1. Michael Ortega, St. Paul, Sr., 5-11, 176 – Ortega sets the tone, combing speed and power. He’s the key to the Swordsmen’s success this season after rushing for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010. He also averaged an impressive 8.5 yards per attempt.
2. Tony Botello, Pioneer, Sr., 5-5, 155 – The Titans struggled in the Del Rio League, but it wasn’t because of Botello, who enjoyed a banner season, rushing for 1,189 yards and 12 scores. He will need another type year if Pioneer is to improve on its 5-5 overall record. Most believe he can.
3. Grant Escobar, Whittier Christian, Sr., 5-10, 165 – Escobar is one of the few holdovers from the Herald’s run to the Mid-Valley title game. He was a machine last season, rushing for 1,084 yards and 16 TDs. He’s one of the more versatile backs in the area, also taking time to catch 38 passes for 401 yards and two scores.
4. O.J. Medina, La Serna, Sr., 5-8, 170 –Medina saw limited action behind Richard Alvarez last season, but now it’s his turn and has the ability to be the go-to-guy after rushing for 765 yards and eight TDs. He also pulled eight yards a run in 2010.
5. Ronell Lone, El Rancho, Sr., 5-9, 172 – There is plenty of plus-side for Lone, who averaged more than 7 yards a carry last season, finishing 613 yards. He’s a key to El Rancho challenging in the Del Rio League.
“Coach Maine brings such energy and enthusiasm that when you wake up in the morning you can’t wait to go work out for him. He’s probably going to be the best coach at this school in a long time.” -- Diamond Bar senior running back Jamaal Clayton said.
By Aram Tolegian
There’s something contagious about new Diamond Bar High School football coach Ryan Maine. To spend a few minutes with him is to find yourself about ready to strap on pads and a helmet and hit someone in the name of Brahma football. And that’s just if you’re a normal person. What about the Brahmas’ actual football team? Well, let’s just say they’re fired up beyond belief for the upcoming season and it’s got everything to do with Maine.
“Coach Maine brings such energy and enthusiasm that when you wake up in the morning you can’t wait to go work out for him,” Diamond Bar senior running back Jamaal Clayton said. “He’s probably going to be the best coach at this school in a long time.”
And that’s exactly what the Brahams’ struggling football program needs.
Diamond Bar has fallen from being one of the top teams in the area in the late 1990s to an afterthought on the current area scene. If anybody remembers Diamond Bar’s glory days, it’s Maine. He won CIF championships at the school as a quarterback in 1998 and ’99. Maine was a sophomore back-up on the ’98 team, but was the starting quarterback in ’99.
We have a handful of high school football correspondents returning to cover high school football games in the fall, but are looking for a few more. Those who have covered high school football games before or are studying journalism are ideal. Or, if you have a passion for writing and football, that works too. If interested, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
“We discovered last year that we put up a lot of points, had lots of (total) yards and threatened a lot of records in the record books. But what good did it do us? We ended up losing our last two games and it left a sour taste in our mouth. We want to make sure we focus more on what’s going to get us to that final game. We want to play into December, and the defense is going to get us there.” — Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty
Below: Sophomore Koa Haynes appears to be the leading contender to take over at quarterback when Rio Ruiz leaves for the U.S. National 18-Under baseball team.
By Fred J. Robledo. Staff Writer
Bishop Amat already knows that it will be without senior quarterback Rio Ruiz for three non-league games in September against La Mirada, Damien and Cathedral while Ruiz is with the U.S National Team’s 18-and-under baseball squad that will compete in the COPABE Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 23 through Oct. 2. But for the past week Ruiz has competed on the Milwaukee Brewers’ squad in the Area Code games in Long Beach, forcing him to miss Wednesday’s first day of football camp in preparation for the Lancers’ season opener against Garfield on Sept. 2.
The area code games concluded on Wednesday, but Ruiz also was selected to play in the Perfect Game All-American Classic on Sunday in San Diego, and will not join the team until it’s concluded. Ruiz is expected back at practice on Monday, something Amat coach Steve Hagerty is adjusting too.
