Balwin Park and new coach Chris Williams ready for El Monte with an all-out aerial assault

Baldwin Park going Tony Zanish on offense, ready to take on El Monte in season opener

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer

For years Baldwin Park High School has been the bruising, prodding, three yards and a cloud of dust football team that grinded out wins and had some memorable seasons under former coach James Heggins.

That’s all about to change.

First-year coach Chris Williams plans to air it out, which will remind some of legendary coach Tony Zane, the famed Braves coach who caused defensive coordinators nightmares in the 1980′s and ’90′s. (to continue click thread)

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What a surprise, Bishop Amat heads the SGV Tribune’s preseason Top Ten Football Rankings

There will be a more thorough breakdown of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune’s preseason Top Ten Rankings in Thursday’s PrepXtra Preview Magazine, but it’s time to unveil the teams, and you shouldn’t be surprised who I gave top billing.

1. Bishop Amat – There are other teams with better chances of winning league titles and CIF championships in their respective divisions, but No. 1 to start the season simply comes down to who you think is the best if everyone played each other, and Amat is still the best until an area team dethrones them, or has bigger wins on the resume when the season is over. It’s that simple. Aram can argue other teams all he wants, but until teams like Charter Oak, Chino Hills or West Covina beat Amat, the Lancers are still tops in the Valley. And guess what, Charter Oak and Chino Hills will get their shot. That’s how this works, you want No. 1, earn it on the field, not against a weaker schedule. Just a fun fact here, Aram has Monrovia No. 1 in his all encompassing ranking. On my list Monrovia would be No. 6 behind the Tribune’s Top 5. Who you schedule and who you beat means everything.

2. Chino Hills – I’ve never seen senior quarterback Matt Simko, the transfer from Colony who is supposed to revitalize the Huskies and make them instant Sierra League contenders. Chino Hills has a great coaching staff. They have a great program. In terms of numbers and demographics, nobody in the SGV can compete. But can they put it all together? We’re going to find out, but it looks good on paper.

3. West Covina – The back-to-back Southeast Division champs have the potential to be better than the previous title teams because it has a bonafide quarterback, a guy you can rank with the best in the area, something the Bulldogs haven’t had in a long, long time. The Bulldogs can run, they’ve always been able to run. They’re physical on defense and swarm at you like no other. Now, with Jonathan Najera at QB, they could be more dangerous than ever and having a legitimate QB gives them a much better shot at Loyola next week.

4. Damien – Gano’s last hurrah? Ok, just joking, but it might feel like that if the Spartans don’t do something special like win the Sierra League title and get past the first round of the Inland playoffs. Quarterback Gage Pucci is as good as advertised, they have receivers and backs to potentially be one of the best offense’s in the area. If the defense holds up, watch out.

5. Charter Oak — Here’s the deal, I thought so highly of quarterback Travis Santiago I can’t imagine life for the Chargers without him, particularly because there was no Santiago incumbent waiting in the wings. The QB spot is a huge question mark as is the running game with Kurt Scoby now at St. Paul. But on defense, the Chargers are as solid as anyone in the area, arguably even better than Amat. But in the Sierra and Inland you have to score points and I’m not convinced the Chargers can do that on a consistent level yet.

6. Bonita — The drop-off from 5 to 6 is huge, and I mean huge, but I’m comfortable with the ‘Cats in this spot because of Sunshine, junior quarterback Tanner Diebold and a solid running game with Reggie Turner. That’s a one-two punch that few teams ranked below have, so I’m rolling with it.

7. South Hills — If I’m being completely honest with myself, I made this ranking BEFORE watching last week’s scrimmage against Covina. I thought the Huskies had size on the line, but speedier players ran by them. There also wasn’t the super impact players that Huskies teams always have, but like I said, the gap between the top five and the rest is huge, so maybe the Huskies do live up to this ranking.

8. San Dimas — Once again the favorite to win the Valle Vista League because they return eight starters on defense and everyone knows in Bill Zernickow’s Wing Z, they score points. The Saints averaged 36 points a game last year and got to the Mid-Valley semifinals. Can they do it again? They probably can.

