By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Football success is nothing new for the Ainsworth family. It’s just that usually it takes place at Monrovia or Duarte high schools. Not Covina. All that changed this season, thanks to the latest Ainsworth to don football pads and entertain the Valley with his gridiron exploits. Gevontray Ainsworth, the son of former Duarte standout quarterback Greg Ainsworth, has made quite a name for himself as the leading rusher at Covina (11-1), which will host Monrovia (8-3) on Friday in a game that may feel a little weird for the Ainsworth family and Monrovia fans with an historical perspective on what that family has meant to their school’s football tradition.
Kickoff for the CIF Mid-Valley Division semifinals showdown is at 7 p.m. at Covina District Field.
Coach Maddox on Garrison:“I talked to Steve towards the end of the season about possibly coming on. He’s glad to be back and he’ll be in charge of our offensive line next year. He’s out there learning and assisting. He’s getting himself acquainted and helping out where he can.”
Former Monrovia coach Steve Garrison, who led the Wildcats to three championship games in the 90s and then stepped aside following the 2007 season after 15 years as the head coach, is back on the Wildcats’ sidelines. Garrison, who spent two years at Damien and this past year at Northview as an assistant coach, is already coaching again at his former school, coach Ryan Maddox confirmed with Miguel Melendez, though Maddox said Garrison’s role isn’t defined yet. Maddox replaced Garrison in 2008 and guided the Wildcats to two consecutive championship games, winning last year. Apparently, Garrison has been on Monrovia’s staff since the first round of the playoffs, a week after Northview’s season ended. When was the last time you heard a coach with two different teams in the same season? In these circumstances? I can’t think of one. It makes sense for Monrovia, Garrison coached against Covina and San Dimas in the Valle Vista league while at Northview, which helps Monrovia with scouting Covina this week and possibly San Dimas in the final. But the question is, should a coach after his team has been eliminated be able to switch to a championship contender in the same season? I don’t think so.
Aram and I will go head-to-head in Tribskin Pick’em throughout the season with the loser buying lunch in December.
Last week: Robledo (3-6); Tolegian (6-3)
Season standings: Robledo (191-55); Tolegian (193-53)
Last week: A week after going 15-0, I choked in the quarterfinals, no other way to explain it. I knew I was going out on a limb taking Charter Oak and Arroyo, but I lost all the 50-50 games too. Aram wasn’t the greatest either, but on a week like this, going 6-3 was huge. Give him credit for taking Muir, and all the other favorites, it paid off. I’m two down with two weeks left, let’s see what happens.
This week: The only guarantee is West Covina at La Mirada, though on the road in Whittier strange things happen. The Bulldogs are playing well, but it may take more work to get rid of La Mirada than it did their previous two opponents, but the Bulldogs should advance. Muir looked phenomenal in the first two rounds. I know DRanch had some players missing, etc, etc, but nobody smoked them like that, and that came a week after whipping No. 2 Santa Fe. When Muir is committed and focused, this is what you get, a dangerous team capable of beating anyone. Monrovia-Covina is a super fight in the Mid-Valley. No respect to the bottom half, but this is for the championship. I thought about going with Monrovia after the way the Wildcats dispatched Whittier Christian, but I think this will be Covina’s finest hour, a week before the real finest hour occurs. I’m taking CTown to go to the final. San Dimas is an unbelievable situation. When they beat Azusa, San Gabriel and Monrovia back-to-back-to-back in October, who would have thought they may have to do it again to win a championship. After already beating Azusa in the rematch, now it’s San Gabriel’s shot at the rematch after losing 59-6 the first time. The Matadors will make it closer, but they won’t make up all the difference after a 53-point blowout. And if Monrovia wins, San Dimas would have to pull the trifecta again. Now that would be amazing, especially since the Saints technically didn’t have any “home” games this year. Of course if Covina wins, then it’s San Dimas’ shot at the rematch.
Friday’s Semifinal games and predictions
West Covina (11-1) at La Mirada (8-4), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (WCovina); Tolegian (The WC)
Muir (8-4) at La Serna (9-3), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Muir); Tolegian (Muir) Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia (9-3) vs. Covina (11-1) , CDF, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Covina); Tolegian (Covina)
San Dimas (10-2) at San Gabriel (8-4), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (SDimas); Tolegian (Saints)
Take a peak at Muir’s highlights from Friday’s win over Diamond Ranch.
Picture:The last time Covina reached the semifinals, it was ousted in the 2006 Northwest Division playoffs by Oak Park, ending the great career of QB Mike McDonough. The Colts are looking to take it a step further on Friday against MTown.
Area supremacy: There is almost equal representation from our three coverage zones in the semifinals, with three from the Tribune and two each from Whittier and Pasadena, leaving them to battle it out for regional supremacy. Call me a homer, but I like the Trib in this fight, West Covina and Covina are still the favorites to bring home the hardware.
Coin Flips: Team with home games in championships can play at home if their home field is big enough, or at a nearby neutral site. In the Mid-Valley, Monrovia will be home if they win no matter what. Covina would be home against San Gabriel and San Dimas would have the home game against Covina. In the Southeast, West Covina would have the home game against Muir, or be on the road at La Serna.
Who’s No. 1 in the Tribune?: That’s up for debate again. If you like the who beats who head-to-head argument, Charter Oak and Amat are in the equation no matter what happens with everyone else. If you like the who is best in their corner of the world argument, West Covina and Covina clearly lead the way.
State Bowl for Covina? Covina was ranked fifth in the Division III South state bowl rankings heading into the week. With Mt. Miguel losing, Covina should go to fourth. What they need to do is win out and hope the others ranked ahead are knocked out, sort of like watching the final weeks of the BCS. It’s a slight chance, but the best chance we have for a state bowl appearance. Division III South Rankings
1. Lompoc 12-0 — Still alive in Norhern semi’s
2. Washington (Easton) 11-0 — In Central D-4 semis
3. Madison (San Diego) 10-0-1 — In SD D-3 semi’s
4. Mt. Miguel (Spring Valley) 8-2 — lost in SD D-4 semis
5. Covina 11-1 — In Mid-Valley semis
Coveritlive: Is there anywhere else we should be other than Covina District Field on Friday night? MTown vs. CTown …enough said.
CIF-Southern Section semifinals
Friday’s games Southeast Division
West Covina (11-1) at La Mirada (8-4), 7:30 p.m.
Muir (8-4) at La Serna (9-3), 7:30 p.m. Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia (9-3) vs. Covina (11-1) , CDF, 7:30 p.m.
San Dimas (10-2) at San Gabriel (8-4), 7:30 p.m.
The aftermath and postgame interviews following Upland’s 51-13 rout of Charter Oak in Friday’s second round with Tom Kiss, the Inland Insider. Tom catches up with Upland coach Tim Salter, Charter Oak’s Lou Farrar and more, check it out.