We love our football in the SGV …PrepXtra Football Preview Magazine debuts Wednesday

Are you ready for football? Believe me, we’re tired of transfer talk and training camps, and like you, we’re ready for Thursday and Friday night football. Our first-ever preview magazine, TribXtra, hits newstands and home delivery on Wednesday. So, lets shift the focus to the games. These were my final words before the 2007 season, but the message is always the same. 2010, here we come.

For the players who started during the early days of spring and continued through the brutal summer of two-a-days, it’s lights, camera and action time.
But it’s also a time not to take for granted.
As any former football player worth his helmet can attest to, the wins and losses are never forgotten, but the basic lessons in life are applied forever.
You’ll know about sacrifice, unselfishness, brotherhood, camaraderie, and it will be taught and drilled into your head from coaches who will go down as some of the best role modes you ever had.
So are you ready, because the next 15 weeks are yours.
Enjoy it, soak it up, and revel in it.
The stage is yours to perform in, so take it with class, integrity and a passion for the game that inspires those little kids peaking over the fence who someday hope to wear your jersey.
After all, it’s never too early to be a role model.

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Athletically motivated transfer trend continues

The Times’ Eric Sondheimer has been busy reporting on one athletically motivated transfer after another, and it appears coaches are growing tired of the rule and how it’s enforced. Just today, The Southern Section has declared junior quarterback Chase Favreau from Huntington Beach Edison ineligible for this season, ruling his transfer from Santa Ana Mater Dei was athletically motivated. “We’re pretty much in shock,” Coach Dave White said. White said the lack of the consistency in how the Southern Section decides whether a student moved for athletic reasons concerns him. That’s a shocker, a player transferring from Mater Dei to another school declared athletically motivated. Maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t that mean Mater Dei would have had to challenge the transfer? White told the O.C. Register they’re not accepting CIF’s decision quietly. “We’re going to fight this one … to the hilt,” White said. “It’s totally ridiculous. … We’ve got some angry people at Edison.” Earlier, Norco had three players declared ineligible for athletically motivated reasons.. “This year, schools are really taking time to protest the transfers,” said Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons.

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Sierra League Prediction: Chino Hills gets the top spot in the area’s most anticipated league race

Can you imagine a scenario where Greg Gano, Lou Farrar and Steve Bogan all don’t make the playoffs? Obviously not likely, but it wouldn’t be a shock either considering the depth of the new Sierra League, where if you had to pencil in the worst team on paper, it might be Ayala or Damien, teams that would compete for a league title in any other league in our area. It’s great banter and what you want to see from a fans perspective, quality and traditionally rich teams going head-to-head every week knowing half of them won’t even make the playoffs. Even finishing third is not ideal, not when a playoff bid likely means facing a monster seed in the first-round of the Inland playoffs. But hey, it’s going to be fun isn’t it. Here’s how it shakes out.

Above: Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar won the “Drive for Five” with last year’s Southeast Division title, but the drive for a playoff spot in the Sierra could prove just as difficult for Farrar, South Hills coach Steve Bogan and Damien’s Greg Gano. Enjoy it, it’s not that often that you get the area’s three winningest coaches with 13 CIF titles between them all competing in the same league.

1. Chino Hills — This team has grown on me. Just about every person you speak with, including some coaches in the Sierra, say this is the team to beat by far. Nate harris and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu combined for 23 rushing touchdowns, with Edpre-Olomu also hauling in 45 receptions for 712 yards and seven TDs. They dominated lineman camps over the summer, finished in a three-way tie for the Sierra and finished 10-3, beating Elsinore and Etiwanda easily before losing to Upland in the semifinals of the Central Division last season. If you remember, Charter Oak struggled to a one-point victory over Etiwanda, and that was with a far superior team than they have this year, while the Huskies return a majority of impact players that produced last year’s great season.

