By Jim McConnell, Staff Writer
This month, former Los Altos High School football coach Dwayne DeSpain will be inducted into the CIF Hall of Fame. It’s an honor long overdue. DeSpain’s credentials speak for themselves. More than 30 years in education. Over 200 coaching wins. Nineteen consecutive winning seasons. Ten league titles. Seven CIF-Southern Section titles.
Tribune Top Ten 1. Bishop Amat (5-0) – We may need Joe Amat’s help on this, but as far as I can tell, this is the best Lancers start since beginning 4-0 in the Del Rey League in 2001 when they finished 9-2, and obviously the best start ever since moving to the Serra League. With St. Paul next, there’s no reason to believe they won’t make it 6-0. 2. Charter Oak (5-1) – The Chargers might not be perfect, but considering they beat two very good teams in Damien and Etiwanda a week after losing to Rancho Cucamonga, they’re still very, very good and probably won’t lose another game. 3. Rowland (5-0) - The most impressive stat other than being undefeated is that the Raiders are beating teams by a Valley best 25-point margin. They’re averaging nearly 40 points on offense, and allowing just 14 a game. That’s what I call a “wow” factor. 4. Walnut (5-0) - Is this the point of the season where the rubber meets the road for the Mustangs? Are they good enough to challenge for the league title? Are they good enough to make the playoffs. We will all soon find out. 5. West Covina (3-3) – Not ranked or even listed in “others” in the Southeast rankings, the Bulldogs are still considered by many to be the “actual” San Antonio League favorites, and what better way to start league than with rival South Hills. 6. Glendora (3-2) – The Tartans’ victory over El Dorado was by far their most impressive of the season. Offensively and defensively, they’re starting to click, and what better time to do so than with league starting up. 7. South Hills (3-2) – The Huskies learned this week that Jordan and Jamie Canada’s state appeal was denied, so the question now becomes are they good enough to contend with what they will have the rest of the way. 8. San Dimas (4-1) – After losing to Monrovia a couple weeks back, the Saints needed a “swag” victory over Bonita to feel good about themselves heading into the Valle Vista. Guess what, they got it. 9. Baldwin Park (4-1) — The verdict is still out as the Braves open the VVL with a much improved Covina squad that is 3-2 and hoping to become the league sleeper. 10. Damien (1-4) — The Spartans’ second season begins on Friday against Chino Hills followed by Glendora next week. Talk about a tough way to start the Sierra.
The Middle 10
11. Azusa (5-1), 12. Arroyo (3-2), 13. Workman (4-1), 14. Wilson (4-1), 15. Covina (2-3), 16. Los Altos (2-3), 17. La Puente (4-2), 18. Diamond Ranch (1-5), 19. Gladstone (4-1), 20. Bonita (1-4).
On the bottom looking up
21. Sierra Vista (3-2), 22. Rosemead (1-4), 23. Northview (1-4), 24. Nogales (2-4), 25. Bassett (3-3), 26. Diamond Bar (0-5), 27. El Monte (0-5), 28. South El Monte (0-5), 29. Mountain View (0-5), 30. Ganesha (0-5), 31. Duarte (0-6)
By Steve Ramirez
As far as Michael Ball is concerned, nothing has changed. The junior quarterback is still one of three main options for the Rowland High School football team, and the Raiders are still one of the top teams in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division. “Last year I had a lot of players to work with, the coaching staff was great and I felt we really worked well together as a team,” Ball said. “We had team leaders and it all came together. This year, it’s just like last year, except we have new players and a new system.
“It really doesn’t change anything for me. I’m going to still play my game. If (the defense) focuses on me more, that gives my teammates like Josh (Onovughe) to show what he has, or (receiver Leonardo Freeman) to do what he can do. If the pressure is on me, I can get it to one of them, and they’ll do the job.”
