The Scouting Guru takes a trip down memory lane with South Hills – West Covina rivalry

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 in the San Gabriel Valley.

Thursday night at Covina District Field, West Covina and South Hills will lock horns in one of the longest running rivalries in the San Gabriel Valley. And for many football, there are football games and then there is West Covina vs. South Hills. Now some fans might argue that the Smudge Pot is bigger, or that the Charter Oak vs. Glendora game is very important for the talent on the field, and others might argue that Covina vs. Northview deserves to be used in the same breathe. And their could be some validity to it. But, as far as I am concerned, West Covina vs. South Hills ranks right at the top of the list. (To continue, click thread).


And there are several reasons for this. First off, both schools reside in the city of West Covina and are separated by a mire 3 miles. Second, it always produces compelling storylines and subplots. Third, you have two of the better coaching staffs in the area matching wits against each other with great athletes on both sidelines.

For the past six years, I’ve had a front row seat to this rivalry as a member of the coaching staff at South Hills. It’s been a seat that I’ve enjoyed for every minute with great memories that will last a lifetime. So I’d thought I would give you the bloggers an inside view of the game from someone that has been in the “line of fire.” Maybe it will help you give a better perspective on the Thursday night’s game at CDF.

My first year was in 2004 and when it came to West Covina week on campus, it was pretty intense. Both teams were coming into the game with some momentum. South Hills had players like Tobi Umodu, Kevin Mort and Brian Slover in their junior year with lineman such as Jacob Calderon and Kawika Householder on the offensive line. West Covina had future NFL star Walter Thurmond and a sophomore QB by the name of George Munoz (who definitely had some swag to him).

To this day, the 2004 game is one of my most memorable games to have ever been a part of. Late In the first quarter, Mort was knocked out of the game (and let’s just say that I am very thankful that West Covina has moved to field turf… let’s just leave it at that) and head coach Steve Bogan had to move wide receiver Michael Schneider to quarterback. Coach Bogan’s call sheet of 90+ plays shrunk down to 9-10 plays. And that’s all it took as the Huskies’ offensive line just man-handled West Covina’s defensive line. One of my last memories of the game was seeing on one play a big wall of white shirts moving forward with RB Marquise Winbush just running as hard as he could. South Hills ended up winning that night 17-10.

West Covina got the last word in on the rivalry in the CIF-SS Division VII playoffs that year when the defeated South Hills 17-6. It was the night that Thurmond took command of the game right from the start. He showed why he was Player of the Year in Division VII. That game provided one of the lasting lessons for the players on South Hills that were coming back the next season. Practice is everything. I felt that South Hills didn’t have a great week of practice and it should that night. The loss provided a lot of hunger for the Huskies in the off-season to becoming one of the better teams in 2005.

The 2005 game also sticks out in my mind. I have been a ton of South Hills practices. None could match the week of West Covina in 2005. Usually at any HS practice, you can get a couple of kids screwing around, and the focus among the starters in fine. That was not the case in 2005. The minute practice started on Monday thru walk-thru’s on Friday afternoon – there was no goofing around. There no was no joking around. Everyone was serious from the first minute to the last. In my eyes, it was the single greatest week of practice that I have ever experienced at South Hills. A lot of the players on that SH squad remember the feeling of 2004 defeat in the finals and just didn’t want that feeling again.

If anyone tells you that special teams in not important in the game of football, all you have to do is put in the tape of the 2005 game to prove them wrong. And if anyone tells you that South Hills had a soft defense, that was dispelled after this game as well. A block punt by Brian Slover – that turned into a scoop and score by Ricky Cortez – and the performances of Fred Glaster and Marquise Winbush helped the Huskies defeat West Covina 28-13. It proved to be a water-shed moment for both schools. West Covina would finish third in the league and get eliminated by Orange HS in the first round. South Hills would end up winning the San Antonio League and defeating the same Orange HS team for the school’s fifth CIF-SS football championship.

The 2006 game had a interesting dynamic to it. First off, it was the feeling amongst many in the community that this West Covina team had it’s best team EVER. And with so many players from the 2005 team gone due to graduation, it was the feeling that if there was a time that West Covina could put the hammer of the Huskies – this was the year.

And after Rowland defeated South Hills (for the first time ever in the school’s history) a week before the game – it appeared that the observers could be right. An interesting subplot to the game was that West Covina had changed it’s offense from the Wing-T to spread offense. After a narrow loss to Mater Dei at Mt. SAC in the season opener, the Bulldogs had rode a lot of momentum coming into the game.

