Central Division championship to be played at Cerritos College

Colony High School’s football program has already scored on Los Altos before a snap has been taken.

The CIF-Southern Section office ruled Tuesday that Saturday’s Central Division championship game will not be played at Los Altos High due to concerns over stadium capacity and field conditions. The two schools agreed to move the game to Cerritos College. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

“These are not home games, these are (championship) games run by the CIF-Southern Section and the CIF-Southern Section bulletins clearly state that host schools can host these games if their facilities can safely handle the anticipated crowd and it’s a safe playing facility for the two schools involved,” CIF spokesperson Thom Simmons said Tuesday afternoon. “After touring the facility, Glenn Martinez, in his capacity as administrator of football for the CIF-Southern Section, determined that Los Altos did not meet those requirements.

“And that required us to ask them to consider other possibilities.”

Colony almost immediately balked at the idea of playing the game at Los Altos. Following Monday’s luncheon for teams in the finals, Colony officials went to Los Altos and walked the field and took pictures which were sent to the CIF-Southern Section office for review. Los Altos officials were unaware of the visit.

Martinez toured the stadium on Tuesday afternoon and met with officials from both schools before deciding that the venue needed changing.

Los Altos resisted the idea of moving the venue, partly because it plays on a natural-grass surface which is more conducive to the Conquerors’ style of play. Los Altos is a run-first team with a sizable offensive line. Colony runs a spread offense and is predicated on speed, which makes the Titans better suited to artificial turf.

“The playing surface shouldn’t really matter,” Los Altos head coach Dale Ziola said. “Two of our three playoff games, we had to go and play on the road on artificial turf despite practicing on a natural grass surface. Now, it’s our home game, so why should it have to be different the other way around?”

Two-time Tribune Coach of the Year Bill Zernickow steps down at San Dimas …

Two-time Tribune Coach of the Year Bill Zernickow, who led San Dimas to two CIF championships, resigned on Monday.

Zernickow inherited a Saints program in 2005 that had been through rough waters with previous head coach Roland DeAnda. He stabilized things and went on a run that included four Valle Vista League championships and CIF titles in 2009 and ’13. He was 87-37 in 10 years.

Zernickow intimated that he is not done coaching and would entertain the thought of coaching a team in a higher division. Zernickow was a standout player at Glendora High in the early 1990s.

VIDEO and STORY from Monday’s CIF Championship Press Luncheon … Los Altos and Pomona carry the local flag …

LONG BEACH — With their opponents seated just mere feet away, members of the Los Altos and Pomona high school football teams ate well and smiled large on Monday afternoon while knowing the rest of the week would be all business.

The Conquerors and Red Devils were the local representatives at the 39th CIF-Southern Section Championship Luncheon held at The Grand in Long Beach for teams playing in division championships this weekend.

“I’ve never seen anything like it and I actually loved it,” Los Altos defensive back Daniel Valdez said of the luncheon. “All the food was pretty good. I stuffed myself, I had two plates.

“Los Altos hasn’t been in this place in a long time and for us to be in this spot, it’s a great life experience for all of us and I hope we just get the win.”

Los Altos (8-5) will host Colony (11-2) in Saturday’s Central Division championship. A site for the game has yet to be cemented. The Conquerors would prefer to play at home, but Colony has balked at the idea due to concerns over the playing surface.

If the game is moved, Walnut HS, Cal-State Fullerton and Mt. San Antonio College have emerged as the front runners.

Pomona (9-4) will be on the road in Friday’s Mid-Valley Division championship against Paraclete (10-3). The game will be held at Antelope Valley College.

“It was a great experience,” Pomona interim head coach Keith Richardson said of Monday’s luncheon. “The atmosphere is just great. It was a great spread. The kids enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a great place to be.”

Los Altos was represented by head coach Dale Ziola, assistant coach Steven Burke, athletic director Andrew Formano and principal Cheli McReynolds. The Conquerors players in attendance were senior quarterback Lorenzo Silva, senior lineman David Tolmachoff and Valdez.

