Practice begins: Several local teams start fall camp on Monday with championship dreams …

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San Dimas LB Josiah Erickson is all business.

SAN DIMAS PRACTICE PHOTO GALLERY

Under cooler-than-usual conditions and new rules limiting time, several local high school football teams held their first fall practices on Monday.

The season is just under a month away for teams with Week 0 games and that means just a few weeks to tighten the screws in preparation for the long grueling campaign.

At San Dimas, the defending Mid-Valley Division champion Saints held their first practice under the watch of head coach Bill Zernickow. San Dimas opens the season in arguably one of the top games of the year against Monrovia on Aug. 29.

“It went fine,” Zernickow said of Monday morning’s practice. “Our guys were extremely excited to be back out there. You could see their posts on Twitter saying ‘Can’t wait for football’. That ended after about an hour.

“Nobody got hurt. I think we caught a little break in the weather. I think Sunday was a lot more humid.”

This season, coaches will have to watch the clock a lot more than usual. Under new statewide CIF rules, teams are limited to 18 hours of practice per week and no more than four hours per day.

Once the pads come on, coaches are being urged to carefully watch the amount of full-contact hitting that takes place during practice ahead of a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which goes into effect in January of 2015 and will limit the amount of time teams can have full-contact practices.

Things are already well underway at Los Altos. The Conquerors got the jump on the competition last week and held their annual midnight practice overnight Thursday into Friday.

Los Altos donned full gear and practiced into the wee hours of the morning, the video highlights of which made the social media rounds as fans get excited for the upcoming season.

The Conquerors start the season on Aug. 29 with a home game against Santa Monica. Los Altos is expected to be one of the top teams in the area.

The start of fall practice isn’t what it used to be. Now that most teams practice almost year round in some shape or form, and have extensive passing competitions early in the summer, it’s not the like the coaches and players have any introductions to do with each other.

“The new rules don’t really change what we do,” Zernickow said. “We don’t go over two hours in a day anyway. And contact doesn’t bug us either. We only hit probably 20 minutes a day, if that. We do a lot of fundamentals and skill work.”

La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti reported that his team will jump right into two-a-day practices and they did just that on Monday. The Matadores have been the recipient of several high-impact transfers this offseason as they try to bounce back from last season’s disappointing 4-7 record.

La Mirada faces one of the most difficult nonleague schedules around and starts the season with a home game against Orange County power Tesoro on Aug. 29.

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NEW! All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 … post-passing circuit edition …

As promised, I said I would do another Top 25 after the passing circuit. Some teams may have a few throws left here and there, but most everybody has wrapped it up. And we, as fans and media, have been able to see some of paint peeled back and get a good idea who’s packing what in the skill spots. SO here goes …

1. Bishop Amat — Won Air Assault. Simply loaded at WR.
2. Glendora — Lack of outside speed is being overblown.
3. Charter Oak — Youth at QB and on D, but loaded with athletes.
4. St. Francis — Lots to like in skill spots, but QB is a question.
5. Chino Hills — The horses are there to bang in the Baseline.
6. Los Altos — Line is scary. Amat transfer at RB. QB is 6-2.
7. Monrovia — Looking like quite the dynamic offense.
8. Muir — If QB question gets answered, look out Southeast!
9. La Habra — Just give the ball to Carlos Martin. That’s all.
10. San Dimas — Rumblings about some interesting options in the skill spots.
11. Damien — Think this team will take another step forward.
12. La Mirada — Looks to be much improved speed-wise.
13. West Covina — QB battle still not decided. Solid team.
14. Ayala — Make no mistake, this is Glendora’s big threat in Palomares.
15. Pomona — If Devils have a line … wow … watch out.
16. La Serna — You don’t lose Frankie Football and get better, do you?
17. South Hills — QB and WRs looked very sharp on passing circuit.
18. La Salle — Some nice pieces, but St. Francis/Cathedral look strong.
19. Arroyo — Going back to making Knights MVL favorites.
20. Diamond Ranch — Post-Roddy Era will be interesting.
21. Bonita — Getting Verdugo back helps outlook for offense.
22. Pasadena — Believe me now and hear me later.
23. Baldwin Park — Surprise team. Write it down.
24. Rosemead — Losing QB Nava to Amat hurts, but still loaded.
25. San Marino — Offense should be explosive thru the air.