9. Ayala — This is the year when the great freshman class from 2009 are seniors. That freshman class went undefeated and ever since have talked about 2012. Well, it’s here now. You probably think they should have been better last year if they’re going to make a dramatic turnaround from 3-7, but sometimes a fresh start is all you need.

10. El Monte – The Big sleeper. I’m going to take some abuse for this, but of all the teams in our top ten, the Lions have the best shot at going 10-0. They also have a quarterback in Brandon Martinez that IS the next Steven Rivera. Martinez could play and be a standout anywhere, both with his arm and his legs. Trouble with El Monte is reputation, they don’t have one. They’re being hyped for the first time in a long time, so how will they answer the bell?

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Prep Notebook: Chino Hills honoring Wounded Warriors in all black on Friday; West Covina QB Najera a question mark against Covina

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

Chino Hills High School will honor the Wounded Warrior Project on Friday night by wearing black jerseys with camouflage numbers and Wounded Warrior patches in the football season opener against Arlington.

Instead of having the players’ names on the back of the jerseys, the names of wounded warriors from the area will take their places. Each player will learn some information about the name of the wounded warrior they are representing in the game.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

“I just felt it was a good cause for our kids to do something for the community,” Huskies coach Derek Bub said. “It opens our kids’ eyes to the outside world and it’s our little thanks to those who sacrifice their health to give us the opportunity to play this game.”

The Wounded Warrior Project aims to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, according to the project’s website. A portion of game proceeds will be donated to the project.

“I know it’s a good cause,” Bub said. “My brother-in-law is an officer in the Navy and through some conversations with him he just told me what a great foundation it is.”

The Huskies enter the season with high expectations. Much of them have to do with the arrival of new quarterback Matt Simko, who transferred from Colony during the offseason.

Simko’s coach at Colony, Matt Bechtel, now is offensive coordinator at Chino Hills. Simko is blessed with having one of the top receivers in the are to throw to in Boise State-bound senior Jack Austin.

Medrano ready for debut

New Bonita head coach Adrian Medrano will get his baptism by fire on Thursday at Citrus College in the Smudge Pot game against rival San Dimas.

The rookie head coach has been starting to feel the pressure this week thanks to modern technology.

“I’m getting phone calls and text messages from people I’ve never met before,” Medrano said. “I’m getting emails left and right from people.

“Obviously, it’s a pretty big deal for the community. A lot of people are excited about it and I’m pretty excited about it, too.”

Medrano will preach calm this week in practice because the last thing his team needs is to lose its focus when preparing for a difficult offense like San Dimas’ Wing-Z, Zernickow’s variation of the Wing-T.

Bonita and San Dimas exchanged films from their scrimmages Friday. After watching the Saints scrimmage Diamond Ranch, Medrano knows his defense had better be on its best behavior.

“They were pretty vanilla in that scrimmage, but Zernickow is going to come out with a few twists,” Medrano said. “He’s a great coach and gives opposing teams a headache with those things.”

West Covina’s Najera a game-time decision

West Covina quarterback Jon Najera missed Monday’s practice and is expected to sit out today as well because of a knee injury suffered in Friday’s scrimmage against Claremont.

Bulldogs head coach Mike Maggiore said Najera, a senior, will be a game-time decision on Friday night when West Covina opens its season in front of the FOX Sports cameras against Covina at Covina District Field.

Najera beat out sophomore Antonio “Noodles” Hull for the starting job after a prolonged battle this spring and summer. Hull would start on Friday if Najera can’t go.

“We have to see how it feels,” Maggiore said. “We’ll know a lot more on Wednesday. We’re not going to push something like that at this point in the season.

“He’s gotten a lot more range of motion in the last 48 hours, so I think he’ll be fine.”

Najera is scheduled to have an MRI next week to determine if there is a meniscus tear. The injury is more bad luck for Najera, who started last year’s season opener against Covina only to leave the game early with an injury and never reclaim his starting job from then-senior Chris Caballero.

