UPDATED: Important dates …


June 22: Hall of Fame All-Star Game at West Covina HS

June 22-23: Bonita Air Assault at Bonita HS

June 23: West Covina linemen competition (32 teams)

July 7: SGV Shootout at Arroyo HS

Former Los Altos and Northview coach Jim Arellanes takes over at Marshall Fundamental …

Former Los Altos and Northview coach Jim Arellanes is the new varsity football head coach at Marshall Fundamental in Pasadena, athletic director Phil Calafat confirmed Tuesday.

Arellanes didn’t coach last season after spending most of the offseason as an assistant to James Heggins at Baldwin Park before leaving the team because of the brilliance of admin at BP, not hiring him into a full-time job.

He has previously had head coaching stints at Los Altos and Northview and assistant coach runs at Rosemead and El Rancho.

“We want to bring stability to the program and become more successful, year to year,” Calafat said. “It would be nice if things turned around completely, but that’s probably not realistic with the nature of high school sports and Marshall itself.

“Our philosophy is that a successful year is not just a won-loss record. It’s ‘Did the players perform to the best of their abilities?’ Did they improve? Wins are very good and a high goal, but it’s not the No. 1 thing.”

Marshall, which plays in the rugged Alpha League, was 1-9 last season under James Zall, who lasted one season. The Alpha League is now part of the Mid-Valley Division and is headlined by Paraclete and Sierra Canyon.

Aram’s take: Well, Arellanes certainly has his work cut out. Tough league in a tough division. Marshall is pretty unique. It’s not a private school, but it has no residential boundaries to guarantee students. It’s grades 6-12 and operates on a lottery system of students who want to go there. Marshall has better test scores than any other Pasadena Unified school. So whatever athletes are part of the batch of students is basically what Arellanes gets to work with.

Source: Colony names Steve Randall new head coach

Colony High School has named Steve Randall as its new varsity football head coach, a source said Friday morning.

Randall replaces Matt Bechtel, who resigned recently after a two-year stint at the school. Randall was previously the head coach at Ontario between 2006-10.

Aram’s take: So there you have it. Now Bechtel can move on to his next chapter and Colony has a new coach, so it can do the same.

South Hills OL Riley Deen gets offer from New Mexico State … speaking of which, word is South Hills may have the best O-Line in the area …

First off, I want to thank former South Hills football liaison James Escarcega, aka The Scouting Guru, for sending me this tidbit … accompanied by a shot that said “Aram doesn’t think South Hills plays football anymore.”

Back-to-back 3-7 seasons will do that to a sports writer, James.

Anyway, South Hills lineman Riley Deen has received the first of what he hopes will be many offers from New Mexico St.

Aram’s take: As you could tell by the headline, there are a lot of people really high on South Hills’ o-line this season. Think about it, Deen is a beast. Lake Aiono is, too. Ben Kane is going to be eligible. Pretty interesting! I caught a glimpse of these guys while at a South Hills baseball game, pretty formidable group. Now the question is whether the skill guys are there, but I can tell you Baby Parham is back from La Habra and that should help. Maybe South Hills is a sleeper.

Rancho Cucamonga beats Chino Hills to win Rancho Cucamonga Tournament … WHAT A DAY!

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 …

— 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.