PrepXtra Live Football Semifinal Show talking Los Altos-Bonita, Charter Oak-Colony, Pomona, Northview and of course, Bishop Amat’s first berth in in 16 years

This is the 1952 Pomona football team, the last Pomona football team to win a CIF championship. They have a chance to win the school’s first title in 62 years. I talked to San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow about Pomona after the Saints’ 41-14 loss. Zernickow said Pomona is the most athletic team he’s ever coached against in high school or college.

Pomona 1952 team

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Northview coach Marcell Perez on facing No. 1 Paraclete: “It’s going to be an old-school game where it’s going to be about who’s standing last.”

northfootNorthview High School football coach Marcel Knows exactly what to expect when Paraclete comes to town on Friday to play his Vikings in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.
The only question is whether his team can stop what’s coming?
“They play sound football and they do good things,” Perez said of the No. 1 seed Spirits. “They’re a very good football team. A lot of athletes. It helps when you have the Jimmys and Joes, for sure.
“It’s going to be an old-school game where it’s going to be about who’s standing last.”
Northview enters Friday’s game in the midst of one of the best seasons in school history. The Vikings are 11-1 and are in the semifinals for the first time since 1997. But Paraclete (9-3) is the No. 1 seed for many reasons, one of the biggest being running back Melquise Stovall.
Stopping Stovall is going to be the focal point of the Vikings’ defensive game plan.

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Charter Oak in rare role as underdog in Central Division semifinals hosting Colony

“They’re the No. 1 seed and our we’re the No. 1 team out of our league and look where they put us in our bracket, so go figure,” Farrar said. “I’m not a bracketologist. I just know that from where they seeded us and where they seeded them, we can’t be superior to them. They’re the No. 1 seed for a reason. Look at their scores. Look what they’ve done.”

By Aram Tolegian
Although it may sound strange to area fans who know the history of the Charter Oak High School football program, veteran head coach Lou Farrar is calling his Chargers the underdogs on Friday night when they host Colony in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Central Division playoffs.
echols“They’re the No. 1 seed and our we’re the No. 1 team out of our league and look where they put us in our bracket, so go figure,” Farrar said. “I’m not a bracketologist. I just know that from where they seeded us and where they seeded them, we can’t be superior to them.
“They’re the No. 1 seed for a reason. Look at their scores. Look what they’ve done.”
True, Colony enters with the sexier record at 10-2. And yes, the Titans have been lighting up just about every defense they’ve seen. But the Chargers have picked up their game at the right time to be 8-4 and Farrar knows a few things about playoff success.
Charter Oak has scored 49 points in each of its first two playoff games. Last Friday, the Chargers did enough to cool off San Marino’s high-flying offense. Now, they have to try to slow Colony’s attack, which is averaging just under 40 points per game.
“We just have to figure a way to slow them down and stay just one jump ahead of them” Farrar said. “They’re as good as advertised.”
Colony lost its starting quarterback to injury just prior to the playoffs. Back-up Jordan Johnson has come in and the team hasn’t missed a beat. And how could they, with a receiving corps that has several nice targets?
Charter Oak has had plenty of big offensive performance of its own, headlined by running back Zion Echols’ 302 yards and five touchdowns performance against San Marino. Quarterback Kam Brown has also been so good that he ranks among the best passers in the state.
The Chargers have the week off from school and will practice during the morning. Farrar said there will be no special ceremony for Thursday’s Thanksgiving practice, but he does expect to see plenty of alumni in town and on the sideline offering advice and pep talks to his team.

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Who is the Tribune’s leading candidate for football player of the year?

By the CIF semifinals, we usually have a good idea of who the Tribune football player of the year will be. Normally we’ve got it narrowed down to two or three, but with six teams still playing, and almost all of them relying on multiple standouts, it’s hard to get a feel for who it is or who is leading. I don’t want to mention names at this point, but I’m curious what are bloggers think? If you were picking player of the year today, who would you pick?

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Boys Basketball Top Ten Preview: Damien No. 1, but Diamond Ranch, Diamond Bar and Glendora looking good


The High School boys basketball season has arrived and with it comes new surroundings and a breath of fresh air for some like Glendora, which is finally out of the rugged Baseline league.
Glendora, under legendary coach Mike LeDuc, will battle it out in the new Palomares along with Bonita, South Hills, Diamond Bar, Ayala and Claremont, forming one of the areas most competitive leagues.
Damien and two-time player of the year Jeremy Hemsley have moved to the Baseline league where it will go up against some of the state’s best teams like Chino Hills, Rancho Cucamonga and Etiwanda, but the Spartans are up for the challenge after winning a CIF-SS divisional title a couple years ago.
As usual, we start out the season with our annual top ten preview.
For the top ten, click the thread.

