Roddy Layton resigned late last week as Diamond Ranch High School varsity football head coach as accusations swirl that the Panthers coaching staff hacked into rival Diamond Bar’s Hudl account to obtain important scouting information during the week of their game, which was played on Oct. 18, 2013.
Layton said his resignation is not related to a letter obtained by this publication and sent to the CIF-Southern Section last week by Diamond Bar that alleges Diamond Ranch coaches obtained Diamond Bar’s account information on Hudl and used video archives and notes to help prepare for the game.
Diamond Ranch won the game 34-20, but the night was marred by a benches-clearing brawl that led to the suspensions of several players from both teams. Diamond Bar forfeited its following game because it could not field a team. Diamond Ranch went on to win the league with a perfect 6-0 record.
CIF informed Diamond Bar that the hacking accusations are a league matter. Hacienda League principals are expected to discuss the situation in a regularly scheduled meeting this week.
In the letter, Diamond Bar documents a steep rise in clicks or hits on its Hudl page the week of the game. Hudl.com has become a popular resource for coaches who can store game video, practice video and notes used for game preparation. According to the letter, a former Diamond Ranch coach came forward to Ryan Maine, Diamond Bar’s head coach at the time, about the hacking.
Diamond Bar’s account information was allegedly leaked by a varsity football player who gave it to a Diamond Ranch junior varsity player, who then forwarded it to Layton. After hearing the allegations, Maine and Diamond Bar athletic director Kurt Davies contacted Hudl to obtain a usage report for their team account during the week of the game.
Hudl’s response was included in the letter obtained by this publication and showed that its system had received 26 separate log-ins from a particular user ID during the week of the game compared to an average of six log-ins from that same user ID during all other weeks.
Layton had a record of 48-47 in eight seasons. He guided Diamond Ranch to back-to-back CIF Southeast Division championship game appearances in 2008-09. Diamond Ranch won the Hacienda League last season and shared the title in 2012.
Rumors flew last week about Layton’s resignation. When contacted on Thursday afternoon, Layton informed this publication that he was still the head coach. Layton resigned on Friday afternoon and sent a email out to player’s parents but didn’t go into detail about reasons for his departure.
Layton played for Ganesha High and later enjoyed a college career at USC. He was an assistant coach at Mount San Antonio College before becoming the head coach at Diamond Ranch. The Panthers were scheduled to participate in Saturday’s Charter Oak Spring Passing Showcase but were a late scratch.
Temple City High School will turn to Rob Castaneda in hopes of recharging its once-proud football program.
Castaneda is the Rams new varsity football head coach after spending the past four seasons at tiny Ribet Academy in Glassell Park. He replaces Mike McFarland, who resigned this offseason after four years and a 13-29 record.
“For me, it’s a dream job,” Castaneda said. “My brother played there in 1996 and my boys played their first Pop Warner game ever there. It has some sentimental value. I’m really pleased that they felt I could get the program going in the right direction and I’m honored the administration gave me a shot.”
Temple City hasn’t had a winning record since 2009 when it went 5-4-1. Playoff victories have also been few and far between for a school that was once an area power and won seven CIF championships in the 1970s.
Beside Ribet Academy, Castaneda has had recent head coach stints at La Verne Lutheran and Western Christian. He is confident he can rejuvenate interest in Temple City’s football program among the school’s would-be athletes and feels that having over 70 players at his first team meeting is a positive first step.
“I think what happens is a lot of people go in there expecting to struggle right off the bat,” Castaneda said. “That’s all I’ve heard from everybody. I’ve heard from equipment managers, coaches and family members of the players that they just don’t have the size or the numbers or what have you.
“For us, we’re used to working with smaller numbers and smaller kids and getting the best out of them. We coach a certain style. We know we’re going to be smaller so we’re going to have to do things different.”
Area fans may remember Castaneda’s sons as standout football players at Los Altos in the mid-2000s. After starting their careers at Bishop Amat, both Matt and Tim Castaneda transferred to Los Altos and had success under then head coach Greg Gano.
Castaneda expects to have both his sons on his staff at Temple City, with Matt being the offensive coordinator and Tim possibly as the junior varsity head coach. Castaneda also plans to retain member of last year’s staff as well.
Charter Oak, which is breaking in two new quarterbacks and several other key skill position players advanced all the way to the finals of its Spring Passing Showcase on Saturday.
