About Fred Robledo

Fred J. Robledo is the local sports editor for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group

TOP TEN FOOTBALL COUNTDOWN: After ranking No. 6-10 this week, top 5 unveiled next week

The Whittier Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Pasadena Star-News all-encompassing daily football countdown is halfway home. This week we unveiled teams ranked No. 6-10, and next week we will post the top five, finishing with the top team posted on Aug. 18. To recap, here are teams ranked 6-10. Who do you think makes the top five next week.

No. 6 Glendora
Glendora, which begins the season at No. 6, returns experienced quarterback Bryce Wooldridge and an offensive line that should allow the senior and the Tartans’ run game to be more versatile as it hopes to improve on last year’s 5-6 record and first round exit in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
Glendora, which finished 4-1 in the Palomares league behind league champion Ayala (5-0), is one of the favorites, and Wooldridge is a big reason.

No. 7 La Serna
The mantra for No. 7 La Serna has been next man up for a decade, and that isn’t expected to change this season. The Lancers again are in the midst of a reload, but again are expected to rank among the best in the area.
La Serna, despite some key graduation losses, begins the season as the favorite in the Del Rio League and a solid contender in CIF Southern Section Division 3.

No. 8 St. Paul
St. Paul, which begins the season at No. 8, has been one of the most improved teams in the area the past few seasons. The Swordsmen are six years removed from consecutive 1-9 seasons and have progressively become one of the area’s top teams in the area after advancing to the CIF Southern Section semifinals for the first time in a nearly a decade last season.

No. 9 La Mirada
La Mirada, which begins the season at No. 9 in the Tribune/Star-News/Whittier preseason top 10, appears to have slipped a bit after winning a CIF State title in 2015 and advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 finals last season.That’s news to the Matadores, who, despite losing 10 all-area players to graduation, still return enough key pieces to be among the area’s elite.

No. 10 Arroyo
The daily Tribune/Star-News/Whittier top ten countdown begins with a surprise at No. 10 with reigning Division 12 champion Arroyo, which won its first CIF Southern Section divisional title since 1986 in dramatic fashion, beating Rancho Mirage 35-34 in overtime, winning on a do-or-die two-point conversion.
The Knights checking it at No. 10 is a surprise because of so many talented upper-division teams considered for the top spots, but the Knights return a wealth of talent at key positions as it moves to Division 11, and that starts with junior quarterback Ernesto Camacho.

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Damien’s longtime announcer and teacher, Chuck Ballingall, has passed

By Aram Tolegian
Chuck Ballingall, the longtime voice of Damien High School baseball and basketball, and veteran teacher at the school, died Wednesday after collapsing at the school. No age was given.
Ballingall’s voice was very familiar to those who attended Spartans basketball games in the winter and baseball games in the spring. He was entering his 36th year as a teacher at the school and also produced the school’s master schedule. Ballingall taught advanced placement statistics and geography.
“He was very involved in everything,” Damien principal Dr. Merritt Hemenway said. “I called him a Damien treasure. He had a great sense of humor. He and I shared a love of statistics and every morning we talked about the Dodgers.

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Nogales football missed the playoffs, but changed its culture

CLICK AND READ: Nogales football coach Richard Salazar preaches all the right things, that the hard work you put in during the spring and summer pays off in the fall.At least in Salazar’s case, he’s got the rings to back his mouth.
“I believe in all that stuff,” Salazar said. “I’ve lived it. I know what the feeling is when you reap the rewards of hard work.”
Salazar experienced it all as a player and coach.He played football for legendary La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta and was part of La Habra’s first championship team, winning a Division 9 title in 2002, then winning another championship his senior year in 2003.

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Damien football coach Mark Paredes explains why there is so much optimism, plus other interviews

Damien coach Mark Paredes has won championships at Bishop Amat and JW North. But Damien has been his biggest challenge. Is this the year the Spartans finally break through? He discusses it along with interviews with QB Warren Bryan, WR Mikey McCauley, OL Evan Crockett and LB Nathan Alba

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Who is the best quarterback in the East San Gabriel Valley?

There are lots of good quarterbacks in the Tribune coverage area, AKA, the East San Gabriel Valley. As we move closer to the start of the season, time for you to vote who’s best. The four on the poll include Northview’s Steven Comstock, Covina’s Nin Burns II, Bishop Amat’s Blake Archuleta, and Damien’s Warren Bryan. There are others to watch too, like San Dimas’ Dylan O’Leary, Glendora’s Bryce Wooldridge, Charter Oak’s Jalen Palacios and of course, Arroyo’s Ernesto Camacho. Your thoughts? Who would you take if you had your choice?

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Bishop Amat football players take pictures, talk about expectations for opener against Mater Dei and the season

Bishop Amat will take on Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps in the season opener at home on August 25. We caught up with a few of Amat’s headliners during a photo shoot at the Tribune and here is how it all went down.

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Glendora’s offensive line and QB Bryce Wooldridge keys to 2017 success

Everyone will get its first look at Glendora on Thursday, Aug. 24 against Kaiser in the season opener at Citrus College. This will be Tartans’ fans first look at how much QB Bryce Wooldridge has improved and how vaunted its offensive line is. We caught up with assistant coach Brandon Rohrer and some of the players on Tuesday to talk about it.

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