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
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.
LA VERNE – Peeking over his linemen at the defensive formations, Damien High school quarterback Danny Pertusati licked his fingers, took the snap, dropped back and delivered a perfect strike on cue.
Then he did it again and again. To continue reading, click thread
These are the games we have to choose from … How do you pick a game of the week from this lineup?
St. Paul at Bishop Amat
Diamond Ranch at Bonita
Charter Oak at Wilson
Northview vs. Covina at District Field
Glendora vs. Damien at Citrus
South Hills at Los Altos
West Covina at Rowland
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.
RECEIVERS 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.
RUNNING BACKS 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.
QUARTERBACKS 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
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.
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.
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.’ ”
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?
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.
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
San Dimas – Bonita
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 http://www.ocregister.com/sports/irvine-today-high-1813188-tustin-student
Showed up bright and early for Huskies practice on Friday, and there was media man/coach/drill instructor James Escarcega rounding up the troops and firing off a pre-practice speech. I’ve known James for a while and he’s quite a character, and a great guy to get the players’ juices jangling that early in the morning. Meanwhile, the legend, coach Steve Bogan was off in a classroom, waiting for the right moment to make his entrance. When Bogan finally walked through the gates I grabbed him for a conversation, figuring Escarcega was enjoying his quality time with the guys. Not two minutes into our chat there’s military-man Escarcega, colorfully chiding Bogan to leave the media alone, and screaming at me to go back to the Star-News. What an introduction to Huskies football. But Bogan, he’s all class and understands the huge expectations Huskies fans have, especially after the arrival of wide receiver Dorian Wells, who transferred from
Bishop Amat. Bogan marvels at Wells’ big-play ability, but cautions that some of the expectations are over-blown, emphasizing that they have plenty to prove after a 6-6 season in 2006. But clearly, this is a talented cast that already includes Kebin Umodu, a first-team All-CIF Southwest Division first-team defensive end, along with Damon Kuklinski and Evan Heard – both returning second-team All-San Antonio league running backs. There’s quarterback Brandon Parham and linebackers like Chris Bowden, Wayne Goss and others. I don’t know if they’re clearly the area’s top team, but there’s no doubt they’re among the top two or three. South Hills opens the season on Sept. 7 against Trabuco Hills at Covina District Field.
Don’t care which schools you think recruit or not, I want to know who you think is the best X’s and O’s guy. The best motivator. The one you want in crunch time when championships are on the line. The one who gets the most out of his talent. The East San Gabriel Valley is filled with a deep talent pool of coaches, so without trying to list them in any particular order, these are who I’d consider the Tribune’s Top Ten with all the aforementioned considered.
Steve Bogan (South Hills) – Always in the hunt, and he’s from Edgewood. How can you go wrong? Darryl Thomas (Covina) – Three CIF semifinal appearances since 2000. Greg Gano (Los Altos) – Followed DeSpain and created own legendary status. Lou Farrar (Charter Oak) – He’s “Old School” and “Old School” works. Mike Maggiore (West Covina) – Giving it up to another Edgewood alum who also owns a CIF title. Eric Podley (Bonita) – Nobody underestimates his coaching ability. Mark Pasquarella (Glendora) – Look where Glendora was before his arrival. Terry Roche (Chino Hills) – Worked magic at Diamond Bar, doing same with Huskies. Mark Verti (Bishop Amat) – Toughest job in SGV. Jim Singiser (Arroyo) – Won or shared four of last five Mission Valley League titles.
Peaked in and listened to new assistant coach and former Cleveland Browns and USC star Daylon McCutcheon talk to a group of players during Wednesday’s practice at Bishop Amat. He was asking how many all-state and all-cif players were standing in front of him. I don’t recall seeing a hand raised, but he went on to talk about how important the traditions were at Amat, and what it represented to wear that jersey.
There is no doubt this is going to be one of the most challenging years in school history for the boys in blue. There are several reasons why so many players have left in the last year – some for disciplinary reasons – some on their own terms, and that’s where I should and will leave it for now.
But the list is long, gone are Tony Adams (Diamond Ranch), Dorian Wells (South Hills), Brandon Sermons (DRanch), Blake Tillis (Los Altos), Bradford Ray (South Hills), Junior Tamayo (Los Altos), Kevin Bonilla (Chino Hills), Bryce McBride (Los Altos), Adam Acosta (Montebello), and Ryan Henson (Mater Dei?). And by the way, former Amat standout Rodney Sermons is also at Diamond Ranch as one of coach Roddy Layton’s assistants.
But as coach Mark Verti reminded me, there is a lot in reserve when you talk about Marcus Wagner taking over in the backfield with either Nick Lenhart or Nick Iglesias starting at quarterback. Brent Seals is back at safety and big Steven Ochoa (tackle) and James Stremple (OL) are back on the lines.
But how will the losses of so many impact players affect them? And how good would they have been if everyone stayed? We’ll never know the answers to those questions. The Lancers open with Los Osos and Orange Lutheran at home followed by road games at Hart and Rancho Cucamonga. If the Lancers don’t win one or both of those first two games, you’re looking at another long and difficult road just to stay .500.
With the schedule Amat plays, it’s so difficult to compare them with anyone else in the San Gabriel Valley. I’ve always felt you could only compare Amat with Amat’s past glory, and while that might not seem fair, that’s how it is at any school with a great tradition.