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Two-Minute Drill: Bonita vs. San Dimas


Two-Minute Drill: Aram and I weigh in on the Smudge Pot, Bonita vs. San Dimas, Thursday night, 7 p.m., Citrus college

Coming: Bishop Amat-Servite (Tuesday); Los Altos-Arroyo (Tuesday); Covina-West Covina (Wednesday)

Smudge Pot 2011 Rewind: Check out Tom Kiss’ highlights of Bonita’s 2011 win over San Dimas in the Smudge

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Tribskin Pick’em: Your picks and ours

For the second straight year Aram and I will go head-to-head in Tribskin Pick’em throughout the season for our annual dinner bet. Aram won by one stinking game last season and I want payback. That’s right, football is finally here with this week’s picks.
Last Week: Robledo (0-0); Tolegian (0-0).
Season: Tolegian (0-0); Tolegian (0-0).


Check out San Dimas’ new football field from Friday’s scrimmage vs. Diamond Ranch

This week: Week 0 is the easiest to screw up because there are so many uncertainties and unknowns, but as usual, we get most of these right. Thursday’s Smudge Pot is a toss-up, but after losing two straight and returning seven starters on defense and an offense that usually figures ways to score, I like San Dimas to reclaim the trophy over Bonita in a close game Thursday. Fox Sports West is airing West Covina-Covina live on Friday, which is great for only one team, West Covina, who I like by three touchdowns and wouldn’t be surprised if they’re up three at halftime. Bishop Amat is usually good for at least one step-up win per season, but not this week against Servite. Not only did Servite smoke Amat last year, if you watched it wasn’t that close. There are changes to both personnel, but seriously, how much difference could a year make? Take Servite. Arroyo and Los Altos might be the most interesting. I always thought if you take QB Steven Rivera away from Arroyo the Knights are a 2-8 or 3-7 team. You’ll find out why I thought that on Friday, take Los Altos. There were many other tough calls, like Rowland over Nogales, Colony over South Hills, Ayala over Diamond Bar and Northview over Ontario, but hey, it’s the first week, lets see how you do? I’ll post Aram’s picks this afternoon.

Thursday’s game
San Dimas at Bonita, 7 p.m. — Robledo (San Dimas); Tolegian (Bonita)
Friday’s games
Servite at Bishop Amat, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Servite); Tolegian (Servite)
West Covina vs. Covina at Covina District, 7:30 p.m. – Robledo (WCovina); Tolegian (WestCo)
Alhambra at Mountain View, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Alhambra); Tolegian (Mountain View)
Arlington at Chino Hills, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Chino Hills); Tolegian (Chino Hills)
Arroyo at Los Altos, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Los Altos); Tolegian (Arroyo)
Ayala at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Ayala); Tolegian (Ayala)
Baldwin Park at El Monte, 7 p.m. — Robledo (El Monte); Tolegian (El Monte)
Bassett at Keppel, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Bassett); Tolegian (Bassett)
Diamond Ranch vs. Chino at Ganesha 7 p.m. — Robledo (DRanch); Tolegian (Chino)
Duarte at Marshall, 4 p.m. — Robledo (Duarte); Tolegian (Duarte)
Ganesha at Montclair, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Montclair); Tolegian (Ganesha)
Garey at Pomona, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Pomona); Tolegian (Pomona)
Great Oak at Claremont, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Great Oak); Tolegian (Great Oak)
Northview vs. Ontario at Chaffey — Robledo (Northview); Tolegian (Northview)
Notre Dame vs. Workman at La Puente, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Notre Dame); Tolegian (ND)
Rowland at Nogales, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Rowland); Tolegian (Nogales)
Salesian at Sierra Vista, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Salesian); Tolegian (Salesian)
South Hills at Colony — Robledo (Colony); Tolegian (South Hills)
Walnut at Don Lugo, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Don Lugo); Tolegian (Don Lugo)
Bosco Tech at Wilson, 7 p.m. — Robledo (BTech); Tolegian (Bosco)

Prep Football Contest: The SGVN is running a high school pick’em contest with selected games from the Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News and SGV Tribune. Steve Ramirez, Aram Tolegian, Eric Terrazas, Keith Lair and myself will also pick so you can compare your picks with ours and keep a running total at the end of the season. Sign-on and enjoy

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PrepXtra Live!!! RETURNS TUESDAY, AUG. 21 … St. Paul head coach Elijah Asante and RB Kurt Scoby will be our guests …

Our Guest: I ran into Kurt Scoby on a weekend vacation and told him no way St. Paul beats Amat in a few weeks. He laughed it off and guaranteed St. Paul is back. We’ll discuss it this week.

