The best damn high school football movies, period.

Brought to you by Steve Ramirez
High school football is more than a game, but in someways a fabric of American life. A point that the Hollywood movie industry has discovered over the years, which brings up an interesting point: Which is the best movie about high school football?
Now this type of debate could be heated as much as who is the top team in the Valley this fall. But from my perspective, here are the top five that I have saved permanently on my Blockbuster Online account:

1. All the Right Moves
The Take: This is top dog, the Picasso of the genre. It stars a very young Tom Cruise and we get a side of Craig T. Nelson that we never saw in “Coach.” This tale of the Ampipe football team hits a home run in epitomizing the passion that a community has for its high school football team. The action scenes are also believable, except maybe Coach Nickerson’s decision not to take a safety in the waning moments, which result in a heart-breaking loss to a rival school.
Best Line: ” A fluke? That pass-interference penalty was no fluke. If you had done it the way I taught you, they never would’ve been down there in the first place, and they never would’ve scored, and we would’ve won that game!” Craig T. Nelson as Coach Nickerson scolding Tom Cruise’s Stef Djordjevic

2. Remember the Titans
The Take: This is the true tale of the 1971 T.C. Williams High (Va.) football team and how its ability to put race aside bring a town together. Denzel Washington and William Patton are certainly believeable as head coach Herman Boone and defensive coordinator Bill Yost. I like everything from the training camp scenes to the on-the-field action. The end is somewhat of a cliche, though. I just find it hard to believe in a championship game that a defense would let one team score on a 70-yard run as time expired.
Best Line: “If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men. ” – Denzel Washington as coach Herman Boone giving a motivational speech to his team.

3. Friday Night Lights
The Take: Another true tale, this time from Odessa, Texas. The story is very believable and inspirational. The final play is awesome, because its true to life. Plus, the hidden message – that its not about the final answer but the journey; that being perfect is not about going 14-0, but giving your all.
Best Line: “Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didnt let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasnt one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentleman – you’re perfect!”
Billy Bob Thornton as coach Gary Gaines giving an emotional halftime speech during the Texas State championship game.

4. School Ties
The Take: High School football is nearly a back drop to a film about a jewish quarterback, played by Brendan Fraser, who has to deal with the racism of playing at parochial school in the 1950s. We also learn that recruiting players from other schools wasn’t a concept born in the 1990s.
Best Line: “Was it worth it? Breaking a tradition just to win a football game? – Peter Donat’s Headmaster Bartram talking to Fraser’s David Greene.

5. Best of Times
The Take: This is one of my personal favorites on the list and the only comedy. It’s the tale of Jack Dundee, a banker, who can’t forget dropping the winning TD pass some 13 years before and preventing Taft from upsetting rival Bakersfield. It’s more about adults trying to recapture their past glory, but high school football is the on-going theme. And it hits home to anyone who has failed in sports and would love to make up for it.
Best Line: “I’m not a has-been. I’m a never-was. I aspire to be a has-been. – Robin Williams as Jack Dundee, wanting desperately to make up for his blunder years before

Varsity Blues – A fictional tale about playing football in Texas. Jon Voigt is good as the coach you love to hate. But this is a cheap version of “Friday Night Lights.”
Fast Times at Ridgemont High – A 1970s cult classic that only misses the list because its more about high school life than football, but the football scenes and references are classic.
Gridiron Gang – A pretty good take on the beginnings of the Camp Kilpatrick football program.

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Week Two: Sound off with Robledo, Ramirez and Miller

Time Warner’s Reginald Miller, Tribune prep writer Steve Ramirez and
prep editor Fred J. Robledo discuss five of this week’s top games. By the way, Miller does a great job following our local teams and beyond on his popular site “A Local Sports Show” … go check it out.

Glendora vs. Etiwanda at Colony HS, Thursday, 7 p.m.

South Hills at La Habra, Friday, 7 p.m.

La Mirada at Charter Oak, Friday, 7 p.m.

West Covina at Baldwin Park, Friday, 7 p.m.

Claremont at Damien, Friday, 7 p.m.

