DYNASTY!!! Monrovia THREEPEATS! and Rio Hondo Prep goes back-to-back

Rio Hondo Prep 28, Mission Prep 21: Nate Tayco runs wild (173 yards, 4 TDs), Coach Ken Drain wins fifth CIF title, RHP wins 14th CIF title and Kares avenge earlier loss to very good Mission Prep team. Bowl game next? It was my first RHP game and it was great. I was VERY impressed with the quality of football. Very, very impressed.

Monrovia 23, Paraclete 7: Threepeat! Valley’s top football program right now. Only West Covina and RHP can make a case.

Did the process of getting Bishop Amat out of the Pac-5 quietly just begin? …

You ready to play a little game of connect the dots?

With CIF saying that St. Bonaventure and Oaks Christian should be in the Catholic Athletic Association for the next re-leaguing cycle, which would start in the 2014 season, it’s getting obvious the Serra League is headed toward a facelift.

There will be an appeals process, but this is obviously the first step in getting the ball rolling.

What will happen to Bishop Amat?

Will the Lancers stay in the Serra League if Oaks Christian and St. Bonnie’s are brought in?

Will Amat be moved to some sort of new league with schools like Cathedral, St. Francis, Damien and Serra as part of a process to get the Lancers out of the PAC-5 and into a new playoff divsion?

It’s hard to say at this point. But this is something that bears watching.

We already know Damien/St. Lucy’s have been recommended to be placed in a parochial league and no longer in the Sierra (which means get ready for a Glendora return to the Sierra).

Aram’s take: According to the LA Times’ Eric Sondheimer, there will likely be a revamping of both the Mission and Serra leagues. If you’re a realistic Amat fan, like myself, then you probably think Amat needs a more realistic playoff division than the Pac-5. If you’re a traditionalist and hanging onto the past, then you probably think Amat should stay in the Pac-5 despite its recent postseason woes. Either opinion has points. So much will happen between now and the new re-leaguing proposals, but this looks like the start of a sea change. I could be wrong. There are people who tell me quietly that as long as Glenn Martinez is in charge, Amat ain’t going anywhere. Could be. Not sure that’s what’s best for the Lancers, but we’ll see. It certainly makes no sense that Amat plays in different leagues for all major sports.

MONROVIA: Greatness in flight …

– Fourth straight Mid-Valley Division championship game appearance.
– Bidding for THREEPEAT in Mid-Valley Division.
– Bidding for berth into State championship bowl series with a win.

Aram’s take: Nobody’s doing it any better than M-Town right now. Last season, the Wildcats won it all and had one of the top recruits in the country in Ellis McCarthy. This season, they’re bidding for a threepeat with several next-level players on the roster. Only West Covina and Rio Hondo Prep can hold a candle to Monrovia. Does division have a lot to do with it? Sure. Am I saying Monrovia would beat everyone in the area? No. But this is just downright awesome and historic what head coach Ryan Maddox has going on over there.

Revenge!!! La Serna avenges last year’s loss to West Covina with huge second half …

Keith Birmingham’s SIGHTS OF THE GAME

Sweet revenge.

Almost a year after suffering the worst defeat in the history of CIF-Southern Section division championship games, La Serna High School got payback by ending the two-year reign of West Covina in the Southeast Division semifinals on Friday night at California High.

The Lancers turned a 17-14 halftime deficit into a 35-17 win to advance to the division championship next week against Downey, which beat Santa Fe 35-3.

“If you’ve been around the last two or three years, our guys never quit,” La Serna coach Margarito Beltran said. “We had a rough start and the kids persevered.”

La Serna improved to 12-1. West Covina, which beat the Lancers 84-21 in last year’s championship game, finished 8-5.

La Serna can thank its defense for changing the flow of the game at the start of the second half. Michael Dingillo recovered a West Covina fumble inside the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line on the first possession of the third quarter to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Gio Long to take the lead, 21-17.

Following a stop on West Covina’s next possession, the Lancers got the ball back at their own 38 and wasted little time adding to their lead on a 50-yard run by Luke Gonzales. Just three minutes into the second half, the Lancers were up 28-17.

West Covina drove into La Serna territory but stalled and faced fourth and 5 at the Lancers’ 20. Antonio Hull’s pass to the goal line for Sidney Jones was incomplete and La Serna had the ball back.

“We had a couple drives in the game which didn’t lead to points,” West Covina head coach Mike Maggiore said. “They’re a very good football team.

“I’m proud of our guys, the effort they showed the last four weeks with their backs to wall. We can definitely hold our heads up high.”

A methodical drive aided by big runs and throws from La Serna quarterback Frankie Palmer ended with Beltran rolling the dice on fourth and 1 from the West Covina 2.

