OFFICIAL: CAA Football-Only leagues beginning with the 2014-15 school year …

ALHAMBRA — The news wasn’t what the struggling Damien High School football program wanted to hear.

But the Spartans got it loud and clear on Tuesday morning when members of the Catholic Athletic Association approved a football-only re-leaguing proposal that will send Damien to a new yet-to-be-named league against several Southland heavyweights. The meeting was held at Ramona Convent.

Damien’s new league mates will be Bishop Amat, Serra, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and Loyola. The league will compete in the PAC-5 Division, which is the toughest division in the Southland.

“It’s a huge challenge,” Damien principal Dr. Merritt Hemenway said. “We have a lot of good people. We have a lot of good young men in our school.”

Several schools put forth proposals, but only two got the majority vote they needed from the 26 schools represented to make it to a final vote.

For Damien, both of the final proposals had the Spartans heading to the PAC-5. The proposal that passed, which was authored by Serra High School, keeps Damien somewhat local by having Bishop Amat also in the league.

“We voted for it,” Hemenway said. “It was the lesser of two evils.”

Damien is currently in the Sierra League where it has not won a championship since 2006. The Spartans missed the playoffs last season after winning just one league game. Following the season, former head coach Greg Gano resigned and was later replaced by former Amat head coach Mark Paredes.

The new league also represents a change for Amat, which will still keep company with Loyola and Notre Dame, but now has Damien and Serra to contend with rather than Crespi and Alemany.

“From our perspective, we were trying to help other schools that were being forced into the PAC-5 when they didn’t want to be,” Amat football coach Steve Hagerty said. “We’re exactly where we thought we’d be, against good competition and in the PAC-5.”

Amat and Damien had played annually until the series ended last season after Gano opted to not play the Lancers any longer. That will change now as they’ll be forced to play every season with plenty more on the line than just area bragging rights.

“We get a local game with Damien and Mark Paredes will get them there if it’s decided by everybody that they’re not there already,” Hagerty said. “It will be exciting football. The difference will be that we’ll have one close rivalry in Damien.

“It will be more intriguing playing against Mark Paredes, my mentor. That will be fun.”

Both Amat and Damien put forth separate proposals but neither got enough support to make it to the final vote.

Other local teams will also see the complexion of their leagues change. St. Paul and St. Francis will remain in the Mission League, but the league will bid adieu to Serra and Chaminade and become a four-team proposition with Harvard-Westlake and Cathedral also remaining.

That means both St. Paul and St. Francis will have to schedule a whopping seven nonleague games to fill a 10-game schedule.

“We’re very competitive right now with those teams,” St. Paul athletic director Casey Morales said. “Year in and year out, playing that group of four is pretty much a toss up. I think it was very positive to keep the competitive equity.

“It’s going to be a scheduling nightmare. There are only so many odd-team leagues out there. That’s going to be interesting and we’ve already talked about a couple of creative options in the future.”

After some proposals had La Salle get a hefty boost in competition, the Lancers are staying put in the Del Rey League and will be joined by Cantwell Sacred Heart, Bishop Montgomery, Salesian, St. Bernard and Verbum Dei.

Bosco Tech’s league will include Bell Jeff, Mary Star, St. Anthony, St. Genevieve and St. Monica.


Bishop Amat
Notre Dame

St. Bonaventure
Oaks Chr.

Mission League (I presume)

St. Paul
St. Francis

Del Rey

Bishop Montgomery
La Salle
Verbum Dei
St. Bernard

Bell Jeff
Bosco Tech
Mary Star
St. Anthony
St. Genevieve
St. Monica

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  • so lucky

    Amat just dodged a bullet. Amat will have an opportunity to compete in their new league, if they had got stuck into the league with Allemany, Chaminnade, Oaks, and St Bonnies things would have looked bleak.

    • GP AKA Green Machine

      yeah….serra going to take that league….BA should finish 2nd or 3rd.. this season…if they get some players they should be able to be a serious contender for years to come in that league.

  • Jefe

    Amat may have dodged a bullet but good luck with Serra. Serra won’t have much trouble against anyone in that league, IMO.

