Bad sign? Monrovia already going to the “motivational video” and it’s only Week 1 …

After four quarters’ worth of results, it’s hard to tell just how good the Bonita High School football team is. And for that matter, how good Monrovia isn’t.

Lots more will be made clear when the two Central Division contenders meet on Friday night in a game that should go a long way in telling area fans the quality of both teams. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Monrovia High.

Bonita started off the season with a resounding 49-2 win over Schurr last Friday night. Meanwhile, across town, Monrovia was beaten by a Burbank team that not many picked to win that game.

“They had a rough first game and that happens,” Bonita head coach Adrian Medrano said. of Monrovia. “To think that they’re going to be down or anything like that is foolish. They’re going to come out hungry after a loss like that.”

Bonita knows first hand just how good Monrovia can be when all cylinders are cranking. The Wildcats handed the Bearcats arguably their worst loss last season with a 35-3 thrashing. It’s game that Medrano is certain his team hasn’t forgotten about.

“We turned the ball over a lot in the red zone that game and gave up a lot of big plays,” Medrano said. “And once they get rolling, Monrovia’s tough to stop. They’re not a team you can give an edge to.”

Bonita went on to have an interesting season following last year’s Monrovia loss. The Bearcats needed an at-large berth to get in the playoffs, but once in, they advanced to the semifinals. Monrovia, despite a high seeding, was out in the second round.

Quarterback Tanner East is a big reason why Bonita fans are thinking an even bigger season is in store. East threw for two touchdowns in the win over Schurr. Monrovia will counter with veteran quarterback Asaph Zamora.

NEW!!! All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 … after Week 0

amatfanssadNot to worry. Amat can bounce back vs. Servite

1. Bishop Amat (0-1) — Coaches have LOTS to figure out for Servite.
2. Charter Oak (1-0) — Rolled in Vegas, but true test comes Friday.
3. Glendora (0-0) — First up is Alta Loma.
4. St. Francis (0-0) — Nice test in opener vs. West Covina
5. La Habra (1-0) — Defense, say what??, defense looked good.
6. La Mirada (0-1) — Can get some mojo back vs. Charter Oak
7. West Covina (0-1) — Doesn’t get any easier with St. Francis next.
8. La Serna (1-0) — Margarito-less Lancers got narrow win.
9. San Marino (1-0) — Offense picked up where it left off.
10. Northview (1-0) — Took care of business against Rosemead.
11. Los Altos (1-0) — Didn’t miss a beat vs. Baldwin Park.
12. Bonita (1-0) — Think Medrano wants revenge vs. M-Town?
13. Damien (0-0) — Bit of a guessing game right now.
14. South Hills (1-0) — Defense delivered win vs. D-Ranch.
15. San Dimas (0-0) — The Post-Z Era begins Friday.
16. Monrovia (0-1) — Can ‘Cats bounce back vs. Bonita?
17. La Salle (1-0) — Up next: Blair. Blair? Yes, Blair.
18. St. Paul (1-0) — Hearing good things about Swordsmen.
19. Muir (0-1) — Doesn’t get any easier this week vs. Cathedral.
20. Montebello (1-0) — Third shot at Northview in a year’s time.
21. Diamond Ranch (0-1) — Offense was nowhere to be found.
22. El Rancho (0-1) — Offense appears to be way down.
23. La Canada (1-0) — Sparty wins Coach Zerbel’s debut.
24. Diamond Bar (1-0) — Nice win over Duarte.
25. El Monte (0-1) — Talent is there, but Lions hurt themselves.

La Serna fires wildly successful head coach Margarito Beltran

As reported by our Steve Ramirez Thursday morning, La Serna High School has fired head coach Margarito Beltran.

The move comes just a day before La Serna opens the season against Eastlake on Friday night. The reasons given are somewhat vague (at least to me).

“Following allegations of an incident involving physical restraint of a special needs student, a La Serna High School teacher, who is also a member of the school’s athletics staff, was placed on paid administrative leave last week pending the outcome of an investigation,” Russell wrote in a press release. “However, after violating the terms of his paid leave, the employee has been removed from his coaching position and remains on paid administrative leave from his teaching position.”

This is the second peculiar thing this year about Beltran’s status at the school. Going into spring practice and the summer passing circuit, rumors swirled that Beltran was no long the Lancers’ coach. He put those to rest by saying he had taken medical leave and would return in time for the season, which looked exactly like what was happening.

Regardless, Beltran was one of the best around. His teams were an annual postseason force. His program one of the best around. His systems/schemes excellent. Get the point? This is the kinda guy who will likely catch on somewhere else.

Andy George, a La Serna assistant, will take over as the head man.

The two that got away could come back to haunt Bishop Amat

If the Bishop Amat High School football team comes up in its season opener against Mater Dei on Friday night, the reasons will likely hit close to home.

In a strange twist, two of the San Gabriel Valley’s most talented players won’t be in uniform for Bishop Amat, but Mater Dei, instead. And the question on a lot of people’s minds is how did these two get away. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Ana Bowl.

When Mater Dei throws on Friday night, the Monarchs will likely target 6-foot-5 receiver Andre Collins Jr., who doesn’t live anywhere near Orange Country. Nope, Collins Jr. lives in Hacienda Heights.

And protecting the Monarchs’ quarterback so that he can get Collins Jr. the ball is USC-bound offensive tackle Frank Martin II, who lives in West Covina. Both Collins and Martin have been carpooling to Santa Ana since their freshmen year.

“I think it’s unnecessary, but I don’t think it’s weird,” Bishop Amat head coach Steve Hagerty said when asked whether it was strange to have two standouts from Amat’s talent pool playing for Mater Dei. “There’s always kids that are doing that. I think it’s been going on for a while. I don’t think traveling to school is an issue. I think they’re looking for the best fit.”

“I saw the Martin kid around our place a few times. He always in a USC shirt. As far as I knew, he was interested in Bishop Amat and then the next thing I know, he’s at Mater Dei.”

Forget about Amat, why didn’t Martin go to West Covina, which was coming off a dominant showing in the CIF playoffs when he was entering high school.

“His dad went to school here and graduated right when I started coaching,” West Covina head coach Mike Maggiore said. “I did not know he had a kid and his kid was 6-4 or 6-5. But a couple kids told me there’s a big kid in West Covina and they didn’t know where he’s going to go. In this case, it turned out to be a high-level Division 1 prospect. But I don’t feel like we ever had a chance. He never came over to look at our school.

“It’s definitely disappointing. Just seeing any kid that lives in your city but doesn’t want to come to your school, it is disappointing. I think it would be more disappointing for a public school. But for a kid to travel that distance, it’s almost like they don’t really trust what you’re doing. In my opinion, the kid could have been a high-level Division 1 prospect at any school he played at.”

Although neither Collins or Martin wound up as Hagerty’s responsibility, they will both certainly be his problem on Friday night. Collins appears on the cusp of a breakout season and will be tough to cover given his frame. Martin should be quite an issue for an Amat defensive line that is dealing with injury and suspension.