The ALS #IceBucketChallenge hit Arroyo HS this afternoon and it was something special. Coach Jim Singiser not only took the challenge, but he also will donate $100 to ALS. After, he called out West Covina head coach Mike Maggiore, Maranatha’s Steve Bogan and Charter Oak’s Lou Farrar, who earlier also was called out by CIF-SS assistant commissioner Glenn Martinez. As Singiser noted, don’t be afraid, it’s just a challenge from the Mission Valley Legue.
The CIF-SS folks joined the summer fun and accepted our ALS #IceBucketChallenge. Former Charter Oak athletic director and current CIF-SS Assistant Commissioner Glenn Martinez with help from Commissioner Rob Wigod, spokesperson Thom Simmons and others at the CIF office, took his two-bucket dump with a big smile on his face. Great stuff! Martinez then called out Brandi Stuart (from the CIF office) and old pal Big Lou Farrar, Charter Oak’s head football coach. Stuart and Farrar are on the clock.
By Aram Tolegian
Nobody will ever know for sure just how close the Bassett High School football program came to going the way of the dinosaur in 2011.
But with just 16 players on the varsity roster at the end of a 1-9 campaign, it doesn’t take a genius to realize things were about as bleak as they could get.
Enter Hector Spathias.
Today, thanks to Spathias, the Olympians are a thriving program, one that was a coin flip away from making the playoffs last season. The roster now has 50 players between varsity and junior varsity, and although the stunning turnaround hasn’t come easily, things are clearly looking up.
“I’m a teacher on campus and they knew I had coached football before,” said Spathias, thinking back on how he took on the challenge of turning things around. “They would call me in and say, ‘You know the kids here, you can relate to them, can you coach the football team?’
“And I would say there’s no way I’m going to coach here, there’s no support here. But when you have these kids in your class, you feel bad. You want to give them a fair shot on the football field.”
The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS started on Monday at San Dimas High School and Wednesday the tour took us to Northview, where sports writer went to his alma mater to take the the challenge and he was joined by Vikings’ coach Marcel Perez, who both took the bath.
After Ramirez called showed “some love” to the Westside, calling out St. Francis coach Jim Bonds to take the challenge. Perez did the same to his former coach Greg Gano, who is now the head guy at Wilson. You guys have 24 hours to take the ice bucket or dig in to your pocket, all for a good cause.
You gotta give it up to El Monte football coach Joel Sanchez and staff for answering the ALS challenge this morning. What a fun way and good cause to celebrate Hell Week and two-a-days leading to the Aug. 29 season openers. Coach Sanchez called out Arroyo coach Jim Singiser, Rosemead coach Marc Paramo and Mountain View coach Victor Ambruso. Boys, you’re on the clock and have 24 hours to respond …
There has been a flurry of activity since San Dimas football and coach Bill Zernickow called Aram and I out Monday to take the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” Aram and I accepted and got dumped on by the Saints’ football team and called out Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty, Bonita coach Adrian Medrano along with two of our biggest contributors during the football season, Mike the Cousin and Tom Kiss. On Tuesday, Bonita’s Adrian Medrano accepted and paid the $100 donation, then quickly called out Glendora coach Jerry Lewallen. Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty got dumped on along with Tom and the Cousin during Amat’s practice Tuesday. Hagerty called out Damien coach Mark Paredes and Upland coach Tim Salter. Mike called out the Scouting Guru, James Escarcega and Tommy called out our very own Stevie Ramirez and the Bulletin’s Clay Fowler. Those called out today have 24 hours to respond or reach into their pockets … whatever you choose, it’s a win-win for all.
— Gabriel Escovar (@gescovar) August 13, 2014
When you take the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease, you can either have an ice bucket of water dumped on you and shared to YouTube to spread awareness or donate $100. We challenged Bonita coach Adrian Medrano and Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty after San Dimas and coach Bill Zernickow challenged us. While we all got dunked on, Medrano chose to donate $100, which is what this is about really. Medrano followed by challenging new Palomares league rival in Glendora football coach Jerry Lewallen, who is on the clock and has 24 hours to respond. Find out who else Medrano challenged as well. Congrats to Medrano for reaching into his pocket and answering the challenge. We’re waiting on Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty to answer the challenge tonight along with Mike the Cousin and Tommy the Inland Insider Kiss
— Bill Zernickow (@BillZernickow) August 13, 2014
By Aram Tolegian
There was a time when Greg Gano cared about where his next CIF championship ring was going to come from.