“All us coaches and the kids understand why he’s not here,” Hagerty said of Ruiz. “We’ve already met and talked about it and there are agreements in place. Nobody is looking over their shoulder wondering where he is. Rio’s a great player, but we’re moving along because we got a job to get done. The other 75 kids here know that. We’ll be glad when he’s here and working, but in the mean time it’s business as usual.”
By Steve Ramirez
MONTEBELLO – Montebello High School’s Daniel Servin is a marked man.
The senior is the one player on the Oilers’ defensive that opposing offensive coordinators tag as the one guy that must be accounted for.
But Servin, one of the top returning defensive players is the area, is worth more to Montebello than the production he provides on the field.
“He lives by example,” Montebello coach Pete Gonzalez said. “He works hard in the weight room, he works hard at practice. He’s a great guy who goes out and plays.
“He makes everyone on our team better, because he plays so hard, so fast all the time. You can’t take a down off in practice, because if you take a down off, he’s going to make you look bad. He’s just one of those guys who is going to force you play hard all the time. He’s a great kid all the way around.”
Based on what we already know, schools that draw the most readership and hit counts go something like this: Glendora, Bonita, Damien, Diamond Bar, Bishop Amat, Chino Hills, South Hills, West Covina, Covina, Walnut and San Dimas …What I gather from this is a disconnect between us and several schools in the Mission Valley and Montview League, meaning we have to do a better job blogging on those schools, and readers need to do a better job commenting to get the interest going. Aram posted his Montview League predictions on Tuesday, but still waiting for someone to comment on it. Compare that to his Valle Vista League predictions thread (102 comments and counting) and you can see where we’re going with this. We’re trying to do our part, but can’t do it alone.
You might be surprised to learn who’s leading the quarterback fight at Pomona, or that San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow thinks his backfield could be better than the 2009 championship one. Read on….
A handful of teams are on the practice field this week with West Covina featuring a quarterback battle between Chris Caballero and Jonathan Najera. “This is still a battle because both of them have strengths, and I don’t think you can really tell a whole lot about a quarterback until we see what kinds of decisions they make in the heat of battle,” said two-time Tribune Coach of the Year Mike Maggiore. San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow is not at all concerned with playing his 2011 schedule on the road, saying, “I don’t think it’s challenging at all, I kind of like playing away,” said Zernickow, whose team opens camp this morning. “Obviously when we get our home field back it will be nice, but our kids have known for a year it would be like this and have prepared with that road-warrior mentality.” Zernickow also said with most observers picking Monrovia and Covina as the top Mid-Valley teams in 2011, he likes it that way. “Let us fly under the radar,” he said. The Saints return five players from their 2009 title team, including quarterback Shawn Kennedy and fullback Dillon Corona. With junior back Denzel Mitchell and sophomore Jake Payton, Zernickow loves how his vaunted Wing T offense is shaping up. I finally talked to Pomona coach Anthony Rice, who has a quarterback battle on his hands between senior Brandon Schrieman, who transferred from Wilson, and Tavea Cobb, whom Rice seems to be learning toward. “(Schrieman’s) good, he gives us some options,” Rice said. “Tavea also plays tight end, but he’s really good at quarterback. He’s mobile, runs hard and I like what I’ve seen so far.”
Consider this the Robledo preseason top 35. As I stated earlier, Aram is picking the top ten to start the season for PrepXtra, then I will take it from there the rest of the way based on how the season shakes out week to week.
Team, 2010 record
1. Bishop Amat (9-2) – There is no question in my mind, they return Serra first-team RB Jalen Moore, QB Rio Ruiz, a healthy Zach Shay and many others from one of the best offensive teams in Lancers’ history. Will it translate to a Serra and Pac-5 title? That’s wishful thinking. But compared to the rest in the SGV, it would be silly to rank anyone else ahead based on past results and what’s returning in 2011.
