when his proposals were released. “I almost feel like I’m punishing five or six schools because of one team’s tremendous success. When you move a league up just because of one particular school, it’s just kind of hurting everyone and I don’t think that’s fair.”

Adding the Alpha League would certainly increase the competition at the very top of the Mid-Valley Division. The seven-school Alpha League is headlined by Sierra Canyon, which went 15-0 in 2011 and won the CIF State Championship Bowl Game in Division IV. The league is also home to past Mid-Valley Division champion Paraclete, which went 11-3 last season.

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT

Chino linebacker Niko Johnson transfers to West Covina … and from what I hear he’s a good one …


Photo courtesy of MaxPreps or BeRecruited.com

Former Chino linebacker Niko Johnson has transferred to West Covina where he looks like a good bet to land a starting spot in the Bulldogs’ front seven.

Johnson, a senior to be, recorded 35 tackles at Chino in 2010 and 18 tackles in 2011. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, he could be quite a force for head coach Mike Maggiore’s defense, which has to replace several key starters like leading tackler Dorrin Turner and Tribune Defensive Player of the Year Justen Meaders.

The good news is there’s also a good group of experienced players returning and Rancho Verde transfer Justin Hornsby, who had to sit out last season, will be eligible to play.

Aram’s take:
Heckuva a nice pick up for the Bulldogs. As I’ve said before, WestCo and M-Town are the two programs with all the juice now. These programs are where kids want to be, and you can’t blame them — CHAMPIONSHIPS AND SCHOLLYS — that’s what everyone from fans to players to want. Johnson was a West Covina Bruin back in the day, hence the return to WestCo.

Your late-in-the-game recruiting update …

Arroyo’s Steven Rivera is deciding between Whittier College and Cal-Lutheran.

West Covina’s Justen Meaders has an offer from D-2 Western New Mexico, some interest from APU and Menlo.

West Covina’s Jimmy Frazier and Dorrin Turner appear to be going the JC route.

That’s all I gots for now …

PREDICTION: Former Glendora football coach Mark Pasquarella will be the next principal at South Hills …

Disclaimer: This is merely a prediction. Not a rumor. Not something a source told me. Just a vibe.

I’m gonna take a shot and say that former Glendora football coach and current Covina High asst. principal will be the next principal at South Hills.

As most of you know, South Hills principal Steve James resigned a week ago. Hoops coach Paul Reed also resigned. Football coach Steve Bogan resigned. So, you almost have to bring in a sports/football guy like Pasqy to stop the bleeding, right?

He’s already in the district. He’s a sharp dude. The only knock is he would have only one year of experience at the administrative level. But if South Hills wants to save its athletics program from falling off the face of the earth, you gotta make a move like this.

Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell retires at age 70 …

Add another to the long list of Valley coaches who have resigned/retired this offseason.

Anyway, yeah, the L.A. Times’ Eric Sondheimer is reporting that Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell is retiring at age 70 after 12 seasons at the school.

Aram’s take:
Gee, and just when Oaks Christian had been moved to the PAC-5. Oh yeah, Redell is a San Marino High graduate.