Coaches react to Division Realignment proposals

“It’s a double whammy for us,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said of the league and division switch. “It’s like a left and right hook, then maybe a little punch to the gut because if you get into the playoffs you get to go two hours to get your butt kicked and go home. But they think it will be good for CIF.”

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The worst fears of some of the area’s top high school football programs came a step closer to fruition late Monday when the CIF-Southern Section office put out its proposals for division realignment. The proposals would last two seasons and threaten to end the postseasons of Valley powers Charter Oak and South Hills much earlier than usual. (To Continue reading, click thread)

Under the proposals, Charter Oak and South Hills, which also will be joining the Sierra League, will be asked to face Inland powers such as Norco, Corona Centennial or Redlands East Valley should they even make the postseason.

“It’s a double whammy for us,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said of the league and division switch. “It’s like a left and right hook, then maybe a little punch to the gut because if you get into the playoffs you get to go two hours to get your butt kicked and go home. But they think it will be good for CIF.”

Charter Oak, which won the Southeast Division the past two seasons, graduates 31 seniors, including five of whom signed letters of intent to play in college. But the boost could have an even bigger effect on South Hills, which didn’t have the same postseason success as Charter Oak in the Southeast but will be asked to make a jump in league and division strength.

The realignment criteria used by the CIF bases its proposals on geography, competitive equity and enrollment. Schools can rebuff the proposals by submitting an official appeal to the CIF by April 1. Appeal hearings are schedule to take place on April 13.

But given the low success rate of appeals in the past, veteran coaches like Farrar aren’t getting their hopes up.

“We appealed the league change and got nowhere,” Farrar said. “All I know is that they’re pretty much set. I don’t see any reason to make an appeal unless my principal wants to.”

For Damien, the only change to cope with isn’t a league switch but a bump up in division. The Sierra League going to the Inland isn’t sitting well with Spartans coach Greg Gano.

“Do I think Charter Oak and South Hills coming into our league is going to make it a tougher league? Yes,” Gano said. “But do I think they make it a tougher division? No. We will be very pressed in our league to win in the first round. They’re asking a lot for our league to go into that division.”

Despite some fears of Bishop Amat leaving arguably the Southland’s premier division, the proposals have the Lancers and Serra League staying in the Pac-5.

“I think it’s an appropriate placement,” Amat coach Steve Hagerty said. “It’s where we all want to be.”

Another big change is the Mid-Valley Division, won by San Dimas last season. It will add the Almont League while not deleting anybody. So with six leagues in the division, there will only be 12 automatic spots available. The rest will have to come from four at-large berths. That could be trouble for the Valle Vista League which has seven teams with only two of them guaranteed a playoff spot.

“I didn’t agree with adding the Almont,” said Covina coach Darryl Thomas, who was on the advisory committee. “You have three criteria: size of school, proximity and strength of program. Those (Almont) schools have 3,100 kids. You look at the schools in our league and we have 1,400. I know they (Almont) haven’t been successful in the playoffs but they still get to choose from over 3,000 kids.”

The new Hacienda League, which consists of Walnut, West Covina, Los Altos, Bonita, Diamond Ranch, Diamond Bar and Rowland, will play in the Southeast Division. The biggest change to the Southeast is the deletion of the now-defunct Miramonte League, which housed two-time division champion Charter Oak. Another change to the Southeast is it will swap the Almont League for the Suburban League.

The prevailing wisdom now is the proposals will make it easier for teams like Diamond Ranch, Muir and West Covina to win a CIF title now that Charter Oak is gone.

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  • Ridiculous

    It is more about demographics than population. Some schools have smaller populations but better numbers to draw from. Ontario HS has 3000 students but they don’t have 3000 that come from a cultural background that likes or wants to play football. So that cuts their numbers right there. In addition, transfers erode any population claims in my opinion. If a school gets a large number of transfers then they are in a different category because they are drawing from more players they normally wouldn’t have.That being said South Hills and Charter Oak and Gano for that matter need to give it a rest. Many teams go through what they are going to go through for decades. Always being in a league/ division that has teams with more talent better facilities, etc. Kind of like when LA used to play El Monte in the first round or South Hills playing Pioneer. Well now they are the El Montes and Pioneers. Coach up, step up, or shut up. It is what it is.