2. Charter Oak (6-5) — On paper and over the summer they looked good, really good. Travis Santiago separated himself from a strong contingent of SGV quarterbacks, and with RB Kurt Scoby, WR Chris Gilchrist and other weapons, the Chargers should be the real deal. But I’m from Missouri when it comes to the Chargers. They have to show me they can win a step-up game, something they haven’t done since I took charge in 2007. They won back-to-back titles, but I wouldn’t exactly call beating Diamond Ranch in back-to-back title games over-achieving.
3. West Covina (13-1) - Now that they have won the Southeast title and given coach Mike Maggiore his second title, the Bulldogs are among the area’s elite, and will continue making deep playoff runs in the Hacienda and Southeast. In terms of pure demographics, West Covina owns the area’s best athletes and returns the player of the year, Chris Solomon. It’s a powerhouse public school that will continue getting better.
4. South Hills (3-7) – This might not be where South Hills ends up at the end of the season, their schedule is simply too tough. But on paper, QB Vincent Hernandez, RB Jamel Hart and WR Jamie Canada give them weapons to contend with anyone. If they can shore up their defense, the Huskies are in business.
5. Chino Hills (10-3) – The Huskies lose a lot of impact players, but coach Derek Bub should reload with so many athletes in town, and what separates them from other SGV teams is their size on the line, a reason they did so well in summer lineman competitions. At the end of it all, the Huskies will be fighting South Hills, Charter Oak and Damien for the league title.
6. Damien (6-4) — I’m buying because like Rick Neuheisel at UCLA, the pressure is on coach Greg Gano to show he can win somewhere other than Los Altos, where he won four championships. Like Neuheisel there have been several coaching changes, philosophical changes and key transfers that all indicate the Spartans intend to show they’re no longer that other Catholic school’s punching bag.
7. Covina (10-2) – I’m on record stating that Monrovia is the team to beat in the Mid-Valley Division, but the Colts could give them a run for their money. This could be coach Darryl Thomas’ best team since the McDonough years with so many weapons on offense. I know what to expect from all purpose Vinny Venegas and QB Billy Livingston, but they key for me is RB Gevontray Ainsworth, who looked like an impact-maker as a sophomore, but didn’t get enough touches. If Ainsworth has a breakthrough season, Monrovia should be worried.
8. Diamond Bar (6-4) — Attitude is everything, something coach Ryan Maine is drilling into the head of his new team. That’s why they went out and won the SGV shootout with a purpose, and have one of the area’s best QBs in Henry Omana. I’ve always thought Diamond Bar should be better than what they’ve show the past decade, and with Maine in charge, maybe a return to the glory days isn’t too far away.
9. Glendora (5-5) - New coach Todd Quinsey has his hands full, but he has the perfect pieces in his run-oriented offense with Corey Victoria and Donovan Holmes. Because of their schedule they may not finish in the top ten, but I would take them in a head-to-head over anyone ranked below.
10. Arroyo (9-2) — I’m never comfortable ranking Mission Valley League teams this high, but Arroyo is different. Steven Rivera is as rare as four–year starting quarterbacks come, and this team will have a chip on its shoulder. If they can improve their defense, they could be scary because you know the Knights can put points on the board.
The Rest:11. Bonita (12-2), 12. Diamond Ranch (5-6), 13. San Dimas (8-5), 14. Azusa (10-1), 15. Claremont (7-4), 16. Ayala (4-6), 17. Walnut (6-5), 18. Pomona (5-5), 19. La Puente (8-3), 20. Rosemead (8-4), 21. Rowland (4-6), 22. Baldwin Park (5-6), 23. Wilson (4-6), 24. Los Altos (0-10), 25. Workman (2-8), 26. Sierra Vista (7-3), 27. Northview (3-7), 28. Gladstone (5-6), 29. Nogales (1-9), 30. Ganesha (4-6), 31. Mountain View (5-5), 32. El Monte (4-6), 33. Bassett (3-7), 34. South El Monte (1-9), 35. Duarte (0-9).
