The Scouting Guru isn’t that impressed with San Gabriel Valley football in 2009

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 Guru Says: Well, the first half of the high school football season is just completed and if there is one phrase to summarize the season – it’s this: A complete dud! After watching CO’s implosion in the second half of their game Friday night against Rancho Cucamonga (and I don’t want to hear the excuses…everyone was healthy, primed and ready for the showdown), this is the first thought that came to my mind.

In the off-season we heard from a lot of people – myself included – that this team was going to be great – and that team was going to make it to the state championship game. Well, as the results have showed, there should be no talk of that at all. High school football in this area is just OK in 2009. It’s not great. Gone this year are the teams in the area that could really compete with the top teams in Southern California. It’s just no longer the case. Let’s take a hard look at what the pre-season has given to us in the area.

Rancho Cucamonga 35, Charter Oak 25
La Habra 34, South Hills 10
Tesoro 35, South Hills 21
Rancho Cucamonga 27, Damien 14
St. John Bosco 40, Damien 7
Brea Olinda 20, Diamond Bar 12
Santa Fe 43, Bonita 22
Colony 25, Diamond Ranch 20
Elsinore 15, Diamond Ranch 3
Chino Hills 17, Diamond Ranch 14
Venice 41, West Covina 33
Ayala 28, Los Altos 12

And let’s just say that Amat will need a miracle to defeat State Champion St. Bonaventure Friday night. To give a little fair balance to this thought, there have been a couple of interesting wins

South Hills 21, Ayala 7
Glendora 21, El Dorado 20
Bishop Amat 28, Compton Dominguez 14

The writing is on the wall. Yes, many of you will tell me that “well it’s not fair to compare us to this school or that school.” And some will say that “well you have to give credit to these schools for scheduling these types of games.” And others will say that “we didn’t have these guys for the game, or those guys for that game.” And you’re probably right.

But to hear the talk on this blog you would have thought that either CO or SH was going to make it to the state playoffs. And the end of the night, they are nowhere near where some of the teams in their state divisions are playing. South Hills took their shots and lost. Charter Oak couldn’t handle Rancho Cucamonga and it’s doesn’t get any easier with Damien this week and Etiwanda next week (oops, there’s another non-league game against a team from outside the area…which means another probable loss is in the books).

Look folks, it’s great to have a division that is local. It brings out local appeal and fans and players alike can shoot for a precious thing called a CIF championship. But, the evidence is clear and it’s as obvious as Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes. The football in the SGV is good…but it’s nowhere near the elite level as it is in the IE or in Orange County in 2009. Maybe Steve Bogan is right when he said that Tesoro “has a great program, lots of kids and tons of money.” You can’t say that for anyone in this area.


1. I think that I was not shocked when I heard that the San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Association was involved with another fiasco last Friday night in the Temple City vs. Arcadia game. It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the area. This association has some of the worst officials working games on Friday nights. Coaches from throughout Southern California cringe when they hear that the association will have a crew working their playoff games. I happen to be at the CIF championship game last year in the Inland Division when Centennial took on Chapparal and to say that this group was below average is quite an understatement. I can remember other games on other nights when different officials from the same association made the same mistakes over and over again. We are lucky to have one of the better associations in Southern California in our area (Foothill-Citrus). They are willing to work with coaches on the sideline to make sure that the game is officiated in a professional fashion. Let me give you one short side story. When I was on the staff full-time at South Hills, I always asked if we could get some officials to work our once a year fall camp practice at District Field. We tried to make it as realistic a scrimmage as we possibly could. Every year, I would ask many of the guys on Foothill-Citrus to come and get some work in. I viewed it as a win-win situation for everyone. The players got to know some of the officials and the officials would get quality work in before the season starts. Remember, it’s just not the pre-season for the player’s, it’s also pre-season for the officials too. We had so many guys that showed up for that one practice- it was great. Plus they treated our staff and kids in a professional fashion. Professional and the San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Association – those are words that should be never used in the same sentence.

2. I think that I don’t think that the Southern Section office was too thrilled to see Charter Oak and Rancho Cucamonga engaged in a verbal assault against each other before the game and at halftime. I found it really hilarious that before kickoff that there was a commercial produced by the CIF-SS (yes schools this is where your membership dues go to – paying for commercials on Fox) promoting a program called “Victory With Honor.” It’s a program that promotes proper sportsmanship on and off the field. So I found it quite hilarious that right after the piece was showed that the cameras focused on the two teams jaw-jacking against each other in the end zone before the game started with the coaches on both sides trying to break it up.

