Danny Pertusati, this is everybody. Everybody, this is Danny Pertusati.
Because summer passing league games are the next order of business and QBs will be at center stage, I feel now is an appropriate time to give out the SGV’s best at the position. It’s still early enough that I’d be willing to listen to any arguments, so feel free to plug away.I will probably fire back, but that’s what we’re here for. I think there’s a lot of guesswork involved this season. Not a lot seems very clear as it pertains to this year’s QB crop whereas last year we had McDonough and Mendrun and Chase and Castaneda and so on all returning. This year, there are several excellent established arms. And then there are some cases of major potential. As you know, I think that good seasons go hand in hand with good QBs. I’d be willing to bet gold that the team of every QB on this list will have a winning season. Do you want that action? The hard part about ranking them comes from the fact that some of the unestablished names have considerably more upside than some of the established names. Make sure you re-read and understand that last sentence before firing away. If you have any info, then please share it. Don’t be afraid … this isn’t a baseball thread. I fully expect some new names to pop up once certain schools make their choices on starters. Undoubtedly, you can expect opinions to change and new ones to be formed once the summer begins to play out. I’m not going to lie to you, I have mixed feelings about the overall crop of local QBs. Welcome to the 2007 season …
1. Danny Pertusati, Damien – I know what you’re thinking … Yes, this is officially Pertusati’s first year under center. I know it’s hard to understand my putting him ahead of other more established names. But let me explain something, Pertusati is the best pure athlete on this list. He’s going to run and throw opponents ragged. Because of this, I’m starting to re-think my original thoughts about Damien. It hurts losing Mark Mendrun, Travis Eschardies and Anthony Hile, but there’s no reason to think Pertusati won’t have comparable success to Mendrun … throw in a good O-Line/D-Line, experience back at RB, and maybe this team won’t drop off as much as previously thought. Pertusati is probably a better scrambler than Mendrun, but I don’t think he’s quite the passer (yet). Tons of upside.
2. Chris Allen, Charter Oak – The way Allen finished the season should mean big things for CO as it aspires to not only get back to the big game, but win it this time. Allen’s ability to calmly manage the game was as impressive as his passing. I think there’s major upside to him, too. With half a season and some key playoff experience under his belt, look for Allen to blossom even more this season. My only worry is that Michael Johnson isn’t around to burn opponents deep.
3. Brandon Parham, South Hills – Fans got their first glimpse of Parham two years ago when he got extensive playing time against D-I power Esperanza in South Hills’ 2005 opener. The natural progression was for Parham to be the starter last year in the wake of Kevin Mort’s graduation. It didn’t happen as Nick Lamaison upset him for the job and put together a fine season. Parham has returned as a specimen this year. He looks ready to stake his claim over two talented underclassmen. Parham’s athletic ability will likely get him a ride somewhere as DB, but he could be one of those fun-to-watch run/pass combos that make the HS game so fun to watch.
4. Austin Goldsmith, Duarte – The best nobody knows about? Goldsmith has the luxury of handing the ball off to last year’s Valley rushing leader Chris Harris. But with everyone in fear of Harris, the door could be open for Goldsmith to relentlessly burn teams who overcompensate against the run. Goldsmith has prototype body and skills and a nice set of receivers to work with. Duarte’s balance has the team headed toward another 12-13 game season.
5. Brian Partida, Arroyo – Talk about pressure … When Partida took over for Dominic Salmon, Arroyo fans wondered if their team would still be able to move the ball through the air. You see, Salmon was arguably the best passer in school history and the passing game was a considerably new angle to Arroyo football compared to seasons of the past. Partida’s performance over the past two seasons certainly eased those fears. He threw for 2,475 yards last season. Those used to be unheard of numbers for a Mission Valley League QB. But right behind him was South El Monte’s Jose Garay. I have a hard time separating these two, but I lean Partida beause he’s a senior and might have the better overall supporting cast … I didn’t say receivers, I said supporting cast. Partida gives Knights coach Jim Singiser the ability to let it all hang out, kinda like the 2004 season.
6. Jose Garay, South El Monte – I know there will be people in the foothill communities rolling their eyes when they see two Mission Valley League QBs ranked side by side. But Garay was truly remarkable last year, taking over for departed legend Lee Aguirre. Just when you thought the Eagles were headed back to obscurity, Garay lead them to a share of the MVL title. He’s only a junior and has one of the area’s best targets in Tommy Cogburn to throw to. Garay threw for 2,331 yards last year and could improve on those numbers as South El Monte makes its bid to stay on par with Arroyo and Rosemead.
7. Cameron Deen, South Hills – With Parham likely to get the nod as coach Steve Bogan’s main man, Deen, a junior, will have to wait his turn until next season. So why put him on the list? Because he does qualify easily as one of the Valley’s best, even as a backup. Don’t believe me? Go watch a South Hills passing league game and then ask yourself “Would he start at my place?” You’re forgiven.
8. Oscar Robles, Northview – Robles got his feet wet last year as a sophomore. He certainly had his moments and will have many more starting this year. Northview’s skill players look like some of the best around. This could be a Covina 2005-06 breakout in the making. I don’t think coach Jim Arellanes will get that crazy, but the Vikes are going to put up some numbers. The offensive line could hinder Robles’ progress, but he’s going to start making a name for himself this season.
9. Drew Kaluzny, Glendora – Tartans coach Mark Pasquarella took some heat last year for getting Kaluzny reps during key times in close games. But that’s a new technique being used by many coaches these days. South Hills did it with Kevin Mort, giving him reps as a sophomore in the second quarter while starter Philip Guerrero watched. The thinking is that you put the backup in when it’s still a game and not mop-up time. Wait, does Glendora ever have games with mop-up time? Alright, anyway, Kaluzny has some experience and I expect him to fit right into the Garrett Crook mold. He won’t mess anything up and will make the big throws when he has to. With Glendora’s defense expected to be great, should it be any other way?
10. Chris Willison, South Hills – Like Deen, you’ll ask how a likely non-starter is on this list. Check back in two years and you’ll understand. Although I think fans will start to get a taste of Deen and Willison this year. Bogan is likely to throw both of them reps. Again, this guy is a starter on almost any other Valley team, no matter how good you think you are. And technically, right now, he’s not a backup.