La Mirada football coach Mike Moschetti could miss up to a month after being diagnosed with pneumonia over the weekend. La Mirada football coach Mike Moschetti, who guided the Matadores to a CIF-Southern Section title in 2009, it’s first since the early 1990s, is out of action after being diagnosed with pneumonia over the weekend. He was hospitalized one night for observation, but is now resting at home.
La Mirada offensive coordinator Armando Rivas, who is interim coach in Moschetti’s absence, said the Mats coach could be out from a week to a month.
The Matadores, one of the few Whittier area teams to begin fall practice, have gone undefeated in the Suburban League the past two seasons and won the CIF-SS Southern Division title in 2009.
The second PrepXtra Football Preview Magazine will publish on Aug. 30, two days before the weekend trifecta featuring San Dimas-Bonita (Thursday), Glendora-Charter Oak (Friday) and West Covina-Covina on Saturday. Until then, we’re back covering summer training camps until opening weekend, and taking your suggestions on teams you want to hear from the most. BTW, since Aram covered so much summer passing league, I gave him the honor of picking the Tribune’s preseason top ten for the Magazine. Maybe you’ll be surprised, maybe you won’t.
Back from vacation with a video that makes me feel even older. Check out this 1995 clip of then Northview coach Greg Gano with what must be two or three-year old Courtney, the reigning Tribune softballer of the year. Quarterback David Fraijo scored the game-winner in overtime over Workman, 34-31. I love it, three announcers in suits decked out like Monday night football. Who remembers Continental Cablevision?
The Tribune week-by-week football schedule is available by clicking the thread. The fun for us is picking Friday night games of the week. Of course this can all change from week-to-week, but at first glance, here are my Friday night specials.
Best Friday night games in the 2011 season
Glendora at Charter Oak, 7 p.m.
Bishop Amat at Servite, 7 p.m.
South Hills at West Covina, 7 p.m.
Bishop Amat at Damien, 7 p.m.
South Hills at Monrovia, 7 p.m.
Diamond Ranch at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m.
West Covina at Bonita, 7 p.m.
San Dimas vs. Covina at Covina District, 7 p.m.
Arroyo at Rosemead, 7 p.m.
Diamond Bar at Bonita, 7 p.m.
La Puente at Azusa, 7 p.m.
For the entire schedule, click thread
St. Lucy’s softball should have some year in 2012 with four soon-to-be seniors already verballed. With Danielle Mavridis verballing to the University of San Diego last week, she joins Danielle O’Toole (San Diego State), Brandi Harkness (St. Joseph’s University) and Laura Swan (University of Illinois, Chicago) on the college bound list. Also, St. Lucy’s has named Valerie Pentolino as the new athletic director.
As part of our new all-encompassing sports blog, I began to look at the schedule for the Tribune and Whittier area teams and noticed some interesting crossover games during the nonleague stretch of the season.
Here are some of the best:
1. Charter Oak vs. Santa Fe, at Pioneer HS, Sept. 30
What a way to end the opening month of the season. This one could be promoted as the Best to the East Valley vs. the Best of Whittier. Now Bishop Amat and La Habra might have something to say about that. But it features two of the more consistent programs from each area in the past decade. Going into the season, you would favor Charter Oak, but there’s no doubt that the Chiefs could make it difficult for the Chargers.
2. La Mirada at Bishop Amat, Sept. 16
This one would have been one of the better early meetings last year when both were loaded. The Matadores are down a bit, but the Lancers also have to get a long without Rio Ruiz during the first couple of weeks, if not longer. But this one has to favor Bishop Amat.
3. La Serna at Bonita, Sept. 16
This is a reamatch of last year’s CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division semifinal, won by the Bearcats, 21-16. Both teams suffered some graduation losses, but it should be one of the better cross-over games. Give the advantage to the Bearcats. Same teams, same site, same result.