When: Every Tuesday and Friday night
Time: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: Any of the SGVN prep sports blogs.
Guests: St. Paul head coach Elijah Asante and RB Kurt Scoby.

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Coaches, if you haven’t done so, submit rosters to MaxPreps so we know who we’re covering

By the way, Mike the Cousin is back this week on a NEW interactive format instead of CoveritLive for Thursday’s Smudge Pot and Friday’s Amat-Servite game, plus Tom Kiss, the Inland Insider is back with all his great video-game highlights. We also have the great Reginald Miller working with us on video’s and PrepXtra Live on Tuesday at 7 p.m., which starts tomorrow with some special guests. And of course, the Scouting Guru will drop by from time to time.

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Third Annual PrepXtra in Newstands and Home Delivery on Thursday, don’t miss it

You DO NOT want to miss this year’s PrepXtra, the fall football preview edition for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News. What we’ve done this year is make one giant magazine for all three papers so that in addition to reading team previews on every team in the Tribune area, Tribune readers also can read team previews from the Star-News, Daily News and vice versa. What it looks like is one huge 112-page book that will be available on Thursday, just in time for the Smudge Pot. If you don’t get a copy on the racks or home delivery, you can pick one up at the Tribune office for the measly cost of a newspaper. How great is that? Or this, for the first time, all team previews will be available ONLINE Thursday as well on a separate PrepXtra page that we’ve created just for you.

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We’re a week away from opening night, but Friday scrimmages should get the juices jangling

I‘m going to drop by two games tonight, checking out South Hills-Covina and Diamond Ranch-San Dimas .. Again, if anyone has video highlights updated to YouTube they want to share on the blog, email the link to fred.robledo@sgvn.com and I’ll post it.

Friday Scrimmages
Northview at Bonita, 7 p.m.
Claremont at West Covina, 7 p.m.
Diamond Bar at Baldwin Park, 6 p.m.
Diamond Ranch at San Dimas, 6 p.m.
La Puente, Chaffey at Nogales, 6 p.m.
South Hills vs. Covina at the District, 6 p.m.
Jurupa Valley at Rowland, 6 p.m.
San Gabriel, Mountain View at Los Altos, 6 p.m.

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Thanks to incredible readers, we have highlights from Bishop Amat’s scrimmage at Harvard-Westlake; Dionza Blue by U looks great again

If any of you in attendance at Thursday’s scrimmage video the scrimmage or put together a highlights package on YouTube, send it to us and we’ll post it. Send to fred.robledo@sgvn.com.

Ask and you shall receive … thanks

Amat 2011 Season Highlights Video and music is fantastic. For a season that was so-so, you think they won the title after watching this …

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Bonita and San Dimas square off in 40th Smudge Pot Thursday at Citrus College, which could be the permanent home of the rivalry

“It’s harder on us than it is on them,” San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow said. “We have issues with our conditioning because we’re a smaller school and more kids are going both ways. We’ve cramped up fast in the past and we’re hoping we’ve done a better job in the spring and summer with our conditioning to avoid first-game cramps. San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow on losing past two Smudge Pots

Supporting Katie: Bonita and San Dimas donating $1 dollar from each ticket sale to support leukemia research and Katie Ortega, an 18-year-old senior at Bonita who diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in June. Read about it here.

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the area’s most intense rivalry between Bonita and San Dimas highs.

Known as the Smudge Pot Game, Bonita and San Dimas will kick off the high school football season as the only game in town on Aug. 23 at Citrus College, starting at 7 p.m.

The Smudge Pot rivalry began in 1972 when the mayors of San Dimas and La Verne determined a smudge pot that symbolized the local citrus industry would serve as the trophy for the winning team.