    Based on everyone’s claims of the superiority of these programs/coaches I figured they should just keep winning right?

  • New York

    Coach Hagerty is the only coach cited in this article who looks good. This interview/article is less than flattering for every other coach who participated. Won’t it be exciting for a local team to host Corona Centennial in a second round game? Doesn’t South Hills already scrimmage Centennial?

    This is great for the Mid-Valley Division. The top two teams from each of the leagues tend to be pretty solid. Eliminating the third automatic bid will significantly strengthen first round games and make a championship run more meaningful.

    Locals remaining in the Souheast have basically just been told that they can’t beat Charter Oak and to win this new division. The catch is the addition of the Suburban League, which is a good thing.


    How nice of the old coaches to show so much confidence in their players and the outcome of their teams if they make it to the playoffs. In contrast is Hagerty’s reply of ,it is appropriate it is where we all want to be, on staying in the Pac – 5 . That is why Amat is Amat and the others , well you decide.

  • JoePa

    WOW! Look at all the coaches complaining. CO and Damien, take some advise from Hagerty, “it is where you are suppose to be.” How many times can CO beat up on LA and/DR. It gets old.

    Mid Valley: Thomas may actually have to coach now. Everyone thought they would get 4 teams from the Valley Vista…Not so. Now you are only guaranteed 2. Wilson, Nogales, Northview, even Covina…Good Luck. I will say this, Covina ALWAYS has the talent and gets out-coached. Maybe McDumbA$@# is back and can play QB.

    Coaches really need to take the Amat, San Dimas, and Arroyo approach….play people to get respect and don’t complain about where you get placed. It is a job and you need to coach your butts off…Sorry Covina, this means you too.

  • BigDog

    Diamond Ranch would have been better in the Sierra league than South Hills seeing Diamond Ranch beat South Hills two years in a row in the play-offs.Also i know Roddy is probably not happy staying in the Southeast Div.and not getting a chance to play some of those teams unlike Steve Bogan at South Hills who has always ran for the hills when you bring on competition for his team.

  • Another example of how some people can not handle challenges and want the easiest road possible. If Charter Oak and S.H. had to play with only the kids in thier area they would both be average. They have made their programs with good coaching and an influx of transfers. The “look the other way” approach by the administrations has made these transfers very easy for both schools. They now will have to work a little harder for playoff success.

    Life is about ups and downs and being able to handle situations with dignity and class. There is alot of whining going on right now.

    On a side note: The guru blasted the CIF for finally doing something about the unethical practices by some high school athletic programs. This is upsetting to the guru when it is South Hills. If it were Charter Oak or another school he would be very less passionate. This is the same self serving and biased approach that he had when he handles his famous recruting “board” that he always speaks of.

  • frank

    About time some of these teams have to play some real competition to win a cif championship.I mean lets be realistic Charter oak was playing Diamond Ranch in the final. If they were really as good as they claim they should of crushed them. The fact that Diamond Ranch even made the finals shows how weak the leauge is.

  • Living Legend

    JoePa, first off you know very little about what you talk about. You state that Covina always has had the talent but they get out coached, can you tell me how many all valley players they have had since 2006. Or how many all CIF players they have had since that time. And don’t try and say that well it is because of coaching they have not had any of these players, cause what the coachs at Covina don’t want any of those kids to shine? You must be one of these parents who thinks there kid was great when in reality they probably were marginal at best!

  • Farrar just said what?

