Maranatha coach Steve Bogan: “I want to do it better at Maranatha than I ever did at South Hills.”

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Everyone has heard the phrase “God made me do it.”

But rarely do you hear those words uttered so often when it comes to football than when they fly off the lips of new Maranatha High School football coach Steve Bogan.

Want to know how one of the Valley’s best-ever coaches winds up at tiny Maranatha? He prayed on it. Wondering whether a four-time CIF champion coach like Bogan is truly concerned about adding another ring to his pile? It will happen if God wills it.

Those are the themes of Bogan’s sentiments as he starts what very likely will be the final chapter of a career that’s seen him win more CIF titles than most of his colleagues can dream of, more league titles than one man deserves and enough games to ensure area fans will remember his name for a long time.

“For me, it seemed like the lord was saying ‘Go do this,’” Bogan said while winding down after holding one of the first fall practices of what he hopes will be a productive tenure at Maranatha based on winning and spirituality.

“It’s been a really enjoyable experience, so far. No negatives, so far.”

The new, rejuvenated Bogan coaching on a field lined with pine trees with a koi pond nearby is a refreshing sight for those closest his to him. When he resigned from South Hills in January of 2012, Bogan was a shadow of the charming, energetic and positive coach that most knew him to be during a wildly successful 20-year run with the Huskies.

Instead, he seemed to be a man worn down by the rigors and dramas of running a present day top-flight high school football program. After a very public spat with CIF over the eligibility of some controversial player transfers was followed by back-to-back 3-7 seasons, it became very clear that Bogan needed a break.

“I was burned out, I’m not going to deny that,” Bogan said. “It’s kind of like with a computer when you check the battery and it says 25 percent. When I checked it, it said one percent and I was like okay, let’s juice the battery again.

“Things were bothering me the last few years there that I would say 10 years ago wouldn’t have bothered me. It’s part of being human. It was time to step away, but I’m in a different place now.”

Bogan sat out the 2012 season and was South Hills’ freshmen team coach last fall. When former Maranatha coach Jude Oliva left following last season, Bogan and Minutemen athletic director Brian DeHaan talked and the prayed about the opening.

“It may sound weird to people, but we both prayed on it,” Bogan said. “When I prayed about it, it was just something right.”

Bogan describes himself as an “inclusive Evangelical Christian.” Maranatha’s spiritual backdrop made the two a perfect fit. Plus, it helps that Maranatha is making a push to become one of the area’s top athletic schools and Bogan, one of the best coaches around, just happened to be available. He will remain a teacher at South Hills and commute to Maranatha’s Pasadena campus each day for practice before returning home to Walnut.

Maranatha went 8-3 last season and won the Olympic League. The Minutemen are thin on numbers this season with a smallish roster that does include several talented players for Bogan to work with.

With a whopping 31 postseason wins and 13 league titles to his credit at South Hills, it’s not hard to see why Maranatha fans are thinking big things are in store for their program.

But for Bogan the success of this phase of his career won’t necessarily be judged by wins and losses. Nor will the lofty expectations of others weigh on his mind. Determining Maranatha’s success, as one might expect, will come in far more divine ways than just wins and losses.

“The goal is to be part of the team that God wants and take it to the level that God wants it to be,” Bogan said. “If that’s just a great, small Christian high school that’s competitive, then that’s what He wants it to be. If that’s something different, then that’s what we want it to be.

“Wins, league titles and CIF championships, they can be in the mix, but those are indicators. You do set goals, He want us to. But they’re open ended. I want to do it better at Maranatha than I ever did at South Hills.”

Think Baldwin Park’s rookie head coach is feeling it? Try Duarte’s Travis Brown on for size: “There’s not a team in our league, with all due respect to everyone, that I see being able to stop us.”

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The Duarte High School football program continues to give every indication that it’s on the verge of something special and new head coach Travis Brown is confident he’s the man who will get the Falcons over the top.

Brown, a former standout receiver at Los Altos in the early 2000s, is conducting his first fall camp as a head coach and the excitement is starting to build that the beginning of something big for both the Falcons and their rookie head coach is about to happen.

