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.
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.
1. Baldwin Park, 2. Northview, 3. Pomona, 4. San Dimas, 5. Covina, 6. Ganesha.
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
1. Workman, 2. La Puente, 3. Sierra Vista, 4. Duarte, 5. Azusa, 6. Gladstone, 7. Bassett
1. Glendora, 2. Chino Hills, 3. Damien, 4. Ayala, 5. Diamond Bar, 6. Chino
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
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.
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.
Click on this thread to review the CIF-Southern Section’s new policy for live blogging. We no longer can give detailed descriptions of playoff or championship events, but we are allowed to post updated scores…
This is great news for high school sports fans and media outlets: CIF-Southern Section spokesperson Thom Simmons said the CIF-SS has partnered with High School Sports Net, and will require all schools in the Southern Section to list its schedules and report scores immediately following events to provide a Southern Section scoreboard, particularly for Friday night football. If you look at the top right corner of the CIF Website, you will see a box directing you to the scoreboard page. This is the first time that CIF is mandating that schools report their scores or face sanctions. Additionally, this will apply to all varsity sports, a huge bonus for sports fans, particularly in sports where coaches never report scores to their local newspapers. How this will work for us is that every school basically has its own webpage, so I will localize all of our teams into one quick easy read. During the season, you just click on that school for updated results on varsity sports.
I posted this last year, and got quite a response. It’s that time again: How popular is tailgating at high school football games, and who has the best food? I’ve seen more of it this year than ever before. Bishop Amat throws the biggest party, but Glendora throws a mean party too. Charter Oak had a small thing going on Friday, which is similar to what I’ve seen at other schools. Is this a growing trend? If they’re tailgating at your school, tell us about it. And if you want to invite your favorite sportswriters, go ahead.
….Hey, I’m not biased. I might be a Bruins fan, but ‘SC fans are welcome here too
Continue reading, I got an email from a reader wanting to push his environmentally-friendly flames …
ESPN: Former NFL running back and Baldwin Park High School standout Lawrence Phillips was convicted of assault and other felony charges in San Diego. A Superior Court jury found Phillips guilty Tuesday of seven counts. He had been accused of choking his girlfriend on two occasions in August 2005, once into unconsciousness. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced next month. Phillips already is serving a 10-year sentence for hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.
Amid a wave of new world-records set at international competitions, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) followed suit with FINA, the international swimming federation, and has banned high-tech swimsuits in high school competition. The NFHS sent out a release earlier this afternoon.
INDIANAPOLIS — High-tech swimsuits that have been linked to record performances at all levels of competition the past couple of years have been banned for high school competition, effective immediately. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee approved changes to Rule 3-2-2 that will make the high-tech swimsuit no longer a legal suit for swimmers at the high school level. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
There are five coaching changes in the Valley, none more significant than Greg Gano’s hire at Damien. From a pressure standpoint, Gano has the most difficult job of satisfying thirsty boosters, but from a personnel standpoint, Duarte’s Tip Sanders has the biggest challenge of winning games. Factoring both pressure and personnel, lets rank it with the toughest being number one.
1. Damien: After a 3-7 season coach Scott Morrison was fired and replaced by area legend Greg Gano, who won four CIF-SS championships at Los Altos after replacing another legend, Dwayne DeSpain. Thoughts: A difficult schedule, high profile and fans that want to win now. While other coaching situations seem more difficult on paper, few would want the pressure that Gano is taking on. It almost seems like he risks his reputation and legacy if this fails, but that’s a challenge Gano enjoys.
2. Wilson: Longtime Northview assistant Brian Zavala takes over for Greg Hoyd, who lasted just one season after a 1-9 campaign and a difficult relationship with the school administration and boosters. Thoughts: This is a tough mess Zavala has to clean up. He seems like a solid guy and a great coach, but the Miramonte League is so unforgiving that he virtually has no chance of reaching the playoffs, especially after the departure of Tim Gilmore. If they finish 6-4 or better, he would have to be considered for coach of the year honors.