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Los Altos back on top

Tribune top ten rankings
1. Los Altos (1-0)
2. Glendora (1-0)
3. Diamond Ranch (1-1)
4. South Hills (0-1)
5. Charter Oak (0-1)
6. Bishop Amat (0-2)
7. Damien (1-1)
8. Northview (1-0)
9. Arroyo (1-0)
10. San Dimas (2-0)

Northview quarterback Oscar Robles

Mid Valley Division
1. Bishop Diego; 2. Santa Clara; 3. Cantwell Sacred Heart; 4. Duarte; 5. Los Angeles Baptist; 6. Cerritos Valley Chr.; 7T. Villiage Christian, 7T. Temple City, 9. Paraclete; 10. Verbum Dei.
Southeast Division
1. Troy; 2. Schurr; 3. La Serna; 4. California; 5. La Habra; 6. Westminster; 7. Santa Fe; 8. Arroyo; 9. Alhambra; 10. Fullerton.
Southwest Division
1. El Dorado, 2. Los Altos; 3. Mayfair; 4. Foothill; 5. Trabuco Hills; 6. Anaheim Canyon; 7. Charter Oak, 8. Diamond Ranch, 9. El Toro, 10. West Covina.
Northwest Division
1. Oaks Christian; 2. Oak Park; 3. Harvard-Westlake; 4. Morro Bay; 5. South Torrance; 6. Templeton; 7. Serra; 8. Pioneer Valley; 9. San Dimas, 10. Cathedral.
For the rest of the polls, click thread

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Tribskin Pick’em, your predictions and ours

Steve Ramirez and Fred J. Robledo going head-to-head throughout the season.

Robledo: Last week (18-6); Season (30-7)
Ramirez: Last week (17-7); Season (26-11)
Notes: What a tough week to pick football games. Ramirez and I both missed Duarte beating Monrovia, St. John Bosco knocking off Damien, and Trabuco Hills over South Hills. I called the Upland over Charter Oak and Ramirez called West Valley over Bonita, but where I edged him out for the week was picking El Monte over Sierra Vista.

Thursday’s games
Northview vs. Walnut at Covina District Stadium, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Northview), Ramirez (Northview)
Glendora vs. Etiwanda at Colony HS, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Etiwanda), Ramirez (Glendora)

Friday’s games
South Hills at La Habra, 7 p.m. – Robledo (La Habra) , Ramirez (La Habra)
La Mirada at Charter Oak, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Charter Oak), Ramirez (Charter Oak)
West Covina at Baldwin Park, 7 p.m. – Robledo (West Covina), Ramirez (West Covina)
Claremont at Damien, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Damien), Ramirez (Damien)
Ontario Christian vs. Covina at Covina District Stadium, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Covina), Ramirez (Ont Christian)
Long Beach Wilson at Los Altos, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (Los Altos), Ramirez (Los Altos)
Canyon at Bonita, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Canyon), Ramirez (Canyon)
Bishop Amat vs. Hart at Canyon, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (Hart), Ramirez (Hart)
El Segundo at Duarte, 7 p.m. – Robledo (El Segundo), Ramirez (Duarte)
Glenn at Wilson, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Wilson), Ramirez (Wilson)
San Dimas at Montclair, 7 p.m. – Robledo (San Dimas), Ramirez (San Dimas)
Montebello at Rowland, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Rowland), Ramirez (Rowland)
California at El Monte 7 p.m. – Robledo (California), Ramirez (California)
Jordan at Diamond Bar p.m. – Robledo (Diamond Bar), Ramirez (Diamond Bar)
Azusa at Mountain View, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Azusa), Ramirez (Azusa)
South El Monte at Pioneer 7 p.m. – Robledo (Pioneer), Ramirez (South El Monte)
Ontario at Nogales, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Ontario), Ramirez (Ontario)
Warren at Arroyo, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Arroyo), Ramirez (Arroyo)
Bosco Tech vs. Workman at St. Matthias HS, 7 p.m. – Robledo (BTech), Ramriez (BTech)
Cantwell-Sacred Heart at Bassett, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Cantwell), Ramirez (Cantwell)
Garey at Gladstone at Citrus College, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Gladstone), Ramirez (Gladstone)