3. I think that while we are speaking of the Southern Section office, I can’t let this latest one go by without comment. If you remember back in August, the fearless one (Fred Robledo) passed along a note from the CIF-SS Media Relations Department about their “blogging policy” for the CIF-SS Playoffs and Championship games. What is comes down to is this; if you are using a media credential to cover the playoffs, you are prohibited from blogging during the game. I couldn’t believe this rule when I heard it. What the heck is going on at the CIF-SS offices? Was Thom Simmons (CIF-SS Sports Information Director) so bored during the summer that he decided to make himself busy and make the CIF-SS look that much more arrogant with this rule? You’ll be happy to know that many people (like myself) will spend our money to go to the games when the playoffs begin and we will use our twitter account ( to give you the best updates out there.

4. I think that Amat fans can give me grief as much as you want. I went out on a limb and said that Damien would beat Amat. Clearly, I was wrong. So let the flood doors open and take your best shots. But, the game was probably much closer than Amat fans would care to believe. But that is OK. I took a shot at picking a game and I came up short. However, I also said that Rancho Cucamonga would take care of Charter Oak…and they did that. So I batted .500 for the day. But, from all reports, it was a great game and let’s hope that Bishop Amat and Damien renew the contract for the next two years. Now, let’s try this again…I think that Damien will beat Charter Oak this week. The receipe to beat CO is out there, all you have to do is watch the RC game. Knowing coach Gano like I do, he’ll have a few tricks for “Big Lou” and the boys at CO.

5. I think that few around had a great night last Friday night more than me. We were able to make three games in one evening. Here is how we spent our Friday night in the valley (and no we didn’t go to the CO game because we DVR’d it at home)

a) First stop Rowland vs. Northview. Wanted to take a look at the best kicker in the area in Rowland Henry Calistro and quarterback Michael Ball. Love Calistro. Saw him kicking before the game and boy the ball just jumps out of his foot. Kicker guru Chris Sailer has Calistro very highly rated. Our service will be working overtime in getting this kid an offer. As for Ball, he is an athlete… no question about it. But his size will make it very difficult for D-1 coaches to take him seriously. He is a prospect though. And I like Northview RB Kameron Germany. With his grades, he’ll make any Ivy league team happy.

b) Next stop Glendora vs. West Covina. Got their just as halftime ended and it turned out to be one of the better games of the night. And what made it better was the fact that we had a chance to watch the game with our good friend Chris Rix. Truly one of the great guys in the area (and congrats on the new kid…can’t think of a better father). This was a good chance to really take a good hard look at Glendora junior QB Chad Jefferies. Jefferies has decent size, throws the ball with good RPM’s but just lacks making the proper reads. He had a chance to stick a knife in West Covina’s heart in the 4th quarter but threw a bad ball and had it intercepted which resulted in a West Covina score that let them back into the game. Right now, he’s just a good QB…not a great one. But the more he works with Rix, the more improved he will be. .And I really like Glendora RB Andre Holmes. His size will stop schools, but this is a kid that will really thrive in Tom Craft’s offense at Mt. SAC. He should be recruited really hard by the Mounties. The kid just runs hard every time and when he gets to the second and third levels – he is gone. As for West Covina, Johnson had a nice game and junior B.J. Lee is one to follow. He is quick, but his size will stop a lot of schools. Congrats to West Covina on pulling out the win.

c) Final stop Walnut vs. Covina at CDF. We weren’t going to stop by this one, but when we got a text saying that it was a close one with a lot of time left in the 4th quarter, we decided to take in the final minutes of the game. I like Rhodes a lot for Walnut. Runs hard, plays physical, it’s just a question as to whether he will have the grades to qualify for a D-1 scholarship. And I really like their junior wide receiver Aubrey Coleman. That kid has size and good hands. Walnut very fortunate to come away with the win; but at least they won.