Although San Dimas leads the rivalry 21-17-1, Bonita has won the past two games, beating San Dimas soundly last year, 40-20.

For Bonita, it’s also the debut of first-year coach Adrian Medrano, a former assistant who replaces longtime coach Eric Podley, who resigned after 12-years in charge, though Podley remains on staff as an assistant.

Bonita returns junior quarterback Tanner Diebold and running back Reggie Turner, but it’s hard to to tell who will be more nervous.

“It’s exciting and nerve-racking all in one,” Medrano said. “We have to make sure we don’t think about all the outside stuff and focus on the task at hand.

“But yeah, having your first head coaching game against your biggest rival is a tough way to start, but there’s probably no better way to start, either.”

League re-alignment in 2010 forced Bonita and San Dimas to play in Week 0 instead of the middle of the season, and it hasn’t gone well for the Saints, who lost both years.

It’s a tough way to start because coaches are juggling the emotion of a rivalry with natural first-game jitters.

“It’s harder on us than it is on them,” San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow said. “We have issues with our conditioning because we’re a smaller school and more kids are going both ways. We’ve cramped up fast in the past and we’re hoping we’ve done a better job in the spring and summer with our conditioning to avoid first-game cramps.

“Plus for us, they have a huge offensive line and are extremely well coached. It’s tough playing them to open the season because as a coach, you don’t have the same feel for your opponent that you would playing them in the middle of the season where you feel like you have more of an impact on the game.”

With more than 5,000 fans expected, Bonita and San Dimas will donate a dollar from every ticket sold to leukemia research and the family of Katie Ortega, an 18-year-old senior at Bonita who has been one of the Bearcats’ stat girls for the football team the past two years.

In June, Katie Ortega was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia), a cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The cancer grows when cells that normally turn into white blood cells begin to multiply rapidly and stop fighting off infections.

“Katie’s pretty close to all of our hearts,” Medrano said. “She’s still pretty involved with us and the coaches have gone to visit her. It’s not much (donation), but we wanted to do anything we could to help her out.”

Presale tickets are available at both schools; $10 for adults and $6 for children. Bonita and San Dimas students with ASB cards are admitted for free.

This is the third straight year the game is at Citrus College, and it’s likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

In the past, Bonita and San Dimas hosted the Smudge Pot Game in alternate years. But the game has grown so large the schools had to rent bleachers to accommodate the overflow crowds.

Though the schools lose the charm of a packed-house home environment, Zernickow said playing the game at Citrus College has become necessary financially.

“I don’t see us leaving Citrus,” Zernickow said. “It’s a huge financial savings for the district.

“Renting Citrus College is much cheaper than renting bleachers. It costs us $13,000 to rent bleachers and I believe it costs Bonita around $16,000.

“Also, from a safety standpoint and having large groups of people get together, Citrus makes more sense.”

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High School Baseball: SGV takes on SFV in underclassmen all-star baseball game at Birmingham High this weekend

The San Gabriel Valley and San Fernando Valley are squaring off this weekend in a high school underclassmen all-star baseball event at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, which features a skills competition tonight at 6:30 p.m., including members from all teams.

There are four teams, the San Gabriel Valley Grey (East of the 605) coached by West Covina’s Drew Lorenger and the SGV Blue (West of the 605) coach by Hoover’s Joe Cotti.

On Saturday, the SGV Blue faces SFV Blue at Noon while the SGV Grey takes on SFV Grey at 3 p.m. The winners will play each other on Sunday at Noon.

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Robledo’s take-it-to-the-bank preseason Mid-Valley and Southeast Division rankings

Robledo’s Mid-Valley Division Preseason rankings
1. Sierra Canyon
2. Monrovia
3. Paraclete
4. El Monte
5. San Dimas
6. Alhambra
7. Bell Gardens
8. Northview
9. Arroyo
10. South El Monte

Robledo’s Southeast Division Preseason rankings
1. West Covina
2. La Mirada
3. Compton Dominguez
4. La Serna
5. Paramont
6. Bonita
7. Diamond Ranch
8. Muir
9. Mayfair
10.T — Bellflower, Arcadia

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Is West Covina really that good or is it reputation? Maggiore says senior Najera will start at QB

“There’s no question that’s more about reputation and the last impression we left with people. People see what we’ve done so the expectations are just there. But the truth is we’re replacing four offensive linemen and other key spots. I don’t think you really know what you’ve got until you start playing.” West Covina coach Mike Maggiore on why everyone thinks the Bulldogs are huge favorites to win a third Southeast title.

