She likes to blog …

Once it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood.

Here’s a link to former Trib intern Elizabeth Botello’s blog. She claims it will have a preps element to it, so we’ll see. Anyway, it’s general sports stuff with a woman’s touch.

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Opening Tribune Top 10

Six QBs = six of the Top 10 teams.

Funny how that always happens!

Charter Oak was the No. 1 team in my preliminary rankings throughout the offseason. But when push came to shove, I sided with West Covina because the Dawgs have that one (possibly two or three) home run threat that can dominate a high school game. William Wallace is going to be awesome this year. I know most people haven’t seen him because his last bit of healthy playing time came toward the end of his soph season two years ago, but this guy is one of those players who can score every time he touches the ball. I don’t see that type of player on Charter Oak’s roster, but he could emerge. Having said that, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Lou’s boys end up back at No. 1 at some point this season. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see them beat West Covina. Yes, Michael Johnson is a major weapon. He’s going to be impossible for normal high school kids to match up against. Impossible! But I need to see a secondary weapon emerge for CO. By the way, everything you’ve heard about CO’s offensive line is true. I am a pretty big guy myself, and the Chargers have three guys bigger than me. Awesome looking line. No real surprises elsewhere in the Top 10. Los Altos is the No. 3 team in the area and I think the Conqs could be No. 1 at some point. LA is fully capable of playing with either of the two teams ahead of them. That’s kind of the theme to this year’s Top 10 – I honestly believe that most of the teams on the list, exception Amat, could play with and beat each other. Arroyo would be my only concern if a game were to take place early in the season as opposed to later. Amat would be favored over any of the teams in the Top 10, but that’s not how we judge an Amat season. And I think an Amat game vs. LA, WestCo or CO would be closer than it might have been in recent years. I go back and forth on this year’s Amat team – I’ve watched them practice a couple of times, and it looks like they have a handful of good players but not enough throughout the roster to be a great, D-1 team. Then, I think that they could ride those good players and just be good enough in those other positions to compete at the highest level. It just seems like this team will have its moments and be inconsistent otherwise. That’s something Amat fans have seen too often from their team. Case in point, in practice (and it’s only practice, AI), Amat’s QB would make a great throw to a receiver only to have it be dropped. Then, some of the other throws weren’t so great when the receivers were open. The RBs look fantastic, though. Very fast and very able to break runs, especially if they get outside.
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Thank you coaches, players and parents …

… of the six cover boys. Obviously, it was worth it.

I want to thank Covina’s Darryl Thomas, Charter Oak’s Lou Farrar, Los Altos’ Greg Gano, Damien’s Scott Morrison, Rowland’s Craig Snyder and West Covina’s Mike Maggiore for letting us borrow your QBs for the cover photo shoot. I know most/all of the guys had to miss practice that evening, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it. Thank you to the QBs and their parents/friends/coaches who brought them to Covina District Field. Your patience was appreciated. Also, thanks to Amat coach Mark Verti for letting us bug him during practice and coaches meetings for our interview.

All Coaches: Be aware that with the Trib’s new coverage approach, we’ll need more access to you and your teams. Most of you are always very accomodating and it’s very much appreciated. Although it might be a hassle sometimes, usually the finished product makes it all worth it.

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2006 Trib Football Preview pops TOMORROW!!!

Important things to know …

No, this isn’t our cover shot.


1. Because this year’s preview is soooooo long, it was kinda broken up into two sections. You will see the normal pull out section and there’s another behind it. It might look like ads to you, which it is (not my call and not happy about it), but that is the final 12 pages of the section. I think most of you will figure it out.

2. Go to for supplemental online coverage.

3. Audio/visual slideshow of this year’s cover boys, no comment on who they are, will be available at

4. Video interview with new Bishop Amat coach Mark Verti will be available at

5. All of this should be available at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning or as in tonight (in sports fan time). So if you can’t wait, hit up the website later tonight before you go to bed.

6. Enjoy. I’m pretty sure you will.

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Crystal ball time … your predictions wanted …

… try and do these with your mind and not your heart.

What’s your FINAL SCORE predictions? Pick one game or all of them. I don’t care, just post your predictions. If you only know about Amat or South Hills or Gladstone, then just post a prediction on those games only.

Here’s the schedule …

Aug. 31

La Puente vs. Ontario at Montclair HS

Sept. 1
Los Altos vs. South Hills at Covina District Field
Bishop Amat at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m.
Gladstone at San Dimas
Riverside Poly at Damien
Chino Hills at Mission Viejo
Diamond Bar at Temescal Canyon
Walnut at San Gabriel
Beckman vs. Azusa at Citrus Coll.
Workman at Mountain View
Diamond Ranch vs. Edison at Ganesha HS

Sept. 2
Western Christian at Villanova Prep (Ojai)

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Bogan v. Gano … the Valley’s first showdown is just five days away!

Who do ya like?

check out the good article about the game in Sunday’s Tribune …

Scary thought: What if Los Altos lost?

Scary thought, the sequel: South Hills as an underdog.

Aram’s favorite Gano moment: LA has the ball deep in the shadow of its own endzone last year against Damien. It’s before halftime and the Conqs are losing. Gano wants no piece of sitting on the ball. He has Castaneda go for the casa on a bomb to Chapelle Brown. The ball is overthrown. Very next play, same thing. This time, the ball is on the money, BOOM, 90-yard touchdown. Why the heck not?

Aram’s favorite Bogan moment: I asked Coach Bogan after last year’s CIF title if that was the best SH team he’d had. He thought about it, and then started verbally running down the list. It was like a rich man having to choose which of his 30 sports cars he likes best. “The 2002 team was pretty good, but then 2003 may have been better. Then you’ve got 2000, which was special … and this year’s team was so impressive.” … “The Ferrari is nice, but the Lamborghini handles better. And then there’s the Aston Martin.” … Those aren’t direct quotes, but you get the point. How can you pick? One of many dumb questions I’ve asked in my career, but at least Bogan tried.

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PRESEASON: Top 10 linebackers in the SGV …

… let me just say this, linebacker is a loaded position. Let the debate begin.

Norys as in Chuck Norris as in Lone Wolf McQuade as in punishing.

I asked around to try and get other opinions about this group ranking. What I took from those conversations more than anything else was that everybody interprets the position, and how it’s played well, differently. What makes a good linebacker to me is somebody who plays the position like AJ Hawk or Brian Urlacher. I like LBs who run down plays. I like LBs who fly to the sideline and either force the runner out or destroy him before he gets out (of bounds). I DON’T like guys like current USC stiff Keith Rivers who can’t run down a play from behind (see embarrassing Rose Bowl performance for example) or get stiff armed and hold on for dear life until a teammate secures the tackle (again, see Rivers). Another thing I learned is that many people like LBs who play the position by simply letting every run play fall into their laps before making in the tackle. Do the words “Stay home, Zavala” mean anything to you?

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