POSTGAME: Saturday Morning Quarterback

Above: Amat running back Marcus Wagner rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns in Lancers’ loss.
Thursday’s results
San Dimas 42, Gladstone 0 … Saints beat them every way imaginable
Ontario 27, La Puente 0 … Young offense has problems

Friday’s games
Los Osos 41, Bishop Amat 38 … Lancers blew a 28-14 halftime lead.
Temescal Canyon 38, Diamond Bar 15 … Not a shocker.
Bonita 43, Covina 14 … Miramonte that much better than Valle Vista
San Gabriel 44, Walnut 14 … Another bad start for Mustangs
Edison 27, Diamond Ranch 13 … Ranch competed, and that’s all that matters.
Azusa 24, Ganesha 8 … What do you expect, it’s Ganesha
Ayala 35, Duarte 7 … Shocker of the night, BY FAR!
Damien 25, Riverside Poly 7 … You knew this would happen.
Mountain View vs. Workman, cancelled, no lights … What’s up with that?
Glenn 27, Sierra Vista 21 … Another Montview team goes down.
Servite 33, St. Paul 0 … Ouch, all those transfers didn’t help.
Monrovia 28, Montebello 6 … Ready to feast on Duarte next
Pioneer 42, Gabrielino 6 … Another long year for Eagles

This is Amat from a different perspective. Raul Roa, our in-your-face video guy (he nearly got kicked off the sidelines for getting to close to the action), brings you his own take from Amat’s game.

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Finally, it’s time to play football!

Area’s top running backs from left: Nico Barbone (San Dimas), Kanaan Snowden (Charter Oak), Bryce Mahmud-McBride (Los Altos), Tim Gilmore (Wilson), Chris Harris (Duarte), Damon Kuklinski (South Hills)

Tribune’s pre-season top ten
1. South HIlls
2. Charter Oak
3. Los Altos
4. Glendora
5. Damien
6. Bishop Amat
7. Diamond Ranch
8. Duarte
9. Northview
10. Arroyo

Tribune’s 2007 preview stories
Top Ten story
Running Backs
Robledo’s Column

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CIF pre-season polls

Where SGV teams are ranked

PAC-5 Division
1. Mater Dei, 2. Long Beach Poly, 3. Notre Dame, 4. Orange Lutheran, 5. Edison, 6. Crespi, 7. Servite, 8. Santa Margarita, 9. Mission Viejo, 10. San Clemente; Others, 12. Bishop Amat.

Southeast Division
1. Troy, 2. Santa Fe, 3. Schurr, 4. La Serna, 5. California, 6. Westminster, 7. Bell Gardens, 8. Arroyo, 9. La Habra, 10. Alhambra.

Southwest Division
1. El Dorado, 2. Mayfair, 3. Anaheim Canyon, 4. Charter Oak, 5. Los Altos, 6. Foothill, 7. Trabuco Hills, 8. West Covina, 9. Tustin, 10. South Hills

Mid-Valley Division
1. Bishop Diego, 2. Santa Clara, 3. Verbum Dei, 4. La Salle, 5. Village Christian, 6. Cantwell Sacred Heart, 7. Temple City, 8. Duarte, 9. Fillmore, 10. Cerritos Valley Christian

Northwest Division
1. Oaks Christian, 2. Oak Park, 3. Harvard-Westlake, 4. Covina, 5. Morro Bay, 6. St. Joseph, 7. South Torrance, 8. Templeton, 9. Serra, 10. Pioneer Valley; Others, 13. San Dimas

Inland Division
1. Corona Centennial, 2. Norco, 3. Vista Murrieta, 4. Los Osos, 5. Chaparral, 6. Etiwanda, 7. Temescal Canyon, 8. Redlands, 9. Chino HIlls, 10. Redlands East Valley, 11. Damien

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Who will win our High School Heisman?

The race for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune player of the year award begins this week with several hopefuls in action. Covina High quarterback Mike McDonough graduated after earning back-to-back player of the year awards. In no particular order, these are some of the top pre-season candidates for 2007.