Saturday’s game
El Cajon Christian vs. Diamond Ranch at Ganesha, 7 p.m. – Robledo (DRanch), Ramirez (DRanch)
Bloomington Christian vs. Western Christian at Citrus College, 7 p.m. – Robledo (BloomChristian), Ramirez (West Christian)

Final thoughts: If I’m right, South Hills is 0-2 after what will probably be another close loss at La Habra. This is what happens when you play a tough schedule. Nothing wrong with it, Huskies will bounce back and still win the San Antonio, but from a SGV swagger standpoint, losing your two opening games hurts. Also expect Damien to bounce back big as well as Charter Oak. They won’t be losing this week. Also think West Covina will throw the Mater Dei video tape in the trash and handle Baldwin Park. Also hoping Diamond Ranch doesn’t stumble on Saturday against El Cajon Christian after last week’s big win. In fact, that game is at Ganesha, so hopefully SGV fans will turn out to see for themselves how good this team really is. Oh yeah, picking against Duarte again this week. I’m 0-2 picking the Falcons, so that has to change.

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POSTGAME: Saturday Morning Quarterback

Above: Baldwin Park’s William Castro breaking a tackle in Thursday’s win.
Thursday’s results
Northview 40, Montebello 14 …..Heard it was the Vikings’ defense, not its offense, that was impressive
Baldwin Park 12, Azusa 6, OT …..Only surprise is how close it was.
Nogales 13, Garey 10 …. Nobles offense needs to do better than this

Above: Glendora offensive lineman Addison Bachman shows his loyalty.

Friday’s results
Glendora 51, Covina 6 …. Are the Tartans for real or what?
Los Altos 35, Rosemead 0 …. Conqs defense as good as advertised
Duarte 42, Monrovia 21 …. Give Falcons their due, maybe Ayala was that good
Trabuco Hills 13, South Hills 6 … Tribune’s top team go down at home
Mater Dei 58, West Covina 6 … What else did you expect
Upland 14, Charter Oak 0 … All those weapons and they get blanked
San Dimas 21, South El Monte 14 … S El Monte had chances, but Saints too tough
Orange Lutheran 38, Bishop Amat 7 …. Here we go again
West Valley 33, Bonita 21 ….Long way home from Hemet
Diamond Bar 31, Walnut 6 ….Bounced back after opening loss
Arroyo 38, Temple City 35 ….QB Partida is the real deal
California 19, Rowland 6 …. Raiders youth apparent after loss
Diamond Ranch 42, Chino Hills 28 …. Not a misprint, the Ranch is for real
El Monte 32, Sierra Vista 24 …. Lions might be a factor in MVL
Gladstone 41, Ganesha 0 …. Must feel good after blowout loss to San Dimas
St. John Bosco 24, Damien 13 …. Totally unexpected, can someone explain?
Workman 20, Keppel 18 …. Lobos sneak past Aztecs
Wilson 40, La Puente 21 ….. Wildcats inching closer to top ten ranking
Bell-Jeff 41, Mountain View 16 ….Long season lies ahead
Norwalk 57, Bassett 12 …… Ditto to that

Hmmmm: Five of Tribune’s top ten teams go down. Who should be No. 1 on Tuesday?

Surprises: Diamond Ranch handling Chino Hills. Roddy Layton wasn’t kidding. Off this performance and a close loss against Edison, DRanch has to be considered the early Miramonte League favorites. And what happened to Damien. Didn’t see them losing to St. John Bosco at all. And of course there’s Duarte, the valley’s most unpredictable team, and it’s only week one. The Falcons bounce back and beat Monrovia after getting humbled a week earlier. Question, is Ayala that good, Monrovia overrated, or are the Falcons a legitimate top ten Tribune team?

Disappointments: South Hills going down at home in a year with so much expectation and hype is a big letdown. And though I picked Upland to beat Charter Oak, I thought the Chargers would do more offensively.

Friday’s video game of the week, Temple City at Arroyo

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Ranking the SGV and parts of Inland Empire …. Is this list accurate?