1. Damien
The Spartans finished 22-7 and were knocked out in the tough Division 1AA playoffs last year, but figure to be a big-time player moving back to the 3AA Division, where it won the championship in the 2012-13 season.
Hemsley, who already has given a verbal commitment to San Diego State, averaged 22 points, five rebounds and five assists a year ago, and will be challenged by several other top-notch players in the Baseline.
The Spartans also return 6-foot-5 post player Malik Fitts, who averaged 13 points and seven boards, and inside bruiser Isaiah McCullough, a junior who started on varsity as a freshman and figures to have a breakout season.
The good news for the Spartans is even if they finish third or fourth in the Baseline, which is one of the top leagues in the state, they still figure to be among the favorites when the playoffs start.

2. Diamond Ranch
New coach Eric Cooper, who built little known La Verne Lutheran into a power that won lower-level CIF-SS divisional and state titles in 2010 and 2011, is back in the area and is already attracting talent for the Panthers.
Diamond Ranch, which will be favored in the new Hacienda league and could challenge Damien in the 3AA Division, welcomes 7-foot junior transfer Roman Silva from Etiwanda and also 6-foot-3 sophomore guard J.J. Watson, a highly coveted recruit who transferred from a school in North Carolina.
Watson, who averaged 19 points during the regular season and 25 points in the North Carolina state playoffs as a freshman, is already being looked at by several big-time colleges.
“He’s something special,” Cooper said of Watson. “Of all the great kids I’ve had over the years, he’s the best sophomore I’ve ever had, which is saying a lot. He’s the complete package.”
Also transferring to Diamond Ranch is junior point guard Tyler Mclean, who started at Servite last year and 6-foot-8 Latrelle Standifer from Rancho Verde.
The Panthers were just 12-15 last year but the new infusion of talent should change everything. They also return junior Ethan Jarrell, who earned Hacienda league first-team honors as a sophomore.
“I’m excited,” Cooper said. “If these guys work hard skies the limit. I’ll just lay out the plans, but they have to want it and go get it.”

3. Glendora
Going from the Baseline to the new Palomares is huge relief for the Tartans who have practically everyone returning from last years’ 18-12 team.
The big returners are senior point guard AJ Bigornia, who averaged 19 points and 6-foot-4 senior forward Brandon Brothers, who averaged 13 points.
Joseph Alvarez, a 6-foot-9 senior center, is back and healthy after an injury-riddled junior season.
And you can bet LeDuc is happy with the new surroundings, though he’s not ready to say his Tartans are the league favorites.
“In my opinion, there are no favorites, everybody has a shot,” LeDuc said. “I don’t mean that as a cliche, but whoever plays the best and comes together will be the best. We have a shot along with all the others.
Glendora will compete in the Division 2AA playoffs, which doesn’t have many noticeable super teams.
“Just looking at some (preseason) rankings, there are a half dozen pretty good teams (in Division 2AA),” LeDuc said. “I haven’t wasted a lot of time looking at it, but on the surface that’s what it looks like.”
One of the best kept secrets may be the emergence of the Brahmas, who second-year coach Henry Frierson says could be the best team at the school in over a decade, partly due to some serviceable transfers that could help challenge Glendora as co-favorites for the Palomares league title.

4. Diamond Bar
Diamond Bar was 11-17 last year but added senior point guard Tyler Ginyard from Damien, junior shooting guard Lamar Johnson from Upland and 6-foot-7 Brandon Rice, who started at Diamond Bar, left to Servite, and is back for his senior year after sitting out his junior season.
The Brahmas also have brothers Tyler and Kyle Peterson, and a super freshman in Jaren Williams that a lot in the basketball community are raving about.
Williams played with Cantwell Sacred Heart over the summer before settling at Diamond Bar.
“We have the ability to be better than we have been in a long time,’ said the second-year coach. “We’re kind of under the radar but we like the talent level on our team and feel like we can do a few things.”

5. Walnut
Although the Mustangs lose coach Josh Cameron, there is loads of talent returning from a Mustangs team that went undefeated in winning the Hacienda league title and finished 22-6.
Former assistant Joe Khouzam will take over as head coach.
If anyone figures to challenge Diamond Ranch in the Hacienda, it could be the Mustangs who return Hacienda player of the year Juri Williams, who averaged 10 points but is a game-changer defending the floor and making everyone better.
Jeff Huang, another Hacienda first-team selection, is back for his senior year along with Ryan Herrera.