If you ask coach Bogan which team he enjoyed coaching the most, it was the 2006 team. And I happened to agree with it. There were new coaches to the staff (which included new offensive line coach Albert Rodriguez – who I believe is currently the best OL coach in the area, bar none) and very young players. Players like Damon Kuklinski, Brandon Parham, John Earnest, Kebin Umodu who become big-time players for South Hills the next season. And then there was quarterback Nick Lamaison, He was the back-up to Kevin Mort for two seasons (which made him feel like the Jim Sorgi of the area) – but this was his team now and he was improving each and every week.

One of the two memories of the game came at halftime with South Hills leading 14-0. In the locker room after coach Bogan had gotten done speaking to his players, Lamaison jogged his way over to the exit doors and was jumping around like a wrestler ready to lay the hammer on the wrestling mat. His words to me were simple, “I just want to get back out there and play some more football coach.” Talk about a kid that was in the moment.

The other memory was that the South Hills defense was so dominate in the first half, West Covina changed it’s offense for the second half (and for the rest of the season) and went back to the Wing-T. It didn’t matter when the night ended, South Hills had defeated West Covina 23-3 en route to another San Antonio League title.

The 2007 game has a special meaning to yours truly personally and the reason was simple – it was the FSN Prime Ticket HS Game of the Week. For that reason alone is the reason why this rivalry trumps another rivalry in the area. When your game hits national TV, well, enough said. As was usually the case, both teams had a lot of momentum coming into the game and it was one of the most anticipated games of the year.

It all changed for me when I arrived at CDF for the game. I took a long look around CDF that night well before the game started and saw all the sky-jacks with TV cameras on them and the production trucks inside CDF and the first thing I told coach Bogan when he asked what I thought, all I could tell him was “Darnest thing that I’ve ever seen.”

So many memories for me from that game. One of the most lasting memories happened before the game. During the stretching period, I went over to RB Dorian Wells and asked him if he was doing Ok. He said he was fine and asked me “How many yards do I have to have to get to 1000?” I told him he needed 130 yards. When I asked him if he was going to do it that night, he said, “I’ll get that in the first half… I promise!” I shook my head and walked away telling myself “Boy oh boy, this is kid going to put on a show.” And a show he did, amassing 280 yards of total offense (by himself) – and scoring 4 touchdowns, en route to being named player of the game as South Hills defeated West Covina 35-24.

The game also showcased two other big-time players, South Hills junior QB Cameron Deen and West Covina sophomore RB Ricky Johnson. Both used the game to future successes for both schools.

The 2008 game had a lot of subplots. And there was a lot riding for South Hills. A win and they would be outright champions of the San Antonio League and would have been seeded no lower that third for the CIF-SS playoffs. A loss (mixed in with the fact that they lost the coin-toss with Rowland and West Covina) and they would enter the game as a third-place team from the league.

The lesson from the 2008 game that I learned was that injuries are a bigger factor in this sport than in any other sports. To say that SH was hurting would be kid an understatement. Several key injuries on both sides of the ball would force coach Bogan and he is staff to start a lot of underclassman. The Bulldogs were the more hungrier team that night and won on the final drive of the game 14-7. Both teams would end up making it to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS playoffs.

Last year’s game had some interesting moments that I will take with me. First, I’ve never been to a more intense JV game than the game last year between these two schools. From the moment, the ball kicked off, both teams just took it to each other. South Hills would end up winning the game. But one the memory of that day took place right after the game was over. Jacob Shirley – who had transferred from West Covina to South Hills – was leaning against the fence at the enterence of the field just watching the game quietly when several West Covina players came over and let’s just say that they were talking some stuff to him. He just stood there and didn’t say a word. He was the picture of calm and didn’t let any of the West Covina players get to him.

The motto of the week that coach Bogan had for the team during the week was very simple… “Do your job!” That’s all the coaches said during the week and it was the number one key to game that was written on the chalkboard before the game. And boy did they do their job. The Huskies amassed 400 yards in total offense and defeated West Covina 27-6. Geoff Vaughns added his name to the list of players that had their best game against West Covina.

Those are some of my memories, I know that many of you have memories of this game as well. I would love for you to share them with us.

When people ask me why the game is special, it’s simple. The main reason why this game is so special is because of the people that encompass both schools. First you have two coaches that are really good friends in Steve Bogan and Mike Maggoire. They have a lot of respect for each other and you will never hear them say that they hate each other. They have assistant coaches that are among the best in the business.

