Muir names Antyone “Salmonella” Sims as new head coach …

Muir High School didn’t have to look long or far to find its next varsity football head coach.

The Mustangs promoted assistant Antyone Sims, a 1998 graduate of the school, to head coach late Thursday. Sims replaces John Hardy, who was fired in December after a successful three-year run.

“I’m excited to be the new head coach at John Muir,” Sims said. “I’ve been a lifetime fan and I’ve got my opportunity to be head coach. I’m just overjoyed.

“John Muir has always been a special place in my heart and I just felt like when the opening came up it was my turn to go and interview and hope for the best.”

St. Francis, Monrovia lose key players as transfer season begins

Transfer season in high school football has begun as two local powers found out this week.

The start of the second semester brings, for some, brings with it a new beginning and new school. Such is the case for standout receiver Dylan Crawford, who left St. Francis for Santa Margarita this week, and running back Kameron Johnson, who left Monrovia for Cathedral.

Crawford, a junior, is one of the nation’s top recruits and has college offers from UCLA, USC, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, to name a few. He He had 44 receptions for 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014.

Crawford’s father said Thursday the decision to leave St. Francis was based on his son’s academics. St. Francis head coach Jim Bonds declined comment.

“Our family has nothing but great feelings for St. Francis and wish them the best in all things,” Crawford’s father Glenn said. “The decision was made to accommodate academic options that would allow Dylan to graduate high school a semester early and allow him to start his life as a collegiate scholar-athlete.”

Aram’s take: Uh … what? This one is a shocker. Some things to keep in mind here: Crawford is close friends with Santa Margarita QB KJ Costello, a top recruit in his own right. But Crawford, unless there’s some sort of craftiness, is risking being a sit-out as far as CIF transfer rules go. Word is that Crawford wanted to graduate early so he could begin practicing with whatever college team he chooses this spring. St. Francis supposedly doesn’t offer its students that luxury. As for St. Francis, this is definitely a big blow. Talents like Crawford don’t come around these parts often and the Knights could have used his services to have another big season. Leading rusher Areg Nazarian is back. Junior-to-be QB Miles Bryant has tons of upside and flashed what he could do in the playoff vs. La Serna. The stage was set for SF to have a monster offense again if Crawford returned.

Charter Oak’s Zion Echols named Offensive MVP of U.S. Army All-American All-Combine Team

zione

Charter Oak all-purpose threat Zion Echols was named Offensive MVP of the U.S. Army All-American All-Combine Team this weekend in San Antonio, Texas. The event is designed to showcase next year’s top football recruits while this year’s get ready for Sunday’s nationally televised all-star game.

Echols, who already had plenty of recruiting interest, may see his stock really take off because of what he did at Friday’s combine. Bishop Amat’s Tyler Vaughns, a the Tribune’s Player of the Year, was chosen as honorable mention on the All-Combine offensive team.

Echols rushed for 1,141 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He also had 553 yards and six touchdowns receiving. Echols was named co-MVP of the Hacienda League after helping the Chargers to the league title.

Improved All-Star Game guidelines lead to bigger talent pool and more participation … Colony’s Randall to coach East, CV’s Schilling and Maranatha’s Bogan to coach West … Game is Jan. 30 at West Covina HS

Two CIF champion coaches and one legend have been selected to coach the upcoming San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game on Jan. 30 at West Covina High School.

Colony’s Steve Randall, who guided the Titans to a 12-2 record and Central Division championship, will coach the East team. Crescenta Valley’s Paul Schilling, who led the Falcons to a 14-0 record and the Southeast Division championship, will join forces with four-time CIF champion coach Steve Bogan of Maranatha to coach the West.

The game, which has traditionally been played in early summer, was moved to winter by game organizer and West Covina coach Mike Maggiore in order to provide players with one last recruiting showcase before signing day and hopefully lure some of the area’s top talent.