6. Bishop Amat
Like Glendora, Bishop Amat is another team that will enjoy its new surroundings in the Camino Real league after competing against state powers Bishop Montgomery and Serra in the Del Rey League.
Amat returns leading scorer Joshua Andarza, a senior who averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds and also senior guard Christian Mora, who averaged eight points. Andarza and Mora are both returning Del Rey first-team selections.
Bishop Amat should be among the Camino Real favorites along with Salesian, St. Anthony and Bellarmine-Jeff.
The Lancers also return bruiser Anthony Camargo, who earned second-team all-league honors last year.

7. Bonita
The Bearcats were 20-8 and finished third in the Hacienda league and figure to be steady again. The Bearcats welcome new coach Tim Godley, who had success at other schools and is just what they needed to remain among the areas elite.
Can Bonita hang with Glendora and Diamond Bar in the new Palomares? That remains to be seen this season, but over the long haul, they’ll battle it out annually for the league title.

8. Wilson
The Wildcats were the surprise of the Valley after going 20-8 and going undefeated in the Valle Vista league to claim the title and they return Kyle Price, a senior point guard who earned league first-team honors.
Also back is junior all-leaguer Justin Chan, junior Jared Kawamoto and senior post player Justin Lee.
The Wildcats do lose league player of the year Kevin Price, but figure to be the favorite along with San Dimas for the league title.

9. San Dimas
The Saints’ biggest offseason transfer was coach Gordon Hamlow moving over from Rowland after winning five league championships and finishing second five times in 13 years with the Raiders..
The Saints were 12-14 last year but return arguably the league’s best player in senior Ryan Ocampo, who averaged 13 points last season and 6-foot-5 forward Omar Nasri, who averaged eight points.
A sophomore to watch is 6-foot-3 guard Ronnie Rafeh and senior guard Eddie Casas.
“Great shot selection, strong low post presence and tough defensive play will
be the staple of this team,” Hamlow said. “The Saints believe they will be a strong contender in the Valle Vista League.”

10. South Hills
Huskies coach Marc Hart is realistic after going 13-15 last year, figruing that after Glendora and possibly Damien, everything else is a crapshoot in the Palomares league.
The Huskies will likely battle for the third spot with 6-foot-4 junior Darius Scott, who can shoot the long ball and play inside, and Alex Sanchez, a 6-foot-4 forward.
The Huskies also returns Marcus Williams, 6-foot-3 sophomore guard.

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Tribskin Pick’em: Going with Bishop Amat, Charter Oak, Los Altos and Pomona to reach championship games

Aram Tolegian (Last Week: 7-5; Season Total: 359-112)
Fred Robledo (Last Week 7-5; Season Total: 359-112)

Last Week: Aram and I missed virtually the same games and we cancelled each other out on one. I got him taking Bishop Amat over JSerra but he got it back taking Colony over Glenodra. So, there you ago we’re tied heading into the final two weeks of the season.

This Week: I changed some of my pre-playoff predictions based on what some teams are doing in the playoffs and those already knocked out. Originally I had Corona Centennial knocking out Bishop Amat in the semifinals, but outside of No. 1 St. John Bosco, nobody is playing better defense than Amat. Amat will score on Centennial just like Serra did in a 68-64 first-round loss to Centennial, the difference is Amat’s defense will hold Centennial in the 20s and do enough to reach their first championship game since they last won it in 1995. I also had Northview beating Paraclete in the Mid-Valley semifinals, but Paraclete is looking to good with 44-0 and 63-0 wins. Northview’s good, but they’re not Paraclete good. But I do like Pomona over Sierra Canyon at home in other semifinal and I’m sticking with Pomona to win the championship. Los Altos has made the Southeast look so easy and their win over Monrovia leads me to believe they’ll handle Bonita and face Charter Oak, who will knock off Colony, in the championship game.

CIF-SS High School Football Playoffs
Friday’s predictions
Pac-5 Division

Long Beach Poly at St. John Bosco, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (St. John Bosco); Aram (SJB)
Bishop Amat at Corona Centennial, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Bishop Amat); Aram (Amat)
Central Division
Colony at Charter Oak, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Charter Oak); Aram (CO)
Los Altos at Bonita, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Los Altos); Aram (LA)
Mid-Valley Division
Paraclete vs. Northview at San Dimas, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Paraclete); Aram (Clete)
Sierra Canyon at Pomona, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Pomona); Aram (Pomona)
Southeast Division
La Serna at Crescenta Valley, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (La Serna); Aram (LS)
Salesian at Downey, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Salesian); Aram (Downey)
Northwest Division
Templeton at Arrowhead Christian, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Arrowhead); Aram (AC)
Pasadena Poly at Nipomo, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (PPoly); Aram (Nipomo)