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer

What made West Covina High School’s back-to-back CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division football championships so impressive was how it flexed its muscles and ran past opponents with ease.

The Bulldogs nearly ran for 4,000 yards, had two 1,000-yard-plus rushers and averaged 332 yards a game and scored 53 touchdowns on the ground.

And who could forget what West Covina did in the Southeast Division final last December against helpless La Serna, setting a CIF-SS record for most points scored in a title game, winning 84-21.

Even though West Covina graduated seven starters on defense and eight on offense, the impression amongst area coaches is that the Bulldogs are still head and shoulders above the rest in the Hacienda League and Southeast Division as they chase a third straight crown.

“There’s no question that’s more about reputation and the last impression we left with people,” Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore said. “People see what we’ve done so the expectations are just there. But the truth is we’re replacing four offensive linemen and other key spots. I don’t think you really know what you’ve got until you start playing.”

Don’t feel sorry for West Covina.

Not only will it be able to run the ball with bruiser Aaron Salgado returning and a stable of other up-and-coming backs, but it should be more of passing threat than ever before.

During the Bulldogs’ back-to-back title runs, they never did well in summer passing tournaments, but this summer they won the Arroyo passing tournament and have a gem in senior Jonathan Najera, who beat out super sophomore Antonio “Noodles” Hull, arguably the best athlete on the team. Hull will start at halfback, but he’s also a great No. 2 option at quarterback.

“John is our starter right now and we’ll go week-to-week,” Maggiore said. “He’s smart, accurate and was a starter last summer and spring before he got hurt. We knew he was capable and he showed it again this summer.”

But how much will the Bulldogs air it out? That remains to be seen.

“We want to be as good offensively as we can,” Maggiore said. “There are some years when you have the players that you can run 80 percent of the time. I don’t know how we’ll mix it up this year. Our goal is to score points. We’ve always been a run-first team, but it’s nice to be able to throw the football.”

West Covina will open against Covina on Aug. 24 at Covina District Field in a game that will be televised live on Fox Sports West.

The Bulldogs will host Claremont in a scrimmage on Friday at 6p.m.

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Must read on why St. Bernard dropped its football program

Resignation by head coach and transfers seens as blows too big to overcome

“The school incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid tuition in the past few years because the school did not administer a financial needs test to determine whether a family qualified for aid. The archdiocese required the school this year to mandate that all families seeking financial aid must first submit to a standard needs test. Financial need will be given to those who demonstrate need,” explained archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg, a former teacher and coach at St. Bernard.

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Ready or not, Servite coming to town on Aug. 24; Amat hoping to scrimmage at Harvard-Westlake Friday after Upland pulled out

“Who knows. I’m not a big prediction guy and I don’t think it’s the kind of game that sets the tone, but we do know we’re playing a team that sets the standard for high school football in Southern California. For us to play them gives us an idea of where we’re at and how much better we have to be. We’re not playing them wondering how good they’ll be, we know they’re good and will be well prepared.”Amat coach Steve Hagerty on season home opener against Servite on Aug. 24.

Below: RB Dionza Blue was sensational in the recent Blue-Gold scrimmage.

By Fred J. Robledo, staff writer
Bishop Amat and many others will have played two football games prior to Labor Day weekend – a new twist to a season that could last 15 weeks because of extended playoffs for state bowl games after the CIF-Southern Section championship games are played.

That meant two-a-days started in early August for the Lancers, who open the season against perennial Southern Section power Servite at home on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.

There have been triple-digit temperatures in Southern California since last week, making practice conditions brutal.