    • jcaz

      Serra had a great year last time around, but the key here is consistency. Alemany is the only team to have moved up and to have continued to remain competitive. But that was only because they started to get serious about there football program only after hiring Harington. Somehow i dont see Serra constantly being good for an extended period of years. But we shall see….

      • Fatligian

        You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about if you say Serra hasn’t been as consistent as Alemany. How many times has Alemany been to the state finals in the last six years? Last time I checked the score was — Serra 3, Alemany 0

        • Fatligian

          Shoot here’s another stat to chew on… Serra in the last 8 years under Scott Altenberg is 73-19. You still want to say they’re a flash in the pan? Looks like they have a formula that’s working.

          • Valley Athletics

            Serra also has the most d1 offers at 10. Some players are juniors to be. A couple starters where freshmen . See them being good for a while .

        • The truth and nothing but…


        • jcaz

          Ok so they had a good record against teams that were mostly in lower divisions. So what ? I mean, sure, they did very well last year beating the heck out of some great quality teams, but hey, Amats beaten almost all the big boys over the last several years, but still cant seem to get past the second round..

          Anyway, ya, they most certainly deserve the opportunity to see if they can deliver those kinds of wins on a consistent basis against a higher quality of competition, however, all that im saying is,l ets just see how they fair against good teams on a day bases as opposed to every now and then. In other words, how consistent are they going to be over the next few years when they move up to the PAC5 ?

          Nothing wrong with asking that question is there ?

          So ya, show me, and no, im not from Missouri, but if they dont bring a spoon and fork with them ,they they aint gonna be able to sit down a the table cause all of a sudden your playing people who can literally knock your heads off every week of the season.

          So, show me, then when they do, all this talk about them having this fantastic record during all these last few years makes them a legitimate player, but if they dont, then that basically makes them into a paper tiger.

          One last thing. Dont be so quick to get offended if someone questions the quality of your team. After all, if they’re good, then can silence all the critics based on the how they perform right ? However, if they turn out to be a bust, then dont start acting like Warrior fan and do a diapering act on us once your team starts to get spanked. Deal ?

          • Fatligian

            I am not a Serra fan…so what you speak doesn’t offend me. You just don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • jcaz

            Hey, im not claiming to be an expert here. Never have, never did. So when you say that I dont know what im talking about, well, you might have something there after all eh ?

            Having said that, all in really trying to say. is that, I just have an opinion, and believe it or not, its just as valid as yours happens to be my good friend

            Again, not trying to disrespect anyone or anybody, but when it comes time to play with the big boys day in and day out, then show me that all those wins over the last few years really meant something.

            Look, wining at a consistently high level, which BTW is not uncommon in the PAC5, is a real accomplishment.

            Sometimes very good teams dont win a whole lot of games and thats not because they’re not good, but because they play against quality all the time. So while Serra cleaned house on all those lower division teams the last few years, then ya, they looked good, and when they beat schools like LBP, then wow, they really looked good !

            But, lets just wait and see what happens next and BTW, dont be surprised if Serra aint in a bowl game next year…….Just saying

          • Jimmy the Greek

            You Amat honks talk as if Amat is playing Pac-5 powerhouse teams for all 10 weeks of the regular season, when the fact is that for the past 3 years there has been only 5 teams in your league which means only 4 league games. Prior to Allemany entering the Sera League there was only 4 teams in the Sera which meant only 3 league games every year, with the majority of the season being padded by the likes of Garfield, Venice, Cathedral, and various other D2-D7 also rans. The truth of the matter is that the Sera has been a highly overrated league over the past 3-4 years which has been shown to be true in the Pac-5 playoffs. If Allemany (the 3 year running Champion of the Sera) had remained in the Mission league they would have lost to Serra High School 2 of the past 3 years. Both Chaminnade and Serra would have finished 1st and 2nd in the Sera League last year. If you take into account the fact that Sera High played 16 games this year and had a very tough preseason schedule, I can guarantee you that they faced more good teams then that which Amat faced this year, including a victory over the Sera Leagues Co-Champion.

          • So you think Banning, Mira Costa, St Francis, St Paul, Harvard Westlake, and Cathedral match the 6 worst teams on Amats schedule?

