CIF asst. commissioner Glenn Martinez explains why he thinks Monrovia and West Covina should stay put. Meanwhile, the Montview League plans to appeal …

After watching the Monrovia and West Covina high school football teams run roughshod over their respective playoff divisions the past two years, most Valley fans anticipated there were some serious changes coming both schools way this spring when the CIF-Southern Section office announced its new playoff grouping proposals for the next two seasons.

The proposals were released last week and Assistant Commissioner Glenn Martinez has decided to keep Monrovia and West Covina in their respective divisions while making things a bit harder on them with the insertion of some beefed-up competition.

According to Martinez’s proposals, Monrovia and the Rio Hondo League will remain in the Mid-Valley Division. Meanwhile, the Montview and Olympic leagues will be leaving the division and heading to the Northwest. Entering the division will be the Alpha League, which features Sierra Canyon, who went 15-0 last season, and Paraclete, which won the Mid-Valley Division in 2008.

Monrovia has won the last two division titles, and the combined score of the past two championship games has been 91-22.

In the Southeast, West Covina’s back-to-back titles could have given Martinez reason enough to move the Bulldogs and the Hacienda League to a different division. Instead, the Hacienda is staying put, as is the rest of the division, and the San Gabriel Valley League will be joining. The San Gabriel Valley League features teams like Compton Dominguez, Paramount and Downey. It would be getting relief after having played in the Western Division last season.

“I hate to move a league,” Martinez said. “I almost feel like I’m punishing five or six schools because of one team’s tremendous success. It’s not to downgrade or say anything bad about a successful program like West Covina or Monrovia, but I don’t think it’s fair for those other five or six schools.

“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.”

Leagues are allowed to appeal Martinez’s proposals and on Mar. 27 an appeals panel will convene to consider their arguments. If an appeal is denied on Mar. 27, the league can appeal again, this time to the Southern Section council at its meeting on Apr. 25, at which time the new groupings will be ratified. Playoff groupings are set in place for two-year periods.

One area league that has already stated its interest to formulate an appeal is the Montview League. Gladstsone head coach Albert Sanchez, who is entering 14th year at the school and is the longest-tenured coach in the league, said Monday that he’s already had discussions with other disgruntled coaches in the league and that an appeal would be forthcoming.

“We’ve been going back and forth, myself and a few other coaches, trying to figure out what CIF was even thinking,” Sanchez said. “Honestly, on Friday, I felt like we’re basically doomed once again. We’ll be playing for a league a championship then seeing how far we’re going to have to travel to lose.”

Under Martinez’s proposal, the Montview and Olympic leagues would be leaving the Mid-Valley for the Northwest Division. The Olympic, which features a local school in Maranatha, is comprised of all private schools. So is the Del Rey League, which already calls the Northwest home. Also in the Northwest is the Pioneer and Tri-Valley leagues, which feature schools from as far away as Carpinteri and Ojai.

“I was trying to do three things,” Martinez said of his Mid-Valley proposal. “One, create a Mid-Valley that had five leagues. Two, bring some competitive equity to that division with the Rio Hondo League holding Monrovia. And finally, I think Montview is a better fit in the Northwest; one playoff win in two years and their enrollment is right in line with the other Northwest schools.”

As for the rest of the area, there was some hope from unhappy schools two years ago when the Sierra League was overhauled and put into the Inland Division that the league would be given relief as soon as the two-year period was over. That didn’t happen, and in fact, Martinez reported the Sierra League did not request a change of placement. So, that means another two years of banging heads with the best teams from the Inland Empire for Valley schools like Charter Oak and South Hills.

“They didn’t request a change, but I kind of played around with it and asked ‘Do they really fit?’ because that’s a pretty tough division,” Martinez said. “But Charter Oak was pretty successful and Chino Hills lost that one game that they shouldn’t have, so they’ve been pretty competitive. Damien, I keep thinking that Greg (Gano) is going to turn the corner. South Hills, they’re struggling, but I’m not sure where they go if you drop them down.