Game I would like to see:
How about the true battle of the Best of the East Valley vs. the Best of Whittier: Bishop Amat vs. La Habra. The Cal Preps projection page says it would be Bishop Amat 35, La Habra 21. I think it would closer, but it would be fun to see. Speaking of Whittier vs. the East Valley, why not a return of Bishop Amat vs. St. Pau…just sayin.
La Habra High School has fielded the most-consistent football program among the three areas over the past decade, advancing to seven CIF-Southern Section divisional championship games during the last 11 seasons, winning six.
The Highlanders have won four consecutive CIF-SS crowns, and they are expected to be in the running for a fifth.
But being the best is not about resting on your laurels, and La Habra is definitely not sitting still this season.
Just check the schedule, which includes a Sept. 16 meeting against Pac-5 stalwart Servite, and also includes face offs against El Dorado on Sept. 2 and Orange Lutheran on Sept. 23.
Aaron Porter, who has committed to UCLA, and company have their work cut out for them. How do you think they will do?
LA HABRA’S 2011 SCHEDULE
Fri. Sept. 2, El Dorado @ Placencia Valencia, 7 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 9, @ La Mirada, 7 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 16, Servite @ Cerritos College, 7 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 23, Orange Lutheran @ Cerritos College, 7:30 p.m.
Thu. Sept. 29, ST. JOHN BOSCO, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 14, *Sunny Hills @ Buena Park, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 21, @ *Fullerton, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 28, *BUENA PARK, 7 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 4, *Sonora @ La Habra, 7 p.m.
Thu. Nov. 10, *TROY, 7 pm.
*- denotes Freeway League game
San Gabriel Valley’s road to a Senior Babe Ruth national title got a little tougher Saturday.
Pat Wright had a RBI single to highlight a three-run rally in the fourth inning and Syracuse, N.Y. opened pool play in the Babe Ruth World Series with a 3-2 victory over San Gabriel at Johnson-O’Brien Stadium in Ephrata, Washington.
San Gabriel, which swept through the Pacific Southwest Regional two weeks ago in Modesto, continues pool play Sunday at 8 p.m. against host Ephrata. Syracuse faces Mobile, Ala. at 2.
San Gabriel concludes pool play against Ottumwa, Iowa at 5 p.m. on Monday. The top three teams in each pool than advance to bracket play, which begins on Thursday. The championship game is scheduled for next Saturday.
Syracuse scored all the runs it would need in the fourth inning. The rally was keyed by Wright’s RBI single. He then scored via a balk by San Gabriel starter Daniel Zamora, of Bishop Amat High School.
Syracuse starter Ryan O’Kane made it stand up. But he did have to stop a San Gabriel rally in the seventh.
Brennen Salgado, of Glendora, led off with a home run to make it 3-1. A double by Crescenta Valley’s Elliott Surrey and a single by Troy Prosertsit gave San Gabriel Valley a chance to tie it.
Jon Larson followed with a fly out before an RBI ground out by Andrew Medina cut it to 3-2. Kane, who gave up four hits, then struck out Nick Cooksey to win it.
As we are in the calm before the storm of the prep football storm, our colleague Aram Tolegian, our area football guru, has posted some of his predictions for the league title chases in several of our leagues.
Can’t say that I agree with all of his picks, but that’s what makes this fun.
My picks for league titles are the following::
Del Rio: Santa Fe
Hacienda: West Covina
Mission Valley: Arroyo
Valle Vista: San Dimas
Others: La Habra (Freeway), Schurr (Almont), Bishop Amat (Serra), and St. Paul (Mission).