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            Be careful. Serra beat Long Beach Poly…who blew out Amat and Notre Dame… Mira Costa also finished ranked higher than La Mirada, St Pual( which amat barely beat) and Culver City. They also played Narbonne point… This is what aram touched on in the comment above…However…Serra Recruiting is going to get even better now they are playing the pac 5. They will have more talent than they had the last 3 years. Do the research

          • Valley Athletics

            Serra will of did fine in PAC 5 last year . This year they return 10 players already with offers . 2014 will see how they Re after graduating some good talent in 2013 . Just like when marquis lee and farmer graduated they did not make it to finals the year after . 2011 season . Amat will be good in 2014 with this years freshmen class . Saw the footage of them on hudl and they look impressive . Serra has to play banning , Mira costa , narbonne because they are close to them and they compete with them for players .just like amat has to play charter oak once in a while .

          • Jimmy the Greek

            I would say that Notre Dame, LB Poly, Narbonne, Chaminnade, Chaminnade (again), Edison, and Oakdale was a much more demanding schedule on the top end then that of Nortre Dame, Crespi, Allemany, and LB Poly. Looks to me that Amat had, what I would call, 4 top end games on their schedule while Serra had 7 top end games on their schedule. The fact of the matter is, the people from Serra should be the ones questioning weather or not Amat could handle the rigors of the Serra schedule and not the other way around.

          • WCDan

            Valid post Jimmy the G, last year Serra had a tough schedule, although the LBP team they beat at the beginning of the year was not nearly as good as the LBP team at the end of the year. LBP lost all those games at the beginning because they tried to run a spread passing
            offense, once they went back to the old ground and pound style that was Poly they rolled thru the division.

          • Fatligian

            Look the landscape of athletics have changed at Serra. They have constantly looked to improve in all facets of all their athletics programs. Shoot, they’re kicking butt in swimming for crying out loud. Have you been to Gardena? Not a real affluent swimming community if you know what I mean.

            As for the football team, obviously where they were, are and where they are headed are very different places. However, in order to rise to the next level and push your program you have to bring in talent….and that’s something they have done.

            I am not sure if you have have seen Serra live. They have the horses to compete immediately and make some noise. They very well will be a force to reckon with come 2014. The bulk of their talent are sophomores now. So come two years from now, they will be a very polished group. Not to mention who comes in the meantime. They are not going anywhere unless the archdiocese just levels the administration.

          • WCDan

            You have good points Fatligian but you and others on here are underestimating teams like Amat, Loyola, & ND, who are use to playing at a higher level than the teams Serra was facing in the mission league. In their new league Serra will have to face teams the caliber of Chaminade week in and week out, and we know how tough those games were for Serra, that is the caliber that Amat Loyola and ND most likely will be at. If Serra really does have 10 D1 prospects like someone said, then they may be fine but with them graduating next season, who knows what Serra will be like in 2014. Those sophomore’s may pan out like you say, but lets not forget that Amat and Loyola’s freshmen classes were the real deal this year.
            I think it will be a learning process for Serra for a couple of seasons.

          • How many D1 signees did Crespi have last year? La Mirada? How’d that work out for them?

          • WCDan

            Not sure how many they had but I agree, great athletes are necessary to have but if there is not much chemistry or discipline, or if the coaching is poor, then it will cost them when they come up against teams who do have chemistry, discipline, and better coaching, even if those teams don’t have the athletes to match.

        • jcaz

          BTW, if Alemany had remained in that same league over that same period of time, it would have been Alemany 3 Serra 0

      • Jefe

        You’re in for a rude awakening if you think Serra’s not going to be consistent for some time to come. That school has a knack for attracting fast, highly-skilled, D1 talent. Speed-wise, they’re going to be a major problem for the other teams in that new league.

      • GP AKA Green Machine

        Really thier football team just won Cif…their basketball city just won Cif, the Baseball team is top 15 in socal and may win Cif and to top it all off…Gardena high school just won city section div 2 basketball after all their local talent is going to serra…..The city of Gardena is booming with talent right now….I think they have already proven they are in this for the long haul….It’s BA who has to prove that now…However, I think BA can play with serra and beat them in football or at least make it really tough….the Pac 5 is tough…and serra is the new booty…Ask Sherman Oaks ND…

        • jcaz

          Actually, I honestly believe the Serra has earned the right to play in the PAC5, but my point was that a lot of those previous wins were against teams that weren’t as tough as the kind of teams they are gong to play day in and day out in the future.

