According to CIF, Charter Oak’s Travis Santiago not eligible until February of 2010

Charter Oak sophomore quarterback Travis Santiago is listed on CIF’s website as ineligible to play football until February of 2010. When Santiago left South Hills for Charter Oak in February of 2009, it was determined he had to sit out one calendar year of varsity sports, making him ineligible to play football this fall, according to CIF Director of Communications Thom Simmons. Charter Oak officials believe they have the necessary paperwork to deem Santiago eligible this season, but as of today, he is ineligible to play. We will continue to follow this closely until the season begins.

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The Scouting Guru gives you a little of everything with the 2009 football season a week away

The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent and teams in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas.

The Scouting Guru says: The fearless one has been busy calling all coaches in the area getting ready for the big football preview tab that will be out next week. So he gave a little nudge to yours truly to help him out this week. We couldn’t say no. As of this writing, every school in the area is in fall football camp. That means the agility ladders are out, conditioning in well underway and players are quickly reviewing their offensive and defensive playbooks for the start of the season. Our service has decided to change our attack this year in the area and will be concentrating on certain “under the radar” schools that have players that we are interested in for the class of 2010 or we will be cross-checking our 2011 lists that will be sent out to the colleges the first week in September. Here are some of the schools in the area that we will be visiting when the season starts next week. To continue reading, click thread

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The CalPreps polls are out, but the all-important CIF polls are the ones we have to keep tabs on

Above: Rosemead advanced to last year’s championship game despite getting snubbed by voters throughout the season.

The preseason CIF-SS rankings should come out soon, but the Calpreps rankings are already out. Calpreps ranks the top 30 in each division, and with the exception of the Pac-5 Poll, the rest of the polls appear to be based on what happened last year. Seriously, Diamond Ranch No. 2 in the Southeast? Rowland ahead of South Hills? The CalPreps rankings don’t matter as far as CIF seedings, but the CIF polls do. Each week I have a vote in the CIF polls and will share them with you throughout the season. This may help out of area prep reporters and others with votes get a better feel of our area so we don’t go through a situation like last year, where Rosemead wasn’t ranked throughout the year and didn’t get a seed, then went on to the Mid-Valley championship game. Remember how bad it was, the Valle Vista got two seeds and Azusa was No. 2! This forced Rosemead to play San Dimas in the second round, preventing the best four from reaching the final four, with Northview having to play Paraclete in the second as well. Lets help the pollsters get it right, and hope that some voters will set their obvious bias aside.

CalPreps Preseason football rankings
Pac-5 Division
1. Lakewood, 2. Notre Dame, 3. Servite, 4. Tesoro, 5. Edison, 6. Long Beach Poly, 7. Crespi, 8. Mission Viejo, 8. Mater Dei, 10. Orange Lutheran; Others: 18. Bishop Amat

Central Division
1. Rancho Cucamonga, 2. Chino Hills, 3. Colton, 4. Cajon, 5. Glendora, 6. Upland, 7. Etiwanda, 8. Los Osos, 9. Damien, 10. Ayala; Others: 20. Diamond Bar.

Southeast Division
1. Charter Oak, 2. Diamond Ranch, 3. Rowland, 4. South Hills, 5. Muir, 6. West Covina, 7. Burroughs, 8. Crescenta Valley, 9. Santa Fe, 10. California, Others: 13. Walnut, 14. Bonita, 22. Los Altos, 26. Nogales, 28. Wilson.

Mid-Valley Division
1. Paraclete, 2. Rosemead, 3. Monrovia, 4. Northview, 5. San Dimas, 6. Temple City, 7. San Marino, 8. Valley Christian, 9. LA Baptist, 10. Duarte; Others: 12. Azusa, 13. Arroyo, 14. Baldwin Park, 15. Pomona, 18. Covina, 19. South El Monte, 20. Workman, 21. El Monte, 24. Ganesha, 26. Gladstone, 27. Sierra Vista, 28. La Puente, 29. Mountain View, 30. Bassett.

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Tennessee high school football player dies during a game; CNN report on heat-related deaths

In Tennessee, the high school football season began on Friday night, and it was a sobering way to begin. The Daily Inquirer wrote: A high school football player in Tennessee died Friday night shortly after collapsing during a play against another school. Jake Logue, 18, of Sullivan South High School was pronounced dead around 10 p.m. at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

From CNN: Read Friday’s story on heat-related deaths as it pertains to high school football’s grueling summer workouts.