But, if there was one reason why this game is special is because of the respect both teams have for each other. There is no hatred when these teams play each other. The players have a lot of respect for one another and they will see each other during the season. It’s a game for bragging rights. You win the game, you get to walk around the community with your chest out because your team won it on the field. There is no trophy that is awarded at the end of the night. It’s a shake of the hands for one another…a sign of mutual respect. And besides, isn’t that what high school football is about?

My involvement with this game is absent with my other obligations that I have now-a-days. So – just like the many of you in the stands – I will be watching this one and seeing who will be the new hero’s at the end of the night. Which player will put their personal stamp on this rivalry when all is said and done. It’ll be fun to watch. It’ll be the type of game that Bill Dunn would have loved to have been a part of.

Thursday night will mark the first night that the late Bill Dunn will not be at a South Hills vs. West Covina game. For people like myself, it will just not seem right. The reason is simple… Bill Dunn was just quality people. He loved football in the area… and he really loved West Covina HS. I always made it a point to seek Bill out before the game (as well as after the game) and we would just talk about life in general. With each conversation, I could understand why their was a love between the players and coach Dunn. He handled himself with dignity and class… something that some coaches in the area could do a better job of.

I know Bill will be at the game tonight… enjoying it for the best seat in the house… in heaven with his West Covina gear on cheering on his boys. And we would not want it any other way. A tip of the cap to the fine gentleman from Covina!!!

Enjoy the game!

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  • FACT

    Rowland defeated SH in 84, I think
    your “facts” only go back to when
    you arrived at SH.

  • Bulldog Mom Alum

    We got an angel in our stands. GO BULLDOGS!!

  • dick slivers

    with KH laying low, I nominate coach h2o-get back for the worst syntax,grammar,vocab,spelling and condescending-self promotion on the tribs blog…… congrats highme, there is no runner-up in sight, you’re so far out in front of the field in every category, somewhere,somebody is shockingly, proud? of you …your trophy at this years banquet will be a plastic replica of the “short bus”…..take care

  • Don

    Dude, that is some tortured prose.

    And so much of it too.

  • Edgewood

    Fact Said

    I love that comment. John Bell, Hector Meza and the boys.

  • Edgewood

    Steve Bogan was a Varsity Football Assistant Mike Maggiore’s Freshman year at Edgewood. Steve also coached the Frosh Reserve Basketball (Mike was on the Freshman team).

    Steve’s brother Jeff coached Maggiore in Football his J.V. and Varsity years.

    Steve Bogan and Mike Maggiore go back to the fall of 81′.

  • Jimmy C. Corn

    im going against WC humble style and will tell it from where i saw the 2008 game which was on the SH sideline.Jesse Ili played on one leg and still averaged 5 yds a carry. Richard Tejada played sick. Sophmore LB Marquise Dupleasis had to be inserted due to injury to starter.Starting qb was a sophmore.When the 3rd quarter started the SH players looked like they didnt want anymore. WC just ran the rock right at them, no tricks so you see guru excuses are like opinion columns. I think SH was ranked No 1 in cif at that time but not that day!You called out some coaches in the area. Lets start with you. If you were less biased or better yet have your favorite but be more thoughtful of your opponent when giving praise and less of yourself!

  • Three Blind Mice

    West Covina made it to semi in 2008 while SH bowed out in the quarters. Maybe we can all get together and start our own publication since accuracy and unbias reporting are not requirements.

  • Raider Alum

    Not that it is a big deal, since the Raiders only beat the Huskies once in the past eight years. In the seven times that South Hills faced Rowland (before they both joined the San Antonio League in 2002) the Huskies won 4 times (79, 80, 81, and 82) while the Raiders won 3 times (78, 83, and 84). Great article on the West Covina/South Hills rivalry. It definitely sheds some light on the recent times, but I am sure it was also pretty intense back in the 70′s when the Spartans and Huskies were both in the Sierra League and the top division of CIF.

  • WHAT’S FAIR IS FAIR

    Fred j , To be fair why not invite WEST COVINA DAN to right a column on the same games as he saw them . Surely you could allow that because you allow the over biased point of view by south hills finest. I know one thing win or lose Dan would tell it like it is .

