La Canada hoping to debut Drake Beasley soon #FreeDrake

La Canada High School football coach Ryan Zerbel is hopeful that an independent investigator looking into the transfer of running back Drake Beasley will have thing concluded this week and CIF will clear his star ball carrier in time for this Friday’s game against South Hills.

La Canada hired the investigator in response to allegations from Loyola, Beasley’s previous school, that his transfer was invalid due to undue influence. Loyola presented its case to CIF and now La Canada is set to respond.

“The third-party investigator is wrapping up his investigation and then it’s going to be hand delivered to CIF,” Zerbel said. “I’m really confident. Like I said from the beginning, there’s a process that’s in place and we’ll let that process take place.”

Beasley sat out last Friday’s win over Hawthorne. The Spartans could have played him but risked having to forfeit the win if he was later found ineligible. Beasley is considered to be one of the top running backs in the state and has multiple college offers, including UCLA, Boise St. and Arizona.

He rushed for 1,647 yards and 17 touchdowns last season at Loyola. Beasley left Loyola earlier this August and wound up at La Canada, where he shined during his youth football days. Loyola immediately challenged the transfer.

“This whole thing isn’t about me, it isn’t about La Canada, it’s about a young man who is being denied the opportunity to play the game he loves to play because somebody made an allegation,” Zerbel said. “It’s really a bad situation for that individual, that young man and his family. Whether he was coming to La Canada or going to one of our rival schools, it’s a horrible situation that somebody could just say something and take games away from people.”

Zerbel said he wrestled with whether to play Beasley despite the ongoing investigation because he doesn’t feel its right that he misses time due to allegations. He also said that Beasley was having a hard time with not being able to play.

“It’s hard on him because he’s stuck in the middle,” Zerbel said.

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All-encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 after Week 0 …

1. La Mirada (1-0) — Program-defining win over O-Lu.
2. La Habra (1-0) — Solid win over solid El Toro to start.
3. St. Francis (0-0) — Set to be unleashed vs. West Covina.
4. Bishop Amat (0-1) — Should only improve after MD fiasco.
5. Los Altos (1-0) — No telling how wild Tyler Nevens runs.
6. Charter Oak (1-0) — Guess QB won’t be a concern.
7. Damien (1-0) — Put the clamps on a good Chino team. Wow.
8. La Salle (1-0) — Statement games looms vs. Monrovia.
9. San Dimas (1-0) — Got the Smudge Pot back.
10. Glendora (1-0) — Tartans just reload at QB.
11. Arcadia (1-0) — Got sweet revenge vs. Bell Gardens.
12. La Serna (0-1) — Mildly concerned about Friday’s loss.
13. Northview (0-1) — Need to get RB Thomas cleared by CIF.
14. Diamond Ranch (1-0) — Put the clamps on South Hills.
15. West Covina (0-1) — Battled good Colony team for a while.
16. Montebello (1-0) — Oilers look stout on D yet again.
17. Muir (1-0) — Likely the most entertaining team around.
18. St. Paul (0-1) — Lost to a serious team from up north.
19. South Pasadena (1-0) — Strong win over Rosemead.
20. Monrovia (0-1) — Time to worry?
21. South Hills (0-1) — Caught a little Hacienda flavor vs. D-Ranch.
22. La Canada (1-0) — Free Drake!
23. San Marino (0-1) — Ran into a buzzsaw.
24. Arroyo (0-0-1) — Had a win allergy vs. Covina.
25. Schurr (1-0) — No denying the program has momentum.

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La Mirada slays the Trinity League dragon, Tyler Nevens runs wild, Elijah Blades tweets at halftime and Amat gets worked


What an opening night. Let’s get right to the talking points …

La Mirada 21, Orange Lutheran 14: Congrats to Mats head coach Mike Moschetti. He kept taking on the Trinity League and finally beat one. I told Moschetti earlier Friday that if he beat O-Lu, it would be time to retire. Nothing left to do. He won’t do that, but wow. LM is a powerhouse in the making. Who knows what happens the rest of the way, but this program might be on its way to D-2 and maybe D-1 someday soon. This is why I ranked LM No. 1 in the all-encompassing rankings. What a program!