At the Star-News, I encouraged bloggers to email me at if they had a blog topic they wanted discussed. I’m the moderator but all of you make this work, so I’m always interested in entertaining questions and ideas.
This morning I got an email from Don, a regular blog contributor, who suggested we discuss this…
Going into Week 1 with many teams yet to play their opening game, I used the current CalPrep Ratings for each team and then averaged them per team. Leagues that play easy schedules suffer here. The guys who lose while playing easy schedules do the worst.
League rankings
Baseline ……….. 120.9/6 = 20.15
Miramonte …….. 89.3/5 = 17.86
Sierra …………… 91.7/6 = 15.28
Mt. Baldy ………. 27.05/6 = 4.51
San Antonio ….. 2.2/5 = .44
Almont …………. -28.9/6 = -4.166
Pacific ………….. -38.6/8 = -4.825
Valle Vista …….. -31.1/6 = -5.18
Rio Hondo ……… -34.3/6 = -5.72
Mission Valley .. -56.9/6 = -9.48
Montview ……… -146.4/7 = -20.91

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Is Horton’s move good or bad for the SGV?

Unless you were out of town over the Labor Day weekend, like me, you probably heard that Cal State Fullerton baseball coach George Horton has decided to leave Southern California and become the new coach at Oregon, which is reviving its baseball program, beginning in 2009.
Now the comings and goings of an out-of-area college coach usually isn’t expected to get much play on a blog that covers SGV prep sports. But in recent years, Cal State Fullerton was practically Cal State SGV. Several of the Titans top players in recent years came from SGV high schools, including former Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year Wes Roemer (Glendora) and all-conference players Sergio Pedroza (Northview), Brett Pill (Covina), Danny Dorn (Diamond Bar) and Richie Burgos (Bishop Amat). Horton played a big part in that. When Augie Garrido was at the helm, Fullerton rarely recruited outside the OC borders. But Horton changed that. He recognized the SGV for what it is – a baseball hotbed. The results speak for themselves. With some SGV flavor, Fullerton became an elite program, making six College World Series appearances and winning one national title during his 10-year reign. But even better, the Titans were clearly the SGV Titans.
The question now is what effect will his departure mean to SGV baseball? Will they still be the SGV Titans or will SGV’s best follow him to the Pacific Northwest? Or worse, will they be spread throughout the land, losing that name recognition of showing the nation at the CWS how good the baseball in the SGV really is.
The anwer, probably, will not come soon enough.

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Or, just tell us what you really think?

Tribune Top Ten
1. South Hills (0-0)
2. Charter Oak (0-0)
3. Los Altos (0-0)
4. Glendora (0-0)
5. Damien (1-0)
6. Bishop Amat (0-1)
7. Diamond Ranch (0-1)
8. Bonita (1-0)
9. Northview (0-0)
10. Arroyo (0-0)
Bonita climbed into the top ten after beating Covina 43-14. There was no reason to drop Amat or DRanch after losses to Los Osos and Edison, respectively. Obviously, Duarte drops out following their 35-7 loss to Ayala.

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Week One: Sound Off with Robledo, Ramirez and Miller

Time Warner’s Reginald Miller, Tribune prep writer Steve Ramirez and
prep editor Fred J. Robledo discuss four of this week’s top games. By the way, Miller does a great job following our local teams and beyond on his popular site “A Local Sports Show” … go check it out.

West Covina vs. Mater Dei

Monrovia at Duarte

Covina vs. Glendora at Citrus

Rosemead at Los Altos

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Just in: Tamayo will start for Los Altos on Friday

Los Altos coach Greg Gano has named senior Junior Tamayo the starting quarterback for Friday’s season opener against Rosemead. Tamayo, and fellow senior Blake Tillis, both transferred to Los Altos from Bishop Amat and have been battling it out for the starting spot. The Conquerors scrimmaged Upland over the weekend, with Upland scoring four times to the Conquerors’ three scores. The Conqs had a hard time dealing with Upland’s spread offense, lots of big passes given up in the secondary. On the plus side, running back Bryce Mahmud-McBride had a big game in the scrimmage, and should be busy on Friday while their passing attack works out the kinks. Gano said Mahmud-McBride is probably the best back since Randall Brown in 2003.
Also, West Covina vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Bowl on Friday will be broadcast live on

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Tribskin Pick’em, your predictions and ours

Steve Ramirez and Fred J. Robledo going head-to-head throughout the season.