Dorian Wells, South Hills – The best playmaker in the SGV? Will he go crazy going from Bishop Amat to South Hills? You have to like the position he’s in, and his stats should be among the best in the valley at his position. I know he’s a receiver, but if the Huskies go all the way, then he deserves a close look.
Mikey Harrell, Charter Oak - With Michael Johnson gone, look for Harrell to have a huge year as Chris Allen’s No. 1 target. The Chargers offense should be a nice blend of running and passing, which will affect his stats. But as far as pure talent, you can’t go wrong with this guy.

Bryce Mahmud-McBride, Los Altos – That’s right, his official last name is now Mahmud-McBride. With Los Altos’ quarterback situation up in the air, Mahmud-McBride could be asked to carry the Conquerors and has all the tools necessary to do so. He’s got speed, he’s tough, his body is rock solid and a great offensive line to work with. Seriously, I don’t know what’s stopping this guy from a possible 2,000 yard season.

Chris Harris, Duarte – The SGV’s leading rusher with over 2,100 yards is back. And look at what he did in last year’s playoffs, rushing for 241 yards against La Canada, and had another game where he rushed for 166 yards against a powerful Glendora defense. The Falcons are heavy favorites to win the Montview League for a second straight year, and figure to be one of the top four teams in the Mid Valley Division.

Nico Barbone, San Dimas – Oh, this could be a special year for the Saints junior. What I keep hearing most about Barbone is his tremendous work ethic and desire to get better. He had a sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,330 yards with 12 TDs. If the Saints go on to win the Valle Vista with Barbone leading the charge, he would have to be considered. Of course to win it, the Saints need to pull off a few surprises in the Northwest Division.

Tim Gilmore, Wilson – There’s a feeling among some I’ve talked to that on pure talent, Gilmore is special. He’s a run and catch threat on an offense returning a lot of weapons. Of course, he’ll be judged on how his team does. If the Wildcats can somehow find their way into the Miramonte League race, and earn a playoff berth, then Gilmore will get a closer look.

Chris Allen, Charter Oak – An imposing figure for a junior. Sort of a JaMarcus Russell type according to coach Lou Farrar. Look, he went 9-1 as a starter and led the Chargers all the way to the Southwest Divisional finals. There won’t be anyone returning with more confidence, and he has the receivers in place to have a huge season.

Danny Pertusati, Damien – The Spartans lose a great quarterback in Mike Mendrum, but watch Pertusati pick up where he left off, and even add a tad more with his quick footwork. I watched this guy in practice this week, and not only was impressed with his arm, composure, but his ability to scramble out of trouble and make plays. He sort of reminded me of a McDonough type, but this is his first-year starting at QB as a senior, so we’ll see what happens. But a sleeper for sure.

Austin Goldsmith, Duarte – The Falcons QB threw for over 2,000 yards and 20-plus touchdowns as a junior, and against the type of opponents on the Falcons’ schedule, his stats should be off the charts again. With Harris as his counterpart in the backfield, Goldsmith should have no problem finding open receivers. Like Harris, for Goldsmith to be considered, they Falcons must make a serious run at a CIF title.

Other QB’s in the running.
Brian Partida, Arroyo
Brandon Parham, South Hills
Jose Garay, South El Monte
Oscar Robles, Northview
Drew Kaluzny, Glendora

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Tribskin Pick’em, your predictions and ours

Steve Ramirez and I will go head-to-head throughout the season, and I will update our records each Monday on the Tribskin Pick’em thread.

Thursday, Aug. 30
San Dimas vs. Gladstone at Citrus College, 7 p.m. – Robledo (San Dimas), Ramirez (San Dimas)
Ontario at La Puente, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Ontario), Ramirez (Ontario)

Friday, Augt. 31
Los Osos at Bishop Amat, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Los Osos), Ramirez (BAmat)
Temescal Canyon at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Temescal Canyon), Ramirez(Temescal Canyon)
Covina at Bonita, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Bonita), Ramirez (Bonita)
San Gabriel at Walnut, 7 p.m. – Robledo (San Gabriel), Ramirez (Walnut)
Diamond Ranch at Edison, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Edison), Ramirez (Edison)
Ganesha vs. Azusa at Citrus College, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Azusa), Ramirez (Azusa)
Duarte at Ayala, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Duarte), Ramirez (Duarte)
Damien at Riverside Poly, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Damien), Ramirez (Damien)
Mountain View vs. Workman at La Puente, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Workman), Ramirez (Workman)
Sierra Vista vs. Glenn at Exelsior Adult School, Norwalk, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Glenn), Ramirez (Sierra Vista)

