Football division buzz is heating up …

A little birdie told me that he got a hold of the initial preview for the upcoming new football playoff divisions set to be released in August. So obviously, ALL OF THIS is UNOFFICIAL. But still juicy. And probably mired in truth. Here’s what I gleaned …

Arroyo going up one division to D-11
Charter Oak going up on division to D-3
La Mirada going up one division to D-2
Bishop Amat staying put in D-1
Calabasas going way up to D-2
Upland and Tesoro leaving D-1
Murietta Valley and San Clemente going up to D-1

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El Monte names Jesse Ceniceros new football head coach

El Monte High School finally has its man.

The Lions have hired Jesse Ceniceros to become their next varsity football head coach, ending an exhaustive that stalled often and cost the program valuable time in terms of offseason preparation for the upcoming season.

Ceniceros was most recently at Chino for two seasons and had stepped down from that position just days before accepting the El Monte position.

“It was a chance meeting, that’s what I could call it,” Ceniceros said of how he went from the Chino job to El Monte so quickly. “Hard to explain.”

Ceniceros made a name for himself with a successful eight-year run as head coach at Norwalk, a tenure that ended after the 2014 season. While at Norwalk, Ceniceros won a Suburban League championship, took the Lancers to a CIF final in 2013 and had three teams reach the semifinals.

Things were looking good at Chino, too, despite Ceniceros not being able to build the same coaching staff he had Norwalk either due to travel concerns or budget limitations. Still, Chino went 13-10 in Ceniceros’ two seasons, including 9-3 in his first year.

Now, the question is whether he can build on El Monte’s recent success and stabilize a program that’s had its share of coaching turnover in recent years. The Lions came alive toward the end of former head coach Joel Sanchez’s reign, winning a league championship in 2012 and a playoff game. Neither of which had been done at the school in decades.

Eric MacIntyre replaced Sanchez after the 2015 season and led the Lions to a 6-5 record last fall, but he and the school parted ways following just one season. That was in January and El Monte had very little interest in the open position, re-flying the job as recently as last week.

“After speaking with the administration there, it just felt right,” Ceniceros said. “I wasn’t expecting in a hundred years to get back into coaching after I just resigned (at Chino). Football is my life. Football has given me everything I have, my education, my job.”

Ceniceros wouldn’t say for sure whether he’ll be employing the Wing-T offense that his Norwalk teams used so effectively. But Ceniceros did say that several members of that coaching staff will be joining him at El Monte.

The first order of business for Ceniceros has been getting the team in the weight room. Most teams have already started spring practice. Ceniceros acknowledged that El Monte is a bit behind, but said that the team may have some Saturday practices soon to help get brought up to speed.

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Rosemead names former Los Altos standout QB Matt Castaneda its new head coach

Rosemead High School’s football program will turn to a former All-Area quarterback from Los Altos to be its next varsity football head coach.

The Panthers promoted Matt Castaneda, who served as junior varsity head coach and varsity offensive coordinator last season as the new man in charge of what has been historically one of the Valley’s most-consistent winning programs.

“They had a pretty long list of guys who wanted it and it just worked out well,” Castaneda said. “I kind of knew everything, the lay of the land. I see something very special here.”

Castaneda, 28, was a standout quarterback at Los Altos. He made the Tribune All-Area team his senior in 2006 and even had a six-touchdown performance in less than two quarters against Rosemead during his playing days. Castaneda began his prep career at Bishop Amat before transferring to Los Altos.

After graduating from Los Altos in 2007, Castaneda played at Whittier College. He’s had several assistant coaching gigs, from Glendale College to helping his dad, Rob, when he was the head coach recently at Temple City.

Now, Castaneda has been given the keys to a Rosemead program that’s uncharacteristically struggled the past couple seasons. Castaneda replaces Marc Paramo, who resigned after five seasons.

Although Rosemead won a Mission Valley League championship under Paramo in 2014 and made the playoffs three times, the Panthers won just seven games combined in the past two years, including just two last season.

Castaneda thinks turning all that around is mostly a matter of keeping the homegrown talent at home.

“Everybody talks about how bad Rosemead is, but I’ve been there and seen what’s coming in,” Castaneda said. “Somebody is taking those kids and shipping them out to Bishop Amat or Cathedral. I’ve got to get those kids to stay.”

To do so, Castaneda said he will try to implement a parochial-like feel to the football program. As far as Xs and Os, Castaneda said he won’t stray too far from Rosemead’s historic preference of playing physical football with a strong running game and good defense.

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Diamond Bar hires former Los Altos d-coord Kevin Argumosa, who makes former LA head coach Dale Ziola his offensive coordinator

I guess you could say that the Los Altos staff is moving a little beast and changing its colors.

Diamond Bar has hired Kevin Argumosa, who was defensive coordinator at Los Altos the past three seasons, to be its new head coach. Argumosa has immediately made a splash by naming former Conquerors head coach Dale Ziola as his offensive coordinator. The rest of the staff figures to have plenty of former LA names, too.

This will be Argumosa’s first head coach job after 18 years as an assistant.

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Los Altos expected to hire Hector Spathias as new head coach

There’s a players/parents meeting scheduled for Monday evening at which time Hector Spathias is expected to be introduced as Los Altos’ new football coach.

Spathias formerly coached at Bassett and did a good job in a bad situation, making the Olympians competitive when the program looked like it was about to flicker out.

He will inherit a Los Altos program left in good shape by former head coach Dale Ziola, who took the Conquerors to two CIF championship games in six seasons.

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