New Stanford coach David Shaw
As part of this becoming the all-sports blog for are three San Gabriel Valley Newspapers, and part of our college football coverage, I will post a capsule of all Pac-12 teams for the upcoming season. We continue our trip in the Pac-12 North, and today we take a brief look at Stanford
Coach: David Shaw
Years at school: First
2010 Record: 12-1 (Beat Va. Tech 40-12 in Orange Bowl); 8-1 in conference.
2011 prediction: First
Outlook: The Cardinal returns most of the key ingredients that helped Stanford to arguably its best season in school history. The missing link is coach David Shaw, who has replaced the vocal Jim Harbaugh. But the change at the top should not keep the Cardinal from their appointed rounds. The focal point will be Heisman Trophy favorite Andrew Luck, who is expected to be even better in 2011. The redshirt junior who threw for 3,338 yards and 32 TDs last year, will get help in RB Stepfan Taylor, who rushed 1,137 yards and defense keyed by DBs Delano Howell and Michael Thomas. The Cardinal will have two battle of the unbeatens: An Oct. 29 meeting at USC and Nov. 26 title at home against Oregon. Pick Stanford in both as this team looks headed toward the BCS title game in January.
Quotable: “Coach Harbaugh came in (four years ago) and fought a lot of battles that I don’t have to fight,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “My job is to maintain a competitive spirit. Like I said before, that is one of the things that (Harbaugh) and I had in common. We were going to compete. We’re going to fight. There is a standard of play that we’ll play up to (here), and it’s my job that we’ll do that.”
Above: Bishop Amat’s Daniel Zamora is one of 18 players from the San Gabriel Valley who will compete in the upcoming Senior Babe Ruth baseball World Series in Ephrata, Washington.
Nick Wagner, formerly of Glendora High School, and Bishop Amat’s Daniel Zamora have experienced winning a CIF-Southern Section baseball title each of the past two seasons.
Now the duo, along with 16 of their friends, are looking for a bigger thrill — a national championship.
Wagner, who won a Division 2 title with Glendora in 2010, and Zamora, who scored the Division 4 championship with Bishop Amat in June, lead a group of 18 players from the San Gabriel Valley who will compete in the Senior Babe Ruth World Series in Ephrata, Washington, which is three hours east of Seattle.
The eight-team tournament begins Saturday with pool play. The top six teams then advance to bracket play, which begins next Thursday. The championship game is scheduled for Aug. 13.
San Gabriel Valley, which swept through the Pacific Southwest Regional, opens the tournament against Syracuse, N.Y. at 11 a.m. on Saturday. SGV concludes pool play against host Ephrata at 8 p.m. on Sunday and vs. Ottumwa, Iowa at 5 p.m. on Monday.
Above: Oregon coach Chip Kelly, left, and senior tight end David Paulson, at Pac-12 Media Day in Los Angeles. (Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)
As part of this becoming the all-sports blog for are three San Gabriel Valley Newspapers, and part of our college football coverage, I will post a capsule of all Pac-12 teams for the upcoming season. We continue our trip in the Pac-12 North, and today we take a brief look at Oregon
Coach: Chip Kelly
Years at school: 2
2010 Record: 12-1 (Lost 22-10 in BCS title game); 9-0 in conference.
2011 prediction: Second
Outlook: Nothing has changed since 2010. The Ducks are again expected to challenge for the Bowl Championship Series title. This is a team that is loaded. It features not one, but two Heisman Trophy candidates in RB LaMichael James and QB Darron Thomas. The defense, led by DB Cliff Harris, is solid. But there are also some issues, especially trying to replace three offensive linemen and receiver Jeff Mael, who has been a key cog in the Ducks’ spread-option attack. There’s also a lingering dark cloud in a NCAA investigation, not too mention two monster road games — against fellow BCS competitor LSU in the season opener in Dallas and at Stanford in November. The Ducks, picked first in a Pac-12 media poll last week, have enough to leap the first hurdle, but I’m not so sure about the second. Still, expect Gang Green to show up in a BCS bowl.
Quotable: “It’s nice to be picked to win, it’s nice to be picked (among the) top five in the country, but it doesn’t mean anything until you go out and play the game,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. “So that mindset won’t change. Hopefully our motivation comes from within and our guys wanting to get better every day and become a better football team. But we don’t ever hang this is our ranking and we have to live up to it and all those things. I think the vision that we have for this football program exceeds any expectations that anybody could write down on a piece of paper.”
