QB Gage Pucci leaves Damien for Rancho Cucamonga … from here he looks like the favorite to be the Cougs’ starter …

Gage Pucci, who played quarterback at Damien for the past two seasons, transferred to Rancho Cucamonga last week.

Pucci threw for 1,498 and 15 touchdowns last season, but also had 17 interceptions. Given that Rancho graduates last year’s starter Adam Friederischen, Pucci looks to have a decent chance to be the Cougars’ starter this fall.

But Rancho coach Nick Baiz said the competition is wide open and probably won’t be determined for quite a while.

“Everyone on our team is going to have a chance to compete,” Baiz said. “we’re nowhere close to naming a starter right now. We’ll have some good competition, though.

“I haven’t even seen him (Pucci) throw yet. It would be extremely premature to comment on him.”

Also in the mix, according to Baiz, is last year’s freshman and JV starting quarterbacks. Rancho begins spring practice on Apr. 29 and will host its own passing tournament on May 18.

As for Damien, this makes just about entire the team a rebuilding project for new head coach Mark Paredes. With Pucci, at least Paredes had QB figured out, but now that changes.

Aram’s take: This looks like a well-calculated move by the Pucci group. And kudos to them for doing their due diligence and going somewhere where there’s no returning starter to sweat. Rancho is a big-time program, but has lots to replace in terms of skill guys. The Cougars do always have a great talent base, so they could simply reload. For Pucci, he had a decent set of skill players to work with at Damien, but not much in the way of a offensive line. That probably changes at Rancho and maybe with a better overall supporting cast we’ll see the best there is to see of Pucci. As for Damien, Paredes is really going to have to work his magic.

Arcadia wants OUT of the Pacific League and IN to the Rio Hondo League …

Arcadia High School will request that it be transferred from the Pacific League and placed in the Rio Hondo League effective for the 2013-14 2014-15 school year when members of the Foothill Area have their re-leaguing vote next Friday at Hart High School.

The Apaches’ request is contingent upon Crescenta Valley also leaving the Pacific League. Crescenta Valley wants to either join the Rio Hondo League or form a whole new league altogether. Crescenta Valley is also interested in bringing in another school or two from the Glendale Unified School District to the Rio Hondo League. Hoover, currently in the Pacific League, has also made it known that it would like to join the Rio Hondo League.

The schools that currently make up the Rio Hondo League only have one proposal, and that’s to bring in Crescenta Valley for Blair, which is reportedly down to 600 students and barely fielded a varsity football team and did not field a varsity baseball team this year. The league is not unanimous, though, with San Marino preferring not to add Crescenta Valley.

Elsewhere, there are several scenarios being bandied about for Marshall, which is currently in the Alpha League. Marshall has been suggested to either go to the Pacific, Rio Hondo or Mission Valley League. The school is reportedly evenly content with going to either Rio Hondo or Mission Valley, but the Mission Valley has requested that Marshall be put in the Rio Hondo due to competitive equity, geography and enrollment.

Scott Morrison officially takes over as La Puente head coach and athletic director …

Scott Morrison will leave Workman and become the next varsity football head coach at La Puente. He will also be the Warriors’ athletic director.

Morrison replaces Brandon Rohrer, who resigned as La Puente’s head coach to take over at Etiwanda. Prior to coaching at Workman, Morrison was the head coach at Damien.

Word on the street over a month ago was that this is exactly what would happen, but the schools needed to get approval to make it happen as Morrison will be transferring from one school in the Hacienda-La Puente Unified to another.

Gladstone names Gerald “Citos” Marinez as its new varsity football head coach …

Gladstone High School announced on Wednesday that it has hired Gerald “Citos” Marinez to be its next varsity football head coach.

Marinez, 32, was previously an assistant coach at Redlands East Valley and also had stints at Baldwin Park, La Puente and Rowland, from which he graduated in 1999.

“I’m really excited,” Marinez said. “I’ve prepared my whole career for this point. I’m familiar with the area and I wanted to come back to the area.

“Gladstone is a great situation. Coach (Albert) Sanchez did a great job last year and coming off a league championship, this is a perfect place.”

Marinez replaces Sanchez, who resigned following the 2012 season after 14 years at the helm. Sanchez was named the Tribune’s Coach of the Year last season after he guided the Gladiators to a 10-2 record, a share of the Montview League championship and the school’s first playoff win since 1976.

Finding someone who could continue what Sanchez had going was key for Gladstone as was being able to secure the hire with a teaching position. The school is confident it did both.

“We feel he’s right for our community and our kids,” Gladstone athletic director Chuck Shore said. “He has the knowledge to help our program and he’s the right fit.

