Football Notebook: Chino Hills impressed with Amat; Najera to start for West Covina; Bonita hopes to rebound; Savage out for Damien

Above: Check out what commenters are saying about Josh Savage’s suspension for Friday’s game against Orange Lutheran on Aram’s In the Huddle Blog

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

You can count Chino Hills High School football coach Derek Bub among the many who were impressed by Bishop Amat’s win over Servite Friday.

The Huskies and Lancers play this week, and Bub maintains he’s not just saying Amat was terrific in order to prop up an opponent.

“I’ll tell you what. Amat didn’t just beat them, they owned that game from the first whistle to the last whistle,” Bub said. “I give Bishop Amat a ton of credit. That’s a game you could easily go into and say `It’s Servite, we just want to play around with these guys and be in the game.’

“But they came out and took it to them for four quarters. They have great speed on defense and their skill position players are better than I’ve seen out of them in a while.”

Chino Hills wasn’t too shabby itself, albeit against a considerably lesser opponent in Arlington. The Huskies won 41-20 but led 34-7 at halftime and Arlington’s first-half score came on a interception return for touchdown.

Other than that, quarterback Matt Simko was as advertised in throwing five touchdown passes in his Huskies debut after transferring from Colony.

The Huskies were without Boise State-bound receiver Jack Austin, who suffered a sprained ankle on a fluke play in practice last week. Austin’s status for Friday remains unclear, according to Bub.

“I have no idea,” Bub said about Austin. “I’m not trying to mess with you, it will be a game-time decision. Obviously, I’m hoping he can go. It’s a pretty ugly sprained ankle.

“We know we have to have Jack Austin. We feel like we’re a better football team with Jack. I was happy with the way we played last week without him, but I think Jack gives you an immediate vertical threat.”

Najera likely back Friday

West Covina quarterback Jon Najera missed his team’s season opener last Friday against Covina with a knee injury, but Bulldogs head coach Mike Maggiore estimated there’s an 80 percent chance the senior will play Friday against Loyola.

Sophomore Antonio “Noodles” Hull got the start against Covina and led West Covina to a 31-0 win. If Najera returns, Hull will shift to running back.

Maggiore also expects center Raul Gomez, the team’s top lineman, to return this week. Gomez missed the Covina game after having stitches removed from his leg.

With Najera and Gomez back, West Covina should fare a lot better this season against the upper-division Cubs. Loyola had little trouble with a banged-up West Covina team in last year’s 35-7 win.

“Last year, they got up on us and we kind of hung our heads a little bit,” Maggiore said. “I just want us to compete. We’ve looked good against Claremont and Covina, but this is another test. This is a huge step up. I’m anxious for it.”

Bonita looks to rebound

Bonita, still reeling from its heartbreaking loss to rival San Dimas, has to get over the blues quickly with a game against South Hills on Friday.

The Bearcats rallied from a 23-0 deficit against San Dimas to eventually lead 36-30 late in the fourth quarter before a costly fumble helped San Dimas eke out a 37-36 win at Citrus College on Thursday in the Smudge Pot game.

“How you respond to defeat is even more important than how you respond to victory,” Bonita coach Adrian Medrano said Monday morning. “That’s what we’re really preaching this week. We have to bounce back up. We’re not going to stay in the tank very long.

“We had one day where we got to lick our wounds and that day is over, so it’s time to get back to work.”

South Hills won its season opener last Friday over Colony and presents an upper-division challenge for the Bearcats. And even though the Huskies have struggled the past two seasons, most of that has come in the difficult Sierra League.

But that actually might be a good thing for Bonita, because another big game against a team with a marquee name, as far as the local area is concerned, could help get the Bearcats back focused and on their best behavior.

“I hope South Hills gets them up,” Medrano said. “Because they’re in a higher league and higher division. Hopefully, our guys want to prove to themselves and to others that they are a force to be reckoned with.”

Savage out for Damien
Damien wide receiver Josh Savage will miss Friday’s season opener against Orange Lutheran due to an undisclosed rules violation, Spartans head coach Greg Gano confirmed late Monday.

Savage projects as one of the top receivers in the area and without him Damien’s chances of upsetting the Lancers took a hit.

Gano said the suspension will be only for one week and Savage will play in Week 2 when the Spartans visit Palm Desert.

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