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Valle Vista League? Your guess is as good as mine

Above: Northview’s Kamaron Germany being pursued by Ganesha’s Justin Goytia

After speaking to every coach in the Valle Vista League the consensus is the same, that the VVL may have the most parity in years. Not Goliath parity, just parity. There is no clear-cut favorite. There are no great Mike McDonough led Colts teams of a few years ago (imagine if they had been in the Mid-Valley today). Even Northview and San Dimas, which had Mid-Valley championship aspirations last year and stumbled in the playoffs, are taking a huge step back. In fact, if a VVL team gets past the quarterfinals, it would be a huge, huge surprise. If I’m being honest, it’s a down year in the VVL. Here’s what I’m hearing: After years as a defensive coordinator at Pomona, Johnny Brown has taken over as the head coach for Don Cayer, who was let go just a couple months ago. Brown is raving about his backfield, and many feel Pomona is the big wild card…….. After breaking the school’s 49-game losing streak, Ganesha coach Dave Fleming said the next goal isn’t just to break their 28-game Valle Vista league streak that dates back to 2004, but to win at least a pair of games and reach the playoffs…….. Baldwin Park is the consensus favorite if you have to pick one. You won’t hear that from coach James Heggins, but they have a little of everything and return the most starters……. Defending champion Northview and runner-up San Dimas lost too much to simply pick up where they left off. But they realize the VVL is up for graps, and with the Vikings returning RB Kamaron Germany and the Saints still confusing everyone with the Wing T, don’t count them out. As for Covina, keep hope alive. They struggled last year and lost just as many players as San Dimas and Northview.

What the coaches are saying:
Covina coach Darryl Thomas.
“If our league ever had parity across the board, this could be the year. I don’t know what we’re (Valle Vista league teams) capable of doing once we reach the playoff stage, but the (race) for the league title and playoff spots looks like it’s going to be tight.”

Northview coach Jim Arellanes
“Our attitude is we’re the two-time defending champs. If you want it, you have to take it from us. We’re still the favorites and we’re going to compete our butts off to win it again.”

San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow
“The kids know what they’re doing. We don’t have as much speed (in the backfield), but from a physical standpoint we might be more punishing. It’s like going from a Ferrari to a truck. Different, but we think both can be effective.”

Baldwin Park coach James Heggins
“We like what we have, but it’s still a work in progress until we see it on the field. Whether people think we’re the favorites or not doesn’t matter, nobody is going to roll over for Baldwin Park, we have to go out there and earn it.”

Pomona coach Johnny Brown
“I won’t say we won’t throw it, but you’re going to have to force our hand to make us put it in the air. Teams are going to have to stuff eight, nine and ten in the box. We’re coming right after you, if you stop us, you stop us, but I like our offensive line and our athleticism in the backfield. We think we’ll be a handful for a lot of teams.”

Ganesha coach Dave Fleming
“We have to set our goals higher. Winning two games, three games, that’s not good enough. We won’t be satisfied with just winning a league game. We’ll be satisfied when Ganesha is in the playoffs again.”

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Bishop Amat to the memory of Paul Reyna

There are times when high schools sports, particularly football, can be blinded by the pettiness of school pride and rivalries. Sunday is not one of those times. It will, in fact, show the good side of competition when Bishop Amat pays homage to one of its own – defensive lineman Paul Reyna, who died 10 years ago this weekend from injuries suffered in a preseason practice during his freshman year at Boise State. Reyna will be remembered in a memorial service scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bishop Amat Carroll Center.

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The uncertainty of Bishop Amat

For all of you Bishop Amat honks, this is an intriguing season. Was the first-year under coach Steve Hagerty an aberration? Do you really expect them to improve on 7-4? They came within minutes of knocking off eventual champion Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium, so what can they do for an encore, especially after losing the likes of Isaiah Bowens, Sheldon Price, Brent Seals, and Jesse Prieto on D? If you have been wondering the same thing, so has head coach Steve Hagerty. Here is an excerpt from our Sept. 3 Football Preview on the state of Bishop Amat.

“We know the risk after what happened last year is that we could take a step back,” Hagerty said. “The second year is always the hardest on a coaching staff. If we take a step back everyone is going to say last year was a fluke, that we got lucky. But that’s why you go to Bishop Amat, to take on that pressure and that expectation. We have no intention of taking a step back, we’re moving forward.”

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Jim McConnell puts you to the test, gets your ready for the high school football season

By Jim McConnell
Football is a series of 6-second wars. Think about it. The average length of a play in football is six seconds. Reach down to shell a peanut and you’re liable to miss the turning point in a game. And that’s the point. Just as players must practice, spectators need to whip themselves into prime-time shape to prepare for another season of football. To continue reading, click thread

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Damien Football: Ready or not, here they come

Reporting from Damien: The morning huffing and puffing followed by late afternoon team-bonding rally cries is a sure way to know that high school football is back. Several teams set up two-a-day camps this week in preparation for season openers the first week of September. One of the most intriguing camps is at Damien High School, where former head coaches Steve Garrison (Monrovia) and Dave Merrill (Wilson) have joined new Spartans coach Greg Gano, who left Los Altos after winning four CIF-Southern Section titles.