          Sure, they beat some very good teams and beat them soundly too, but that’s not enough in the PAC5.

          Heck, if beating good teams were a bench mark for success, then what does that really say about teams like Amat anyway ?

          I mean, they have beaten teams that were just as good if not better over those same years, but at the end of the day, each and every year, there sitting at home carving the turkey come November.

          So, lets just wait and see how it all plays out ?

          • this is what i dont get. i championed the cause for amat to move to d-4/western div. and so many amat fans flipped their lids. but now that serra and chaminade are in d-1, it’s suddenly ok to compete against them and they’re legit?

            why was it so insulting to say amat should be banging with serra and chaminade in the western div but its not insulting at all for them to do it in the pac-5? all i hear now is all these amat fans fawning over serra. classic.

          • jcaz

            Aram, your getting it all wrong me thinks…..

            First of all, those guys are moving up to division 1, and not the other way around. Frankly speaking, no one said it was an insult to have played those schools,

            However, when you start to suggest that programs such as Amat or even trinity league teams such as Orange Lutheran, or even Notre Dame, be moved down (just cause they dont get to the second round all the time), then your argument about relief starts to have holes in it

          • you say “not getting to the second round” …. i say “one playoff win since 2006” … huge difference.

          • Valley Athletics

            16 other teams never make it to playoffs .

          • jcaz

            Ok fair question, so tell me, in that same time frame (what 6 years or so), how many second round appearances has Notre Dame, Crespi, and Loyola made ? What about some of those all mighty trinity league teams such as Orange Lutheran, or, yes even Santa Margarita been to ? More than one ? Two maybe ? Just asking….

          • Jimmy the Greek

            Now your making my argument for me, in that the Sera League had been Pac-5 SOFT over the past 6 years. For the record, SM has won a least 1 playoff game in each of the last 3 years running and if Amat had played in the Trinity each of the last 6 years, they would not have sniffed the playoffs even once.

          • WCDan

            Wrong Jimmy G,
            Amat most likely would have made the playoffs in 08 and 09 if they were in the Trinity League.
            In 08 they most likely would have beaten Servite out for third place, and in 09 they probably would have beaten out Mater Dei for third since they beat the Monarchs in the playoffs that year.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            I am glad you caught the flip flop….good teams are good teams…I love the idea off football only leagues, and think that should be the plat form for CIF. Place teams in leagues and division every 5 years based upon performance. You still can make it commute freindly…if you want a rivalry, just use the preseason games…as we see teams like Bonita, Monrovia, West co etc…are playing sports in leagues and divisions they shouldn’t because of the other sports at the school.

          • AMAT 73


            Show me any flip flopping on Serra by any AMAT blogger in here. You and other are doing all the fawning as Aram puts it over Serra. My point is they have not faced the type of competition on a weekly basis in the Mission as they will in the new league to already call them champs of the new league . Both Serra and Chaminade have out grown the Mission and maybe they could have included HW instead of Damien but oh well.


            It’s too bad they didn’t move at least one of them to the SERRA a few years ago to get rid of the nagging bye week . I don’t think the issue was banging with Chaminade or Serra ( which by the way were out of place in the Western ) but the Western as a whole. We probably would have been placed in the Mission league and what would it prove to go up against
            SF, Cathedral , and the slime . Can you honestly say Serra and Chaminade belong in D4 . Their time is up and it’s time to move up otherwise they would become what Monrovia is in D11 only in D-4 .

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            Amat 73 how are you? Well if Serra and Chaminade have outgrown the Mission, do you think that the the Serra and Pac 5/Div 1 football has outgrown Bishop Amat? My point being that if New teams from lower divisions move up into the league BA is member of…and win that league, while BA comes in say 3rd or possibly a 3 way 2nd place tie, what would be your conclusion? Serra is the immediate favorite in that league moving out of the Mission and up 3 divisions. So Basically Bishop Amat is in the Same position. The only difference is Alemany is gone…I doesn’t take much for kids to want to try Damien, now that they are in the Pac 5. I wish Monrovia was a catholic school…they would be able to be a part of the Football only deal. You know if BA was public….they would not be playing football in the pac 5 in 2014.