3. Duarte: Coach Wardell Crutchfield was fired because the school “wanted to move in a different direction,” and a lot of players have gone is a different direction as well, leaving new coach Tip Sanders trying to fill out his roster. Sanders’ coaching resume is impressive having restored programs at Marshall and Blair, but this project is off to a slow start. Thoughts: Let’s just say the administration didn’t think this all out when they fired Crutchfield. The school’s best impact players left, including running back Jordan Canada, now at South Hills. Sanders has performed miracles before, and could even find a way to compete in the Montview, but this was an uphill battle from the start.
4. South El Monte: Longtime coach Erick Escamilla stepped away to spend more time with his family, and the school hired Ray Hernandez after he resigned from La Puente. Hernandez is a good coach, and most are hoping the change of venue will work to everyone’s advantage. Thoughts: Always tough when you replace a coach that is so well respected and whose teams competed year in and year out. Hernandez moves up in terms of going from the Montview to the Mission Valley, but with Arroyo and Rosemead still the perennial favorites, a playoff spot isn’t guaranteed.
5. La Puente: A year after winning the Montview League title, coach Ray Hernandez finished 1-9 and left the program during the season over a disagreement with the school’s administration on how to discipline players. Glendora assistant Branden Roher, already a teacher at the school, took over and everything we hear is that he’s doing a wonderful job. Thoughts: The Montview league is wide open and Roher is doing so well bringing the boys along that they could compete for a title his first season. There is no pressure because there are no expectations, the perfect situation for a first-year coach.
How will the recession affect high school athletic programs? “It’s a bad deal for everybody,” Thom Simmons, a spokesman for the California Interscholastic Federation’s Southern Section, told the L.A. Times. “When tax revenue is down, the level of services has to go down. And any time you have to cut services, whether it’s for drama, band or athletics, it’s just a bad deal.”
The Orlando Magic’s Rashard Lewis tested positive for a testosterone-producing steroid and will be suspended without pay 10 games at the beginning of the season. I wonder if sports writers will treat Lewis like they do baseball players who test positive for banned substances. I guess the Magic’s Eastern Conference title is tainted, Lewis no longer deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and if the L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke treats him like Manny, he will suggest the Magic get rid of him immediately. None of this will happen, though, watch how the double standard unfolds just like football players who get a free pass. Not in terms of the penalties handed down by the various leagues, but in regards to the media reaction. For whatever reason banned substances are a capital crime in baseball, but a slap on the wrist in other teams sports.
Photo by staff photographer Keith Birmingham
The top ten serious and not-so-serious things football teams can do to increase newspaper coverage…
1. Thursday Night Games: This is what the mid-major’s do for national exposure, and it works in our backyard too. Highly recommended for teams that normally feel slighted on Friday night’s by the more traditional schools.
2. Schedule Bishop Amat: This is sort of a joke, but also has a ring of truth to it. When area teams take on our only PAC-5 representative, its newsworthy.
3. Programs/Rosters: What will inevitably happen the first full week of football games is that half our reporters will return to the office complaining that schools not only don’t have programs, they forget rosters. If you’re going to charge $5 bucks to get into the stadium, the least you can do is provide fans/writers with names to go with the numbers.
4. Non-League rivalries: Not enough of these anymore. You have the Smudge Pot: Bonita-San Dimas; MD Classic: Duarte-Monrovia, and whatever Temple City vs. Arroyo is called, but we need more of these. Bishop Amat and Damien should be a regular occurrence, so should South Hills and Charter Oak. Make it happen.
5. Earlier kick-off times: This is why you see reporters running off the field after the final whistle. Those who traditionally play 7:30 p.m., football games will have a rough time making our deadlines this season. If you’re shocked that some games miss the newspaper entirely, it’s probably because the game ran late and missed deadline. Our deadlines are nearly two hours earlier than they were a decade ago, so 7 p.m., games and (can I ask) 6:30 p.m., games are strongly encouraged.
6. Scheduling Upgrade: Nobody is asking that you go crazy and schedule like Diamond Ranch did in 2008, but upgrading the schedule against traditional locals or Southland giants is always appealing.
7. Quotable: Coaches and players who don’t make us wait long after games and aren’t afraid to speak their mind go to the front of the line.