Saturday, Sept. 1
Compton at Chino, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Compton), Ramirez (Compton)
Villanova Prep vs. Western Christian at Citrus College, Noon – Robledo (Villanova Prep), Ramirez (Villanova Prep)
Bassett at El Cajon Christian, 7 p.m. – Robledo (El Cajon Christian), Ramirez (El Cajon Christian)

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Oh Crutchfield …

Listen, I think Duarte’s a shoe-in to win the Montview and has a great chance to win the watered-down Mid-Valley Division, but Falcons coach Wardell Crutchfield still thinks we’re not giving them them enough credit.
I was asking Crutch about running back Chris Harris,, who rushed for over 2,100 yards last season, and like any smart coach, he said he would take Harris over anyone in the valley. No problem with that, which led to Duarte’s place in the Trib rankings, because they also have QB Austin Goldsmith back after throwing for 2,113 yards.
“We’re the best team in the valley,” Crutchfield said. Come again? I stopped him right there just to make sure I heard correctly. You mean the Montview right, or were you talking about the Mid-Valley Division? “I’m telling you we’re the best team in the San Gabriel Valley,” said the serious-toned coach. I had to ask again … Over South Hills, Los Altos, Glendora, Charter Oak, Amat and all those teams? “That’s what I’m saying,” Crutchfield said. “You’ll see. Just keep on doubting us.” I love his passion for his team, but this is what happens when you try ranking teams from different divisions, it doesn’t work. Say Duarte goes 14-0 and wins everything, does that mean they’re the best in the Valley? Amat could go 6-4 and miss the playoffs and I’d still rank them ahead of Duarte. Why, it comes down to quality victories, which means more than an overall record, especially when the toughest team the Falcons have on their schedule is probably Monrovia. I also look at shocking losses, then factor in the records considering the strength of schedule to come up with the best top ten possible. So where does that leave Duarte in the pre-season top ten? You’ll have to wait until Thursday, Aug. 30, when the previews come out.

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At Glendora, it’s all about defense

I thought South Hills and Charter Oak had size, but Glendora blew me away. I know they play at Citrus, but I thought I was watching Citrus. They’re big alright. And if this defense is everything it’s advertised to be with returning linebackers like Mikey Niles, Robert Horn, Chris Kovar and Chad Young, they should be right there competing for the Sierra League title. And stop talking about the injuries, there’s nothing serious to report, just a few guys sitting out practices for cautionary reasons. They had a quite a few injuries last year, and don’t want to go down that road again. The question obviously, is can they move the ball? Is there enough offense to complement this defense? Is junior quarterback Drew Kaluzny, who I’ve heard nothing but great things about, ready for prime time? And how tough will it be replacing running back Jordan Edmund, who rushed for 1,520 yards and 13 touchdowns.
In any case, listen to coach Mark Pasquarella and offensive lineman Jared McGarry talk about the upcoming season.