“We had to be right with this. It was important to follow up the positive things that Albert had done for the program with somebody else who can bring positive things to the program and build the excitement in the community as well.”

Marinez graduated from Rowland in 1999. He stopped playing football while attending Mt. San Antonio College and later Cal-State Fullerton.

This will be Marinez’s first head coach position and he’s already planning ways for Gladstone to stay atop the Montview.

“I’ve done a lot of research,” Marinez said. “I know they’re a league champion and they only lost to Azusa, so it was kind of an unprecedented year for them.

“My first job is to recruit this campus and get out the kids who want to play football and want to contribute. I hear they only have eight kids coming back from the varsity roster last year. I love that challenge, though, of kidding the kids on campus out to play football.”

Emptying out the notebook: Daylon McCutcheon moves on, Noodles battling for QB gig at D-Bar, Arroyo ready to fire, East roster shaping up with Simko and Bobo …

When standout Antonio “Noodles” Hull left West Covina High School for Diamond Bar, it signaled the biggest transfer of the offseason.

In just a few short weeks, the mystery as to what position, exactly, Hull will be playing for the Brahmas this fall will begin to be solved.

A big early clue may come on Apr. 20 when the Brahmas have their first passing competition of the season at Arroyo High against the Knights and Montebello.

“He wants to try and play quarterback and we’re going to let him compete at it,” Diamond Bar coach Ryan Maine said.

One problem, though, the Brahmas already have a quarterback in junior-to-be Tyler Peterson, who had a solid sophomore season.

“Tyler Peterson is the starting quarterback,” Maine said. “We had a meeting and Antonio understands that. It’s Tyler Peterson’s job to lose. If Antonio does an amazing, then yeah, he’ll get playing time there.

“They’re working really well together and we’re starting to think of some wildcat packages for Antonio and stuff like that.”

Hull is also seeing time on defense at safety, but the major reason he left West Covina was his conviction that he can be a starting quarterback. At Diamond Bar, Hull will have a chance to play in a more wide-open system and with some top-notch skill talent in receivers Kanya Bell and Cordell Broadus.

The Brahmas are currently practicing one day a week and will up things to five days a week starting May 13 when a mini-spring practice schedule begins.

ARROYO BACK AT IT

Arroyo is typically one of the most active teams during the passing circuit and this year will be no different.

In addition to hosting Diamond Bar and Montebello on Apr. 20, the Knights will be hosting Diamond Bar on May 4 and West Covina on May 11. Beginning June 4, Arroyo will start participating in four-way throws twice a week.

On July 13, Arroyo will host its popular SGV Shootout Passing Tournament and there are 24 teams confirmed for the event.

MCCUTCHEON MOVES ON

Bishop Amat’s Daylon McCutcheon will not be on head coach Steve Hagerty’s staff this season after accepting a position in the New York Jets organization.

McCutcheon was a standout player at Amat before attending USC and enjoying a professional career with the Cleveland Browns. He was a popular assistant on Hagerty’s in recent years.

Amat is currently practicing one day a week, on Wednesdays, and is expected to begin normal spring practice in late April. The Lancers return Tribune Offensive Player of the Year Koa Haynes at quarterback, but are light on skill position experience elsewhere.

The offseason will be key for several soon-to-be sophomore from Amat’s talented freshman team last fall who are bidding to be starters this season under the lights.

CALLING ALL-STARS

The Hall of Fame All-Star Game will play earlier than usual this year with the game set to take place on May 17 at West Covina High.

Tribune Coach of the Year Albert Sanchez, formerly of Gladstone, is coaching the East team and reports that he’s already confirmed Chino Hills quarterback Matt Simko and Charter Oak receiver Bryce Bobo will be on the East roster.

El Monte’s Joel Sanchez will coach the West team, which will feature Tribune Player of the Year Brandon Martinez at quarterback.

Field set for the 1st Charter Oak Tournament on May 18 …


Frankie Palmer is the headlining QB in the Charter Oak Tournament.

Here is the cast for the Charter Oak Tournament on May 18. Pretty good mix, obviously. The first games are at 9 a.m. with the teams split into four groups of four for pool play. After pool play the teams will be seeded for a knockout tournament. Couple things to keep in mind, the Hall of Fame All-Star Game is on May 17 and the Rancho Cucamonga Tournament is also on May 18.

Charter Oak
La Habra
Monrovia
Rosemead
South Hills
La Serna
Glendora
Mira Costa
San Jacinto
Murietta Valley
Muir
West Ranch
Upland
Diamond Ranch
El Rancho
Arroyo