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Friday’s battle of unbeatens between the Southeast Division’s top-ranked Rowland (5-0) and No. 2 Walnut (5-0) in the San Antonio League opener could go down to the wire. If it does, a girls soccer player might decide it. Walnut junior Nikki McKee, a center back and midfielder on the girls soccer team, also is the Mustangs’ placekicker on extra points and – guess what – is 19 for 19. “I’m not surprised at all,” Mustangs coach Mike O’Shields said. “She’s accurate in practice, too.”
Above: They get excited at West Covina, check out the vertical leap by one of the Bulldogs’ coaches.
Is there a more competitive race in the Valley that what will go down in the San Antonio League with two undefeated teams, Rowland (5-0) and Walnut (5-0), No. 1 and 2 respectively in the Southeast, along with who I believe are the real two favorites, No. 4 South Hills (3-2) and unranked West Covina (3-3)? If you’re really going to dissect this and pick a winner, forget the Huskies and Bulldogs’ losses, look at their quality wins. South Hills beat Ayala, a team that is 4-1 and a better win than anything Rowland and Walnut has done. West Covina’s win is even bigger, beating Glendora, a team that just beat El Dorado and has played everyone on their schedule close. With West Covina as close to healthy as they have been since week one, they’re good enough to beat South Hills on Friday. However, a decision on Jordan and Jamie Canada’s status for the Huskies could come this week, and if they both become eligible, I’m switching gears and taking the Huskies. Stay tuned. Rowland and Walnut still have a lot to prove, and though this is 1 vs. 2, I really believe this is for third place and the final playoff spot. What a shame that with four great teams, one has to go. San Antonio Prediction: 1. West Covina, 2. South Hills, 3. Rowland, 4. Walnut, 5. Nogales.
Steve and I will go head-to-head throughout the season. Here is our updated records on the Tribskin Pick’em thread.
Robledo: Last week/Total: 14-1/88-26 Ramirez: Last week/Total: 14-1/78-36
Last Week Steve should have chipped away at my lead by going 14-1, but I went 14-1 also, which equals our best week combined. The only games that kept us from being perfect is that I stubbornly picked La Puente over Azusa, and he picked Bassett over Workman. The darn Montivew, it got us again. This week: The San Antonio is going to be a great race all the way. Friday’s game of the week is between undefeated and Southeast No. 1 Rowland against undefeated No. 2 Walnut, a game that sounds great on paper, but I’m leaning heavily towards the Raiders, who have been more impressive in nonleague. How about West Covina and South Hills? If the Huskies had the Canada’s, I would take the Huskies but without them, I like the Bulldogs’ chances to beat them for a second straight year. Chino Hills and Damien is another special one, and though the Spartans have burned me before, I’m taking them again with two weeks off to prepare and being at home. Bishop Amat and St. Paul in most weeks would get top billing, but this might not be as close as past encounters, the Lancers are playing too well.
This week’s games and predictions
Northview vs. Pomona at Covina District, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Pomona); Ramirez (Northview)
San Dimas at Ganesha, 7 p.m. — Robledo (San Dimas); Ramirez (San Dimas) Friday’s games
Rowland at Walnut, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Rowland); Ramirez (Rowland)
West Covina vs. South Hills at Covina District, 7 p.m. — Robledo (WCovina); Ramirez (SHills)
Bishop Amat at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Bishop Amat); Ramirez (Bishop Amat)
Arroyo at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Arroyo); Ramirez (Arroyo)
Covina at Baldwin Park, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Covina): Ramirez (Baldwin Park)
Workman at La Puente, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Workman): Ramirez (Workman)
Bonita at Charter Oak, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Charter Oak); Ramirez (Charter Oak)
Chino Hills at Damien, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Damien); Ramirez (Damien)
Glendora at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Glendora); Ramirez (Glendora)
Sierra Vista vs. Azusa at Citrus College, 7 p.m. (Azusa); Ramirez (Azusa)
Los Altos at Wilson, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Los Altos); Ramirez (Los Altos)
Gabrielino at El Monte, 7 p.m. — Robledo (El Monte); Ramirez (El Monte)
Mountain View at South El Monte, 7 p.m. (S El Monte); Ramirez (S El Monte)
Gladstone at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Gladstone): Ramirez (Gladstone)
Game of the week: Steve and I were debating this, is is undefeated Rowland-Walnut, the top two-ranked teams in the Southeast Division meeting in week one of the San Antonio League. Or is it traditional rivals West Covina and South Hills at Covina District Field? Bishop Amat: What the Lancers did last night was impressive. What I thought could be a letdown turned into a confident group of guys who now have that swag. Roddy probably said it best when he said all is well in the San Gabriel Valley. Athlete of the week: Need boys and girls athlete of the week nominations Mid-term grades?: This week in the blog we will grade every team in the SGV, and start league predictions. I knew we could all get along: Blog Harmony? It appears so after blog regulars Randy and Frank talked at the game last night and patched-up whatever differences they had.