“We have a lot of guys that not too many people know about,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t expect us to be anybody’s favorite. But I will say that we’re going to turn some heads this year and we’re going to make a lot of noise.”

Brown did just during his playing days. He was a receiver on Los Altos’ 2002 and ’03 CIF championship team and earned Tribune All-Area honors in ’03. He then starred at New Mexico where he was an all-Mountain West selection in both his junior and senior seasons.

The success continued into the early days of what he hoped would be an NFL career. Brown was atop the depth chart for at one wide receiver spot for the Cincinnati Bengals entering the preseason in 2008.

After spending time on the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams practice squads, Brown’s pro football days were officially over in 2010. That’s when he decided the next chapter of his football life would be in coaching.

Brown started as an assistant coach at Diamond Bar in 2009 and then worked under his high school head coach Greg Gano at Damien for three years before eventually winding up at Ayala after Gano’s stint at Tustin following his resignation from Damien lasted only four games.

After trying to land a head coach job at other schools in the area, Brown finally got his chance earlier this year when Duarte hired him to replace the departed Jason Martin.

Duarte isn’t exactly a bad place to start for Brown. The Falcons were 7-5 last season, picked up a playoff win over Maranatha and it’s not like the cupboard is empty this fall.

Despite the mild success, Brown has had to implement some changes in the way the Falcons do business.

“It took a little longer to change the culture than I initially anticipated,” Brown said. “When I got here, consistently for the first two months, there were about 15 guys. We have about 65-70 guys in the program now.

“In the past, guys came and went as they pleased. I had to crack the whip and let them know that if you’re going to be a part of this program you’re going to be all in or not in at all. There’s not going to be any ‘I show up for a week, I miss a week.’”

With a consistent base of players, Brown can now turn his attention to Xs and Os. He has hired former 2002 co-Tribune Player of the Year Randall Brown, who also played at Los Altos, as his running backs and defensive backs coach.

Former Los Altos and Monrovia standout running back James Davis is the defensive coordinator. Brown hopes to add more to his staff and promises that by next season it could be quite a collection of former Los Altos greats.

In the meantime, Brown and his staff have the pleasure of fine tuning an offense that could be a force thanks to an offensive line whose lightest player is 240 pounds. Quarterback Isiah Scott is also back and receiver Kamar Watson is expected to do big things.

But getting Duarte over the hump will probably require even more talent than what’s on hand now. And that means not bankrolling other teams around the Valley, including nearby Monrovia, with Duarte talent.

Brown knows he must keep the city’s top players home, but that’s been easier said than done for previous Duarte coaches. Playing and beating Monrovia might help. Brown is hopeful to do just that soon.

“For me, it’s Los Altos-Wilson type of deal,” Brown said. “They’re (Monrovia) just right up the road kinda like how we (Los Altos) were right up the road from Wilson but we just so happened to be the more talented team on a consistent basis.

“Monrovia’s in the driver’s seat right now, but I think that just takes one season to turn around. This is an ideal time for that to happen. This is a game that will be scheduled in the next couple of years if I’m at Duarte. And when I say the next couple of years, the sooner the better.”

Before Duarte can think about taking back local supremacy from Monrovia, it must figure out how to get past Azusa in the Montview League, and even more dauntingly new league foe Baldwin Park, who most believe is the Montview’s new favorite.

Brown is confident about not only that happening but also continued postseason success. If he’s right, the potential of Duarte football is scary.

“The only people that beat us this year will be ourselves,” Brown said. “There’s not a team in our league, with all due respect to everyone, that I see being able to stop us.

“I believe in our players wholeheartedly. And I don’t think that if we come out and play our game that there’s a team that we play that can stop us.”

New Baldwin Park coach Daniel Algattas has high hopes for Braves’ future: “Our kids want to be No. 1 in the Valley. Whether that’s realistic or not, somebody can tell me that in 5-10 years.”

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New Baldwin Park High School football coach Daniel Algattas isn’t bashful when he talks about his goals for the Braves’ program.