Robledo (12-1)
Ramirez (9-4)
Note: Those doggone Duarte Falcons kept me from having a perfect record in week one. No way I’m picking Duarte this week against Monrovia. Ramirez missed that one too, but he also picked Bishop Amat to beat Los Osos, Walnut to beat San Gabriel, and Sierra Vista to beat Glenn, so he has some catching up to do. We differ on three games this week, Charter Oak-Upland, Bonita-West Valley and El-Monte Sierra Vista. Hoping to go at least 20-4, but it’s tough, lot of tight games to predict.

Thursday, September 6th
Northview vs. Montebello at Schurr, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Northview), Ramirez (Northview)
Baldwin Park vs. Azusa at Citrus College, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Baldwin Park), Ramirez (Baldwin Park)
Garey vs. Nogales at Ganesha, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Nogales), Ramirez (Nogales)

Friday, September 7th
Covina vs. Glendora at Citrus College, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Glendora), Ramirez (Glendora)
Rosemead at Los Altos, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (Los Altos), Ramirez (Los Altos)
Monrovia at Duarte, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Monrovia), Ramirez (Monrovia
Trabuco Hills vs. South Hills at Covina District Field – Robledo (South Hills), Ramirez (South Hills)
Mater Dei vs. West Covina at Santa Ana Stadium, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (Mater Dei), Ramirez (Mater Dei)
Charter Oak at Upland, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Upland), Ramirez (Charter Oak)
South El Monte at San Dimas, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (San Dimas), Ramirez (San Dimas)
Orange Lutheran at Bishop Amat, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (Orange Lutheran), Ramirez (Orange Lutheran)
Bonita at West Valley, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Bonita), Ramirez (West Valley)
Diamond Bar at Walnut, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Diamond Bar), Ramirez (Diamond Bar)
Temple City at Arroyo, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Arroyo), Ramirez (Arroyo)
Rowland at California, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (California), Ramirez (California)
Diamond Ranch at Chino Hills, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Chino Hills), Ramirez (Chino Hills)
El Monte at Sierra Vista, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (El Monte), Ramirez (Sierra Vista)
Gladstone at Ganesha, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Gladstone), Ramirez (Gladstone)
Damien at St. John Bosco, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (Damien), Ramirez (Damien)
Workman at Keppel, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Workman), Ramirez (Workman)
Norwalk at Bassett, 7:00 p.m. – Robledo (Norwalk), Ramirez (Norwalk)
Wilson at La Puente, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Wilson), Ramirez (Wilson)
Bell-Jeff at Mountain View, 7 p.m. Robledo (Bell-Jeff), Ramirez (Bell-Jeff)

Saturday, September 8th
Western Christian vs. Calvary Chapel at Clark Field, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Western Christian), Ramirez (Western Christian)

Final thoughts … I went with South Hills over Trabuco Hills, but that’s a tough opener for the Huskies. We’ll find out right away if they deserve the Trib’s No. 1 spot …. Also curious to know how Diamond Ranch will do against Chino Hills after giving Edison a great game. Scott French, a very talented writer and good friend, lives in the O.C. and covered the DRanch game and was very surprised they competed as well as they did Charter Oak at Upland, hmmmm, my heart says Oak, but Upland’s awfully good. Again, like South Hills, this is a great opening test for the Chargers If West Covina upsets Mater Dei, is that bigger than Appalachian State beating Michigan? They’re 42-point underdogs on Calpreps And how will Bishop Amat respond after its heartbreaking loss to Los Osos. Calpreps predicts Orange Lutheran, 35-21. I think it will be closer than that, and if it is, the Lancers need to find a way to close out fourth quarters. They do not want to start 0-2 with road games at Hart and Rancho Cucamonga next.

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