8. Snack Bar: We don’t accept free food, but we take donations (hint, hint).
9. Parking: Time is precious. For those stadiums impossible to get out quick, reserve a spot close to an exit for your hometown newspaper.
10. Stats: Our annual reminder for coaches to upgrade stats on MaxPreps. Stop hiding and saying you don’t want to be scouted, stats are for the many fans that follow your programs, and for the newspapers that desperately need them to keep track of what’s going on.
I’m expecting a huge year from the backs, there are going to be games where the top backs go for 250-300 yards and five and six touchdowns. I could have gone ten deep easy, but we’re going with this top five and a sleeper at No. 5 from Workman. Just an FYI, Walnut’s Leonard Rhodes would have been on this list, but I don’t want to double up, he will be featured later on defense. In fact, Rhodes is arguably the biggest impact player in the Valley. BTW, I think Adam Muema should change his number to 12. That way we could nickname him “Adam 12″ in honor of one of my favorite TV series from the 70s. I know, it’s lame, but I can’t come up with anything better than Awesome Adam, can you?
Area’s Top Five Running Backs
1. Adam Muema, Charter Oak, Sr.
Height: 6-1, Weight: 190
The skinny: The Miramonte League first-team selection helped lead the Chargers to the Southeast Division championship and was among the area leaders with 1,922 yards and 29 touchdowns, averaging 137 yards and over eight yards a carry. Sought after by many top-notch Division I schools, Muema has all the tools, quick, strong, fast, agile and shifty, and can change a game in an instant. He’s the reason why many are predicting that the Chargers will win back-to-back divisional titles.
2. Ricky Johnson, West Covina, Sr.
Height: 6-0, Weight: 190
The skinny: Was the surprise underclassman of 2008 after a breakthrough season that earned him San Antonio League first team honors and a Tribune all-area second team selection. He helped lead the Bulldogs to the San Antonio league title and a Southeast Division semifinal appearance. He gives as hard as he gets, and has breakaway speed in the open field.
3. Jordan Canada, South Hills, Sr.
Height: 5-10, Weight: 195
The skinny: Had a monster season for Duarte High School before transferring to South Hills. He rushed for 1,956 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 195 yards a game. He rushed for over 200 yards in six games, topping off with a 347-yard, four touchdown performance in a 54-0 win over Bassett. Now in the Huskies’ green-and-white, he’s not only hoping to lead South Hills back to the San Antonio League title and Southeast Divisional title, but also is playing for a division one scholarship.
4. Andre Holmes, Glendora, Sr.
Height: 6-0, Weight: 190
The skinny: Was the perfect compliment to former quarterback Drew Kaluzny, rushing for 1,131 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Sierra League champions. In the CIF-Southern Section Central Division first-round game, Holmes was handed the ball a season-high 23 times, and showed what he could do with it, rushing 260 yards with three touchdowns in a 56-21 blowout over West Valley Hemet. With a bigger role expected in 2009, Holmes could be the stable force that drives the Tartans attack.
5. Kalin Bradford, Workman, Sr.
Height: 6-0, Weight: 215
The skinny: A sleeper selection that could end up leading the area in rushing and touchdowns when the season is through. Many are considering the Lobos to be one of the favorites to win the Montview League and with the departure of Duarte’s Jordan Canada to South Hills, Bradford emerges as the league’s top returning back after rushing for 774 yards.
You might want to check in with Jamie DeMoney’s PrepNation Blog, he lists a complete breakdown of the nation’s top teams, and does regional rankings. It’s a great way also to follow where players are going.
DeMoney’s West Coast Region Rankings
1. Lakewood (10-3)
2. Bellevue, Wash. (14-0)
3. Sammamish, Wash., Skyline (14-0)
4. Oaks Christian (14-0)
5. Concord De La Salle (12-2)
6. Servite (7-4)
7. Mission Viejo (10-2)
8. Long Beach Poly (14-1)
9. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (11-1)
10. Edison (7-3)
Of the impact positions, quarterbacks in the SGV are not nearly as deep as years past. Gone are so many talented seniors like Chris Allen, Cameron Deen, Jose Garay, Terry Paradez and Drew Kaluzny, so we’ll have to wait to see who emerges as the season continues. But there are five QBs that will stand out (well six if you consider the Charter Oak situation), so here you go, the area’s top five quarterbacks.