“We want to be recognized as a team that can play with the best of them,” Algattas said. “Our kids want to be No. 1 in the Valley. Whether that’s realistic or not, somebody can tell me that in 5-10 years. We want to get there one day. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But we want to play to our full potential.”

It doesn’t end there. Algattas is hopeful that he can take Baldwin Park on such a run that the Braves will “earn our way into Charter Oak’s league”. And if you remember him as a standout quarterback at Walnut, it’s not a wise idea to be against it happening.

When last seen by most Valley prep football fans, Algattas was firing the game-winning touchdown and 2-point conversion pass in the final seconds of the 2003 Hall of Fame All-Star Game.

It was the culmination of a stellar prep career that saw Algattas lead Walnut to the CIF championship game against South Hills in 2002. He parlayed his high school career into scholarship to play at Colorado St.

But before Algattas’ freshman season in Fort Collins, Colorado, he injured his shoulder and suffered a serious concussion in car accident that came as a result of another driver running a red light.

Algattas soon found himself rehabbing and restarting his career at Mt. San Antonio College. He later wound up at UCLA as a backup quarterback. Algattas could have gone other places to finish his playing career, but he had his eye on the future. And that meant a career in coaching.

“I got a chance to learn a lot of stuff,” Algattas said.

Before he knew it, Algattas was back at Mt. SAC as an assistant coach. Soon, he also had a day job at the junior college, a position he still maintains while being a walk-on coach at Baldwin Park.

When Baldwin Park’s varsity football head coach job came available after Chris Williams left following a 7-4 season in 2013, Algattas jumped. After spending the 2008 season as the Braves’ offensive coordinator under then-head coach James Heggins, Algattas knew what he was getting into.

Now, there’s nothing left to do but build the Braves’ program back into an area power. That’s something Algattas is laying the groundwork for by hiring a mostly young staff that features former Glendora standout Mike Edwards as the receivers coach. Former record-setting Walnut quarterback Brandon Roach is the quarterbacks coach.

Even Mario Rodriguez, who was a top player at the school in 2010, is on Algattas’ staff despite being just a few years from graduation. There’s also a veteran presence in associate head coach Tom Roach and defensive coordinator J.T. Niuamata.

Despite the abundance of youthful energy on the staff, Algattas’ style is part old school and part new wave. The Braves are toning down their uniforms this year and won’t wear excessive extras like wrist bands. Players’ legs will also be fully covered by their uniforms.

Algattas will call the offensive plays and says not to expect any elaborate schemes. Baldwin Park will shun the ever-popular spread offense for the West Coast offense, which Algattas learned while at UCLA and Mt. SAC.

“The offense I brought to Baldwin Park is probably more complex than what we used at Mt. SAC,” Algattas said. “I feel our kids are so dedicated that they can learn it. They grow up playing football in this town. You know, they’re not all soccer kids.

“I get many a text message in the middle of the night asking about what’s on the script for tomorrow’s practice. I’m not happy about it a lot of times because it’s late, but they want to know.”

Algattas inherits a program that appears to be on the upswing after some down years following the departure of Heggins following the 2011 season. Standout receiver Raymen Barraza, who put up dazzling numbers last season as a sophomore, is back. So is receiver/defensive back Jayson Miller, who coaches think will play on Saturdays.

Baldwin Park opens the season on Aug. 29 against El Monte. After that, there’s a somewhat shocking date with Orange County power Fountain Valley. Later, an emotional night looms on Sept. 26 when the Braves host Algattas’ alma mater Walnut.

But don’t expect any warm and fuzzy feelings when the Mustangs come to town. Algattas felt shunned by the program he won so many games for after he was passed up for varsity coaching staff position at Walnut at the outset of his coaching career. He was told he could volunteer instead.

“For me, that game was on the cherry on top when I got hired,” Algattas said. “I wanted to coach there and they decided they would pay everybody else and if I wanted to, I could volunteer. I guess I wasn’t worth it, so I’ll remember that.”

After the Walnut game, the Braves begin their first season in the Montview League where they look like heavy favorites to sweep the league. If that happens, Baldwin Park could be looking at a high seed in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs and possibly some postseason magic to really kick start Algattas’ vision for the program.