OUTGOING: Diamond Bar, Montebello, Maranatha.

Glendora’s Matt Fink: Best QB in the Valley? You be the judge … I say YES!

I have been saying for quite a while that Glendora’s Matt Fink is the best QB in the Valley heading into this season. Many bloggers have scoffed at this. Some bloggers have recently brought up a low completion percentage. Or the fact he didn’t even throw for 2,000 yards last season. I get all that, but this kid was a SOPHOMORE and was able to do some pretty impressive things against a solid schedule and in a very difficult league. He’s a fantastic scrambler, has a strong arm, very heady and great touch on the ball. If the unwritten laws of puberty and adolescence hold up, he’s going to be even better this season as a junior. What else do you want?

GANO HIRED: Results of HLPUSD meeting leads to four-time CIF champion coach being hired as teacher …

Wilson High has hired varsity football head coach Greg Gano as a teacher, thus clearing the way for the four-time CIF champion coach to remain the Wildcats’ coach.

Things were up in the air as far as a teaching job to go along with Gano’s coaching job, which quite possibly could have been a deal breaker that sent the veteran coach looking for other things had the school not provided a day job.

Gano was hired this past winter to revive Wilson’s dormant football program. Gano won four CIF championships across town at rival Los Altos.

Charter Oak vs. Monrovia Class of 2018 (this year’s frosh teams) in passing game … Little Lou Farrar playing QB for CO and the Valley’s next freak girls athlete Jasmine Flores (2:03 mark in video) playing corner for M-Town …

WATCH JASMINE FLORES at 2:03 mark of video.

Aram’s Take: I remember Little Lou, son of CO offensive coordinator Dom Farrar, bawling after a CO playoff loss when he was the ball boy. Now he’s in HS!!! How old am I? Good gawd. Little Lou has got some good height. And then there’s Jasmine Flores, who is supposed to be the next coming to girls sports in the SGV. She’s playing corner. GOOD FOR YOU, MIJA!!! They used to say that if Nikki Wheatley played football at Bonita, she would have been a standout. Can’t wait to see what Jasmine does.

Monrovia beats Buena Park to win SGV Shootout at Arroyo HS … Los Altos and CV bow out in semis …

New head coach. New quarterback. No problem.

Monrovia’s impressive summer passing circuit campaign under new head coach Chris Stevens continued on Saturday as QB Asaph Zamora and the Wildcats’ stable of top athletes were enough to beat Buena Park and win the SGV Shootout.

Monrovia beat Crescenta Valley in one semifinal to reach the championship. Buena Park beat Los Altos in the other semi.

The Wildcats will play in the Central Division this season and look like they’ll be up to the test if summer passing games are any indicator. The Wildcats also had an solid showing at the Bonita Air Assault two weeks ago.

Time to take South Hills serious? Huskies lose to Loyola in Tournament of Champions at Santa Fe HS championship game …

I heard several positive things about South Hills at the Bonita Air Assault and the Huskies were at it again on Saturday, taking second place in the Tournament of Champions at Santa Fe.

QB Garrett Fonseca is back for the Huskies, but I thought the rest of the skill spots looked shaky on paper. Guess not. Supposedly this team is just fine at receiver, thank you very much.

Making the finals on Saturday before losing to Loyola is pretty solid. Where the Huskies fit in the Palomares League is anybody’s guess, though. But it’s clear they’re going to have the skill players to run around with Glendora and Ayala and the rest.

Groups announced for this weekend’s Tournament of Champions at Santa Fe …

Games begin at 9 a.m.

Pool A

Loyola
SouthHills
Burroughs
Milikan
DonLugo

Pool B

Carlsbad
Cyprus
Canyon Springs
Morningside
Whittier

Pool C

Olympus (Utah)
Mira Costa
Chavez (AZ)
West Torrance
Roosevelt

Pool D

North Torrance
Arleta
Garden Grove Santiago
Bellflower
Pacifica

Pool E

Santa Fe
Carson
Pacific palisades
LB Wilson
Garden Grove

Pool F

Marina
Sage Hills
Grant
W. Adams
Atresia

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