“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.”
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.”