Tyler Nevens runs for 285, four TDs: Los Altos’ star running back is ALL THAT and then some. Did I mention Nevens has a 4.0 GPA?

Muir star Elijah Blades tweets at halftime: Haha. I love this kid. Elijah Blades was having a good game vs. Compton at halftime, so he decided to tweet about it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Blades reiterated to his followers that he was going to “go off” this year. And yeah, he did just that. Blades is a verbal commit to Florida.

Temple City routed by Pasadena Poly: That’s my alma mater, baby! No, not Poly. Not that smart. TC! We’re still in trouble obviously.

Bishop Amat slammed by MD: This was the rout everyone saw coming. I’m more concerned about the Amat parents and fans and if they killed each other in the stands.

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The War on Football rages on …

As the dawn of a new season arrives, I’m here to tell you that the game that we love so much is under attack. Usually, this space in a publication such as this one is reserved for a cheery “welcome back” piece. Something to get you excited for all that’s about to take place and the memories that are about to be made.

But this year is different. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen it for the past few seasons with your own eyes and now it’s obvious. Our great sport is under attack. Yes, the War on Football is being waged.

It’s being waged by the mainstream media, consisting mostly of those who have never played the game. It’s also being perpetuated by those who have actually played, but have seemingly forgotten all the good it brought them.

Let’s be frank, nobody steps on a football field without knowing the stakes. Nobody. There’s a reason for all the protective equipment. From knees to collar bones to neck to head, there’s a good chance you’re going to injure something if you play the sport.

Everyone knows the body, specifically the head, can only take so much pounding. When athletes of the highest level spend eight months of a year getting bigger, faster and stronger only to go out and collide with those who did the same thing, you know there’s a chance for problems.

And yet, the modern-day gladiators, and yes, I’m talking from the pee-wee players to the junior varsity to the NFL, decide to take that risk. Why is that? That’s the part that’s being lost in the mix.

Are they stupid? No. Far from it. Football offers the kinds of rewards and recognition that an athlete simply cannot get in other places. Basketball is fun, baseball is cute, but football is the star quarterback dating the head cheerleader.

Football teaches in the most painful of ways that in life we can put our heart and souls into something and come up short. I’m talking things such as business, marriage, to impossible hobbies such as golf. But the point is, you get up, dust off, limp back and fight to make the next play.

Football also promotes the concept of teamwork. This is 11 guys armed with a role and a goal. If even one screws up, it could mean total disaster for all. But you don’t banish the one who screwed up. You yell at him, tell him where he went wrong, slap him on the butt and encourage him to get better. Most often, he does. This is how competence is nurtured.

These great virtues can be taught elsewhere. Just not as violently. Just not on such a big stage. Just not with so much at stake.

And to the victors go the spoils. When you succeed in high school football, it’s in front of the whole community. In front of the pretty girl you’re trying to impress. Most importantly, in front of your parents and family.

At higher levels, football can lead to a free college education that will send the recipient on a nice path in life. It could also mean millions of dollars in income.

I have no clue where this War on Football will lead the sport, but the early results aren’t promising.

Referees are now put in impossible positions to make game-changing penalty calls often on what they think they see and not what really happened. Players are now faced with overbearing rules about whether they can continue playing if they got their bell rung.

And at the high school level, many potential players and their parents have simply been scared off.

What a loss.

No one is naive to the fact that there are serious repercussions to head injuries, many of which don’t become fully realized until far down the road. That’s a sad reality of a great sport. The good outweighs the bad, however. The overwhelming majority of current and former players are just fine and always will be.

To those who are risking it, I say thank you for putting on a show and enjoy the rewards that come with it. No matter what the scoreboard says, you’re a winner and that will keep paying off for your entire lifetime.

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