There’s only one way back in my opinion. Now that the gap between Amat and the rest of the SGV has obviously closed, Amat needs to challenge and send out invitations to schedule Los Altos, Charter Oak, South Hills and other great local teams on a regular basis. And why not. The first step Amat needs to take to take to attract the SGV’s best players and restore its credibility locally is to schedule the area’s best teams, especially those where players are leaving to. Imagine the interest is would generate. In the 1980s and early 90s this wouldn’t have worked because other SGV schools didn’t have a chance, and Amat didn’t need to because it had all the area’s best players. But that’s not reality anymore. It’s great to play the Orange Lutheran’s and the Hart’s, but I don’t thinking scheduling Charter Oak or South Hills is going to hurt the Lancers’ chances of preparing for the Serra League. Do you? Amat is at a crossroads where it needs to re-establish itself locally, or players are going to keep filtering out to other schools already building on their own winning traditions. What do you think, could this ever happen, and should it? And would these schools agree to face each other. I don’t see why not, or how it couldn’t benefit all involved.
Click link for video interview with Gladstone coach Albert Sanchez and Richard Gurrola http://lang.sgvtribune.com/multimedia/asps/081407_GLADSTONE.asp
6:30! That’s what time Gladstone opened practice Monday morning in preparation for its season opener against San Dimas on Thursday, Oct. 30, which is one of two area games on Thursday along with Ontario at La Puente. My alarm doesn’t function until 7, so I met coach Albert Sanchez around 8, and he talked about how disappointing 2006 was for his Gladiators. After two consecutive undefeated Montview League seasons in 2004 and 05, the Gladiators finished 4-6 and 2-4 in league to finish fifth, missing the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. The Gladiators open with defending champion Duarte (Sept. 21) followed by Azusa (Sept. 28), so he knows they’ve got a lot of work in a short time.
“We have more returners as opposed to last year,” Sanchez said. “We feel like we’ve got one of the best playerrs in the area in Richard Gurrola. He’s going to do everything for us, run, catch, maybe line up at quarterback and play defense too. I’m not saying the competition (in the Montview League) is weak, but if we can get by Duarte and Azusa, I like our chances of winning league.”
Also talked to Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar on Monday, and can tell right away I’m going to like working with him and his son Dominic, the offensive genius. Without spilling too much before the previews come out, the Chargers have nearly all of their offensive weapons back, along with all four starting corners. There will be some new faces on the offensive and defensive lines, but when we started talking about running backs, Big Lou started dropping names like Kaanan Snowden, Jonathan Clark and Johnny Crespo, saying they’re all high-powered interchangeable parts. It also looks like junior quarterback Chris Allen, who was 9-1 as a starter after taking over for Drew Carreon, will remain there. Carreon has turned into a big-time linebacker since, and is more than a capable back-up.
I’ve read about some of the Amat “impact” players leaving the program in recent months, so maybe the return of one its former greats, Daylon McCutcheon, will not only add a coach with big-time college and NFL experience, but also be a drawing card for soon-to-be Lancers, or those thinking of transferring to the Boys in Blue. McCutcheon graduated in 1995, and was one of my favorites along with Bienemy. After Edgewood folded, I spent the late 80s and 90s up the street watching not only these two tear it up, but many others. I read about his hiring on the blog here first, but confirmed it with coach Mark Verti this afternoon. After graduating in ’95, McCutcheon played at USC and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, where he played from 1999-2006 before injuring his right knee last September.
Verti’s reaction: “Daylon’s coming back to help out the D-Line, corners, and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience at every level. He’s a good Amat guy and a big help to our program. Our kids are only going to benefit from having him around.”
Here’s the deal, we’re always looking for correspondents to cover Friday night football games. And since all the experts reside here, I thought I’d start with you. We generally don’t ask that you write too much, and in some cases will just ask that you call in the box score with a recap of the game. You will receive a press pass to cover the games from the sidelines or in the press box, and be paid a small fee for your time. If you’re a journalism major or thinking about it, this is ideal. If you’re a football junkie who can spell, this will be great for you also. To be considered, please send an email with your contact information to set up an interview.
First off, thanks to all of you who have weighed in on the changes. I’m grateful to be back on this side of the valley, and am looking forward to introducing myself to all of the coaches, and of course, all our regular blog contributors. I’m an Edgewood High alum, so that should save me from being accused of favoring one team over another.
I’ll need you more than ever to get going. I’ve only got a couple of weeks to get the football section out, so anything you want to tell me about the top teams, top players, top match-ups, etc, etc, please feel free. Also, tell me about the topics you liked and disliked on Aram’s blog. On Saturday mornings, Aram ran his “Cry me a River” thread to discuss Friday night games. I ran the same thing in Pas called, “Saturday Morning Quarterback,” so nothing changes on that end. We’ll also have two-minute drills and Friday night game highlights, and there will be more video profile interviews than last year leading up to Friday night games.
It will take a few weeks to grasp who the top players and teams are, so I won’t discuss it in too much detail yet. I guess we can start with Aram’s May top top ten, and you can tell me how close he was.
1. South Hills
2. Charter Oak
3. Los Altos
4. Bishop Amat
10. Diamond Ranch
Although FOX is my future employer, no, I had nothing to do with this – West Covina vs. South Hills on November 2 will be the FOX Sports/Prime Ticket game of the week. How cool is that? The Valley gets a little love in the form of what could be the San Antonio League championship game. I think the game was originally scheduled for a Thursday, but the schools will move it to accommodate TV.