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McCutcheon talks …

Daylon McCutcheon talked with our Steve Ramirez about the state of Bishop Amat football, and why he’s back after retiring from the Cleveland Browns.
“I’m excited to help these guys out,” McCutcheon said. “I’m just tired of hearing about the good ol’ days, the good ol’ days. I feel I was part of the best teams (in Amat’s history). I want these kids to experience what I experienced when I played here.”
Bishop Amat, which went 39-2 with one CIF-Southern Section title in McCutcheon’s three seasons as a starter, has failed to qualify for the postseason the past two seasons.
“I stayed pretty connected to the school,” said McCutcheon, who is coaching the defensive line and secondary. “I came out in the spring and talked to (Amat coach Mark Verti) and the team, and hung out and kind of watched from afar. I decided I was going to retire in early July, and they heard I was (leaning that way), so they asked me to help out. I was excited about it.
“I always wanted to stay around the game. I always felt I would like to coach at the high school level, but the main thing is that I just have so much pride (about) the tradition here. It’s one of the things that got me (to go to high school) here. When I came here, the talk was about Eric Bienemy, about Scott Fields. … I wanted to be part of something special. I think with these kids, it’s the same way.
“Everyone says we’re going through a down time, that we’re not the same Amat, we’re not winning. I want to help these kids get back to becoming one of the dominant teams in CIF, in Division I and especially in the Valley.”
On being a coach …
“I feel very comfortable (teaching) and I feel I can relate to the kids and (teach) what I’ve learned to them and tell them how to execute it on the football field. It’s a learning process for me, too. This is my first year coaching, so there are things I have to learn also, but I feel I’m able to get my point across and they are getting better.
“But it’s hard. It’s so close to the beginning of the season, I don’t want to come in and change everything. But I do have a lot of wisdom when it comes to football and I think I can help them out.”
McCutcheon on players’ reaction to him.
“A lot of these kids look at guys, whether it be a singer or an athlete, as distan. “I want them to say, `Hey, I can get this done. This is someone from my school, my community who was able to succeed and came from the same place I’m from.’ ”

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South Hills hosting Sherman Oaks Notre Dame? Sort of.

It’s just a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 31, at Covina District Field (7 p.m.), but a can’t-miss scrimmage for Huskies fans eager to know what to expect in 2007. There are ten “Week Zero” games across the valley that evening, but something tells me there will be a fairly big crowd at the District Field. Notre Dame is obviously too big and powerful, but can the Huskies hold their own?

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Charter Oak with lofty expectations

It’s always interesting when you ask coaches where they would rank themselves if they had to put together the Tribune’s top ten. Both Lou and Dominic Farrar think four or five is a fair fit, and both feel Damien and Glendora should be ranked ahead of them. They know the expectations are high after winning the Miramonte and advancing to the Southwest title game. But as the father-son team explained, they still couldn’t get past Glendora (14-7) and Damien (25-9) during the regular season. I don’t know if I buy that argument. There isn’t a team with more impact-type players returning than Charter Oak. There isn’t a team with the championship experience this one has. And they have the coaching staff, which is one of the best in the SGV.
Now, if you’re asking which is the tougher league, the Sierra or Miramonte, that’s an argument for a different thread.
Anyway, listen to Big Lou and junior quarterback Chris Allen talk about the upcoming season.

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Best fans, best rivalries? Tell us where we need to be on Big Friday…

One of the often asked questions is how we select Friday Night games of the week, or how we decide which games deserve more coverage than others.
Believe it or not it’s not based on kick-backs, playing favorites or having a better relationship with one coach more than another. It comes down to you, the football fan, and where you’re headed each weekend. The games that we feel generate the most interest in the San Gabriel Valley and our readership usually get top billing. They’re the games you blog about on Friday night, and read on Saturday morning. Obviously, teams with storied traditions, big fan followings and can’t-miss rivalries are at the top of the list. But we’re flexible. We also jump on the bandwagon of the “Who’s Now” – which are the surprise teams that nobody expected to do well, but have captured the imagination of their school and alumni, and who deserve to be covered.
So, where will that take us in 2007? I bet you already know, but I’d still like to hear about it.
BTW: Are there any rivalries better than these?
Charter Oak – Los Altos
South Hills – West Covina
Covina – Northview
Damien – Glendora
Arroyo- Rosemead
San Dimas – Bonita

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A sad day at Beckman High and for former Wilson high coach, and Temple City graduate Brian Mustain

The biggest fear for all high school football coaches, parents and players during the grueling two-a-days is heat exhaustion, especially with temperatures exceeding the 100′s this past week in the San Gabriel Valley. As a sportswriter, it’s the story you never want to report on, the death of a young athlete.
On Friday, Kenny Wilson, a 16-year-old strong guard at Beckman High School in Irvine collapsed and died following football practice. The paramedics came and attempted to rush Wilson to the hospital, but he died on his way there. Capt. Stephen Miller of the Orange County Fire Authority said Wilsons death appeared to be heat related, but an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Miller’s coach, Brian Mustain, is well known to this area. He played high school football at Temple City and later coached at Wilson High School. To to the Wilson family and Mustain, our deepest condolences from the San Gabriel Valley.
Orange County Register story

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