“There’s tremendous pressure,” Algattas said. “But at Mt. SAC, if we ever lost a game, somebody would say ‘They’re going to get fired because they went 12-1 instead of 13-0.’

“I think we’re a sleeping giant. There’s enormous potential here. There’s over 100,000 people in Baldwin Park and it’s split between two schools. Without saying any names, I think we all know who the perennial powers are. Hopefully, one day we can be recognized as one of those.”

Practice begins: Several local teams start fall camp on Monday with championship dreams …

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San Dimas LB Josiah Erickson is all business.

SAN DIMAS PRACTICE PHOTO GALLERY

Under cooler-than-usual conditions and new rules limiting time, several local high school football teams held their first fall practices on Monday.

The season is just under a month away for teams with Week 0 games and that means just a few weeks to tighten the screws in preparation for the long grueling campaign.

At San Dimas, the defending Mid-Valley Division champion Saints held their first practice under the watch of head coach Bill Zernickow. San Dimas opens the season in arguably one of the top games of the year against Monrovia on Aug. 29.

“It went fine,” Zernickow said of Monday morning’s practice. “Our guys were extremely excited to be back out there. You could see their posts on Twitter saying ‘Can’t wait for football’. That ended after about an hour.

“Nobody got hurt. I think we caught a little break in the weather. I think Sunday was a lot more humid.”

This season, coaches will have to watch the clock a lot more than usual. Under new statewide CIF rules, teams are limited to 18 hours of practice per week and no more than four hours per day.

Once the pads come on, coaches are being urged to carefully watch the amount of full-contact hitting that takes place during practice ahead of a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which goes into effect in January of 2015 and will limit the amount of time teams can have full-contact practices.

Things are already well underway at Los Altos. The Conquerors got the jump on the competition last week and held their annual midnight practice overnight Thursday into Friday.

Los Altos donned full gear and practiced into the wee hours of the morning, the video highlights of which made the social media rounds as fans get excited for the upcoming season.

The Conquerors start the season on Aug. 29 with a home game against Santa Monica. Los Altos is expected to be one of the top teams in the area.

The start of fall practice isn’t what it used to be. Now that most teams practice almost year round in some shape or form, and have extensive passing competitions early in the summer, it’s not the like the coaches and players have any introductions to do with each other.

“The new rules don’t really change what we do,” Zernickow said. “We don’t go over two hours in a day anyway. And contact doesn’t bug us either. We only hit probably 20 minutes a day, if that. We do a lot of fundamentals and skill work.”

La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti reported that his team will jump right into two-a-day practices and they did just that on Monday. The Matadores have been the recipient of several high-impact transfers this offseason as they try to bounce back from last season’s disappointing 4-7 record.

La Mirada faces one of the most difficult nonleague schedules around and starts the season with a home game against Orange County power Tesoro on Aug. 29.

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NEW! All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 … post-passing circuit edition …

As promised, I said I would do another Top 25 after the passing circuit. Some teams may have a few throws left here and there, but most everybody has wrapped it up. And we, as fans and media, have been able to see some of paint peeled back and get a good idea who’s packing what in the skill spots. SO here goes …

1. Bishop Amat — Won Air Assault. Simply loaded at WR.
2. Glendora — Lack of outside speed is being overblown.
3. Charter Oak — Youth at QB and on D, but loaded with athletes.
4. St. Francis — Lots to like in skill spots, but QB is a question.
5. Chino Hills — The horses are there to bang in the Baseline.
6. Los Altos — Line is scary. Amat transfer at RB. QB is 6-2.
7. Monrovia — Looking like quite the dynamic offense.
8. Muir — If QB question gets answered, look out Southeast!
9. La Habra — Just give the ball to Carlos Martin. That’s all.
10. San Dimas — Rumblings about some interesting options in the skill spots.
11. Damien — Think this team will take another step forward.
12. La Mirada — Looks to be much improved speed-wise.
13. West Covina — QB battle still not decided. Solid team.
14. Ayala — Make no mistake, this is Glendora’s big threat in Palomares.
15. Pomona — If Devils have a line … wow … watch out.
16. La Serna — You don’t lose Frankie Football and get better, do you?
17. South Hills — QB and WRs looked very sharp on passing circuit.
18. La Salle — Some nice pieces, but St. Francis/Cathedral look strong.
19. Arroyo — Going back to making Knights MVL favorites.
20. Diamond Ranch — Post-Roddy Era will be interesting.
21. Bonita — Getting Verdugo back helps outlook for offense.
22. Pasadena — Believe me now and hear me later.
23. Baldwin Park — Surprise team. Write it down.
24. Rosemead — Losing QB Nava to Amat hurts, but still loaded.
25. San Marino — Offense should be explosive thru the air.