Northview vs. Pomona at Covina District, 7 p.m.
San Dimas at Ganesha, 7 p.m. Friday’s games
Rowland at Walnut, 7 p.m.
West Covina vs. South Hills at Covina District, 7 p.m.
Bishop Amat at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m.
Arroyo at Rosemead, 7 p.m.
Covina at Baldwin Park, 7 p.m.
Workman at La Puente, 7 p.m.
Bonita at Charter Oak, 7 p.m.
Chino Hills at Damien, 7 p.m.
Glendora at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m.
Sierra Vista vs. Azusa at Citrus College, 7 p.m.
Los Altos at Wilson, 7 p.m.
Gabrielino at El Monte, 7 p.m.
Mountain View at South El Monte, 7 p.m.
Gladstone at Duarte, 7 p.m.
Bishop Amat 41, Diamond Ranch 13 – Darien Johnson returned a punt back 53 yards for a touchdown and it went downhill from there for the host Panthers, who were totally thrashed. Jay Anderson rushed for just 75 yards, but hit paydirt four times to lead the Lancers, who also took advantage of four Diamond Ranch turnovers. Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty: “We started off quick. We never considered it to be a trap game. (Diamond Ranch) is a good football team. We know if we don’t show up and play hard every week, we have problems.” Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton: “All is right in the San Gabriel Valley. Bishop Amat is back on top. Historically, they are the best. To play a good team like that, and for us to play our worst football, I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I’m just disappointed we didn’t play our best football and give them a game.”
Bishop Amat 41, Diamond Ranch 13
Bishop Amat 7–21–13–0–41
Diamond Ranch 0—7—-0–6—-13 1st Quarter
BA: Darien Johnson 53 punt return (Alexander Ragsdale), 10:39, 7-0 2nd Quarter
BA: Jay Anderson 1 run (kick failed), 10:46, 13-0
BA: Anderson 1 run (Ragsdale kick), 7:35, 20-0
BA: Anthony Avila 12 pass from Jerry McClanahan (Idilio Sanchez pass from McClanahan), 3:36, 28-0
DR:Elisha Henley 70 pass from Gus Viramontes (Jeff Stamp kick), :01, 7-28 3rd Quarter
BA: Anderson 1 run (kick failed), 10:37, 34-7
BA: Anderson 1 run (Ragsdale kick), 8:41, 41-7 Fourth Quarter
Cesar Carillo 3 run (pass failed), :25, 13-41
Tonight’s Results: San Dimas 21, Bonita 13 — Ryan Kohler scored all three touchdows as the Saints kept the Smudge Pot for the third straight year. The Saints also forced two turnovers and stopped Bonita at the Saints 32 with a minute left. Charter Oak 27, Etiwanda 26 – Trailing 19-7 at half, the defending Southeast Division champs were forced to dig deep and pull one out. Glendora 24, El Dorado 3 — The Tartans finally flexed their muscles, dominating an Orange County power that once gave Charter Oak and South Hills fits. South Hills 30, Rosemead 9 – After dropping 60 on Northview, the Huskies let off the gas and cruise to another win. Um, bring on West Covina. West Covina 41, Diamond Bar 20 – That’s three straight for the Bulldogs, but the real proof comes next week against the team above. Azusa 51, La Puente 20 – The Aztecs rushed over 50 times, getting 179 yards and two TDs from Kendrec McDade and 153 yards and two TDs from Steven Blount. Workman 42, Bassett 23 – The Lobos keep pace with Azusa, and is probably the only Montview team that has a chance to knock them off. Arroyo 31, La Canada 27 – The Knights bounce back after two straight losses, getting a key win against a Mid-Valley foe. Covina 21, Wilson 17 — The Colts squeeze one out against an improved Wildcats squad. Rowland 