When I first approached Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty Tuesday night, his first words were, “This is for you,” in regards to the exhibition passing league round-robin with Bishop Amat, Charter Oak, South Hills and host Upland. Obviously Hags is reading the blogs and knows how much we want to see these schools play each other in real fall football games, but this will do for now. South Hills coach Steve Bogan echoed the same. “We know this is great for sportswriters and players, and that’s fine, it’s a great night and people are enjoying it. The way I look at it, you’re going to get better if you play Bishop Amat, Upland and Charter Oak. It can only make you a better team, it can’t hurt you.”
Above: Who will replace Chris Allen?
…There was no need to keep scores since teams weren’t exactly conforming to normal passing league rules, but Charter Oak appeared to have the most impact players and outscored each team it faced. Receivers AJ Powell and Denis Rufus were everywhere on both sides of the ball, but the quarterback competition is what it’s all about so lets start there. I’m no Guru, but based on one night, I really liked sophomore Travis Santiago with junior Josiah Thropay a close second. Then I took a look at senior Kyle Brown and left thinking he could start on a lot of teams too. Thropay started at Monrovia, but left during his freshman year for Bishop Amat, where he worked out last spring and summer before transferring to Charter Oak his sophomore year. “It gave (Thropay) a year to watch Chris, learn our offense and see what it’s all about,” Chargers coach Lou Farrar said. “He’s very talented, he just needs game experience. (Travis) will only be a sophomore and has the longest time with us. I’m sure he will inherit the job by the time he’s a senior but he will have the chance to earn it now. We had an older starting quarterback in Drew Carreon a few years back and replaced him with Chris Allen when was just a sophomore. Chris went 33-2 as a starter, so we won’t hesitate to make the moves that are necessary to win. Fortunately, we have a healthy dose of running backs in our backfield, so that will help us ease our quarterbacks along.”
Above: Jerry McClanahan.
Hagerty will have a tough decision to make. Jerry McClanahan is the returning senior starter but I came away believing that sophomore Rio Ruiz has the most potential. It may very well come down to how much Ruiz can grasp in a short time, and how he reacts to a real live situation under the lights in September.
Hagerty on McClanahan – “I know there are a lot people in the San Gabriel Valley don’t think much of him, but I would take him over a lot of people. He does all the little things well, and he’s such a competitor. He has savvy and he makes stuff happen. There are a lot of quarterbacks who can throw, but they don’t bring all the intangibles he does. That separates him from a lot of guys.”
Hagerty on Ruiz – “He’s a good football player who happens to play quarterback. He has a confidence about him, he’s athletically gifted, smart and knows the game. He does a lot of things naturally that a lot of kids struggle to do naturally. We’re in no hurry to make a decision, things will eventually evolve like they did last year and we will do what is best for our program. But regardless of what happens, they will both be on the field somewhere.”
Above: Shown here as a sophomore, Shirley will not play for South Hills his senior year.
South Hills will not have Jacob Shirley in the fall. The onetime West Covina QB has decided to concentrate solely on baseball. The Huskies also once had Chris Wilson, who left for St. Paul, and Santiago, who left for Charter Oak. But Bogan isn’t panicking, explaining that either sophomore Vincent Hernandez or junior Brock Booth will be more than capable. Both looked solid and shaky at times. After their first reps I liked Hernandez, then changed my mind to Booth later in the night. By the time I left, neither stood out over the other
Bogan on both QBs: “It’s been fun watching them grow and develop,” Bogan said. “You just have to let them compete the rest of the summer. You know what competition does in business, it does the same thing in athletics.”
Quote of the night comes from Farrar in regards to how passing leagues help prepare for the fall. “Playing in your underwear doesn’t prove anything,” he said. “You have teams practicing summer stuff that they don’t do in the fall. You also always worry about kids getting hurt when they play as fast and as competitive as they do. It’s barely July, you have to be careful.” There was some truth to that, South Hills sophomore Jamie Canada tweaked his knee and needed a trainer. He was done the rest of the night.