Arcadia, led by dynamic receiver Raeshawn Roland, beat La Salle to win the La Salle Tournament last Saturday.
If you thought you had seen the last of the area’s top senior-class football talent, think again.
There’s still one game left to be played and that’s the brand new Southern California North/South All-Star Game on Friday night at Citrus College. Introductions are at 7 p.m. and kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
“Just with all the talent in the Valley, we thought we’ll try and put on a game and see how it goes,” game organizer Leon Ward said. “It’s been successful, having it in May in the past, and that’s why we’re doing it.”
The rosters are made up of primarily players from San Gabriel Valley schools, although both teams feature players from a bit out of the area in a format that divides the player pool by using the 10 Freeway.
The North team will be coached by San Dimas’ Mark Holman, while the South is coached by Montebello’s Pete Gonzalez. Ward reports that both teams have had excellent player turnout and should have full rosters on Friday night.
The North is led by the quarterback tandem of Bonita’s Tanner East and Pomona’s Darreon Lockett. The South is led by a mammoth offensive line with several 300-pounders.
Senior-to-be quarterback Joe Hernandez, the starter last year at St. Paul, is now at La Habra a source said.
Hernandez didn’t exactly light the world on fire last season for the Swordsmen, throwing for 716 yards and three touchdowns/three INTs. But then again, St. Paul was allergic to the forward pass.
La Habra is looking to replace veteran standout QB Eric Barriere.
Being second option is working out just fine for the La Mirada High School football program.
The Matadores have prospered recently with players who transferred into the program after previously standing on the sideline at upper division schools and this year appears no different.
According to the CIF Southern Section website, La Mirada has already some impact transfers who look ready to help the school build on last season’s Southern Section and state championships.
“There’s second and third string players at Servite, Mater Dei, St. John Bosco and Long Beach Poly that are standing on the sideline, and they come to La Mirada and become national recruits,” La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti said. “And that’s a fact. That’s a testament to the programs that they came from. There’s big-time players not getting films. If there’s kids at these schools who are second and third-string players, we more than welcome them at La Mirada. They helped us win a state championship.
“But we’re not recruiting them. We are a viable option and people are realizing that in order to get recruited, you have to have film. Standing on the sideline at Bosco, Servite, Bishop Amat or Long Beach Poly is going to do you no good.”
And, La Mirada is free in terms of tuition. It all adds up to another good haul this offseason led by the Long Beach Poly duo of defensive end Kevin Smith and linebacker Cam’ron Chatman. Then there’s 310-pound defensive lineman Jonah Aumua from the state of Washington and defensive back Jamall Jones from Long Beach Wilson.
It’s not like La Mirada even needs the help. The Matadores have six starters back on defense, including several with multiple college offers headlined by Elijah Hicks, who began his career as a back-up at St. John Bosco and now has 22 college offers.
The Matadores will begin what’s become the highlight of their offseason program next week when “conventus” — a grueling early morning workout routine in the school’s gym takes place. Players are put through several, often vomit-inducing drills in hopes of building team unity. It’s also become a favorite for college recruiters making the rounds.
“The players love it, the parents hate it,” Moschetti said with a laugh in reference to early start time.
La Mirada opens the season with Division 1 contender Orange Lutheran on Aug. 26.
1. La Mirada — Veteran QB and several D-1 recruits back for state champs.
2. Bishop Amat — Program has a serious rebuild ahead.
3. La Habra — Some amazing seniors lost to graduation.
4. La Serna — Program just reloads.
5. St. Francis — Are there enough/any flashy skill players?
6. Charter Oak — Solid weapon to build around in WR Casteel.
7. Los Altos — Dream frosh class is now seniors.
8. Northview — QB Comstock and super weapon Ayers are back.
9. South Hills — New coach Bechtel will hit ground running.
10. Glendora — Lots to replace but always solid regardless.
11. Damien — One of these years …
12. St. Paul — Making good progress.
13. Muir — Mustangs may be back.
14. West Covina — Bulldogs due for way better luck.
15. San Dimas — Ground game should be great as usual.
16. San Marino — Don’t expect ’15-like numbers but still solid.
17. Bonita — The Ibis Era begins …
18. Diamond Ranch — Program has talent, but no stability.
19. Monrovia — ‘Cats always have talent.
20. La Salle — Expecting big things from Lancers.
21. Arcadia — Program made great strides last season.
22. Maranatha — Bogan has D-1 talent in Lang to work with.
23. Covina — Like the progress made last year.
24. South Pasadena — You’ll see.
25. Arroyo — Program is always solid.