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Set your TIVO’s for vintage Robledo Family Feud

Check this out, in 1989 I was on Family Feud and got a text this morning saying they’re showing the reruns on the game show network (Direct TV, channel 309) the rest of the week. The five-time champion Robledo Family will also be on Thursday and Friday at 7 a.m., so set your Tivo’s for the 21-year-old version of myself. Damn, that was half a life ago, 20 years already? I was working the Trib’s front counter in private party ads when the Family Feud called to place an ad asking for contestants. I told ’em where do we sign up, because I got the perfect five to blow them away at the audition. We had some of best answers in Family Feud history. They asked my Uncle Mike, name an animal that ruins a garden? He said “a cockroach.” They asked my late aunt Carmen to name a time when people use candles? She said, “6 o’clock.” Good Times.

A few years ago I was also on the “Jamie Kennedy Experiment” pulling a prank at Brookside Golf course on my friend Tom and cousin Dan. I’m in the red shirt dancing at the end of the clip.

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Fox to debut quarterback reality show this fall

In today’s L.A. Times, Ben Bolch talks about Fox Sports’ new reality series in which eight high school quarterbacks, including an undisclosed player from Anaheim, compete in a new reality show in which they vie to become the nation’s best under-the-radar standout. The show, dubbed “The Ride” will be broadcast on FS West this fall, testing the theory that great quarterbacks can be made.

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Football: Breaking it down, league by league

This is going to be brief and to the point, as things break, I will post it, but we have two weeks to get the football tab out and most teams are finally hitting the field beginning today, so I don’t have as much time to work on the blog. When the season starts, it will be back to the old routine. For those stringers wondering about covering games, we will have a meeting early next week, I will be in touch. Man, I feel like that Smokey and the Bandit song, We got a long way to go, and a short time to get there. So for now, here is how the league races will unfold in 2009.

Valle Vista
1. Baldwin Park, 2. Northview, 3. Pomona, 4. San Dimas, 5. Covina, 6. Ganesha.
Miramonte League
1. Charter Oak, 2. Diamond Ranch, 3. Los Altos, 4. Bonita, 5. Wilson
Mission Valley League
1. Arroyo, 2. Rosemead, 3. South El Monte, 4. El Monte, 5. Gabrielino, 6. Mountain View
Montview League
1. Workman, 2. La Puente, 3. Sierra Vista, 4. Duarte, 5. Azusa, 6. Gladstone, 7. Bassett
Sierra League
1. Glendora, 2. Chino Hills, 3. Damien, 4. Ayala, 5. Diamond Bar, 6. Chino
Serra League
1. Notre Dame, 2. Loyola, 3. Bishop Amat, 4. Crespi.
San Antonio League
1. South Hills, 2. West Covina, 3. Walnut, 4. Rowland, 5. Nogales

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It’s time for some serious football – The Tribune’s early-season predictions on the Super 33

Note: I love this new blog feature, when a thread is thriving with comments, I can kick it up to the top to give it more play.

We’re finally a month away from the football season, and a couple weeks from the start of summer camp. This is when all the fun begins and all the predictions are made. The Tribune’s preseason top ten may not look like this come September, but this gives you an idea of where I’m leaning before all the discussions with head coaches over the next month. There is a brief explanation on the top five and a guesstimate on the Tribune’s Super 33. Enjoy your weekend and lets start breaking it down by position next week.

And still champion …

1. Charter Oak — Even though the schedule doesn’t blow you away, the combination of Adam Muema and Brandon Golden — both Division I backs should. Then you have either Travis Santiago or Josiah Thropay at QB, with most thinking it’s Santiago’s job to lose. Then you two-way stud A.J. Powell, corner Dennis Rufus, linebacker Keith Smith and arguably the best coaching staff in the Valley coming off another CIF championship. Forgetaboutit, it won’t be a surprise at all if they run the table and go undefeated for a second straight year.

2. Glendora — Maybe this comes as a surprise, but everything I hear about junior QB Chad Jeffries is positive and with a coach like Pasquarella grooming him, this could be a special offense with Wallace Gonzalez and Aaron Stockham at WR and Andrew Holmes in the backfield. You also have two returning second team DB’s in seniors Duwani Bankhead and Dylon Nichols. If the Tartans step up on defense, and they always seem to do so, they should have more than enough offense to prove this ranking is legitimate.

3. Bishop Amat — With the departures and schedule, this could be the Lancers’ highest ranking of the season. I don’t see how you lose defensive gems Sheldon Price, Brent Seals, Isaiah Bowens and running back Deshawn Gaisie and pick up where you left off. Coach Steve Hagerty has a more difficult task in his second season, but offensively, quarterback Jerry McClanahan is one of the Valley’s best, and Jay Anderson could be a monster in the backfield as a junior. Having corner Darian Johnson back is huge and the Lancers arguably have more depth than anyone in the area. But the schedule might be too brutal to overcome.