Bishop Amat’s Daniel Zamora, who began the 2011 prep baseball season as one of coach Andy Nieto’s Johnny Wholestaff before transforming into staff ace by season’s end, has giving an oral commitment to Division I Stony Brook University, which is located just outside New York City.
Zarmoa was a key member of the Lancers’ chase to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 title, combining with David Berg for a 7-0 victory over Palm Desert in the championship game.
The senior-to-be, who helped San Gabriel Valley advance to the Senior Babe Ruth World Series in Washington, went 9-1 with a 1.43 ERA in helping Bishop Amat to a 29-4 record.
Zamora will join former Lancer Brandon McNitt, who was a freshman All-American for the Seawolves this past season. Stony Brook won a school-record 42 games this past season, but missed the NCAA Division I regionals after losing in the America East Conference tournament.
As part of this becoming the all-sports blog for are three San Gabriel Valley Newspapers, and part of our college football coverage, I will post a capsule of all Pac-12 teams for the upcoming season. We continue our trip in the Pac-12 North, and today we take a brief look at Washington
Coach: Steve Sarkisian
Years at school: 2
2010 Record: 7-6 overall (19-7 win over Nebraska in Holiday Bowl); 5-4 in conference.
2011 prediction: Third
Outlook: The Huskies have taken big strides with Sarkisian at the helm the past two years, and continued growth is expected this season. But the concept of what they do will change in 2011. A year ago, Washington’s hopes relied on the exploits of QB Jake Locker, who is now in the NFL. This year, the offensive game plan stays in the backfield, but shifts to running back Chris Polk, whose combines speed with physicality. He rushed for 1,415 yards yards and 9 TDs last season. Expect those numbers to increase as he will get a bigger work load in 2011. The question is will the Huskies’ defense be good enough to backup up a solid run game. Against most opponents, most say it is. The problems will be in trying to keep up with Stanford and Oregon in the race for the North Division title. Washington will come up short, but the Huskies should go bowling for the second year in a row.
Quotable: “The reality of it is we’re not going to be able to rely on (the) quarterback position like we were able to with Jake for (the past) two years,” Sarkisian said. “It’s going to be more on relying on Chris, and Jesse Callier (and) running the ball, then utilizing the one-on-one matchups on the outside. I love where we’re headed. I love the fact that our community is rallying behind a football program and a style of play that they believe in and that they’ve grown up watching under Coach (Don) James, and now as we go into 2011, it’s great for the University of Washington to be part of this Pac-12 and where it’s headed.”
Bonita High School’s Justin Garza was the area’s top baseball pitcher this past spring.
His efforts earned him a scholarship to one of the top college programs in the country after the senior to be committed to Division national power Cal State Fullerton.
Garza, who is expected to be one of the top pro prospects next season, had arguably one of the top seasons in area history. He earned CIF-Southern Section All-Division 3 and was Tribune All-Area after going 13-0 with 75 strikeouts and a softball-like ERA of 0.51. He helped Bonita reach the division semifinals for the second consecutive season.
Garza joins a Fullerton team, which won the Big West title and advanced to the NCAA regionals. Fullerton has won four College World Series.
The Cory Lidle Foundation, an organization that remembers the late and former Valley baseball star through charity work, is forming a travelball program to honor Lidle, who grew up in West Covina and played little league, pony, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth baseball during his youth.
The organization will have two teams, one for 2011-12 seniors and one for 2011-12 sophomores and juniors. Tryouts are scheduled for next week at Northview High School.
Tryouts for 2011-12 sophomore and juniors will be at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9 and 10 a.m.on Saturday, Aug. 13. Tryouts for 2011-12 seniors will be at 2 p.m. on Aug. 13.
More teams may be added later, depending on interest.
For more information, visit corylidle.org