West Covina knows all about rematch games, Bonita much healthier for the championship

“We’re looking forward to this game. We’re healthy, it’s not like the first time around. We’re playing a lot harder too, we’ve got our postseason minds going on right now.” — Bonita running back Giomani Johnson

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
In Garrett Pendleton’s defense, when the Bonita High School quarterback faced West Covina on Oct. 29, it was just his fourth game since returning from an elbow injury. Although Pendleton threw for 279 yards and a touchdown in the Bearcats’ 55-21 loss, he was sacked six times and threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown late in the first half that turned what could have been a 20-20 halftime score into a 27-13 Bulldogs lead. (To continue, click thread)

Bonita also was without injured two-way starters Zach Brungard (WR/DB) and Cody McKenzie (OL/DL), who will both be available when Bonita (12-1) takes on West Covina (12-1) in a rematch for the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division title on Friday at Walnut High School.

Even running back Giomani Johnson, who has been a big force in the playoffs, had a so-so game against the Bulldogs, rushing for 42 yards on a night the Bearcats only rushed for 69 yards as a team.

“We’re looking forward to this game,” Johnson said. “We’re healthy, it’s not like the first time around. We’re playing a lot harder too, we’ve got our postseason minds going on right now.”

Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore knows all about rematch games.

When the Bulldogs won the CIF-SS Division VII title in 2004, they had to beat Walnut in the playoffs and South Hills in the championship – two teams that defeated the Bulldogs during San Antonio League play.

“It’s always tough to beat a team twice, especially one that’s well-coached,” Maggiore said. “When we beat them the first time, the score was not indicative of how the game went. We had a couple of breaks and they made mistakes in the red zone.

“It’s going to be tough beating them again but our kids know this is everything that we want, so there is no question they will be up for the game.”

But will the players be overconfident?

“We’ll remind them all week it’s not the the same team or the same game, but it comes down to them believing and understanding that,” Maggiore said. “Just look at the Covina game.”

In the season opener West Covina dominated Covina for three quarters, but gave up three touchdowns in the final five minutes to lose 27-21.

“That’s football,” Maggiore said. “It can happen to anyone at any time. What happened before doesn’t matter at all. It’s one game for 48 minutes and the one that plays harder is the one that’s going to be champion.”

Eaton connection

One of the reasons Friday’s championship is at Walnut High School instead of Mt. SAC is because the Mounties are facing San Francisco City College in the state championship at home on Saturday.

Interestingly enough, Mounties coach Bob Jastrab and Maggiore played at Mt.SAC together under coach Mal Eaton.

Maggiore played for Mt. SAC in 1985-86 before moving on to Oregon State.

Maggiore and Jastrab are still close. They have played in a couple basketball leagues together and Jastrab’s brother, Jim, is the golf coach at West Covina.

Maggiore said playing for Eaton obviously served both of them well.

“My father passed away while I was at Mt. SAC and he (Eaton) was very good in helping me through it,” Maggiore said. “He was inspirational. He wrote a book with a lot of thoughts and sayings and gave me a copy when I was hired here. He still follows us as much as he can.”

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  • reality

    Nothing left to say. Pods and staff, great job. This was not the easiest group of kids and parents to shepard through the season but you did it. Boys don’t forget to look around the stadium Fri. night and take it all in and have some fun. These moments will last a lifetime. And win or lose congratulate your foes and hold your heads up you had a great year and gave us fans a ton of memories and pleasure. So until spring practice, I’m out.

  • Jackboy

    Great Job Bonita, We just keep on playing for CIF championships!
    Its always better to be playing in them than watching! Nothing boring about that.
    To all the coaches in all Bonita Sports programs;
    Great job! Its nice that you have created a culture of winning.
    To the student athletes;
    Have fun!
    Go Bearcats!

  • Aaron

    This is what I’ve wanted as a fan all since that game. A rematch WesCo so my Bearcats could exact revenge. However, it doesn’t really matter about me. It’s what they’ve wanted all season. One of the team goals was to beat every team they had lost to last year. Done. Now it’s time to complete this year’s goal and that is to exact revenge, couldn’t be any sweeter being for a championship.

    Something not a lot of Bearcat football teams have had the opportunity to do. Cherish the opportunity, play Bonita Football and it will come.


  • good match up

    Just curious as to where all the La Serna honks are who compared the santa fe games. Defense does truly win games while La Serna had the ball 41 minutes to Bonitas measly 7 WOW” This game will be won or loss in the trenches of the O and D lines. West Covina’s offense is clearly designed to run the ball and they do it well they scored at will the last time these two met obviously running the ball and capitalizing on turnovers. Coach mags was able to slow any bearcat momentum down with time outs and defensive adjustments. Bonita has an offensive that really is only meant to pass as evident in Podley reluctant to run the ball they need to make adjustments running the ball to open up its pass game. For all the adjustments that Mags will make on defense Podley needs to match on offense. Knowing what is to come surely is advantageous to the bearcats as they were able to still put up 21 points and easily could have put up 35. The key will be on defense for the cats slow the run down and force the dogs to pass on 3rd downs and you have a shot. West Covina must continue to run the ball well and force turnovers once again. If they do allow them to get any significant amount of momentum passing the ball in a big way it will surely be detrimental to the outcome of the game. I predict a 28 – 27 game and either a huge over coaching mistake or coaching gamble to be the difference it this game Good luck to both teams you have already made your parents and the SGV proud.

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