1. Michael Ball, Rowland, Jr.
The San Antonio League first-team selection is a dangerous run/pass threat after throwing for 1,871 yards and 17 touchdowns, and rushing for 671 yards and 11 touchdowns. He earned valuable experience by leading the Raiders to the Southeast Divisional semifinals as a sophomore. The only question is with so many players departing around him, can he be as successful? We will find out, it will probably take a monster season numbers-wise to keep the Raiders fighting for a San Antonio league title.
2. Jerry McClanahan, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Extremely confident and smart, McClanahan is a playmaker who threw for 1,174 yards and ten touchdowns, helping the Lancers to huge victories over Orange Lutheran and Crespi, and leading the Lancers back to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. There is a sophomore you all know about named Rio Ruiz who is pushing McClanahan, but expect McClanahan to win it out. After all, it was coach Steve Hagerty who wondered why McClanahan isn’t considered among the Valley’s best QB’s. Well coach, here ya go.
3. Chad Jeffries, Glendora, Jr.
A prodigy of well-known quarterbacks coach Chris Rix, Jeffries replaces veteran Drew Kaluzny and earned rave reviews in summer passing leagues and has a talented blend of receivers at his disposal. It won’t be surprise at all if he’s the key element that leads the Tartans to a Sierra League title. Everything that I hear suggests he might have the most upside as far as the next level, so lets enjoy and watch this young man develop.
4. Travis Santiago/Josiah Thropay, Charter Oak
What a great situation the defending champs are in, both these quarterbacks could start for just about anyone in the Valley, and the Chargers can take their time grooming the one they decide to go with because they have Adam Muema and Brandon Golden in the backfield. The word is that sophomore Santiago has a slight edge over the junior Thropay, but the key word is slight.
5. Jacob Shirley, South Hills
Assuming he returns, he’s a top five. He started as a sophomore for West Covina High School and earned second team San Antonio league honors before transferring to South Hills and sitting out his junior season. A terrific athlete who can run and pass, he might be rusty at first, but he has arguably the best group of receivers and a fine running back in Jordan Canada and coach Steve Bogan to get him sharp again. He should be firing on all cylinders once the San Antonio league heats up.
It has been confirmed that quarterback Jacob Shirley did show up and practice with South Hills toward the end of their passing league, and is expected to return when the Huskies resume in a couple weeks in preparation for the 2010 season. As a sophomore Shirley earned second-team San Antonio honors for West Covina before transferring to South Hills. It took him a while to make a decision because he’s a huge baseball prospect, having given a verbal commitment to UCLA. After sitting out last season’s championship baseball run with the Huskies, he will be a huge addition to the baseball team as well. But in football, with Duarte senior transfer Jordan Canada and a stable of talented receivers, Shirley’s arrival should shore up the Huskies’ offense. Now, he still has to fight it out against two underclassmen, sophomore Vince Hernandez and junior Brock Booth, but with Shirley’s experience and being a senior, it’s hard to imagine him not starting if he’s back on the sidelines. Another player we should mention, defensive end Ronnie Tennell, also transferred to South Hills from Northview. Tennel is 6-3 and 220, adding more depth to what already is a deep team. Now the question becomes, is this team suddenly becoming good enough to challenge Charter Oak for the Southeast Division title?
What the Tribune Newsroom looks like late at night …
News reporter Jennifer McLain, the one with the horn in the middle, is leaving us to go to Grad School, so she created a Tribune Olympics with all the participants in the picture. Of course I’m leading after day three having bowled a 180 last week, and I expect to be on top of the podium when all if finished. BTW, Can you find Steve and I? I’m the one with the vertical….
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.
I know it can be a pain surfing through Maxpreps, but not anymore. Here are your local schedules, rosters and leaders simplified. I will post this throughout the 2009 season. Please coaches, fill out your MaxPreps info so we can all follow the area’s athletes and teams.
The L.A. Times’ Bill Dwyre took a trip to Greenville, Tenn., and wrote a great piece on Bonita High School’s Jiovanni Mier, who is batting .311 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 27 games.