Time for La Mirada, La Serna and the Hacienda to worry, West Covina QB Jon Najera and RB Josh Best will play in Friday’s game against Los Altos

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
West Covina High School coach Mike Maggiore jokingly said they dressed up an imposter prior to Friday’s 20-14 win over Diamond Ranch in the Hacienda League opener that improved the Bulldogs to 2-3 overall, though one of those losses was a win they forfeited to Covina for using an ineligible player.

Senior quarterback Jon Najera warmed up and dressed prior to beating the Panthers, but Maggiore decided to sit him out another week because he needed practice time.

“We were hoping nobody would notice,” Maggiore said of Najera in uniform.

Najera suffered a knee injury in a pre-season scrimmage against Claremont and hasn’t taken a snap since. Najera was one of the most impressive quarterbacks over the summer, leading the Bulldogs to the Arroyo Passing League title.

“He’s (Najera ) cleared to play,” Maggiore said. “He got cleared last Thursday and we anticipate him playing this week (at home against Los Altos on Friday).”

If Najera starts, it will only be his second start in a Bulldog uniform.

Najera was injured the first game of his junior season and when he returned late in the year the Bulldogs were well on their way to their second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division title, so he only played a clean-up role in garbage time.

“He’s probably the most experienced, inexperienced quarterback there is,” Maggiore said. “He gives us so much more diversity and at a time when we missed 11 starters (against Diamond Ranch) because of injuries, it will be nice to get your quarterback back. It’s huge for us.”

Huge in a lot of ways.

Sophomore Antonio “Noodles” Hull is pegged as the future QB, but he’s not capable of throwing the ball around the park like Najera. Plus, with Najera back, it allows Hull to return to the backfield, where the Bulldogs will also welcome back junior Josh Best from injury.
“Josh is one of the better running backs in the area,” Maggiore said. “We’ve missed him a great deal too.”

Adding Best to go with Hull and bruiser Aaron Salgado in the backfield may finally allow the Bulldogs to look like a team seriously capable of winning a third straight Southeast title.

With West Covina looking human in blowout losses to Loyola and Chino Hills, La Mirada and La Serna have taken over the top two spots respectively in the Southeast rankings, with the Bulldogs third.

“We’ve got a couple guys back and we want to get more healthy,” Maggiore said. “Then you have to stay healthy so there’s a lot that has to go right.”

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  • Bulldogs have bite

    Welcome back boys! See you guys in action Friday night! I can’t wait, and I bet you guys can’t wait either!

    Go Bulldogs!

  • BULLDOG TIA

    Finally! Can’t wait to see Najera back in action! Go Bulldogs!

  • Jose Rangel

    Go Jonathan!! We are so proud of you!

  • football fan

    No worries.

  • LA Conq

    Doesn’t matter who plays for West Co. This game is gonna get out of hand in a hurry! I predict a 34-3 halftime score. Final will be 55-3…West Co romps.

  • High School Fan

    Looking forward to seeing you on the field Mr. Najera. Good Luck. I’am not his dad or any relation but their is one dude getting a bit over looked in the Hacienda. Three years ago there was a qb from Marina Del Rey or someplace in the Southbay and his team was 0-10 but he was given a scholarship. He now starts as a qb in the Big Ten. The Bonita Qb has no big time targets only smallish dudes but he can really sling it. His ball literally buzzes in its path down field and his arm strength is formidable. Please someone that knows scouts tell them to forget the outcome and watch this guys fundamentals. It is fun to see. Mr. Mike glad to see your team getting healthy at the right time I would not want to have a team that has to play you now. Go get em!!

  • WCBulldogFan

    WC getting healthy is huge, especially coming since league has started. Having QB Jon Najera back is a big deal. Not only does it open up your passing game but with the return of Jr. RB Josh Best back too. You might as well call up the CIF and order the 3X Southeast Division Championship rings. Yeah I know that was a bit premature to say but if you’ve followed some of these kids from Jr. All-American til now, you would understand. Having Bakers back is great but I’m telling you RB Josh Best will be the topic on everyone’s blog next week!!!

  • 12th man

    I wouldn’t crown West Covina just yet!! La Mirada is legit this year & they will be tough to beat..Just ask Amat!!

  • Bulldogs have bite

    12th man,

    Nobody is crowning the Bulldogs just yet! But getting some of these guys back is a tremendous boost!

    Let’s not prematurely crown La Mirada either. La Serna, Norwalk and even Paramount may have something to say about who shall wear the Southeast crown this year! The Southeast is wide open! Nobody is going to steamroll everyone by 30+ points a game in the playoffs like WC did last year!

  • Dan

    Call CIF and order up rings??? What the!!!

    Easy there WCBulldogFan,
    If our kids took that mental approach in games and practice we wouldn’t win league let alone CIF. The Southeast division is much better this year, it will be much tougher to win than it was last year. If you were at the game last Friday you noticed that it could also be a lot tougher in our league too. Nobody came close to us in league last year. This year we had a tough time in our first league game. We were fortunate to get by Diamond Ranch last week. They were about to tie the game when fortunately one of our boys caused the fumble inside the 5.
    I agree with you that WC should be getting a lot better real soon, but our boys know they have to put in the hard work and make things happen on the field. They’ve got a target on their back and can’t take any team lightly. Maggiore and staff make sure the kids know this. One week at a time fellow Bulldog Fan, starting this week with Los Altos.

  • Bulldogs have bite

    I stand corrected. WCBulldogFan did actually prematurely call for the crown. I can understand his enthusiasm though. Josh Best is one extremely talented RB, and I too have been eagerly awaiting to see him play! And I have also been waiting to see Antonio “Noodles” Hull get fully unleashed! Seems like we have been protecting him and limiting his called running plays when he was our only QB with Varsity experience with Najera down.

  • M&G

    Najera coming back is huge, but getting best back is even bigger on both sides of the ball!

  • Bulldogs have bite

    Dan,

    You always seem to have the insider info. You hear anything about Deshon Love’s little brother getting called up from the Frosh team to the Varsity squad? I was checking the MaxPreps roster and saw him added to the Varsity roster wearing #21. Another super Frosh! Lots of Love in WC!

  • Sierra league fan

    WCBULLDOGFAN I mean daddy Best. No one will be talking about your son. He is very mediocre at best. The best back wc has is noodles and if we hear about anyone it will be him. The only reason he had a few decent yards last year was because the defenses were only concerned with Salgado, Solomon and Frazier so of course there will be some wide open field ahead of him but we will see how he looks the next few games. Wc offense makes mediocre look decent and good backs look great but the only one I see playing like a stud is Salgado.

  • Dan

    Bullogs have bite, true about Loves younger brother, he still plays frosh ball but suits up for varsity.
    Sierra league fan, your wrong about Best, very strong runningback, you’ll hear soon enough.

  • JBestDad

    First off Sierra League Fan I’m not wcbulldogfan. Secondly Josh is a great RB. His actions speak for it on the field. No need to boost up the inevitable. WC needs to take it one game at a time. Championship? Way to early to start shouting out CIF Championship. It is a different year and a different team. I love how much heart these young men play with.. Aaron Salgado is an amazing back hard runner, smart and very focused. I’m excited to have Jon and Josh back on the field I think overall it gives WC an entirely new dimension. Let Noodles loose. We get to see how they play with a slightly healthier unit. #Let’sGoBulldogs #JoshBest22