The Noodles Era at West Covina begins …
It was only fitting that the Rancho Cucamonga Tournament came down to the host Cougars and Chino Hills on Saturday afternoon. Those in attendance saw loud and clear that the two most talented teams in Saturday’s competition were the Cougars and Huskies.
Rancho wins it by beating Chino Hills by 2 in the final.
Here are my thoughts on what I saw …
Everyone — Just awesome to get back out there and see the coaches and players and their families. Everyone is so excited and it’s only May. Rancho’s staff and booster did a GREAT JOB putting on the show. GREAT JOB. It was quite simply a very fun WELCOME BACK TO FOOTBALL!!
Bishop Amat — I watched all of Amat’s game with Chino Hills. Keep in mind the Lancers were without DJ Daniels and Darin Andrews and that’s a big blow. Amat looked like a run-first team in a passing tourney. The Lancers simply aren’t designed for passing tourney success, kinda like West Covina, and that’s no big deal. But still, you can get a look at the talent Amat is working with and I was impressed. Cook is one heckuva target at WR. Camargo is what everyone said he is — a future stud. He’s gonna contribute nicely this year. Dionza Blue cannot really show his stuff in a tourney like this because he’s a tailback, but man that kid is gonna be good. QB Koa Haynes looked OK. He had to eat the ball about five or six times vs. Chino Hills. Amat has him rolling out quite a bit. My only worry for Amat fans is that you were out there today with two VERY GOOD but not ELITE Inland Division (D-2) teams and they passed the look test much better than you. That might be a worry since Amat is in the PAC-5.
Chino Hills — QB Matt Simko got on a flight from NoCal around 1 a.m. to leave an Elite 11 camp and get down here and compete. He did not disappoint. Simko was the best QB I saw all day. He’s polished. Reminds me of how Travis Santiago could quickly move past his first read if it wasn’t there and find something else. WR Jack Austin is a man-child. Simko and Austin are gonna be scary. Beyond those two, I was very impressed with how well Chino Hills passed the look test. I kinda doubt I’ll see another local team that looks that good. Could be No. 1 in the area by summer’s end.
Rancho — Wow. Reloaded or still loaded. Whatever you want to call it. These guys have athletes ALL OVER. And I have to think the line will be a force again. This team is gonna take some beating in the Baseline. They’re a sight to see, so I suggest you do if you get a chance. I saw the Cougs play West Covina, and Rancho was on the board on its first offensive play — a deep pass over the middle.
West Covina — The Bulldogs don’t quite pass the look test like they did the past two years. But this team is very, very quick. Very quick. Aggressive, too. But when you see WestCo vs. Rancho, you can tell there’s a diff. Even WestCo warming up near Amat, you could see a difference. Now granted, WestCo’s line and guys like Justin Hornsby weren’t out there, so take it for what it’s worth. I didn’t expect much from WestCo’s offense. They run first, so passing games have never been their thing. Watching Noodles was nice. He’s got talent and can throw a decent ball. He got the first snaps of the game I saw vs. Rancho, so I’m not sure if that means he’s No. 1 on the depth chart. Jon Najera also looked good at QB. As far as looks test, the Bulldogs look like a top-notch Southeast team. Last year, you may have said they could double as a Central or even Inland team. Again, that’s without seeing the line and watching the offense do its least-favorite thing — throw.
Diamond Bar — Caught the Brahmas here and there, and they have some skills. Pretty impressive offense looks to be shaping up. There are weapons to work with. Obviously, D-Bar has a lot to answer for in the line area, so I’m not gonna trip out on the projections. But Saturday was all about skill players, and D-Bar looks good.
Ayala — This is a sleeper team. There’s talent and speed. I was pleasantly surprised. Like D-Bar, though, the Bulldogs better have some line guys. If they do, this team could stun some people in fall.