4. South Hills — The biggest question is at quarterback, but the Huskies are loaded everywhere else. If Duarte transfer Jordan Canada becomes eligible, everything I’ve heard from insiders and outsiders is that he could have a player-of-the-year type season, especially because the Huskies are built to run and run often after the departure of Cameron Deen. As far as pure talent, the Huskies have Miles Bevel (DB), Geoffrey Vaughns (WR), Ify Umodu (WR), Sioasi Alonsi (OL) and Peter Nonu (DT). With Bogan in charge, they will find a way to challenge Charter Oak for the divisional title.

5. West Covina — I hear ya when you say that the Scouting Guru doesn’t give the Bulldogs enough credit, but the Southeast Division semifinalists could potentially be better than last year. RB Ricky Johnson and fullback Jesse Ili are back. That’s a potential dangerous combo. Quarterback George Johnson is back. First-team DE/OL Ryan McLaurin and first-team DB Jon Hernandez returns. Second teamer Jesse Madrid (OL) adds to the depth and the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive lines always seem to stack up against anyone. I won’t be surprised at all if they knock off Bishop Amat this year, they knocked off Glendora last season, and are better on paper this season.

The next five
6. Damien, 7. Rowland, 8. Diamond Ranch, 9. Bonita, 10. Walnut

The Middle Ten
11. San Dimas, 12. Diamond Bar, 13. Rosemead, 14. Los Altos, 15. Northview, 16. Arroyo, 17. Baldwin Park, 18. Wilson, 19. South El Monte, 20. Covina.

On the bottom looking up
21. Azusa, 22. Pomona, 23. Sierra Vista, 24. El Monte, 25. Nogales, 26. Duarte, 27. La Puente, 28. Workman, 29. Gladstone, 30. Mountain View, 31. Ganesha, 32. Western Christian, 33. Bassett.

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Best Receivers: Gonzales back after superb sophomore season for the Tartans

After mentioning previously that several standout quarterbacks have graduated and that the Valley isn’t as deep at the QB position than in years past, the opposite is true at wideout, where several top notch players like South Hills’ Ify Umodo and Glendora’s Aaron Stockham are not on our top five. You can make an easy argument that they should be, but the point is the wideout position is deep, they just need consistent QB’s to get them the ball.

Above: Glendora’s Wallace Gonzales

Area’s top five returning receivers
1. Wallace Gonzales, Glendora, Jr
Division one scouts are drooling over his 6-foot-5 frame, speed and athletic ability. He may wind up earning a baseball scholarship first, but he’s set to have a big season behind quarterback Chad Jeffries, and alongside Aaron Stockhom, a returning All-Sierra League first-team receiver like Gonzales. As a sophomore, Gonzales led the area by hauling in 64 receptions for 1018 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 84 yards a game.

2. Darien Johnson, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Will be the most influential on defense where he is expected to be a lockdown corner going against the Southland’s best receivers, but will also have a huge impact at receiver. Johnson is not only a deep threat, but a superb (RAC) run-after-catch receiver with superior speed and athletic ability. He reminds me of Desmond Reed, a two-time Star-News player of the year for Temple City who could do it all, and was asked to do it all. The big difference obviously is that Johnson has to do it in the Serra League, not the Rio Hondo.

3. Dennis Rufus, Charter Oak, Jr.
After graduating Kiely Rycraw and Eric Rogers, Rufus becomes the lead receiver on the defending champions after hauling in 17 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore he was more of a lockdown defensive back, and his future at the next level might be in the secondary, but he will prove to be an explosive receiver if the summer passing league was any indication.

4. Geoffrey Vaughns, South Hills, Sr.
Won’t have the luxury of standout quarterback Cameron Deen, but he returns as the Huskies’ leading receiver with 47 receptions for 667 yards and seven touchdowns. Was very impressive during passing league competitions, and also provides the Huskies with a lockdown defender in the secondray. Along with Ify Umodo, this gives the Huskies two of the best in the Valley. Now all they need is a quarterback.

5. Chris Rodriguez, Arroyo, Sr.
He led the Knights in receiving with 12 receptions for 335 yards, and is expected to play a huge roll on a pass-happy Knights squad under sophomore quarterback Steven Rivera, who started on varsity as a freshman. Rodriguez was exceptional in summer passing league’s against stiff competition, and the Knights could be a sleeper than contends for the Mid Valley Division title. Might not be a popular choice since there are other WR’s with better potential at next level, but he will finish among the area’s best in receptions and yards, mark that down.

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