Bonita coach Adrian Medrano and South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez in playoffs for the first time, read what they have to say

“I wouldn’t call it a full-blown collapse, but I will say that we’re not finishing. For whatever reason, we start to get a little complacent. We haven’t shown that killer instinct these last three games. That has to come out. We have to have that killer instinct. We can never be satisfied with the lead.” Bonita coach Adrian Medrano on Bearcats losing final two games after winning five straight

“We’re not disappointed in the draw. It’s our first year back in the playoffs after back-to-back 3-7 seasons, so we’re happy to be in it. We’re just going to go have a good time.”South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez on facing Vista Murrieta, the No. 1 ranked team in California.

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN
Any way you slice it, Bonita High School is not entering the football playoffs heading in the right direction.

The Bearcats blew their shot at an outright Hacienda League championship by losing their final two games of the season despite having leads in both games. Now, they’re hoping to right the ship in time for Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs first-round game against Santa Fe. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Bonita.

“I wouldn’t call it a full-blown collapse, but I will say that we’re not finishing,” first-year Bearcats coach Adrian Medrano said. “For whatever reason, we start to get a little complacent. We haven’t shown that killer instinct these last three games.

“That has to come out. We have to have that killer instinct. We can never be satisfied with the lead.”

Bonita, which enters the postseason with a 5-5 record, finished in a four-way tie for the league championship with West Covina, Rowland and Diamond Ranch. But West Covina won the league’s tiebreakers and entered the playoffs as the league’s top team.

That has to sting for Bonita, which opened league play with a 4-0 record only to lose close games to Diamond Ranch and Diamond Bar in the final two games of the season. Even more frustrating to Bearcats fans was that their team held a 20-7 lead over Diamond Ranch before losing 34-31 and led Diamond Bar 24-7 at halftime before losing 25-24.

“Even against Los Altos, we started the game off up 17-0,” Medrano said of Bonita’s 35-31 win over the Conquerors three weeks ago, which started a pattern of blowing leads. “If we learn a lesson this week, our season is done. We just need to stay the course and make sure we have the right attitude every day.

“Guys who are our leaders need to step up. I thought that some guys who are leaders on our team had a chance to step up against Diamond Bar and that didn’t happen.”

Santa Fe also enters Friday’s game with a 5-5 record. The Chiefs finished second in the Del Rio League behind La Serna and played a tough nonleague schedule that included the likes of St. John Bosco, Chaparral and Corona Santiago.

“They’re well-coached and tough,” Medrano said of Santa Fe. “They play tough football out in that area. Santa Fe has a culture of winning and it has a culture of toughness of discipline.”

SOUTH HILLS IN DEEP

After missing the playoffs for the past two seasons, South Hills is very happy to be back in the postseason even if it means being thrown to the wolves in the Inland Division with a road game against arguably the best team in Southern California, Vista Murrieta.

The Huskies finished the regular season at 6-4 and placed third in the Sierra League. Being third in the Sierra is a double-edged sword, however, with that team annually becoming fodder for the division’s top seed in the first round.

“We’re not disappointed in the draw,” first-year South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez said. “It’s our first year back in the playoffs after back-to-back 3-7 seasons, so we’re happy to be in it. We’re just going to go have a good time.”

Vista Murrieta enters the postseason with high expectations after a 10-0 regular season. The Broncos won the division last season and another title could send them on their way to a state championship bowl game.

For South Hills, it’s the program’s first trip to the Inland Division playoffs since stunningly being placed in the division three seasons ago after a decade of success in lower divisions.

“I knew there was a chance that we would play them,” Rodriguez said. “It’s definitely a reward for making the playoffs, but all joking aside like I told our kids this is like a celebration. We’ve had a great year. We’re treating it like it’s a little bowl game.

“We’ve been watching them (on video) the past two days. That’s one of the best football teams I’ve seen on film since I’ve been doing this. They live up to every bit of it, without a doubt.”

Rodriguez wasn’t about to get controversial about South Hills being in the same division as Vista Murrieta, but like many others he has no answers as to why the Huskies are where they are.

“It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” Rodriguez said. “But we can’t control that. I can’t get into all that. That’s for the powers that be to figure all that out.”
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  • Joe Kelly

    I am looking for an interesting game between Charter Oak and Chaparral. I think the way that the offensive line performs for Charter Oak will go a long ways towards the outcome of this game. Also, Charter Oak has not played in many close games. While this could be another blow out, the numbers would suggest otherwise. Chaparral’s strength of schedule in league and in non-league make them a dangerous opponent for a team that has been little tested. Additonally while the Charter Oak front 7 are a legit, best in state, type of unit, they have not played against an offensive line as good as the Puma’s. While their defense will, no doubt, play their solid, if not spectacular game, their offense will be up against it and special teams could be a deciding factor. Anyway you size this one up, it should be a very interesting match.

  • reality

    Both first year coaches have much to be proud of. It can’t be easy replacing long respected head coaches and then make the playoffs. While both received their share of doubt, both have there teams moving on. Lets support these fine young men who are both credentialed teachers on campus which there are far to few of and hope they do well. Way to go guys.!!!

  • Cat Watch

    Medrano needs to question his coaching, the play calling, clock management and his temper instead of calling out the players. Lead by example quit the screaming antics on the sideline.

    10 games in and we have still only seen 5 plays of that legendary playbook of his offensive coordinator
    10 games in and the coach calls 3 passes in a row when he needs to run down the clock
    10 games in and his “coaching” skills have produced a quarterback that locks on to a receiver before the snap and will throw into triple coverage rather that throw to the wide open receiver on the other side.

    Coach you need to step up and be worthy the young men who leave it all of the field every week.

    • Basic

      Cat,

      I couldn’t agree with you more, you have to teach these kids and not take shots at them. Take responsibility as a coach, what you say inside the locker room might be different than what you say to the public but to the public you can not call out kids, not in high school at least.

      Having said, that I do give him some credit as I didn’t think this team would be in a fight for a league title and they were so that has to be commended. However, play calling has been Horrible and time management even Worse…The last 3 loses I’d put on the coaching staff because of play calling and time management.

      Let’s come out and be smart, aggressive, with high energy and emotion but contained by the coaching staff to allow these kids to learn to play the game with these qualities and avoid the mental errors…