OUTGOING: Diamond Bar, Montebello, Maranatha.

Glendora’s Matt Fink: Best QB in the Valley? You be the judge … I say YES!

I have been saying for quite a while that Glendora’s Matt Fink is the best QB in the Valley heading into this season. Many bloggers have scoffed at this. Some bloggers have recently brought up a low completion percentage. Or the fact he didn’t even throw for 2,000 yards last season. I get all that, but this kid was a SOPHOMORE and was able to do some pretty impressive things against a solid schedule and in a very difficult league. He’s a fantastic scrambler, has a strong arm, very heady and great touch on the ball. If the unwritten laws of puberty and adolescence hold up, he’s going to be even better this season as a junior. What else do you want?

GANO HIRED: Results of HLPUSD meeting leads to four-time CIF champion coach being hired as teacher …

Wilson High has hired varsity football head coach Greg Gano as a teacher, thus clearing the way for the four-time CIF champion coach to remain the Wildcats’ coach.

Things were up in the air as far as a teaching job to go along with Gano’s coaching job, which quite possibly could have been a deal breaker that sent the veteran coach looking for other things had the school not provided a day job.

Gano was hired this past winter to revive Wilson’s dormant football program. Gano won four CIF championships across town at rival Los Altos.

Charter Oak vs. Monrovia Class of 2018 (this year’s frosh teams) in passing game … Little Lou Farrar playing QB for CO and the Valley’s next freak girls athlete Jasmine Flores (2:03 mark in video) playing corner for M-Town …

WATCH JASMINE FLORES at 2:03 mark of video.

Aram’s Take: I remember Little Lou, son of CO offensive coordinator Dom Farrar, bawling after a CO playoff loss when he was the ball boy. Now he’s in HS!!! How old am I? Good gawd. Little Lou has got some good height. And then there’s Jasmine Flores, who is supposed to be the next coming to girls sports in the SGV. She’s playing corner. GOOD FOR YOU, MIJA!!! They used to say that if Nikki Wheatley played football at Bonita, she would have been a standout. Can’t wait to see what Jasmine does.

Monrovia beats Buena Park to win SGV Shootout at Arroyo HS … Los Altos and CV bow out in semis …

New head coach. New quarterback. No problem.

Monrovia’s impressive summer passing circuit campaign under new head coach Chris Stevens continued on Saturday as QB Asaph Zamora and the Wildcats’ stable of top athletes were enough to beat Buena Park and win the SGV Shootout.

Monrovia beat Crescenta Valley in one semifinal to reach the championship. Buena Park beat Los Altos in the other semi.

The Wildcats will play in the Central Division this season and look like they’ll be up to the test if summer passing games are any indicator. The Wildcats also had an solid showing at the Bonita Air Assault two weeks ago.

Time to take South Hills serious? Huskies lose to Loyola in Tournament of Champions at Santa Fe HS championship game …

I heard several positive things about South Hills at the Bonita Air Assault and the Huskies were at it again on Saturday, taking second place in the Tournament of Champions at Santa Fe.

QB Garrett Fonseca is back for the Huskies, but I thought the rest of the skill spots looked shaky on paper. Guess not. Supposedly this team is just fine at receiver, thank you very much.

Making the finals on Saturday before losing to Loyola is pretty solid. Where the Huskies fit in the Palomares League is anybody’s guess, though. But it’s clear they’re going to have the skill players to run around with Glendora and Ayala and the rest.