The borders have also been changed and expanded. Instead of using the 605 Freeway as the dividing line to determine East and West rosters, Azusa Avenue will be the new divider. This means that area powers like Bishop Amat, Los Altos and Northview will be part of the West’s talent pool. The West’s boundaries expands to the Burbank area.

The East has also expanded out to the 15 Freeway and that will mean the inclusion of the entire Baseline League. The expanded borders have led to some impressive early returns in terms of nominations, according to Maggiore. Roster are expected to be finalized in early January and there will be four practices for each team.

“The nice thing is that this year everyone is nominating their best players,” Maggiore said. “We’ve had more nominations than we’ve ever had and more Division I kids than we’ve ever had, so I think it’s going to be a more high-level game than we’ve ever had.”

La Mirada WR/DB Tony Brown commits to Texas Tech …

La Mirada WR/DB Tony Brown gave a verbal commitment on Thursday to play at Texas Tech next season.

Brown, who transferred to La Mirada from Servite for his senior season, had offers from Colorado, Nebraska and UCLA but chose the Red Raiders because he developed a close relationship with Red Raiders assistant coach Darrin Chiaverini, who played with La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti at Colorado.

Brown caught 46 passes for 993 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Monrovia’s Octavius Spencer commits to UCLA …

Monrovia WR/DB Octavius Spencer has committed to UCLA, thus ending any suspense long before Signing Day about where he’ll play on Saturdays.

Spencer caught 31 passes for 691 yards and eight touchdowns. He also averaged 49.4 yards on kickoff returns and 23.9 yards and punt returns. Spencer recorded 44 tackles and had two interceptions while on defense. He was an all-Rio Hondo League selection on both offense and defense.

SOURCE: Hardy out as head coach at Muir … Mustangs post COACH WANTED ad on CIF website …

MuirHardy

It appears John Hardy is out and Muir High School’s varsity football program is in the market for a new head coach. A source close to the team said that Hardy was let go on Friday.

Mustangs athletic director Milica Protic posted an ad on CIF’s website Friday saying that the school is looking for a new head coach with a teaching position available for the interested candidate. But when contacted, Protic said she is referring all questions about Hardy to the school’s principal.

Hardy was 25-11 in three seasons as Mustangs head coach. He led the Mustangs to their best season in recent history in 2013 when Muir went 11-2, swept the Pacific League and advanced to the semifinals of the Southeast Division playoffs.

Hardy played at Muir under legendary former head coach Jim Brownfield.

Aram’s Take: I truly hope Muir has a good reason for this as Hardy did an outstanding job with a program that isn’t easy manage. Not only that, he was slowly but surely keeping key portions of the local talent at home. Hardy’s no-nonsense demeanor was perfect for Muir and the record showed it. Hope there’s a good reason for this.

San Dimas promotes Mark Holman to head coach …

San Dimas High School moved fast to replace recently resigned varsity football head coach Bill Zernickow by promoting Mark Holman to the top job on Thursday.

Zernickow resigned on Dec. 1 after a successful 10-year run at the school. Holman served as an assistant on Zernickow’s staff, coaching the offensive line and also being the offensive coordinator although Zernickow called the plays.

“I was a little shocked at first, but I’m real grateful,” Holman said. “This a big job, a big opportunity and I’m excited.”

San Dimas will be Holman’s first head coach job. He has worked on Zernickow’s staffs at both Northview and San Dimas and doesn’t plan to change too much although the Saints’ offensive strategy likely won’t mirror what it was under Zernickow.

Zernickow turned San Dimas into an area power after taking over a troubled program from previous head coach Roland DeAnda in 2005. Zernickow led the Saints to CIF championships in 2009 and 2013.

“I wouldn’t have applied for the job if I didn’t think I could it going,” Holman said of San Dimas’ success. “There’s always going to be pressure. In any big job, there’s going to be pressure but that’s what makes it fun, too.

“At San Dimas, there’s already some good things in place, no doubt. But there’d be pressure to win anywhere.”