6. I think that anyone who booed Mt. SAC offensive Coordinator Tom Craft last Saturday during their game against Saddleback really doesn’t know football. Last year, the Mounties had a great offense because they had the state player of the year at the quarterback spot (Nick Lamaison). Problem now is that Craft doesn’t have a quarterback that he can trust. You can tell in the play-calling in the Mounties loss to Saddleback. Craft started Tyler Vanderzee and he played admirably. Problem is… he is no Nick Lamaison. For the first time since Craft has been at SAC, he ran the Wildcat offense to try to get some offense rolling during the game. It worked in that he kept the Mounties in the game. But was it Craft’s fault that Mt Sac’s Arness Ikner got caught peaking into the backfield and gave up a reverse pass for a touchdown? And was it Craft’s fault that SAC safety Malcolm Moore grabbed the facemask of Saddleback FB Rory Johnson on 4th and goal late in the game? The Mounties will be fine, if they just can get good production from their quarterback. One can only wonder what would have happened if Chris Allen would have played at Mt. SAC. Hmmm….

7. I think that it’s game ball time. So here are the game balls for the week.

a) Offense – Let’s give it to Rowland’s Josh Onovughe. He carried the ball 8 times for 140 yards and a touchdown in Raiders’ win over Northview. Numbers look good to me and so do the Raiders…

b) Defensive Game Ball – (Keith Smith, LB, Charter Oak) – This one was a no brainer. As a high school scout, one of things that you look for right away when you watch film is who is the best player on the field. Those guys are easy to find. And in the case of Charter Oak, Keith Smith was the best player on the field for CO. This was the assessment of one area assistant coach “That kid is an absolute stud.” Couldn’t agree more. Just love the fact that he is around the football all the time and making plays. And he does it with little fanfare, and little showmanship. He plays the game one way…hard. It is a great lesson for any HS player. On a night that saw many CO players play to the camera, this was the one kid that didn’t. When he decides to go to Utah (and he should be doing this in the fairly near future), the Utes are getting a great under-the-radar type of kid. He is moving up on our charts…that is for sure.

8. I think they these are my thoughts on the Rancho Cucamonga vs. Charter Oak game on FSN Prime Ticket

a. I love listening to Chris Magee and John Jackson do high school games. These guys put a lot of work into the broadcast (with a ton of help from one of my best friends in the business Garry Paskiwetz – publisher of and it shows on Friday night. A very balanced broadcast to say the least.

b. I hope the fans truly appreciate the athletic exploits of Rancho Cucamonga TE Randall Telfer. USC doesn’t make that many mistakes in recruiting and he showed on Friday night why he is going to the land of Troy.

c. Charter Oak Running Back Adam Muema had a nice night. But I was hoping that he would have one of those game-breaking runs that he had his sophomore year. He is a very nice “between the tackles” type of runner.

d. Ok, so here is my take on CO QB Travis Santiago. First off, he has a very live arm. No surprise there – since he pitches for the baseball team. But, he has to work on his decision making. The interceptions that he threw were clearly his fault. Now, can he be a D-1 QB? Yep, If he can grow five inches and work on his grades. The kid is a talent though – no question about it.

e. I’m calling it right now, it’ll be Etiwanda vs. Rancho Cucamonga for the Central Division championship.

9. I think that I feel sorry for anyone that plays South Hills starting this week. As you may know, Steve Bogan is taking more control of the offense. Which means that opponents will be seeing a lot more formations, shifts and motions than ever before. Don’t believe me? Here is what Placentia Valenica Head Coach Mike Marrujo said to the Orange County Register about playing South Hills in 2000, “They are tough to scout. They give you all these formations and then on Friday night, they give you a new one that you are not prepared for.” I feel kinda sorry for the Northview DC on Friday night.

10. I think I have this question to end the week… I’d like to know which coaches vote in the CIF-SS Divisional Poll? If CO is the fourth best team in the division, I have oil wells deep in the heart of Texas for you to buy. The polls have become a joke! I went on to see what their computer rankings have spit out and here is what they have….

1. Charter Oak 32.4
2. Rowland 30.6
3. Santa Fe 29.6
4. South Hills 25.9
5. Bell Gardens 20.4
6. Diamond Ranch 19.5
7. California 19.4
8. West Covina 19.2
9. Cresecenta Valley 17.8
10. Schurr 17.4

This sounds about right. And if you think they don’t play football in the Whittier area this year, here is one score for you from last week.. Santa Fe 34, San Clemente 20. And SC has a quarterback in Chase Rettig that is already committed to Boston College and is damn good. Think about that one football fans. Have a great week!

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