2. Charter Oak — Even with everything said about Chino Hills, I was prepared a week ago to put the Chargers on top, then they lost some depth with Chris Gilchrist and Aaron Vaughns declared ineligible. Josiah Thropay and Dennis Rufus will still be a potent combination for QB Travis Santiago, but outside of Andy Orozco, they have a lot to prove on both sides of the line. But what the two-time defending Southeast champs have on the rest is confidence, and a coaching staff as good as any from top to bottom that the southern section has to offer.

3. South Hills — You’re kidding right? They just lost four players to neighboring schools and WR Jamie Canada could be out the season with a knee injury. I’m buying because two-way lineman Sioasi Aiono, Jeff Vargas and Peter Nonu are as legit as it gets, and you can’t advance in this league without the horse’s up front, which they’ve got. Vince Hernandez will be among the area’s best QBs, and Jamel Hart among the area’s best RBs. The Huskies will once again be extremely tough on defense, and if they get Canada back by league, they might even scare Charter Oak or Chino Hills. Your biggest concern if you’re a Husky fan is the swag. Do they still have it after back-to-back losses to Diamond Ranch in the playoffs? Do they have it after watching players flee the program? We’re about to find out.

4. Claremont — People are telling me, including Aram, that this could be the second best team in the Sierra after Pomona High RB Taj Teague transferred to the Wolfpack last week, giving them the one missing piece they sorely needed. Teague could be a monster and is a Division I prospect, and a perfect complement to QB Daniel Kessler, who threw for 2,419 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. This is a team supposedly getting relief by going from the Baseline to the Sierra, but I picked them in this spot because I couldn’t ignore some nonleague losses last year, particularly a 24-0 loss to Damien and just a squeaky 31-28 win over Bonita. They got crushed by everyone in the Baseline except 0-10 Alta Loma, whom they defeated, 45-21. I’m not buying the hype until I see them beat quality teams. And they have to prove they can play better defense.

5. Ayala — The Bulldogs stay out of the cellar and get the edge on Damien because of defense, where they return six starters on a team that lost just 14-7 to Chino Hills, and allowed an average of just 15 points a year ago. They might be offensively challenged again, but coach Tom Inglima’s team rode its defense to a title two years ago, and that seems to be this team’s M.O., once again.

6. Damien — If you listen to coach Gano, he’ll tell you this is too generous. I know he doesn’t really believe that, but on paper it sure looks like they have the least amount of impact players on the roster. RB/WR James Ramirez and LB/RB David Griffith could emerge, but they will have an inexperienced QB, and will have a lot to prove on both sides of the line. But Damien’s always has depth, and with a coaching staff as good as this one, something tells me they will compete, and might even surprise a few.

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CIF apparently reverses decision on Charter Oak’s Chris Gilchrist, he’s cleared

It’s late and I don’t know all the details, but a blogger alerted me to CIF’s website, where in fact Charter Oak WR/DB Chris Gilchrist has been granted a valid change of address transfer on Friday after being denied by Southern Section officials earlier in the week after South Hills wrote a letter to CIF, alleging that Gilchrist’s transfer to Charter Oak was athletically motivated. This is great news for Gilchrist, but another confusing decision from CIF. Why would CIF declare Gilchrist’s transfer athletically motivated, then have an immediate change of heart a few days later? While it takes some schools weeks to get a hearing to make an appeal, apparently something happened within a matter of days for the Section to change its decision. The bottom line is, however, another kid was spared a horrible rule that needs changing.

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Breaking News from Whittier: St. Paul’s Marijon Ancich reinstated after hazing allegations

Our very own Andrew J. Campa has been all over the St. Paul story for the Whittier Daily News, breaking the news that Ancich is returning. St. Paul High School principal Kate Aceves confirmed the Swordsmen will have a near full coaching staff at tonight’s 3-way football scrimmage as nearly the entire varsity staff has been reinstated after a school-imposed eight-day suspension prompted by an investigation by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles into an alleged hazing incident.

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