Football Notebook: Damien dips into obscurity until the Sierra league starts; Rowland off to quick start

“That wasn’t by design, believe me,” Gano said of having a schedule so void of local competition. “We dropped Bishop Amat. We tried to get Monrovia. We called around here forever and there was no teams.”

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

Damien High School’s football team is about to pop off the local radar for the next four weeks due to a schedule that has the Spartans playing no local teams and no marquee opponents until Sierra League play begins in October against Ayala.

Damien opened the season with a 31-14 loss to Orange Lutheran on Friday.

Next up the Spartans have games against Palm Desert, Temescal Canyon and Los Alamitos. Damien had a fifth nonleague game scheduled against St. Bernard, but that school dropped its varsity football team for a season.

When the Spartans do come back into the local conscious, coach Greg Gano is hoping to be 3-1 and have his team primed to contend in what should be a lights-out Sierra League this season.

“That wasn’t by design, believe me,” Gano said of having a schedule so void of local competition. “We dropped Bishop Amat. We tried to get Monrovia. We called around here forever and there was no teams.”

That means on Friday afternoon the Spartans will leave campus at 2 p.m. and head for Palm Desert, which could be quite blistery weather-wise, and play their second game of the season far from home.

“This week will tell us a lot about ourselves,” Gano said. “If we weren’t fired up last week, we had better be this week. We’ve got to get better every week. We’ve got to get our offensive line in tact and to where they feel good about themselves.”

Damien will get a boost in having standout wide receiver Josh Savage back after he missed Friday’s game due to a suspension that stemmed from an undisclosed school rules violation.

The Spartans did next to nothing offensively in the second half against Orange Lutheran, partially because they simply couldn’t get the ball back from the Lancers’ ball-control option offense.

“I hope it’s a difference having Josh back and that it will help,” Gano said. “I think we scrimmaged a pretty good team (Mater Dei two weeks ago) and played a pretty good team last week. Offensively, we’re just ironing some things out that need to be ironed out.”

Raiders rolling

Rowland is off to a 2-0 start despite having a load of starters to replace from last year’s team. The two victories equal what the Raiders’ win total was last season, but coach Craig Snyder said Tuesday that there’s still considerable work to be done.

“Being 2-0 is nice and everything, but we do have to get a whole lot better before we get to our league because I know our league is going to be a whole lot tougher,” Snyder said. “I’m pleased with their effort and their attitude has been great. They’re a good group of kids, but we’re just very young and inexperienced, and we’re learning on the run.”

Rowland has wins over Nogales and Wilson to start the season. Perhaps the level of competition leaves something to be desired, but the Raiders have allowed just 19 points in eight quarters thus far.

“We’ve come up with some big plays when we’ve had to,” Snyder said. “We’ve blocked field goals, we’ve had two interceptions when they were in the red zone. Our defense has been playing OK. We’re not setting the world on fire yet, but we’re getting better and learning. It’s a work in progress.”

Things figure to get a bit tougher on Friday when the Raiders host Northview, which is smarting from a loss to Gladstone in its season opener last week. The Vikings were thought to be one of the most improved teams in the area this summer, but were limited to just 10 points in a 19-10 loss to Gladstone.

Snyder is expecting Northview’s best shot on Friday and knows his team had better be ready to respond.

“I’ll tell you what, they’ve got some players,” Snyder said of Northview.

“It’s just a matter of them needing to get on all cylinders because they’ve got some athletes. I’m really impressed with Javon Taylor, he’s a good running back. You can contain him, contain him and contain him, then the next thing you know he breaks a few tackles and he’s gone.

“It’s a matter of time. Their offense has some explosive weapons and we’ve got our hands full trying to contain them this week.”

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  • SGV Football

    Gano is losing it. His team is going to be fighting for that 3rd spot, but Ayala will most likely get it. South Hills should be a challenge for the pop warner team Damien calls its own. Gano was tired of getting spanked by Amat, so he replaced that game with St Bernard, Really Gano. Wow, this guy is the complete opposite of Assante. Assante is playing teams over his head, as he tries to get better, and Gano is running away from teams, as he attempts to improve Sparty’s record. This does no good to the boys of Damien, who will be overwelmed when they reach league. They are playing pansies in the next three games, and when they hit the Sierra, the teams in the Sierra are going to punch Sparty in the face.

  • Fred Robledo

    I wouldn’t say Asante is the complete opposite, it’s more like the administration and admissions are the complete opposite in that St. Paul has made it much easier than Damien in terms of getting football athletes into the school.