    “It’s like a left and right hook, then maybe a little punch to the gut because if you get into the playoffs you get to go two hours to get your butt kicked and go home.” -Lou Farrar

    “We will be very pressed in our league to win in the first round.” -Greg Gano

    Hagarty said something like “We might not win it (Pac5) but we’re sure gonna try” and got lambasted on this blog for “lack of confidence.” Big Lou’s saying they’re going to “get their butt kicked” and Gano’s “hard pressed to win a game”.

    This pair needs to grow a pair

  • Baby Sitter

    Whawhawha, bunch of cry baby coaches whineing and complaining! Take a note from Pasquarella and have your players strap it up and get it done the best you can.
    I’m ashamed to be a part of the SGV football family after reading that!

  • JoePa

    Instead of Whinning like Coach Thomas and the others, they should be excited. Layton is pissed that he is in a soft division. I wish more coaches took the Layton approach. I don’t always like his coaching antics, but I have to respect his thirst for competition and willingness to take on challenges.

  • SGV pigskin fan

    All this back and fourth about CO and So. Hills taking on Amat and being the better team then a Amat, etc, etc, etc. Then the thought of moving you where you play a Corona Centennial and now it is not fair play. “We will be early a exit from the playoffs going there for a playoff game” What is that nonsense? Where is all the tough talk now.? Amat stays in the Pac 5 Div.1 and you pooosies complain about having to step up to face IE teams.? Good Grief make up your minds. Do you have the gonads or not?

  • thisisfunny

    Listen too all the butt-hurt people attacking C.O and SHills for moving up. What you’re actually saying is you’re tired of being outcoached and outplayed in the valley. It’s not about them having to face tougher competition, it’s about you having easier competion now that they’re gone so you can finally have a shot at winning a title. Talk about being afraid of challenges. You’re the ones who can’t handle challenges, you’re the ones who don’t want to face the best in your own valley. What you’re doing privately is celebrating because the teams you could never beat you won’t have to face anymore. how chicken is that?

  • Right

    If Layton was that upset maybe he should have talked to his pricipal when she whined and cried during the re-leagueing process.

  • WTF

    This change exposes the fundamental problem with football in San Gabriel Valley. The are happy in beating each other. To be a great program you must compete at the highest level at all times (even during practice). Great Example Del LaSalle. They look for best teams in country.


    That is quite a spin on this situation .Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. (No racial implications here just a saying). What it boils down to is finally CO and SH are being moved and rightfully so to where they belong. You are just pissed because you can’t be the big bad bullies on the block anymore. The competition in that division (Southeast) will be fair now with like talented teams playing for the championship. As had been said on the blog CO and SH have bragged for quite a while that Amat has been dodging them and they are the tops in the SGV . So now you just have to go out and prove it . Man it’s not like they got moved into the PAC-5 where they would never have a chance . Maybe now they will know just easy they had it . Another thing is just read what those valley legends are saying about the challenge they will face. Some how they don’t look as legendary as they were thought to be . Hey Fred you better frame that picture of them with all those rings because it will become a collectors item now.

  • footballfan

    OK everyone out there in high school football land. Let the recruiting begin. Those coaches whom are the best recruiters will be able to compete in these new leagues and divisions. So parents get ready for many coaches and there cronnies to make contact with you and your son regarding attending there school. Don`t let the coaches complaints bother you all, because it`s just a smoke screen to get started on recruiting. A suggestion to all of you JAA or Pop Warner or even Snoop Dog`s league coaches, now is your opportunity to coach on the high school level, because of your knoledge of the local talent.


  • thisisfunny

    You know what’s absolutely true is that no team in the Valley ever wants to move up, nobody is petioning to move up, they all ask to stay where they are or ask for relief.

  • saladays

    Oh no!!!! How unfair!!! šŸ™ We have to play teams that have as much as we do.

    Or GASP!!! Teams with more talent than us!!!! How are we suppose to win games that way?!?

    Yours in mediocrity,

    Gano, Bogan, and Farrar


    Its just not Fair!!!!