          • jcaz

            GP, its funny how you have single handily made this into something its not. No one here is comparing Amat to Serra. All that is being said is that, because Serra is moving up to Division one, that they are going to be facing much better competition day in and day out as opposed to the league that they are currently playing in today. Where is there a problem with that ?

            No one here is saying that Amat, or for that matter, any of the other PAC5 teams that Serra will soon be playing, is a better team than Serra is. In fact, you seem to be the only one in here who seems to have some kind of an axe to grind.

            Frankly speaking, I dont understand why you seem to be so defensive by anything that’s been said so far. But then again…..

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            This is just Dialogue….However, I guess you have memory lapse….There was a lot to be said over the past few seasons regarding how Amat would Dominate the Mission if they were in that league and division. Now the Mission’s best is in your league, and Chaminade is in the Pac 5. It’s funny how fate brings things to a head…It’s just interesting conversation…That’s not grinding, that’s just a great conversation piece. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.

          • jcaz

            Dude, dude due…If I haven’t said it once, ive said it a hundred times. I may be a honk, but im no homer…..

            BTW, I love it when someone uses my stuff, but come on dude, “Heart on my sleeve ?” YIKES !!!

            Look, fact is, im the only guy in here whose gone on record as saying we need a new coaching staff. In fact, ive agreed more with idiots like Non-Sense, and Warrior Fan than any other bloger in here, because I can objectively look at the glass and say its half empty, as opposed to always saying its half full,

            Actually, some of the digs they throw in, are actually very much on point, and if I were a true homer, I could guarantee you that I wouldn’t be in here saying any of that, trust me…

          • AMAT 73


            Doing fine and feeling no heat at all . That’s a whole lot of ifs in that post . First off it’s about time Chaminade and Serra got moved up to D-1 . The will compete but let’s see how they hold up for an entire season playing against teams at the same level . As far as them being the immediate favorites , which is mainly in the minds of a few bloggers on here , I don’t buy into that thinking at all . The object for any team is to get better and move up when winning becomes too easy ( hint , hint ) for them in their league or division . The teams that have been moved up, SB and OC last season , and now these is fair to them because what’s the use or accomplishment of winning titles against lesser competition every year . AMAT is fine where we are at and no I don’t think Serra is better than AMAT and as far as a deep run by Serra , let’s just wait and see what happens and not rely on that crystal ball of yours that’s predicting Monrovia’s 4peat and state title run you so frequently write about . What is puzzling is your statement of it won’t take much for kids to want to try Damien now that they are in the PAC-5 . What would be the lure of them and not AMAT considering we usually whack them everytime we face them . Who would you choose ???? Plus the fact of the blogs mentality of you don’t have to play at the top level to get a scholarship or noticed, or to even play against the best to see how one rates against top teams So maybe that lure is for players out of the SGV only because you use that idea for them but not the SGV teams in upper divisions . The funniest line line is your wishing Monrovia was a Catholic school . Where do you think they would be placed , in the PAC-5 ?????? But then again the Del Rey #2 just might look inviting to you and after all it is a move up in divisions .

          • I don’t see any Amat fans “fawning” as much as I see them questioning whether they’ll win as much facing Pac5 competition every week in league and into the playoffs

    • Jimmy the Greek

      I agree with Jefe, Serra is the stud of this new league. However, I think Amat can compete for the 2nd playoff spot on a consistent basis vs. the other teams in this league. If Amat had been placed in the other league I think they would have been battling each year to just stay out of last place.