  • diogenes

    You would have to go back to the 70s for some of the toughest SH-WC games ever played, highlighted by some of the best individual and team performances ever seen. In those days the WC-Edgewood games were the most emotional, also cross-town rivalries, but in the other direction and between schools in the same district like San Dimas-Bonita or Los Altos-Wilson. There weren’t any 300 pounders in those days, but I’ve never seen harder hitting on a high school football field than by South Hills and West Covina or against Edgewood. Most of the players had gone through West Covina Jr. American football together, when they put eight teams on the field with excelllent coaching. Laid the foundation for all three high schools to compete at the highest levels. Lots to choose from. As and example, from 70-74, WC had frosh, soph, JV, and varsity teams and few players went both ways. There were as many as 90 out for frosh football and full squads at the other levels. Los Altos was just beginning to flex its muscle under Despain and those games were titanics as well. Check the Trib morgue and you’ll see how it was.

  • dick slivers

    hey digonenes you refer to SH/WC playing at the highest level, you’re mistaken, badly mistaken, never happened, at their very best, these teams were D4 or D5 in football, get your facts straight, the guru, wait the heck with him lol

  • NOT SO SURE ABOUT THAT

    dick silver,
    Not so sure about that . I believe in the 70′s those teams were part of the original Sierra league which I think was 3A and highest at the time was 4A . I remember LA being 4A not sure of the others but they might have back in those days. I know Dan can rectify that or any other SGV old timer.

  • Huskies Homer

    Little FredJ you never seize to amaze me because right when I was about to tell myself give the guy a little bit of credit at least he doesn’t have the guru posting comments on his blog anymore low and behold you give in and against your better judgment you let him in for another stupid rant and what’s worse he represents you because you are making a choice to let him sound off on your blog.

    I used to think the guru was weak but your weaker because you give into him and or your ego and hits and good regardless right? At this point can’t we say that birds of a feather flock together and you two come from the same mold either that or separate yourself because the guru is old news in the Valley and thank God he’s moved onto greener pastures. We’re happy to see the front runner leave town. He knew what was best for him and got out of town before he even got himself into even more trouble. Let me spell that for you FredJ T R O U B L E. Earn some respect and do a better job or is that the best you can give us is the almighty guru.

    This reader at least expect more from you even if you don’t expect that of yourself. And guru good luck but please do everyone a favor and just leave us alone for good meaning the good of the program and especially the kids. Then again, we’ll see you in November when were undefeated and your new team is crashing and burning miserably.

  • Dan

    2004 – regular season, The game was tight,your “O”line did not dominate our “D” line look at the film, but your “D” was good that night. On your last TD drive on 4th and 1 WC made a key stop but the refs gave a terrible spot, its on film, should have been WC first down but instead SH gets the ball and scores on the next play. That made the score 17 to 7 final score was 17 to 10, should have been 10 to 10.
    2004 Title game, Total Domination by WC from the first play, Final score 19 to 8, one of Walter Thurmond TD’s was called back or it could have been 26 to 8.
    2005 – Your correct, special teams was the difference that night. A blocked punt, a fumble on a kickoff, A snap over the punters head, an interception with a nice return and our punter touching his knee to the ground on a low snap all combined to spot your boys a short field and a 21 to 0 lead in the first half. Our boys came out fighting the second half and had two three and outs in a row, and in between those three and outs we had two nice drives for touchdowns to make it 21 to 13.
    Your boys came thru late with their only sustained drive of the night to put the game out of reach 28 to 13. That team in 2005 was probably the best team SH had in the Bogan era.
    As for your defense that year it was a good “D”
    but we held your boy’s to a little over a buck 30 in total yards in the game. Meanwhile we had over 330 yards on your “D”.
    2006 – Many felt this was one of the best WC teams of the 2000′s but this decade doesn’t compare to the teams WC had in the 60′s and 70′s.
    Those teams played with and beat the big boys on more than a few occasions. Teams like St. Paul, Loyola, Fontana, Eisenhower, H.B. Edison and others fell to the great WC teams of that era.
    The tragedy about the 2006 team is it never reached its potential due to some key players getting in trouble in school, we were hoping to get them back for South Hills but instead one got kicked out of school and another got suspended. Never the less
    South Hills put a beat down on us.
    2007 – Many expected a South Hills blowout that year as they were heavily favored in that game but the scrappy Bulldogs Led by sophomore QB Jake Shirley who would later transfer to eventually become South Hills QB, surprise a few folks with a hard fought game that ended up being closer than expected.
    2008 – See Jimmy C Corns post, I like his view better, great night for the Bulldogs.
    2009 – If you want to use injuries as an excuse
    for 2008 then how about the injuries we had in 2009, much worse scenario for the Bulldogs that year, still missing 3 key starters for SH game and 2 others had just gotten back from leg injuries that week and the week before, they were still trying to get in shape. Don’t know if it mattered much anyways cause we played a terrible game that night, just a bad night all the way around.
    There you have it James, you see I can be just as biased as you can, but maybe with a little more accuracy, lol. Maybe I’ll see you Thursday night.

