PREPXTRA FOOTBALL PREVIEW ARRIVES ON TUESDAY, AUG. 30 — Don’t Miss Out

The second annual Tribune PrepXtra Preview Magazine will be available in your home subscription or at Newsracks on Tuesday, Aug. 30. If your newsrack runs out or you simply want extra copies, you can purchase them for $1 at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune office. They will go quick, so get here early. You can also purchase Whittier Daily News or Pasadena Star-News PrepXtra preview editions at those offices.

COVER SHOT left to right: Bishop Amat’s Jalen Moore, West Covina’s Chris Solomon, Charter Oak’s Travis Santiago and Covina’s Vinny Venegas.

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  • AZTEC PRIDE

    I thought this was a great article written by Steve, so I cut & pasted this again, since it is no longer on the paper! Citrus College has a lot of good area players and some of them will be going to DIV 1 Football when the season is over. Cid, from WEST COVINA just got picked up from UCLA. So good luck to CITRUS FOOTBALL this coming season.

    Good luck J. Nunez and S. Arceo (DUO FROM AZUSA).

    —————————————————

    Taking flight
    Owls hope to ride wave of young talent
    By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
    Posted: 08/18/2011 10:43:55 PM PDT

    Returning Citrus College quarterback Blake Loncar, left, threw for 1,550 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010. He and running back Ricky Johnson, right, will be among the Owls top offensive weapons this season. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)GLENDORA – It’s been four years since the Citrus College football team finished above .500 and played in a bowl game.
    Owls coach Ron Ponciano believes that could change this season.

    His source of optimism?

    The return of quarterback Blake Loncar, of nearby Los Osos High School; running back Ricky Johnson, a former West Covina standout and some players on the offensive line who give Citrus its biggest front in recent memory.

    “I think we can compete this year,” said Ponciano, who begins his third season as Citrus’ head coach. “I feel like we are substantially faster, which will be a difference-maker in winning games.

    “Last year, we only got stomped on once. We competed really well in every game. I believe we are doing the right stuff, and I feel this year we have enough ammunition.”

    It starts with Loncar, who was one of the Owls’ most productive players last season in throwing for 1,550 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also ran for two scores. The sophomore comes into the season as one of the top junior college quarterbacks in the state and is getting some Division I looks.

    Johnson, an all-everything back while playing for Mike Maggiore at West Covina, rushed for just 388 yards while splitting time with Brandon Stansell, but more is expected this year. The sophomore combines speed with power and gives the Owls a breakaway threat.

    The receiving corps is solid and includes former Rowland star B.J. Oyefeso, who’s

    from Pasadena, but the unit also features Kelvin Simmons; Aaron Dockery from Claremont and Michael Ball, a converted quarterback from Rowland.
    “It’s always good to have the conference’s top returning passer and running back,” Ponciano said. “That’s going to be a big help, but we also need our young guys to step up.”

    The big difference for the Owls, though, may be up front, where they will be able to combine size with experience.

    The Owls took a hit when Albert Cid of West Covina accepted a scholarship and left early to possibly start at UCLA and Chris Stringer left for Arkansas, but Citrus’ line still looks impressive.

    Mike Welsh, a transfer from Arizona State, leads a big front which also includes returnees Jared Arnold and Andrew Hall. The Owls welcome a solid addition in Justin Randall, a transfer from Trinity University (Deerfield, Ill.) who’s from Alta Loma.

    “This is the most size we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Ponciano said. “They look promising. Plus, they are really cool guys.”

    The defense looks solid with the return of lineman Jesse Tauiliili and linebackers Josh Wiley of South Hills and Azusa duo Jose Nunez and Steven Arceo.

    “We’re pretty excited about this group,” Ponciano said. “(They) are young, so we understand there will be growing pains, but we feel we’re going in the right direction.”

    Is it enough, though, to compete in the Southern California Football Association Central Division Western Conference?

    The Owls were just 2-8 overall and 1-4 in division play last season and have won just seven games over the past three seasons. The team’s last winning season came in 2007, when it went 6-5 and lost to Fullerton in the Orange County Bowl.

    Ponciano believes this could be the year the Owls turn it around.