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CIF playoff grouping proposals: Monrovia and West Covina staying put, but CIF tries to make it harder on them to remain dominant … Montivew gets bad news … La Habra’s run looks to be over …

2012-14 Football Playoff Division Proposals

Mid-Valley: Almont, Alpha, Mission Valley, Rio Hondo, Valle Vista
Inland: Baseline, Sierra, Big VIII, Citrus Belt, Southwestern
Southeast: Hacienda, Del Rio, Pacific, San Gabriel Valley, Suburban
Pac-5: Marmonte, Moore, Serra, South Coast, Trinity
Northwest: Montview, Del Rey, Olympic,Pioneer, Tri Valley

IN: Marmonte (Westlake, Oaks Christian, St. Bonaventure, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Royal, Newbury Park, Agoura, Calabasas)
OUT: Sunset (Edison, Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley, Marina)
Synopsis: CIF is gunning to make the PAC-5 a super division and now it truly is. Although losing teams like Los Al, Edison and Newport Harbor is hard to swallow, adding teams like Westlake, Oaks Christian and St. Bonnies is pretty epic.
Aram’s take: Overall, the division got much tougher. And that means things got much tougher on Bishop Amat.

OUT: Montview, Olympic
IN: Alpha (Sierra Canyon, Paraclete, Brentwood, Campbell Hall, Calvary Chapel, Kilpatrick, Marshall).
Synopsis: In my original write up I failed to mention that the Olympic would get out along with the Montview. OK, that changes things. CIF obviously felt that the Montview was the weakest league. What they felt about the Olympic is anybody’s guess.
Aram’s take: The Olympic was one of the better leagues in the division. So replacing it with the Alpha isn’t that much of a boost. I would have rather seen the Olympic stay with the Alpha added. With five leagues, the playoff situation will be a little less dire. All the third-place teams could get in and one at-large? In the end, I thought this division was a good fit for the Montview. Sad to see it go, if it happens.

OUT: None
IN: San Gabriel Valley (Compton Dominguez, Paramount, Downey, Gahr, Lynwood, Warren).
Synopsis: Nobody leaves, the San Gabriel Valley League is added. Well, there’s nothing SGV about the San Gabriel Valley League, but the this does add some VERY ATHLETIC teams to the equation. Paramount, last year, was considered by Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox to be one of the toughest teams his team played.
Aram’s take: This division truly needed another league and it got it. West Covina just saw its competition increased heavily. There was talk that West Covina and the Hacienda League would be heading out, to possibly the Central or the Southwest. Instead, CIF decided to leave them be and make things tougher. Compton Dominguez’s nonleague schedule last year included Crespi and Redlands East Valley. Compton Dominguez is still a program that moonlights (and probably think its belongs) with the really big boys.

OUT: None
IN: None
Synopsis: Uh yeah, I guess CIF sees it as not broken, so why fix it?
Aram’s take: I kinda side with CIF. You can say that the Sierra League doesn’t belong, but that wasn’t really proven last year.

OUT: None
IN: Sunset
Synopsis: Things just go WAY, WAY, WAY more difficult for La Habra, which has dominated this division. The Sunset League joining means the Highlanders just saw the competition cranked way up.
Aram’s take: Well La Habra, if any of you wanted to be considered and Orange County school, you got your wish in spades. However, the Sunset League figure to dominate here. We all know La Habra is more a Whittier-area school than it is an OC school. That’s the bottom line. The Sunset got MAJOR RELIEF and it can now FEAST on this division. That could mean a return to prominence for Los Al and Edison.


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Maranatha QB Andrew Elffers’ junior season highlight reel … Chris Rix weighs in via Twitter …

Aram’s take: As a sophomore, Elffers lit the world on fire. As a junior, well, not so much. What will we see in 2012? I have a hard time pinpointing where Elffers will enter next season in the quarterback rankings. You’ve got Heyworth back at M-Town. You’ve got Cox back at PHS. Do you put him above either? Most of the teams in the East will be breaking in new starters. So, I don’t know what you do. I watch this reel and see all the great tools Elffers has. Quick release. Good runner. I saw him last year at the SGV Shootout and thought he had great arm strength. To me, he’s a legit college prospect and the scholly he desires will likely be there at the end of the day. But for now, a lot of peeps are haunted by what happened last season, the San Gabriel game especially. Some people have quietly questioned a tweak in the Minutemen offense and used that as the culprit. As a junior, Elffers threw for 1,300 yards and 15 TDs LESS than he did in his sophomore campaign. My vibe is that this will be one hungry kid eager to go out with a bang. After Monrovia, the Mid-Valley is anybody’s for the taking. I’ll be very interested to see what kind of summer Elffers has.