42, El Monte 14 – the Southeast Division’s top team stays undefeated heading into next week’s showdown against No. 2 Walnut. Los Altos 14, La Serna 7 – The Conqs needed a win to feel good about opening the Miramonte next. Mission accomplished. Northview 27, Nogales 7 – The Vikings finally get in the win column after last week’s tough loss. Walnut 14, Sonora 7 – The Mustangs hang on, stay unbeaten, and now will host Southeast No. 1 Rowland to open the San Antonio. Sierra Vista 33, Duarte 7 — Not a surprise the Dons won, but significant in that the Falcons scored their first touchdown of the season.
Los Altos hung with Bonita for the most part, but the Bearcats won all the pressure points, sweeping the Conquerors 25-22, 25-18 and 25-21 in pursuit of their third straight Miramonte League title. UCLA bound Allie LaPierre had 17 kills and Katie Kirby had 9 kills and 9 digs to pace the Bearcats, now 7-5-1 and 2-0 in league. Ashley Maxfeldt was huge too with 27 assists and six clutch aces. Jazmen Russell and Amanda Brown paced the Conq’s with 6 kills each.
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
There is something about facing Los Altos that brings out the best in the Bonita High School girls volleyball team. The Bearcats, entering the week with a .500 record and questions about their confidence and consistency, found all the motivation they needed on the opposite side of the net and swept Los Altos, 25-22, 25-18 and 25-21 as they continued pursuit of their third consecutive Miramonte League title.
With no football in the area tonight I thought I would answer a question that gets asked a lot in regards to our football rankings: Who are the “real” top ten teams in the Valley? People always ask things like, “How can you rank Baldwin Park and San Dimas ahead of Damien when you know if Damien really played them, Damien would win.” Same could be said about Diamond Ranch. Or how could we rank Walnut and Rowland ahead of South Hills and West Covina when they have competed against far different competition. Wouldn’t West Covina and South Hills be undefeated if they played the same opponents? Probably. But to answer the question, wins and records do matter in rankings. Whether it’s the Associated Press, USA Today, the CIF poll or ours, you get rewarded for winning and impressive win-loss records. I do reward teams when they lose close games against superior competition, as is the case with West Covina, South Hills, and Damien, all of whom also have solid wins on their resume, but it’s a balancing act and the end result will always be debatable. So, to answer the original question, if I had to pick the best teams in the Valley based purely on who I think are the best teams, regardless of record, and based on what I have seen so far,it would look like this. I know I’m going to get hammered for taking Charter Oak over Bishop Amat, but I still believe in a head-to-head, the Chagers edge them out.
1. Charter Oak
2. Bishop Amat
3. West Covina
5. South Hills
7. Diamond Ranch
9. San Dimas
BTW, you have to check out this video. I felt bad for the kid, but almost fell to the floor laughing…..
Brian Mustain loves his new role as San Dimas High School’s defensive coordinator about as much as coach Bill Zernickow loves having him. “He is more detailed than any coach I have ever been around,” Zernickow said. How ironic, because paying attention to detail was something the Saints defense needed to do a lot better.