La Canada and star RB Drake Beasley in for a fight with Loyola over undue influence charge

Beasley

The news late last week that Loyola High School will challenge the transfer of standout running back Drake Beasley to La Canada has been met with surprise and disappointment by the Spartans coaching staff and the school’s athletic department.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Loyola will protest Beasley’s transfer, thus threatening his eligibility for his senior season, on grounds of undue influence by La Canada. Loyola is a Division 1 program with a storied history and plays in the powerful Mission League. La Canada is in Division 12.

La Canada head coach Ryan Zerbel declined Monday to talk about any specifics related to Beasley, but expressed his bewilderment about the charge that he or someone on his staff unduly influenced the transfer.

“Right now, it’s in the best interest of the kid to let the CIF policies play out,” Zerbel said. “That’s what they’re there for and we’ll let it play out. It’s horrible that all of this stuff is said. It’s not like we’re landing kids all the time or we’re a factory over here.”

Beasley made a name for himself locally during his youth football days with the La Canada Gladiators. He went to Loyola for the first three years of his career and earlier this month left for La Canada due to undisclosed reasons.

Beasley is considered to be one of the top running backs in the state, having rushed for 1,647 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He currently had 12 college offers, including UCLA, Boise St., Arizona and Cal.

If eligible, Beasley shoots La Canada from Rio Hondo League afterthought to one of the favorites. And there’s no telling what the Spartans could do in the second-to-lowest playoff division should they make the Southern Section postseason.

According to CIF Southern Section director of communications Thom Simmons, Loyola had not submitted any paperwork regarding the case of late Monday morning. Once Loyola files its case against La Canada and Beasley, La Canada will have a chance to conduct its own investigation and respond.

In all likelihood, the Southern Section will have to make a decision on whether there was a violation. And that decision needs to be solid enough to hold up in court if matters go that far. The range of penalties if undue influence can vary due to the severity of the infraction.

“Whatever we decide, we have to be able to defend in court,” Simmons said speaking broadly about undue influence decisions. “We have to be able to prove reasonably in a court of law that there has been evidence of wrongdoing.”

Simmons gave no timeline on how long it would take before a decision was made, but did say that undue influence cases can often take one to two months to resolve. Obviously, that would put Beasley in serious jeopardy of missing a good portion of the season. Or, La Canada could play him and risk forfeiting

“We try to clear them up as soon as possible, because when you’re talking about a student’s athlete’s eligibility, the last thing you want to do is hurt the kid if there’s no wrongdoing,” Simmons said.

Beasley will continue to practice with the team throughout the challenge prcoess. The Spartans open the season on Aug. 26 at Hawthorne.

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UPDATED: Loyola to challenge Drake Beasley’s transfer to La Canada

UPDATE: It’s a total head scratcher, but Loyola, a Division 1 team in the Mission League, told the LA Times that it will challenge the transfer of running back Drake Beasley on grounds of “undue influence”.

Beasley is already enrolled at La Canada and practicing with the Spartans.

In what may be the biggest coup of the offseason, the La Canada High School football team appears to have hit the transfer lottery.

Drake Beasley, the standout running back at Loyola and a player who many consider to be one of the top ball carriers in the state, has enrolled at La Canada after leaving Loyola late last week.

“From what I understand, he checked in yesterday (Monday) and got his CIF paperwork,” La Canada head coach Ryan Zerbel said. “That leads me to believe that he will come out and play for La Canada. I’m going to take a backseat in all of this because I’ve got a team to coach. But if Drake Beasley shows up and says he’s here to play football, then great. He’ll be a great addition to what we have.”

Beasley playing at La Canada would automatically make the Spartans one of the favorites in what looks like a very interesting Rio Hondo League. San Marino has a record-setting quarterback and receiver to replace. Monrovia was hit hard by graduation and had some key returners leave the program.

The Spartans were thought to be one of the teams vying for a playoff spot. But adding Beasley, who rushed for 1,647 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2015, would give the Spartans arguably the top overall player in the area, let alone the league.

“I really want to see him in our pads, practicing and have the paperwork done, and from there I will get excited,” Zerbel said. “Who knows what’s going to happen? You’re talking about a high-profile kid. In this whole thing, there are so many factors. It’s really crazy, all the hoopla. I’m just trying to maintain a calm environment for my players. But they’re young and they see it all on Facebook.”

Beasley played for La Canada’s youth football program before starting his high school career at Loyola. La Canada went 4-6 last season and missed the playoffs due to a loss to South Pasadena, which ultimately determined third place.

The Spartans open the season on Aug. 26 at Hawthorne.