Beltran shunned the field goal and opted to put the two-time champions away by turning to Long, who scored from 2 yards to make it 35-17.

“We were able to stop their offense cold,” Beltran said. “I think that was the difference in the game, was that we were able to stop them. We gave them two touchdowns.”

West Covina was stopped on downs again, and La Serna ran out the clock.

West Covina took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as Hull connected with receiver Jesus Wong on a 52-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option to make the score 7-0, and then Jones scored on an 86-yard punt return.

La Serna got off the mat early in the second quarter with a 13-yard touchdown run by Gonzales to make it 14-7.

La Serna tied the score 14-14 after a clutch scramble on fourth-and-6 by Palmer and a long pass to John McFarland set up Long for 1-yard touchdown run.

Add Hawaii to Dionza Blue’s growing list of college offers …

UPDATE: Hawaii has become Dionza Blue’s third offer of the week.

Bishop Amat running back/defensive back Dionza Blue has picked up offers from New Mexico St. and Bethune-Cookman to go along with a standing offer from San Diego St.

He is also receiving heavy interest from Wyoming, Utah St., Nevada, Duke and Kansas St. Most recruiters view Blue as a defensive back.

Why is Charter Oak realistic about NOT being in the right playoff division, but Bishop Amat is not?




For the second straight season, Charter Oak was eliminated from the Inland Division playoffs by a Baseline League team.

Last season, Upland did the honors. This season, it was Rancho Cucamonga by a score of 23-7.

Charter Oak finished 10-2 for the second consecutive season, but the sense that there’s a ceiling on just how far the Chargers can go in the rugged Inland Division is becoming reality.

“We can do it one week, but we can’t do it week in and week out,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said. “The physical pounding and preparation are really difficult. My kids gave me everything they had. They left it all out on the field.”

Last season, the case can be made that Farrar had his best offense ever, led by quarterback Travis Santiago, running back Kurt Scoby and two next-level receivers in Chris Gilchrist and Bryce Bobo.

This season, the case can be made that Farrar has his best defense ever, a unit that allowed just 11.5 points per game. But the results were the same; the Chargers were sent packing in the second round.

“Here’s the deal, I thought about that after the game Friday and now three or four days of thought,” Farrar said. “Personnel-wise, if I could take the best players we’ve had for the last three years and put them on the same team, then I’ve got a chance to go to the third round, or the fourth.

“If I took the last three years and put all our kids on one team, I would look like Rancho Cucamonga. The point is, Rancho Cucamonga just had more players in more positions than we did. I don’t know if we can reach those levels.”

Aram’s take: I don’t understand how come Charter Oak can be logical about its playoff division, but Bishop Amat cannot. And the fact is, Charter Oak at least wins its first round games. Both Amat and Charter Oak DO NOT belong in their respective divisions. They just simply do not. This notion that you only give relief to teams who never make the playoffs is crap. It’s pure garbage. The truth is that when you’re a team like CO or Amat whose ceiling is the first round or second round, then it’s time for relief. What about ALL the teams of the past that would have won CIF titles had they just been in the proper division? Take Covina in The McDonough Years, for instance. They were in the same division as TESORO AND OAKS CHRISTIAN! Had those Colts teams been in the proper division, like Covina is in now, they would have hung two banners!!!! It’s just insanity, in my opinion. At least CO is realistic about it and knows it should be in, say, the Southwest Division along with the rest of the Sierra League. Gee, I wonder if any of us would be excited about a CO-La Habra second-round matchup? Why can’t Amat just admit the same thing and think about how great it would be to still be playing and be in the semis against, say, Lompoc? Or Gardena Serra. This is just RIDICULOUS!!!

Now that Tommy Leach is officially OUT at Etiwanda, who’s gonna get that job?

I have to believe a lot of local coaches are going to strongly look into the Etiwanda job.

The allure of talent and what might be at Etiwanda always gets ‘em. I saw Etiwanda win the Claremont Tournament two years ago and was blown away by the talent.

Then again, you’re up against Upland and Rancho in the Baseline League. That’s not easy to overcome.

La Serna QB Frankie Palmer on 84-21: “The Lancers are NOT looking for revenge” …

If you’re thinking La Serna is a blood-thirsty team this week with fire in its eyes, think again.

La Serna QB Frankie Palmer said via text message on Monday night that “The Lancers are not looking for revenge. Just looking for the win.”

Aram’s take: If you know or have ever met Palmer, this sounds about right. The kid is gonna be governor of the state someday. Still, I’m not sure I buy it. Have to think the numbers 84 and 21 will be mentioned in the LS locker room before kickoff.