  • SGV Football

    Fred,

    I was referring to the scheduling the two coaches did. It seems that Asante is willing to schedule tough opponents, as he attempts to better his team for league play. Gano seems to have an opposite philosophy in avoiding the tougher teams, and instead playing a weaker schedule. The Sierra is proving to be a very tough league this year, and do you see Damien really doing the necessary things to ready themselves for a tough league? I see Damien fooling themselves with the weak nonleague schedule, aside from OLU, and when they hit league, they will be on the outside looking in. I predict that they end up in 4th this season.

  • Fred Robledo

    Damien just played Orange Lutheran, how many of those games should you play? I don’t think St. Paul is doing itself any favors starting 0-5 before league. If anything, players get hurt. Damien’s schedule will be tough enough when it reaches the Sierra. I would agree that maybe you schedule two games like Orange Lutheran, but you also schedule winnable games.

  • Dan

    No marquee opponents?
    Since when has Los Alamitos fallen into the ranks of obscurity? In most years they would either take or contend for the Sierra league title.

  • SGV Football

    Dan,

    Los Al has not been a contender the last 2 years. They are in total rebuild this year, and are about to get smacked by CO tomorrow. OLU is the real deal, and the Spartans looked like boys amongst men in that game. As I said earlier, Damien will come in 4th if they are lucky and get past South Hills. Sorry to burst your bubble Danny Boy.

  • Fred Robledo

    SGV Football
    How many Sierra League teams would beat Orange Lutheran?

  • The Libero

    “we dropped Amat(because they whipped our azz every year),we tried to get Monrovia, we called around here forever, and there WAS NO TEAMs” great to see the head coach at a very solid academic institution and his ghetto grammar skills, where did they find the mini Michelin man? Fred, drop by and see the Libero again tomorrow, Joe Amat and I will hook you up with some breaking news out of Lancerland!

  • saladays

    Chino Hills and Co would beat OLu. Lutheran won’t make playoffs.

    and Damien should be able to play with them.

    Gano is not a good coach. He has more than enough kids to get it done.

    You blame the admin for not letting him illegally recruit … come on!!!

    Do hear what you are saying?!?

  • 2 My Friend

    2 teams would beat OLU from the Sierra Freddy, First CO would have stopped OLU’s offensive strangle hold, where Sparta couldn’t. Second, and it aches me to say this, but CH would have put up a good fight, and maybe beat OLU also. There you have it Freddy, the 2 teams from the Sierra that will make some noise this year: CO & CH

  • Football Jones

    Has Los Alamitos really fallen that much to where CO and Damien are somehow favored? Has anyone around here seen LA play this year? LA lost to SM by 10 points last year and constantly beat up champion La Habra teams. I”ll take LA over both CO and Damien.

  • Dont hide

    You have not seen damien at full strength at all yet. They were missing some key players against OLu and it was there FIRST GAME. They came out a little conservative and that will not happen again this year, promise you. So when Damien beats Co and Chills, are we gonna still here from guys like SGV Football????? Or are you gonna just fall off the face of the Earth and pretend like you never said this non sense…so before you get all hyper on jumping on the bashing of Gano, let the season play out then open your big mouth

  • Dan

    SGV Football,
    No bubble bursted on my behalf, I have no dog in this fight. I’m just suprised at how Aram, yourself, and others on here take them lightly. I think CO and Los Al will be a good game tomorrow and I favor CO in that game and hope they pull out a win, but when you say CO is about to smack them it seems like you think CO will win in a blowout, that would suprise me but maybe you know something about them, are they losing talent to other schools in the area for some reason? If you say they are in a state of total rebuild I’ll take your word on it and assume you’ve done your homework.
    As for them not being in contention for a couple years, they were the Sunset league champs two years ago and also shared the title two years before that, their record as a Pac 5 team was 8 & 3 both those years with first round exits to Crespi and LBP. Last season was Los Al’s first non playoff year since 2007.

  • SGV FOOTBALL

    Fred,

    Whats up with this chump TRYING to take over my blog name? I’ve been using this name for years now on this blog.

  • Sierra League Champs

    Fred

    2 Sierra League teams can beat O Lu. Damian is not one of them!

    West Conina – where have they gone Fred? You’re so deep into Amat’s arrss that you have already forgotten about the 2 time champion? Isn’t Maggiore going to get mad at you? The last time you did that, your car mysteriously broke down after the game. Remember that? LOL

    Huskies #1

  • Libero???

    What the hell is the Libero? Some Cuban Communist coffee shop where fat old Lancer honks comiserate about their old days in battle? Hah hah! Do they pay taxes? Are they even licensed to legally operate in LA County?

  • GANO WHO?

    dont hide

    Check your schedule over these three weeks. Its called WEAK! I laugh at bozos like you who think youll beat CH and CO.

    OL threw the ball ONE TIME and walked over over your dumb aZZ! Bunch of SOFT pu–ys.