“We got through it,” said Lancers coach Steve Hagerty, sounding under the weather on Tuesday. “I don’t think anyone likes the weather being that hot, but everyone has to deal with it.

“I thought our guys handled it well. They worked hard and regardless of the circumstances, they did what we asked and ultimately we’ll be better for it.”

Bishop Amat was scheduled to scrimmage Upland on Friday in preparation for Servite, but the scrimmage was canceled because Upland had a conflict with the number of practice dates allowed before its season opener against Muir next week.

Amat is hoping to replace Upland with a scrimmage at North Hollywood’s Harvard-Westlake on Friday instead.

“We’re trying to work out the details with them (Harvard-Westlake),” Hagerty said. “It would be nice to get something in before our first game. But if we don’t, we just don’t, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Bishop Amat’s season and home opener against Servite is expected to pack Kiefer Stadium. But will the Lancers be more competitive than last year’s 49-14 blowout loss to Servite?

“Who knows,” Hagerty said. “I’m not a big prediction guy and I don’t think it’s the kind of game that sets the tone, but we do know we’re playing a team that sets the standard for high school football in Southern California. For us to play them gives us an idea of where we’re at and how much better we have to be.

“We’re not playing them wondering how good they’ll be, we know they’re good and will be well prepared.”

On a side note, John McKay Jr., a 1971 Amat alum, will be the guest speaker at Friday’s Amat TD Club kickoff dinner at Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, call 909-971-0052.

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Diamond Bar young, but talented

By Fred J. Robledo, staff writer
Diamond Bar coach Ryan Maine has no other choice but to be patient.

The Brahmas’ best players are sophomores, and rebuilding after a 4-6 season and fifth-place finish in the Hacienda League isn’t what the second-year coach had in mind – but it is what it is.

“We’re really young, there’s no way around that,” Maine said. “During the spring and summer we’ve seen a lot of guys mature, especially at the skill positions.

“This might be the best skill talent we’ve had in a while, but again, they’re young. We might be starting five to six sophomores depending on how things go.”

One of those sophomores is 6-foot-2 receiver and defensive back Cordell Broadus, the son of rapper Snoop Dogg.

Broadus’ cousin, 6-foot receiver Kanya Bell, is another sophomore expected to make big contributions.

“Both of those guys have had big summers,” Maine said. “Cordell has all the tools and Kanya is probably the best athlete on the team. It’s just a matter of those two getting acclimated to Friday night football.”

The Brahmas’ first big test under the lights comes during a scrimmage Friday against Baldwin Park at Baldwin Park High School.

That’s where Maine will get a good look at junior running back Tyler Brown, who is expected to carry the offense, and a better feel between quarterbacks Tyler Peterson, a sophomore, and Nolan Lucy, a junior.

Diamond Bar opens the season at home on Aug. 24 against Ayala at 7 p.m.

“I’d like to name a starting quarterback after Friday’s scrimmage,” Maine said. “It’s obviously an important position so we wanted to take our time. They’ve both done a good job and I hope they make it (decision) hard on us by both having a good game.”

In terms of the season goal, Maine is hoping for one of four playoff spots from the Hacienda League.

“West Covina is still head and shoulders above the rest and they’re loaded again,” Maine said. “Diamond Ranch is always strong but after that, it’s a toss-up between the remaining teams.”

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Breaking News: Damien looking for a Week 3 opponent after St. Bernard drops its football program

Damien coach Greg Gano was informed today that St. Bernard has dropped its football program, leaving a hole in the Spartans’ schedule on Sept. 14. The Spartans were set to host the Playa Del Rey team in Week 3, and is now looking for an opponent to fill the game or play a nine-game schedule.

Gano wasn’t sure why St. Bernard dropped the program, but the L.A. times reported earlier this month that coach Larry Muno resigned because the school wanted him to raise money to pay for his salary and coaching staff.

“I just can’t do it,” said Muno, who works as a full-time fire fighter. “I can’t afford it.”

St. Bernard competes in the Del Rey League, so cancelling the season will also leave a hole in the schedule for La Salle, Cantwell Sacred Heart and Bosco Tech.

St. Bernard was 10-1 in 2011.

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