  • BigDog

    Trust me we “NEVER” whine and cry at DR.We leave that to the cheater Steve Bogan and the GURU at South Hills.I know for a fact that the GURU has cif number and he knows how to use it.Pretty PATHETIC…….

  • Dan

    “The prevailing wisdom now is the proposals will make it easier for teams like Diamond Ranch, Muir and West Covina to win a CIF title now that Charter Oak is gone.”
    Sorry Fred, the prevailing wisdom is that the Southeast now has teams that for the most part will play with kids from within their own district, there won’t be any schools with the unfair advantage of being loaded with key transfers or out of district kids like the two that were moved up. The difference was that most of the key players of those teams were not home grown like the rest of the teams in the Southeast. Despite all of that I still hope to see the Sierra in the Southeast Division because it’s fun to challenge those schools.

  • SoccerCoach

    It is funny to see the football coaches crying when the sports other than the big 3 get the shaft during every releaguing cycle because of the strength of the football program. CO and SH football may be upset, but what about all of the “minor” sports that will struggle to compete in the Sierra League? Every coach will rally their kids to try to step up to the competition, but they still know what the reality is.


    Boy all this sounds so familiar!!Sounds just like our government (Local,State and Federal)They cant agree on anything.All they do is complain about everything.Everybody pointing the finger at somebody.Maybe they should just suck it up and go out and have a good time and play some football.Who knows what will happen,”maybe”somebody will suprise us this year.Maybe it wont be the same old thing.Every year its great to see some of the other programs be successful.Lets just go out and catch a great nite of High School Football,even if it isnt your usual team.Seeing a good game can do alot for a persons sanity in these crazy times.Good luck all !!!

  • shhs fan

    looks like someone has it out for bogan. how can you even say hes afraid of competition whe sh has played teams like tesoro and la habra and have scheduled los osos? Who has DR been Scheuling lately? how can you say hes a cheater that whines as well? because the canadas couldnt play? i gaurentee you if they saw the field cif would have been different. looks like the only whiners here are at D.R.

  • Joe Amat


    Just wanted to dispute your statement,
    “You know what’s absolutely true is that no team in the Valley ever wants to move up, nobody is petitioning to move up, they all ask to stay where they are or ask for relief.”

    This releaguing cycle the Serra League coaches decided to stay up at the highest level, largely through the leadership of Amat and Loyola. That extends all the way back to big disputes over a move down in both the 80’s & the 90’s. Crespi, Notre Dame, Alemany and Harvard-Westlake (who were going to be part of the releaguing process) wanted to stay in a lower division while Amat and Loyola fought to stay at the top. Guess who won that those debates?

  • thisisfunny

    Joe Amat, you’re absolutely right about that, and I bet you’re the only one.

  • Vulcan’s Logic


    If my kid has to play Pac-5 like opponents, maybe I should send him to a Pac-5 school.

    Where’s the closest Pac-5 school guys? LOL!


  • To this is funny:

    Why don’t you read your own post. The very thing you are accusing all of the jealous people for are exactly the things your team(s) have benefitted from for over a decade. Arre you an idiot? What are you talking about?

  • Come On

    Now some may understand the VVL having to travel four+ hours to play a playoff game.

    Its funny how two hours is such a big commute?

  • c – dawgger numero cinco

    they should start nitpicking n consolidating the divisions enough to a point where its possible to do a 32 team format. with one dead week in between regular season and postseason to rest for the maximum 5 game (or 6 if youre oaks christian, de la salle, etc) journey.

    C Dawg

  • Born and Raised SGV

    Joma, whats your beef with the Covinas coaching staff? You really do not have a clue of what you are talking about.