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PrepXtra: Bishop Amat stuns JSerra, 24-17 to reach Pac-5 semifinals; Northview, Pomona, Los Altos, Bonita, Charter Oak all win

SCOREBOARD: Follow for updates of quarterfinal football games throughout the night


Charter Oak back in semis: Charter Oak High School’s football team found itself in the shootout most expected on Friday night against San Marino. And in the end, the Chargers were the ones who didn’t run out of ammo.
Zion Echols rushed for 302 yards and five touchdowns as the Chargers withstood two rallies by host San Marino to post a 49-31 win and punch their ticket into next week’s CIF-Southern Section Central Division semifinals.

Bishop Amat stuns JSerra: Bishop Amat went with the hot hand in starting junior quarterback Ryder Ruiz in his fourth consecutive game even though Damian Garcia was available after getting a doctor’s clearance after a rib injury, and the move paid off big-time for the Lancers.Ruiz threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns to lead Bishop Amat to a 24-17 upset over second-seeded JSerra to advance to the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinals for the first time since 1998.
Bishop Amat (9-3), ranked seventh in the state by MaxPreps, won its seventh consecutive game and will face Corona Centennial, a 27-24 winner over Mater Dei, in next week’s semifinal at Centennial.
“Whatever we decide, either (quarterback) is capable,” Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty said about the decision to go with Ruiz over Garcia. “Damian had his moment and unfortunately got hurt and now Ryder’s living his moment.”mes and predictions.

Los Altos knocks out No. 2 Monrovia: Redemption or revenge, whatever you want to call it, it was sweet for Los Altos on Friday night.
The Conquerors avenged a last-second loss to Monrovia (10-2) earlier in the season with a resounding 45-35 victory, ending the Wildcats’ season and propelling themselves into the CIF-SS Central Division semifinals.
Los Altos (7-5) dominated the game on the ground, behind a great night in the young career of sophomore running back Tyler Nevens, who rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns.

Colony ends Glendora’s season: Colony High School head football coach Steve Randall might be hard to track down today. He may be on some riverboat, gambling. He showed that kind of swagger Friday night.
Facing a fourth-and-goal from the Glendora 14 in a tie game, Randall opted to go for the kill rather than a field goal. Quarterback Richard Johnsonn took the snap and appeared to pitch it to Ryan Kinard, the Titans’ leading rusher of the night.

Bonita gets its revenge: The Bonita High School football team is making good use of the only at-large bid handed out in the Central Division.
A week after, knocking off Sunkist League champion Kaiser, the Bearcats defeated Hacienda League co-champion West Covina 24-13 Friday night at Glenn Davis Stadium in the CIF-SS Central Division quarterfinals.

Pomona smacks champ San Dimas: The Red Devils lost their head coach on the eve of their playoff opener. The latest distraction was Friday’s bomb threat at Pomona High School. Neither has derailed the school’s football team, which rolled to its second blowout victory in as many playoff games with a 41-14 dismantling of defending CIF champion San Dimas on Friday.

Northview in semis for first time since 1987: It’s been 26 years since Northview last appeared in a CIF-Southern Section semifinal game.
It’s now official. Northview started slowly but turned on the offense in the second quarter and defeated host Montebello, 42-24, in a Mid Valley Division quarterfinal game.The Vikings, who defeated Montebello for the second time this season, won their seventh in a row and improved to 11-1. Montebello ended its season at 7-5.
The Vikings, who last won a CIF title in 1987, were led by running backs Alex Camacho and Elijah Grijalva with two touchdowns each.

Pac-5 Division
Bishop Amat 24, JSerra 17
Semifinals: Bishop Amat at Corona Centennial

Central Division
Colony 41, Glendora 27
Charter Oak 49, San Marino 31
Bonita 24, West Covina 13
Los Altos 45, Monrovia 35
Colony at Charter Oak
Los Altos at Bonita

Mid-Valley Division
Paraclete 63, Azusa 0
Northview 42, Montebello 24
Pomona 41, San Dimas 14
Sierra Canyon 33, Rosemead 12
Paraclete vs. Northview at San Dimas
Sierra Canyon at Pomona

Southeast Division
La Serna 38, St. Francis 35
Semifinals: La Serna at Crescenta Valley

Northwest Division
Arrowhead Christian 43, Maranatha 28
Pasadena Poly 20, Linfield Christian 11

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