Chris Rix (@CoachRix) had this to say about Elffers on Twitter
: @ChemicalAT Good writeup Aram! Character + Intellegence + Work Ethic = Andrew Elffers. HE WILL LIGHT IT UP THIS SEASON! #PREPTEBOW

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Muir promotes defensive coordinator and former standout player John Hardy to head coach …

Muir High School has named former standout player and last year’s defensive coordinator John Hardy its new head varsity football head coach, replacing Ken Howard, who was placed on leave during the 2011 season after an alleged incident on campus with a student.

Hardy, a 1986 graduate of Muir, played under the late great Jim Brownfield and was a key memeber of the Mustangs 1985 CIF championship team. Hardy later played in college at Cal and then in the pros with the Chicago Bears.

“I’m excited about it and up to the challenge,” said Hardy, who will be a walk-on coach. “We have to get started because we’re a little behind right now. My priority right now is to get on this campus and make sure our kids are doing what they’ve got to do on the student part of the athlete side.

“We need to make sure we’re in the classroom and doing what we’ve got to do, because we can’t get them on the field unless they’re eligible. That’s my first task.”

It’s been a disastrous year for Muir’s athletic department. It started with Howard being placed on leave. Then, boys basketball coach Gamal Smalley resigned last week after being placed on leave due to a situation that revolved around the Mustangs basketball team forfeiting 20 games and missing the playoffs because of ineligible player.

School athletic director Ruben Galvan has also been temporarily relieved of his duties pending an investigation by the school district. And just last week it was announced that Principal Sheryl Orange would be ousted at the end of the school year.

“I think the repair job starts with results,” Hardy said. “Being from the community and having been involved in the community, I need to get our kids to understand they need to become role models for the younger kids. We need to reach out to the community and let them know what John Muir should be and will become.

“It’s not going to be an easy road because some trust factor has been lost with the school. Our players and coaches need to get back out in the community and earn their trust back.”

Hardy said several members of last year’s staff, including interim head coach Dave Mitchell, will be retained. As will Darick Holmes, the father of standout freshman quarterback Darick Holmes Jr.

Bringing back Muir to where Browfield had it when the Mustangs program was thriving is a major goal for Hardy. The new coach will use plenty of what he learned from the old coach to do just that.

“I understand that kids have changed compared to how they were in the past, but I will be bringing a lot of Brownfield’s traditions back to the program and bringing the integrity back to the way he had it,” Hardy said. “That’s a big goal of mine.”

Aram’s take: Hardy sounds like just what the Mustangs need. Having played under Brownfield (and Mike Ditka) it’s a good bet the man knows the sport and knows how to build a winning product. It’s good hear guys like Mitchell and Holmes will be back on the staff. If Hardy can draw on some of the Brownfield magic, then perhaps the Stangs can get back some of that Brownfield winning.

Alhambra—>Lou Torres—>Joe Kanach
Baldwin Park—>James Heggins—>OPEN
Bassett—>Aubrey Duncan—>Hector Spathias
Bonita—>Eric Podley—>Adrian Medrano
Covina—>Darryl Thomas—->Joe Brown
Duarte—>Tip Sanders—>Jason Martin
El Rancho—>Rick Zepeda—>Venencio Lopez
Glendora—>Todd Quinsey—>Jerry Lewallen
Keppel—>Bobby Madrid—>OPEN
La Canada—>Dan Yoder—>OPEN
Mountain View—>James Wilson—>OPEN
Muir—>Ken Howard—>John Hardy
Pomona—>Anthony Rice—>***OPEN
Rosemead—>Matt Koffler—>Marc Paramo
Santa Fe—>Jack Mahlstede—>Dave Pierson
Schurr—>Ben Negrete—>Marco Ramirez
South Hills—>Steve Bogan—>Albert Rodriguez
St. Paul—>Marijon Ancich—>Elijah Asante
Whittier—>Walter Scott—>Visko Ancich
Wilson—>Bob Burt—>Nick Christos

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