Temple City expected to have just 30 players on varsity roster … frosh team struggling with about 20 …


My how times have changed. Temple City, a prominent power in the 1970s, perennial winner in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s is really feeling the demographic crunch.

The Rams had just 36 players on the varsity roster last year, which head coach Mike McFarland said will be more like 30 this year. The freshmen team is even worse off with around only 20 players at present.

Temple City has had a dramatic demographic shift in the past 10 years and the current student body is predominantly Asian. Whites make up 14 percent of the student body. Getting Asian kids (and their parents) to participate in football has been a struggle at schools like Keppel and San Marino … and now Temple City.

San Marino, though, in recent years has been able to grow its numbers and McFarland said he will look into plying some of the same techniques the Titans used to get things boosted at Temple City.

Temple City didn’t score in its first three games last year, but the offense came alive in time to finish third in the Rio Hondo League and reach the playoffs.

Interestingly, though, the Rams have been just fine in the other two major boys sports of basketball and baseball. Temple City won the Rio Hondo League in hoops last winter and has been a perennial title contender in baseball for several years.

Big Juan Hernandez is a major reason why Arroyo has grande expectations …



A 7-5 record and third-place finish in league is considered a disappoint for the Arroyo High School football team.

The Knights are used to winning Mission Valley League championships and bidding for top-four seeds in the Mid-Valley Division, not making the postseason as the No. 3 team from their league.

Although Arroyo may not be happy with last season’s end result, the Knights are choosing to build on it as they get ready to get things back on track this fall.

Arroyo has several key players back from last season and served notice earlier this summer that the passing game will be better when they won the SGV Shootout, their host tournament.

“The tournament has nothing to do with our level of confidence, it’s just as a team that we feel a lot more confident in the offense and our quarterback,” Knights coach Jim Singiser said. “We have more confidence (this year) to move the ball through the air as well as on the ground.”

You’ll have to forgive the Knights if they had a crisis of confidence on offense last season after losing 2011 Tribune Player of the Year Steven Rivera to graduation. Nathan Coto replaced Rivera and had his growing pains as a junior.

But this summer, Coto blossomed and looked like a much more dangerous passer if passing games are any indication.

“The work he put in this offseason and the work the coaches put in with the receivers and running game, I just think we’re farther along at this time now than we were last year,” Singiser said. “Last year, we had a brand new quarterback and it took him five, maybe six weeks to figure out you could win games as easily on the ground as you could through the air.”

Arroyo was truly hit and miss last year. The Knights were bad enough to be routed by Los Altos but good enough to easily handle Rowland. Then, in the playoffs, Arroyo won a first-round game over Bell Gardens and gave Sierra Canyon all it could handle in the second round.

Two major reasons why Arroyo might be better built this year to handle games against the big boys are defensive linemen Robert Sanchez and Juan Hernandez. Both players are pushing 270 pounds, which gives Singiser size he’s not used to having.

“The two of them are big bodies and they’re both athletic,” Singiser said. “We missed one (Hernandez) for most of last season because he had surgery last August. Robert filled in and was an all-leaguer in his own right.

“It’s huge. They’re both big kids and physical. But two guys on a defense isn’t going to stop anybody better than what we have in the past. We still have to play team defense.”

Arroyo will be tested right away. The Knights host Los Altos on Aug. 30 in a rematch of a game the Conquerors won last season, 33-6. Despite the embarrassing loss, Singiser said that revenge isn’t at the fore of his players’ minds.

“You can jump in the ring with Mike Tyson and get your butt kicked and then a year later have all the revenge factor you want,” Singiser said. “We got handled last year. I think they started six of their first eight drives in our territory. The took us out by the woodshed and took it to us.

“That said, you want to hope that our guys have a lot of pride and want to come out and compete. This is a big step-up in competition. I’ve talked to coaches around the Valley and the talk around other leagues is that Los Altos is a team that can make a run deep into their playoffs.”

Big Lou likes his FRONT FOUR and you can see why Charter Oak means business up front

From left: Eric Prevost #47, David Apodaca #56, Brandon Larry #33 and DE Khylan Brooks

When the Charter Oak High School football team practiced in pads for the first time on Wednesday, veteran head coach Lou Farrar was more concerned with recognizing who everyone was rather than sweating Xs and Os.

It’s going to take time for that to happen, which is expected when a team loses 28 seniors to graduation. But as another season approaches, Farrar likes what he sees in terms of talent, but remains cautious on just how much experience will be needed to let all the new faces shine.

“It’s kind of really hard to replace guys who are suiting up at Colorado or Wake Forest with a sophomore replacement,” Farrar said. “There’s a big dropoff between a Division 1 recruit and a sophomore. It’s about depth of guys who have played under the lights on Friday nights and we don’t have a whole lot of game experience that will be stepping on the field.

“A lot of young faces. Good athletes, good players, but just not a lot of Friday night game experience.”

Nowhere did the Chargers feel the sting of graduation more than on defense, where one of the best stop units in school history has to replace nine starters. Most of the back seven needs to be replaced. Charter Oak allowed just 11.5 points per game and held several opponents to season lows in points en route to going 10-2 and sweeping the Sierra League for a second consecutive season.

“Right now, I like our front four,” Farrar said. “We have a little bit of concern in our linebacker situation because we graduated all four of our all-league linebackers. And in our secondary, one of our corners is back. Our perimeter is definitely suspect right now, so we’ll have to get a a good pass rush going.”

Charter Oak’s defense figures to be built around the defensive line where reigning co-Sierra League Defensive MVP Eric Prevost is back along with Khylan Brooks. The secondary has plenty of athletes with corner Candy Nava back and Donavin Washington, who has an offer from Boise State, also returning with some experience on defense.

Washington figures to be the showcase weapon on offense where he will play running back and receiver. Senior Todd Greene is bidding to be the feature back and replace standout Aaren Vaughns. Sophomore Zion Echols is headed toward big things and will also play a big role on offense and probably assume a role on defense in the secondary.

It’s not all bad news for the Chargers, at least on offense, because of the return of Kory Brown at quarterback. Brown had some growing pains early last season while replacing standout Travis Santiago, but blossomed into a solid passer.

Despite the experience in key positions on offense, Farrar still prefers to count on his defense and will do so from the word “go.”

“I’m hoping our defense takes a little pressure off of our offense,” Farrar said. “I just hope they can play well enough – bend but not break – and give our offense a chance to keep regrouping and getting organized. This is our eighth week in a row of practicing, so our kids are pretty much up to speed on what we’re doing,”

Charter Oak has no Week 0 game, but will scrimmage Tustin and an old nemesis in head coach Greg Gano on Aug. 30. The Chargers open the season on Sept. 6 at home against Roosevelt of Eastvale. The highlight of the nonleague schedule comes on Sept. 20 when Charter Oak visits Bishop Amat in a rematch of a game that didn’t go too well for the Chargers last season.

Sierra League play begins for Charter Oak on Oct. 11 at home against Damien. The Chargers will get together with nearby South Hills for a Thursday night showdown on Oct. 24 in a game that should allow for plenty of fans to see both teams because of the night of the week it falls on.