Aram’s take: If you’re South Pas and Temple City, you just threw up a little in your mouth. And that’s because your chances of finishing in the top three with San Marino, Monrovia and LC just probably grew real slim. And if you’re San Marino and Monrovia, the two perennial favorites, your stranglehold on the league title may be in doubt. Beasley immediately becomes the top talent in the league.

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Tyler Sweet, arguably Bishop Amat’s top returning skill player, transfers to Upland

Tyler Sweet, who was arguably Bishop Amat’s top returning skill player, has left the school and transferred to Upland. Sweet’s younger brother, Terayon, has also left for Upland.

Both are the younger brothers of 2015 Tribune Player of the Year Torreahno Sweet, who is now at Western Oregon after a tumultuous senior season at Amat. Sweet was suspended for a game and a half early last season for undisclosed reasons. He was also “not part of the program” according to Lancers head coach Steve Hagerty for most of the offseason leading up to his senior season.

Tyler Sweet was a reserve last season thanks to the presence of several college-bound skill players. He was likely going to be Amat’s top deep threat at receiver. The timing couldn’t be worse for the Lancer who are now just two weeks away from hosting powerful Mater Dei in the season opener on Aug. 26.

Aram’s take: Bad optics for Amat. No other way to look at it. When your top offensive threat jets right before the season, it’s a bad sign. Obviously, the Sweets and Amat have been like oil and water. The timing seems like the ultimate “take that” with the season so close. Nobody really knows what Amat has under the hood yet, but it better be good because the Lancers are playing a very rough schedule.

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Real-life Rudy speaks to Pasadena Poly football team

rudyr

It’s going to be hard for any local high school football team to top who Pasadena Poly had this week for a motivational speaker.

On Tuesday night, the Panthers were treated to a speech by Rudy Ruettiger, the subject of the classic movie “Rudy” released in 1993 about a undersized football player who realized his dream of playing college football at Notre Dame.

“It was great,” Pasadena Poly head coach Chris Schmoke said of the moment. “We showed the movie to the kids on Monday night just to make sure they knew who he was. At first, I thought ‘who hasn’t seen Rudy?’ But then again I’ve got kids who don’t even watch football.

“I had to, No. 1, make sure they knew Notre Dame played football and, No. 2, knew who Rudy was.”

Pasadena Poly held a camp from Monday through Wednesday with players sleeping over at the school for two nights. The crescendo moment came when the team went to one of the players’ homes for a talk from Rudy.

Although one could make the tie-in that Poly is a small-school program often stocked with undersized players, that was merely a favorable coincidence. Turns out, one of the Poly parents has a connection to Rudy dating back to his own high school days.

“I think the players thought it was neat and positive,” Schmoke said. “Rudy is definitely a salt of the earth kind of guy … blue collar kind of guy. He was just a real positive person and his message was perseverance and positivity.

“We’re not big and don’t fit the bill when you think of a big football program. But we definitely want to put forth to the kids that when the lights go on, we’re going to compete with anybody.”

Poly looks set for a big season. The Panthers have about 50 players in the program, good numbers for a school their size, and have several returning starters back. What’s more, Schmoke says that for the first time he can remember, the varsity roster is made up of solely juniors and seniors.

The Panthers went 6-5 last season and open the season on Aug. 26 at Temple City.

“We think we’re preparing for a great year,” Schmoke said. “Schools that we’ve traditionally played are disappearing from the map or either going to eight-man or just won’t play us anymore.

“We’re opening with Temple City and if you tell anybody that hasn’t been in the Valley for a while that Poly is opening with Temple City, they’d think I’m crazy. But that’s where we’re at. We’re trying to compete with anybody.”

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West Covina WON’T challenge the transfer of Northview RB Kevin Thomas

West Covina head coach Mike Maggiore said Monday morning that the school won’t challenge the transfer of running back Kevin Thomas, who left West Covina for Northview earlier this offseason, on grounds that the move was athletically motivated.

According to the CIF website, Thomas’ eligibility is still up in the air while CIF awaits “former school response”. West Covina not challenging the transfer would be clear a major hurdle for Thomas to be eligible to start the season. However, he still needs to satisfy the valid change of address portion of the CIF transfer rules.

Thomas, a senior, rushed for 780 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bulldogs last season. He would fill a serious void at running back for Northview and give the Vikings a scary trio of skill players along with QB Steven Comstock and all-purpose threat Antuwan Ayers.

Northview opens the season on Aug. 25 against Charter Oak at Covina District Field.

… as for West Covina, the Bulldogs aren’t exactly hurting at running back. Henry Martinez, a 1,000-yard rusher from two seasons ago, is back from an injury that cost him his junior season.

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