      • WCDan

        Serra has athletes, and is a very good program but they will have a tough time getting thru the gauntlet of Amat, Loyola, and ND one after another. It will be much tougher than what they had with St.Paul, Cathedral, St. Francis and Harvard Westlake. Their state title’s are impressive but lets remember that those were won in the mid level state divisions, not D1 or open divisions which would be more representative of Pac 5 division that they will play in in 2014. Let’s also not forget that Amat’s frosh team of this year could possibly be the best frosh class that the SGV has had in a decade, and Loyola’s frosh class was not far behind them so by 2014 when Serra comes into the division those kids will be juniors, so when Serra comes to town in a couple of years I think Amat and Loyola will be ready.

    • AMAT 73

      Serra and Chaminade are a great fit and the breakdown by area is correct . Serra is a good fit but you as well as anyone should know they have not face a weekly pounding in the Mission . That will be new for them in this league so before you crown them champs , let’s see how it pans out . You still have ND , Loyola , AMAT, and now Damien with Paredes instead SF, the slime , Cathedral , big difference . But Serra does have talent and a solid program so it will be interesting with a new spin on league play .

  • javier


    • Fatligian

      I don’t care how much recruiting you guys are doing…you wouldn’t stand a chance.

      • javier

        Hey, I am not a ‘LS’ booster, alumni, teacher or fan. Just making a suggestion to try to align the schools geographically and keep rivalries intact. What does ‘LS’ have in common with B. Montgomery, Cantwell,Salesian, Verbum Dei or St. Bernard? That 4 team league is a joke.

  • New York

    I like it for Damien. They are now in the Pac-5. No longer a tweener, and they will be able to brand themselves as such. Playing in the top division with a proven head coach could be a very powerful recruiting platform.

    • GP AKA Green Machine

      New York…I agree. Now BA vs Damien will have huge implications….also that creates another Pac participant in the SGV….You may see a few players slide over from as close as Bonita/San Dimas/ Glendora/Covina area to far as Upland/Pomona Area to play in the Pac 5. Recruiting should be on the rise in the next few years. It’s not that far for anyone who lives along the 210 fwy in the SGV…Especially if you live west of the 57. The traffic is really smooth headed east in the Morning….

  • so lucky

    With the new leagues I would presume that both League A and League B will be in the Pac-5 which would mean that the reduced Marmonte League will drop back into the Northern Division. The bad news for the 2 new leagues is that they are 5 team le

    • yes, that is correct. two pac-5 leagues. A and B are those. not sure which will be called the serra.

  • When teams first move up there might be an immediate bump, but how teams do over the long haul is the question. Remember how folks thought Orange Lutheran was going to be a yearly finalist after winning their first year? Oaks and Bonnie’s were headed to the finals a year ago? Or how Crespi and Notre Dame were going to dominate after their success at lower levels? Yet Amat is the only team to make playoffs from the Serra each of the last 4 years. Questions abound when teams move up and only time will tell.

  • Jastrab

    I believe the IE would have similar experience with CC and VM making semi’s or finals early on, but over the long haul would be consumed by the breath and depth of the division. I recall the Golden, Moore and Northern all coming, but not winning a title with the exception of the Moore, but was after 10 or 12 years in the division.

    I don’t recall the actual format, but I thought in the early 70’s the predecessor to the PAC Five the Big Five (4AAAA) had five rounds instead of four. I thought it was only the top two teams or even league champions or some crazy format.

    • WCDan

      I believe there were three years that there were 4 playoff rounds + the Championship game in CIF, from 1974 thru 1976.
      In 1974 South Hills played:
      Fontana, Foothill, Hawthorn, West Torrance in the playoffs and then beat St. John Bosco in the Title game.
      In 1975 Loyola played:
      South Torrance, Foothill, W. Covina, Anaheim, and then beat St. Paul in the Title game.
      In 1976 los Altos played:
      Chaffey, Dos Pueblos, W. Torrance, W, Covina, in the playoffs and then beat Fontana in the Title game.
      In 1977 CIF changed the name of the top division from 4A to the Big five division.

      • Jastrab


        What was the format for league entry? Thanks for the history…I thought Amat played and lost to SJB in the 4th round in 1974 …I think that title game was the fob bowl at the LA C.

        • WCDan

          Pretty sure it was first and second place teams, not sure about at large teams. Your right about the fog bowl with South Hills and SJB. Also about Amat playing SJB in the semis that year, score was 35 to 7 SJB.