    Who knows? Now with the realignment and we all know SH, Damien, CO and WC can kiss anymore plans for a CIF titles they may have just need to transfer to Covina. Now now.. Before you drop bombs on that lets take a look at the positives. Our offense makes everyone look better than what they really are (no shame in that). Our spread offense will take your average QB and allow him to rush 500 yards and pass over a 1000 yards easily. Take a good QB and double that and you will be the next SGV player of the year. It is all about numbers, you can say what you want about these other schools (SH, CO, WC) besides Amat, no other school has produced a back to back POY. I know what everyone thought when the Tribune gave the award to MCD WTF?? How could they? .. The worst part of was that McD was not a legit QB, he only became the QB his junior year when he was awarded his first POY, was only 56 a buck 60 under the pads and one of the lowest GPAs on the squad. What he did have, was balls. He had a careless attitude on the field. Can you imagine what would happen if you put in a solid person in the spread (our spread, not just any spread). Lets take a recent name like Brandon Parham (SH) a few years back. Brandon waited in the wings to be the next QB at SH. Played 3 games and Bogan saw that Deen was the better of the two and placed Parham at receiver (senior year), where he shined with all league, all CIF and making the tribune team after missing his first 3 games at receiver. Can you imagine him at Covina with his mobility and arm? Now he is trying to get a shot at MTSAC… I could have almost guaranteed him a Pac 10 school if he would have went to Covina. Imagine the numbers and recognition. Dont hate Covina, if you have a kid out there that is stuck under someone better, bring them, we can make him shine if he has balls. Think about it.
    May be thats why Joma, does not know what he is saying and seems to be upset with Covina.
    Go Colts


    Word around Covina is that Aram took what big Lou said out of context. Fred I hope there was no manipulation of words going on. I really dont think Aram would do that or Hmmmm? If its true what big Lou said I think he is getting the kids ready mentally because these damn kids are waiting to compete at the next level. I cant wait to play Chino hills for the Sierra league championship and then knock off one of these big mouth IE teams especially Norco in the playoffs.


  • Harsh Reality

    I think it just might be what Big Lou knows way deep down inside. No more fooling people by “winning” a CIF Championship and trying to lay claim to being “the best”

  • toolman

    At the end of the day, both co and sh have very very good football coaching staffs and coach hs football the right way. Now lets see what they always preach to the kids that is “compete against the best brings out the best” and preach it to themselves and allow others without the cif banners a chance to win. Chino hills although pretty good still are even with co and sh. And best of all which I have not heard yet, co and sh play each other with the winner getting a leg up in the recruiting battles for the local middle schools talent thats left from Amat/Damien.

    The newspapers will be congrats to those new “coaching gurus”, where have they been the last few years.

    My guess Amat and Damien (especially Amat)will be big benefactors of this since they are private and can really recruit without any hasles. And even though im a big public school guy thats ok because they play in tougher public divisions.

    If he really said this, ouch.

    “It’s a double whammy for us,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said of the league and division switch. “It’s like a left and right hook, then maybe a little punch to the gut because if you get into the playoffs you get to go two hours to get your butt kicked and go home. But they think it will be good for CIF.”

  • Born and Raised SGV

    You can have the best coaching staff in HS and you will not win a CIF title competing with the IE. The schools are far to big. You dont have to go far, Baseline is the closest. Upland, RC, Los Osos and Etiwanda. They are all solid every year, they do not need to rely on recruiting. They have enough of a talent pool coming out of a large enrollment. Just Claremont and Damien. These schools are good enough to compete with the Big dawgs outside of the SGV. I know you both have heart but you must be honest.


    Born and Raised SGV, tell me what players have been recruited to play at Charter Oak from last years team? Don’t you think that if we were recruiting CIF would have stepped in by now just like they did with the Canada brothers… I really hope that CO gets moved up to the Inland I don’t care if I have to drive the family to temecula to watch the game. This year will be a dog fight because and we will make a push in playoffs but lets be realistic were not winning a CIF championship next year. Santiagos Senior year will be a great year to make a run for the title, with all the experience this underclassman team will have. This freshman class will lead us to the Inland title guaranteed mark my words this was a special group of kids and the next three years will be special. Remember Charter Oak reloads while other teams rebuild!