Charter Oak and Alemany were tied after a 40-minute game and went to overtime where Alemany edged the Chargers. Bishop Amat lost in the semifinals to Alemany. Charter Oak beat Hart to reach the finals.
The Chargers’ success is a bit of a surprise considering both quarterbacks — Kamden Brown and Brett Clemetson — have just returned from baseball season. Both had only one practice prior to Saturday’s tournament. Brown is a junior-to-be and Clemetson is a sophomore-to-be.
Who will be the next QB at Bishop Amat? Charter Oak? Arroyo? Fans will get their first glimpse on Saturday at Charter Oak beginning at 8 a.m.
Charter Oak, Calabasas, Sierra Canyon, Saugus
Bear Bryant Pool
Upland, El Rancho, Westlake, La Puente
Tom Landry Pool
La Habra, Rosemead, Eastside, Keppel
John McKay Pool
Hart, Paloma Valley, El Dorado, Duarte
Don Schula Pool
Bishop Amat, West Ranch, Etiwanda, El Monte
Chuck Knoll Pool
Alemany, Arroyo, La Salle, Bonita
… And in honor of the heat and Big Lou Farrar …
The last time local fans saw Frankie Palmer on a football field, he was throwing the biggest pass in La Serna High School history.
That was early December and the memories still burn bright. Palmer connected with Matthew Rosales on a 19-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in double overtime to beat Norwalk, 41-38, and win the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship.
Talk about a dream ending to a stellar career. On Friday night, Palmer will be back in game uniform for the first time since “The Pass” when he leads the East team in the 35th Hall of Fame All-Star game. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at West Covina High.
“I talk about that play with Matt Rosales all the time,” Palmer said while thinking back to the pass that made him a local legend. “It couldn’t have gone any worse throughout the game to make it any better of an ending. If I decide not play in college, I would be totally happy with the way my career ended.”
And that’s the conundrum for Palmer as he prepares for Friday’s game. Like many of his teammates, this might be his last game. Some will go on to play high-level college football. Others will try to extend their playing days at a junior college. Palmer doesn’t know what his future holds.
“This could potentially one of my last football games,” said Palmer, who will officially wrap up his prep career in next month’s 605 All-Star game. “I am looking at it like this could be one of my last football games depending on what happens.”
Palmer has the option of attending Cal-Lutheran and continuing his football career. He also is considering making academics his full focus at either Pepperdine, UC Davis or San Diego St. He will use Friday’s game to see if his football fire still burns bright enough to give it a go in college.
“I think this game and the 605 game will give me the direction for what I want to do the next four years, whether I say ‘football is my life and I can’t let go of it’ or ‘football was fun for high school and now I just want to focus on academics’,” Palmer said.
No matter what he chooses, there’s no denying Palmer has had one of the best prep careers ever witnessed in these parts. He was the starting quarterback on three CIF finalist teams and finished his career by throwing the game-winning touchdown on what turned out to be the final play of a CIF championship game.
Like most football standouts, Palmer is greedy for more victories. He’s hoping to add to his lore by building on the fairy tale ending he had at La Serna with a win in Friday’s game.
“The competitive nature is going to come out of me,” Palmer said. “I’m going to want to win. I’m going to want to lead. I’m going to want to do anything possible in my power to go out and win one of my last games.”
There’s also a sense of camaraderie between the East players that has developed over the past two weeks of practice, according to Palmer. Players often go home after practice and watch each other’s highlight reels online, then come back the next day and talk about it.
The East clearly isn’t the type of group that wants to let their six-game win streak in the series end. One things for certain, if the game is tight late, Palmer has shown that he’s just the person to deliver in the clutch.
“I want to go out there and have fun, but fun is winning,” Palmer said. “I look at this as me going out with some of the top players in the area and being able to do what we do best. The talent is incredible.”
You want irony? Try seeing Jake Payton and Joseph Mayorga in the same backfield. It could and should happen in Friday night’s East-West All-Star game at West Covina High.
Payton was San Dimas’ feature back right up until he transferred out last spring for a brief stint at Upland before playing his senior season at San Dimas’ arch-rival Bonita. His replacement? Joseph Mayorga, a San Gabriel transfer who simply came in and scored the game-winning touchdown in the Mid-Valley championship game on his way to Tribune Player of the Year honors.
Payton and Mayorga are now teammates on the East team as they prepare for their final high school game. Pretty interesting stuff.