Los Altos is bidding for the 12th CIF championship in school history and the program is making its 15th appearance in a championship game. Los Altos entered the postseason as the third-place team out of the Hacienda League, but no opponent has been with single digits of the Conquerors at the final gun.

Los Altos beat Palomares League champion South Hills, Rio Hondo League champion and No. 2 overall seed Monrovia and at-large Bonita to reach Saturday’s finals.

“It’s very special,” Ziola said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this and neither have the kids or coaches. My father-in-law was a high school head coach for 35 years and was only here once. We’re just soaking up the moment.

“There’s not that much to say because it’s so awesome and it’s so tough to describe. To be here and soak it in with these guys, it’s just special.”

Pomona was represented by Richardson, athletic directors Anthony Rice and Albert Adu, and principal Roger Fastin. The Red Devils players in attendance were wide receiver/defensive back Shawny Wilson and wide receiver/defensive back Desmond Bobo.

Pomona, the No. 3 seed in the division, beat McAuliffe, San Dimas and No. 2 seed Sierra Canyon to reach Friday’s final.

Hey Charter Oak, take a good, long, hard look. IMMORTALITY is what you’re playing for …

cocif
2009 Charter Oak CIF champions

Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. You hear them talking to you? “The ghosts” … Current Crescenta Valley baseball coach Phil Torres used to call them “the ghosts” when he’d refer to old pictures of teams that won CIF championships in the Temple City football locker room. Back then (early 90s), Torres was a JV football assistant coach at TC. Whatever. But it always stuck with me — you win CIF and you’re NEVER forgotten. Some day, maybe 100 years from now, when all of us are long gone, the current crop of Charter Oak players will look at the ghosts. Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. Immortality!

Hey Los Altos, take a good, long, hard look. Immortality is what you’re playing for …

LACIF
1999 Los Altos CIF champions

Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. You hear them talking to you? “The ghosts” … Current Crescenta Valley baseball coach Phil Torres used to call them “the ghosts” when he’d refer to old pictures of teams that won CIF championships in the Temple City football locker room. Back then (early 90s), Torres was a JV football assistant coach at TC. Whatever. But it always stuck with me — you win CIF and you’re NEVER forgotten. Some day, maybe 100 years from now, when all of us are long gone, the current crop of Los Altos players will look at the ghosts. Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. Immortality!

Hey Amat, take a good, long, hard look. IMMORTALITY is what you’re playing for …

amatCIFpic
1995 Bishop Amat CIF championship team

Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. You hear them talking to you? “The ghosts” … Current Crescenta Valley baseball coach Phil Torres used to call them “the ghosts” when he’d refer to old pictures of teams that won CIF championships in the Temple City football locker room. Back then (early 90s), Torres was a JV football assistant coach at TC. Whatever. But it always stuck with me — you win CIF and you’re NEVER forgotten. Some day, maybe 100 years from now, when all of us are long gone, the current crop of Amat players will look at the ghosts. Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. Immortality!

AmatLine
’95 Amat linemen

Hey Pomona, take a good, long, hard look. Immortality is what you’re playing for …

Pomona 1952 team
1952 Pomona (CIF?) championship team

Current Crescenta Valley baseball coach Phil Torres used to call them “the ghosts” when he’d refer to old pictures of teams that won CIF championships in the Temple City football locker room. Back then (early 90s), Torres was a JV football assistant coach. But it always stuck with me — you win and you’re NEVER forgotten. Some day, maybe 70 years from now when most of us are gone, current Pomona players will look at the pic of the 2014 team. Study the faces. Stare into the eyes. Immortality!

This is gonna be SEMI-GOOD … CHECK THE KICKOFF TIMES (BELOW) OF THE GAME YOU’RE ATTENDING …

Pac-5

Bishop Amat at Corona Centennial, 7:30 p.m.

Southeast

La Serna vs. Crescenta Valley, at Glendale HS, 7:30 p.m.

Central

Los Altos at Bonita, 7 p.m.
Colony at Charter Oak, 7 p.m.

Mid-Valley

Paraclete vs. Northview, at San Dimas HS, 7:30 p.m.
Sierra Canyon at Pomona, 7:30 p.m.

Northwest

Pasadena Poly at Nipomo, Saturday, 6 p.m.