  • Dennis Reynolds

    Hey Fred, Thanks for letting the “Guru” pollute the blog with his inarticulate memories of a classic San Gabriel Valley rivalry.

    His terribly biased opinion(toward South Hills) of the last six years of this game is a disservice to the readers of this blog.

    The “Guru” said that the 2008 game was lost by South Hills due to injuries; the CIF Title game was lost by South Hills due to poor practices that week (The last week of the season? That’s your excuse?).

    Even his general statements are moronic. For example; “The lesson from the 2008 game that I learned was that injuries are a bigger factor in this sport than in any other sports”

    Really Guru? Have you heard of basketball? The sport that carries around 10-14 players on a team!

    Fred, I understand that you are trying to stir up some controversy by allowing this guy to post (you have been doing this the last few years) but I think your credibility is at stake now.

    But if you choose to continue to allow the “Guru” to spew his garbage,then at least get his post edited for grammar, spelling, etc..

  • Dan

    Dick Slivers,
    You have no clue, it appears you know nothing about WC,SH,LA and the Sierra league of the mid to late 70′s, They were division 4A, equal to todays Pac 5 or D1, those teams were amongst the top in the state and nation. The 4 years I was in high school a Sierra league team took the CIF 4A title 3 out of 4 years. The national ranking of those 3 CIF championship teams were #4, #5, and #3 in the nation.
    The Sierra was considered to be the toughest
    league in the state at that time.

  • Jastrab

    Dan,

    What I do recall in the 70′s is that South Hills took itself out of the Sierra for the Valle Vista even though they were competitive in Football. Yes, they ran off 8 or 10 league titles, but they should have remained in the Sierra with West Cov, Edgewood, Rowland, Wilson and Los Altos. They all stuck it out until the moved the entire league out of 4AAAA and I believe the Moore League in 82.

    I sat near Winford Roberson (79 – Weber State/Arizona state)on the South Hills side in 04 and asked him what he was doing on the wrong side of the field. He said is daughter was going to South Hills. The South Hills side was quiet that night.

    -J

  • sh alum

    FYI
    South Hills Played in the highest football division along with the rest of the league. You actually need to go back to the 60s for the sierra league. SH beat St. John Bosco in the Coliseum in 74 and finished ranked 2nd nationally. Moeller High in Ohio (ranked #1 nationally) offered to fly SH out but CIF would not allow it. WC used to be coached by Mel Eaton who went on to coach at MtSac and Coach Tim Brancheau.

  • SHHS

    Dennis R

    Just another example that this clown was nothing more than a second rate water boy here at SH.

    He truly beleives he reps our school in some fashion but beleive me that’s not even close to being true.

  • JFR

    I thought he was a Crespi honk this year, I swear he was about to cry after Cresenta Valley beat Crespi in the semi’s at San Diego passing tournament.
    “Right when we thought he was out, Fred pulled him back in” Thanks Fred.

  • HE WAS BUT

    JFR,
    He was a Crespi honk until they lost to West Covina oh excuse me I mean Dominguez you know afterall they are the same team only in a different uniform. I just couldn’t resist throwing that one in. Sorry COCF , well on second thought I am not sorry, you deserve everything that’s been coming your way lately . Like they say karma and payback is a biatch.

  • AntiGuru

    Hey Guru,

    Where does the A$$ kicking of 2010 rank on your memory lane????

  • Trevino

    Big Game,

    Don’t listen to all these haters. Keep up the good work.

  • SGV for 30 Years

    The old Sierra Laague from the mid 70′s, Man now that was some football. Seemed like almost every game was a rivalry game. I would put the West Covina, South Hills, and Los Altos teams from that time period up against any teams from this era. DeSpain (LA) was the master coach, Brancheau (WC) was the master motivator, and I think Nemzek was the (SH) coach. Man that South Hills wishbone with Necke was real tough.
    Back then there were only 4 divisions in CIF so you had to fight some real battles in the play-offs. That was definatly the best of time in SGV Football

    SGV430 Ouutt!!