  • AMAT 73

    Here,here, I like the tone of that post. Even without caps I can see where you feel CO is up to the challenge . Good luck in the new league and division and go out show the ie what SGV football is all about.

  • Rowland raiders

    i believe rowland will have a very strong year and take out most of their competition

  • Hey Covina

    The only thing your “Spread” is good for is a double double at in-n-out, and can I have that animal style please.

  • Born and Raised SGV

    “Hey Covina”

    Yes sir, the same sread that produced the back to back POY. The same spread that allowed a group of non experienced soph compete with teams like Walnut and Rowland last year. Are there better teams? Of course not saying we are the best or saying we are one of the top teams.

    Besides the animal style spread you are looking for I have some for you not Covina. Don’t worry .. I will drink plenty of pineapple juice for you.

  • Wait a minute

    Born and Raised SGV said,

    Didn’t San Dimas play the same amount of sophmores as you did? I also remember baldwin park played a few too???? Covina Didn’t hand with Rowland and walnut sucked. Besides you have no d line (#33 is gone, No jazz, No shorts )and linebackers next year.

  • Born and Raised SGV

    “SGV Football”
    Please read my title.. I am not against you. I hope our SGV teams the best. But I witnessed the baseline up front. Upland, RC and Los Osos have JV teams that can compete and beat most ofour SGV teams. They have more kids that enroll and more kids to develop. While CO was excited about the 60 plus Frosh that came out this year. Upland had 125. While you have a good core of kids here at our local high schools working hard and playing double sports it is the opposite out there. Upland had 3, center fielder (Franky) who is going to USC, Linebacker/Catcher and a non starter. Unless your AMAT, its hard for a local SGV team to have kids focus in the off season on one sport. Same goes for Los Osos and RC. Now the biggest is the money. You have Frosh kids that are huge with no coordination and legs however mommy and daddy take them to EM training or IE Sport Center and they legit lineman (same goes for all positions). Out here, you have a few kids that go to workouts like that, out there you have complete teams that get together.

  • Born and Raised SGV

    Wait a minute,

    Covina had 8 sophs, 2 juniors and 1 senior starting once the dust settled.If i remember correctly SD had 3 sophs with the rest majority Seniors and a few juniors. BP had majority Seniors and Juniors. As far as the games, Rowland did not have it easy, the game was tight until the experienced kicked in and they took over in the last quarter. Walnut sucks? only lost to Rowland, SH and WC.Dont hate, Rhodes and that receiver had a good team.

    #33 is out however we only lost 1 senior at linebacker.

    Like I have said before. I am not sayng we are the best.. we don’t attract those players…but with the realigment we have a better chance at playoffs than CO and SH.

  • wait a minute

    Born and Raised SGV,

    I was at the Rowland game and you were in it to the end of the first quarter when Ball pick sixed you! BTW, Baldwin Park is preparing for you!!!!!


    I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the Sierra League is going to get a first class education in competing at a superior level. At last we’ll get to see just how good Gano, Farrar, and Bogan really are. At last everyone will understand, appreciate, and possibly relate to what Bishop Amat has had to face year after year for the past 30 years.

    Welcome to a bigger, brighter world Sierra League!

  • From the Bleachers


    Well I do not know just how much easier everyone thinks it is going to be for the Newly Reformed Hacienda League to now win a CIF Football Championship, But if I were anyone in that Division I would not overlook the Suburban League. Mayfair and La Mirada always field some Very Competitive Teams that are usually Rank in CIF. Some of the other schools are now stepping up and are fielding some very good teams as well. It will be interesting to see how many returning Starters they have coming back this year. I know that both Schools have ended a Bonita run at a CIF Championship, and I am sure Coach Podley will not be overlooking the Suburban League returning to the Division.

    Wishing Football Season was here!
    From the Bleachers