FOOTBALL PLAYOFF GROUPING PROPOSALS: Rio Hondo League to appeal its proposed placement in the Central Division …


The landscape of the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs are about to get a major face lift.

The Southern Section office released its playoff grouping proposals for 2014-16 on Tuesday morning and things figure to look a whole lot different this fall if they’re passed into reality later this month.

It starts at the top where the Pac-5 Division will see the Big VIII League moved in to beef up the competition for teams like Corona Centennial. The rest of the division includes the Moore, Marmonte, and Trinity leagues, and a yet-to-be named Catholic league that includes several traditional powers.

The Central Division got a major overhaul. The newly formed Palomares League will join the Hacienda, Sunkist, Mt. Baldy and Rio Hondo leagues. That means a steep rise in class is coming for area powerhouse Monrovia, which is coming off a dominating run in the Mid-Valley Division where it won three consecutive division championships between 2010-12.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Rio Hondo League, which has lagged far behind Monrovia in recent years, will also be getting bumped up. Monrovia athletic director Randy Bell said the league will appeal the proposal based on competitive equity and enrollment.

Leagues can appeal the proposals to the playoff grouping appeals committee and a meeting to handle appeals will be held by the Southern Section on May 28.

“There are some high quality and very good football programs in that division,” first-year Monrovia coach Brett Stevens said. “I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were going to be moving up, but I just didn’t know how high or where.

“It’s going to be a challenge. We welcome the challenge. We’re looking forward to moving up, but that is a significant jump going from the old Division 11 to Division 5.”

The new-look Central would be a boon for area fans who are likely to see some intriguing combinations of local teams square off in the postseason. It will also mean a return to a more realistic division for Glendora, which languished in the Baseline League and Inland Division the past several years.

The Tartans are now in the Palomares League and could see a return to local prominence on the gridiron, especially with the top quarterback in the area in Matt Fink around for the next two years.

“You look at our league and you’ve to play well every week just to make the playoffs,” Tartans head coach Jerry Lewallen said. “Then you look at the division, and there’s some great football programs in there.”

St. Francis saw its chances at championship glory get a boost. The Knights and the rest of the new-look Mission League are slated to join the Southeast Division to battle against the Pacific, Suburban, San Gabriel Valley and Del Rio leagues.

In the last two months, St. Francis has gone from thinking it might be placed in the Pac-5 Division to now being placed in a much more doable situation in the Southeast. This offseason, the Knights have also seen powerhouses Serra and Chaminade vacate the Mission League for the Pac-5.

“It’s not like it’s going to be a walk in the park,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said. “I still think there are some pretty darn good football teams in that division. La Serna beat Westlake two years in a row. Compton Domiguez, you never know how strong they’re going to be. La Mirada beat us at their place two years ago.

“For us to say it’s our division and we’re going to win several CIF titles the next several years is not very smart.”

San Dimas’ prospects of winning another Mid-Valley Division championship improved with the exodus of Monrovia and the Rio Hondo League. Over the past years, the Mid-Valley has either been won by Monrovia and San Dimas, and with the Wildcats no longer around that could mean a huge run is looming for the Saints.

San Dimas now looks like perennial favorites in a division that is likely to be comprised of the Almont, Gold Coast, Montview, Mission Valley, Miramote and Valle Vista leagues.

“I want to see how far we can take this thing,” San Dimas head coach Bill Zernickow said. “I kinda liked the rivalry with Monrovia. That was always a motivating factor for our guys. Paraclete is still going to be good. And I think Pomona has gotten real good, too. We have to contend with that.”

Roddy Layton OUT as head coach at Diamond Ranch as accusations swirl that Diamond Ranch hacked into Diamond Bar’s Hudl account during week of rivalry game …


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. 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 hoping Rob Castaneda can recharge once-proud football program

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.

Alemany beats Charter Oak in OT to win Charter Oak Spring Passing Showcase …

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.

Charter Oak Spring Passing Showcase groupings released …

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.

Lombardi Pool

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 …

La Serna’s Frankie Football could be playing his last game on Friday …


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.”

Mayorga and Payton in the same backfield, how’s that for irony?



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.

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