    “It depends,” Ponciano said. “We got a quarterback who can make every throw that an offensive coordinator needs him to throw. We got good running backs and receivers who can make plays, but we have to do what we do best, and that’s what we are working on.

    “We now have guys who look like a JC team. It’s kind of cool. We’re really excited about the prospects.”

    steve.ramirez@sgvn.com

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    I thought this was a great article written by Steve, so I cut & pasted this again, since it is no longer on the paper and nobody is posting anything on this article. Citrus College has a lot of good area players and some of them will be going to DIV 1 Football when the season is over. Cid, from WEST COVINA just got picked up from UCLA. So good luck to CITRUS FOOTBALL this coming season.

    Good luck J. Nunez and S. Arceo (DUO FROM AZUSA).

    —————————————————

    Taking flight
    Owls hope to ride wave of young talent
    By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
    Posted: 08/18/2011 10:43:55 PM PDT

    Returning Citrus College quarterback Blake Loncar, left, threw for 1,550 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010. He and running back Ricky Johnson, right, will be among the Owls top offensive weapons this season. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)GLENDORA – It’s been four years since the Citrus College football team finished above .500 and played in a bowl game.
    Owls coach Ron Ponciano believes that could change this season.

    His source of optimism?

    The return of quarterback Blake Loncar, of nearby Los Osos High School; running back Ricky Johnson, a former West Covina standout and some players on the offensive line who give Citrus its biggest front in recent memory.

    “I think we can compete this year,” said Ponciano, who begins his third season as Citrus’ head coach. “I feel like we are substantially faster, which will be a difference-maker in winning games.

    “Last year, we only got stomped on once. We competed really well in every game. I believe we are doing the right stuff, and I feel this year we have enough ammunition.”

    It starts with Loncar, who was one of the Owls’ most productive players last season in throwing for 1,550 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also ran for two scores. The sophomore comes into the season as one of the top junior college quarterbacks in the state and is getting some Division I looks.

    Johnson, an all-everything back while playing for Mike Maggiore at West Covina, rushed for just 388 yards while splitting time with Brandon Stansell, but more is expected this year. The sophomore combines speed with power and gives the Owls a breakaway threat.

    The receiving corps is solid and includes former Rowland star B.J. Oyefeso, who’s

    from Pasadena, but the unit also features Kelvin Simmons; Aaron Dockery from Claremont and Michael Ball, a converted quarterback from Rowland.
    “It’s always good to have the conference’s top returning passer and running back,” Ponciano said. “That’s going to be a big help, but we also need our young guys to step up.”

    The big difference for the Owls, though, may be up front, where they will be able to combine size with experience.

    The Owls took a hit when Albert Cid of West Covina accepted a scholarship and left early to possibly start at UCLA and Chris Stringer left for Arkansas, but Citrus’ line still looks impressive.

    Mike Welsh, a transfer from Arizona State, leads a big front which also includes returnees Jared Arnold and Andrew Hall. The Owls welcome a solid addition in Justin Randall, a transfer from Trinity University (Deerfield, Ill.) who’s from Alta Loma.

    “This is the most size we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Ponciano said. “They look promising. Plus, they are really cool guys.”

    The defense looks solid with the return of lineman Jesse Tauiliili and linebackers Josh Wiley of South Hills and Azusa duo Jose Nunez and Steven Arceo.

    “We’re pretty excited about this group,” Ponciano said. “(They) are young, so we understand there will be growing pains, but we feel we’re going in the right direction.”

    Is it enough, though, to compete in the Southern California Football Association Central Division Western Conference?

    The Owls were just 2-8 overall and 1-4 in division play last season and have won just seven games over the past three seasons. The team’s last winning season came in 2007, when it went 6-5 and lost to Fullerton in the Orange County Bowl.

    Ponciano believes this could be the year the Owls turn it around.

    “It depends,” Ponciano said. “We got a quarterback who can make every throw that an offensive coordinator needs him to throw. We got good running backs and receivers who can make plays, but we have to do what we do best, and that’s what we are working on.

    “We now have guys who look like a JC team. It’s kind of cool. We’re really excited about the prospects.”

    steve.ramirez@sgvn.com

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