Holman is hoping to retain whichever members of last year’s coaching staff wish to remain. With Zernickow having publicly stated that he’s looking to get back into coaching at a higher division, keeping the staff in tact maybe easier said than done for Holman.

“I have my staff pretty much in place, but these guys are my friends and they’re Coach Z’s friends,” Holman said. “I feel like I’m lucky to have a good staff in place, but Coach Z right now, he’s in limbo and we’ll have to see what does and we’ll see where guys go.”

Hey CIF, I’m gonna help you out … next year’s Open Division/Pac-5/D-1 field should be …

Hopefully CIF commish Rob Wigod’s plan to have an open division (and others divisions, too) in football gets fast-tracked through so that we can have it in place in time for next year. But since these things take time, I will help senors Wigod and Glenn Martinez out by telling them what the field of 16 in the open division should be. All they’ll have to do now is just handle the politics part of the plan and get it passed.

Alemany — Barely a fit, but decent power rating.
Bishop Amat — Pseudo Pac-5 champs in ’14 after nearly beating Centennial.
Centennial — First try in Pac-5, Huskies win it all. True D-1 power.
Crespi — Really nothing other than 2014 to deserve this, but so be it.
JSerra — Claim to fame is finishing 2nd in Trinity. Meh. In.
LB Poly — The factory stays in D-1, rest of Moore league to the Southeast.
Mission Viejo — One year out of D-1 and they win “D-2″. Welcome back.
Mater Dei — Beat Pac-5 champ in regular season. Lost in playoffs. In.
Paso Robles — “D-3″ champs. Have to have one travel nightmare in here.
St. Juan Bosco — Trinity champs, D-1 runner up.
Santa Margarita — Strong power rating team. In.
Serra — Claim to fame is scoring 64 on Centennial while allowing 68.
Trabuco Hills — “D-4″ champ. You’re in.
Tesoro — Meh. Welcome back.
Upland — Won their league … Made semis. In.
Vista Murrieta — League champ and runner-up in D-2. You’re in.

Colony starts fast, never looks back against Los Altos …

lafans

PHOTO GALLERY

CERRITOS — It wasn’t painless, but at least it was quick.

The Los Altos High School football team fell behind early to Colony in the CIF-Southern Section Central Division championship at Cerritos College and never recovered in a 35-7 loss on Saturday night.

“Colony is a good team and they did a helluva job tonight,” Los Altos head coach Dale Ziola said. “We knew they were fast, we just didn’t get the push we thought we’d get some times. The lead just got too big and the rest is history.”

Los Altos, which needed to win its final two regular season games just to make the playoffs as the Hacienda League’s third-place team, finished the season 8-6. The Conquerors were bidding for the 12th title in school history while making the program’s 15th finals appearance.

Colony (12-2) was just too fast and it was apparent from the start. The Titans scored on a 63-yard touchdown run by Ryan Kinard on the game’s third play and didn’t look back.

Los Altos’ offense went three-and-out on its first two series and by the time the Conquerors were stopped on downs at the Colony 34 on their third drive, it was already 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

“We had a couple of three-and-outs and that hindered the run game a little bit,” Ziola said. “When we did start to move the ball, we just didn’t help ourselves with penalties. It made it tough.”

By the time it was halftime, the lead had swelled to 28-0. Los Altos came out firing on its first drive of the second half and quickly got in scoring position. The drive stalled, however, and the Conquerors fumbled at the Colony 5-yard line.

Josh Thompsons’s second touchdown pass to Tommie Dorsey made it 35-0 midway through the third quarter.

Los Altos finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter when quarterback Lorenzo Silva hooked up with Amir Avery on a 45-yard touchdown pass with 6:11 left. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.

“We were in the finals, not many people can say that,” Ziola said. “Hopefully this is a launching pad. We’ll let this one sit for a little bit and get back to work … get moving in the right direction. Day in, day out. It’s a never-ending process.”