Top 5 sports principals in the SGV column coming Friday …

This is what you do – give Aram your 50 cents at any Tribune rack, or better yet subscribe, then read the story and come on here to rebuke or tell me how right I am. This was a very popular column last year and I’m sure it will be this year. We’ll have some changes this year …

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CRISIS AVERTED: Amat loses three players, one starter to free agency …

What looked like a potential disaster for the Amat Nation turned out to be not so bad. Amat coach Mark Verti confirmed Monday that three players left the school, but only one was a starter. Bryce McBride, as confirmed by Conqs coach Greg Gano, has checked-in at Los Altos. He’s joined at LA by Amat back-up QB Blake Tillis. It could’ve been worse for Amat, considering last week that the hot rumor was that returning leading tackler Marcus Wagner was also headed for Los Altos and up to eight varsity players might be leaving the program.

Aram’s thoughts: As I said when giving a way too early Top 10 for next season, Amat is going to be a very improved team next season. That thought was threatened by this supposed mass exodus, which really didn’t take place. Despite McBride’s exit, the Lancers look to still be in good shape with a good nucleus of returners. Amat’s frosh team was very impressive this season and some of the varsity returners rank among the top players in the area. This week’s events does not mean good times are here again at Amat. Those associated with the program should take heed in the saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Fans are clearly fed up with the mediocrity, and that’s being nice about it. The psyche of players should also be considered. Not winning and missing the playoffs makes Amat a undesirable place for kids/parents to pony up four or five dimes a year just to get so-so results. It does Amat no good for kids to see how much fun/success their peers are having at places like CO, LA or SH. Most Amat fans have an extreme amount of pride, but even the most die hard Lancer has to admit the school is in need of a great football season in a big way. If it doesn’t happen soon …

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Jesuit showdown at APU on Saturday … Blood Diamond battle at 4:30 p.m.

Hard fouls are accepted here.

Here’s the schedule for Gordon “Boom Boom” Hamlow’s SoCal Shootout at Azusa Pacific University on Saturday.

Fairmont Prep vs. Flintridge Prep, 9 a.m.
Bishop Amat (girls) vs. Monrovia (girls), 10:30 a.m.
Bishop Amat vs. Damien, NOON
Sonora vs. Rowland, 1:30 p.m.
Mission Viejo vs. Los Osos, 3 p.m.
Diamond Bar vs. Diamond Ranch, 4:30 p.m. “Blood Diamond?”
Glendora vs. Brea, 6 p.m.
Colony vs. Etiwanda, 7:30 p.m.
La Canada vs. Perris, 9 p.m.

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FOOTBALL RUMORS: Maybe this will help clear up some questions

There are so many questions out there that I just figured I’d start a new thread to answer them with what I know. To those who think football season is over, think again. Just being honest, but it never ends. And, it remains extremely popular. Hey, the NFL Network does it all year, why not us? Anyway … here’s the latest rumors.

But first a disclaimer: These are just rumors, so don’t trip out. Fortunately, I think there’s a lot of truth to some of them. But, who knows?

GANO UPDATE: I’ve got it from a second reliable source that Los Altos coach Greg Gano is interested in the La Verne job. Stay tuned …

Bryce McBride to LA: I’ve heard this is a done deal from several reliable sources. So, I callled Coach Gano on Monday to ask him if it’s true and he said “I won’t comment on anybody unless they actually check-in.” Amat’s 2nd semester started Tuesday. Los Altos’ starts next Tuesday. Gano said I’d be the first person he calls if “someone new comes in.” What a huge impact McBride would make at LA. Wow! I’ve heard nothing about Marcus Wagner, however. But I have heard two other lower level Amat players would be going to LA, also. I will check the wanted ads in the Trib classifieds to see if there’s anything like “Wanted: QB, RB and WR to play for annual CIF title contender.” The Conqs have to replace all three positions this year.

Mark Verti: I called Coach Verti on Monday and he said he expected a couple of players to leave. I will call him today to find out who checked out because it all should’ve gone down on Tuesday. I doubt he can say much more other than who checked out.

Cogburn AND Garay to LA: It could be an incredible off-season for the Yankees, er Los Altos, if this happens. I’ve heard about Cogburn possibly being a Conqueror, but not Garay. Makes sense, though. LA needs a QB. Might as well get one of the Valley’s passing leaders to go with the Valley’s leading receiver. But, but, but I’ve also heard that Cogburn did some info-seeking at St. Paul during Christmas break. LA getting both of these players seems a littler far fetched. In fact, I doubt they get either.

South Hills: I’ve heard from one reliable source that South Hills would be getting a player or two from Amat. I don’t put too much stock into this.

Diamond Bar: So much for the Brahmas having a replacement named by the first of the year. They are in their first phase of interviews this week. AD J.T. Cameron didn’t give me much more info than that. I asked him who applied, but naturally, he wouldn’t say. But the vibe I got is that former Walnut coach Jerry Person isn’t interested. So much for that.

Robert Oviedo: Supposedly, Coach Oviedo has a meeting on Thursday with Wilson’s upper-brass. They could be talking scholastics or they could be talking about the direction of the football program. I don’t know why, but I keep hearing he’s in jeopardy of being ousted. Like Wilson could do any better. I hope this isn’t true.

Gano to La Verne: This is a new one that’s started to pop up. One person told me he’s inquired about the job. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Gano left LA for LV right after all these impact transfers landed on his doorstep? I don’t know if I buy this one. But this source has been pretty good in the past and supposedly there’s interest.

Not a rumor, just an Aram thought: I really wonder why/how LA has become the shoulder to cry on for disgruntled players. I don’t begrudge any player/parent who leaves one school for another with the ambition of either winning a championship or improving the chances for a scholly. And I don’t begrudge LA for being that school. I get it, players want to play for Uncle Greg. But, I do wonder how that came to fruition. Is it coaches? Is it the Cody/Harwell effect? Obviously, given James Davis’ situation, LA isn’t immune to losing players, too. But LA always seems to gain more than it loses. You lose James Davis, you get Ira Thomas from Chino Hills to fill in. Must be nice …

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