When you win four, it can be addicting. Those days have quickly gone, though. Gano, whether by choice or error, has been rapidly adding chapters to his career in recent years. And that’s not always a good sign for a coach.
The latest and perhaps final chapter for Gano is at Wilson High School. Yes, the same Wilson that’s just down the road from where Gano cemented his name with some of the industry’s best coaches at Los Altos.
Gano’s arrival at the Hacienda Heights campus is a culmination of events that has led the Valley legend to become reflective and less hell bent on wins and losses at a time when most coaches his age would trying to salt their legacy.
“The only thing I can say is that I’m the same guy I was in 2002,” Gano said before practice on Monday afternoon. “But it’s not about me anymore. I want our kids to feel that I care about them. That is the main focus that I had coming into this year, is that the kids know I care about them and what they’re doing on and off the football field.”
Gano’s career has hit several speed bumps since he resigned his position at Los Altos following the 2007 season. After taking a year off, he was hired at Damien in a move that many thought would make the Spartans an area power and maybe more.
It didn’t happen. Following a 20-22 record in four seasons, Gano resigned and promised he wouldn’t be out of coaching long. He wasn’t. Gano was soon the head coach at Tustin. But that was over soon after it got started and Gano was out at Tustin after an 0-4 start in 2013.
San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow called Aram and I out at today’s practice to take the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) challenge, which gives you 24 hours to answer the challenge or donate a $100 bucks to the cause. While it’s always great to donate money, the evolution of the ALS challenge is to spread awareness on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms about ALS. Watch coach Z get dunked and call us out. We answered two hours later by getting dunked in front of the San Dimas football team as well. Check out who we called out, they’re next up. Going forward, lets use this as a countdown to the Aug. 29 season opener. If anyone wants to call out their coach or another player on a football team in the SGV, send the video to Aram or I and we’ll post it. Let’s start this craze at football practices throughout the SGV and beyond. Now, check out our video and see who we challenged next…
But rarely do you hear those words uttered so often when it comes to football than when they fly off the lips of new Maranatha High School football coach Steve Bogan.
Want to know how one of the Valley’s best-ever coaches winds up at tiny Maranatha? He prayed on it. Wondering whether a four-time CIF champion coach like Bogan is truly concerned about adding another ring to his pile? It will happen if God wills it.
Those are the themes of Bogan’s sentiments as he starts what very likely will be the final chapter of a career that’s seen him win more CIF titles than most of his colleagues can dream of, more league titles than one man deserves and enough games to ensure area fans will remember his name for a long time.
“For me, it seemed like the lord was saying ‘Go do this,’” Bogan said while winding down after holding one of the first fall practices of what he hopes will be a productive tenure at Maranatha based on winning and spirituality.
We’re nearly three weeks from the prep openers and the fifth PrepXtra Football preview magazine, which debuts on Aug. 28. The first weekend is great, opening with Rosemead and Northview on Thursday night followed by Monrovia and San Dimas the first full Friday capped with Covina taking on South Hills Saturday night. Other intriguing games the first Friday is Bishop Amat on the road against Santa Margarita, how Arroyo fares at San Marino, and how Wilson and Greg Gano will do in his debut against Workman.
Thursday, August 28
Rosemead vs. Northview at San Dimas HS.
Friday, August 29
Alta Loma at Rowland, 7 p.m.
Arroyo at San Marino, 7 p.m.
Baldwin Park at El Monte, 7 p.m.
Bassett at Maranatha, 7 p.m.
Bonita at Schurr, 7 p.m.
Diamond Bar at Montebello, 7 p.m.
Diamond Ranch at Nogales, 7 p.m.
Duarte at Cerritos Valley Christian, 7 p.m.
Gladstone at Jurupa Hills, 7 p.m.
Keppel at Ganesha, 7 p.m.
Monrovia at San Dimas, 7 p.m.
Pasadena at South El Monte, 7 p.m.
Roosevelt at Pomona, 7 p.m.
Santa Margarita vs. Bishop Amat at Saddleback College, 7 p.m.
Santa Monica at Los Altos, 7 p.m.
Sierra Vista at La Puente, 7 p.m.
Walnut at Don Lugo, 7 p.m.
West Covina at Colony, 7 p.m.
Wilson at Workman, 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 30th
Covina vs. South Hills at San Dimas HS, 7 p.m.
By Aram Tolegian
The Duarte High School football program continues to give every indication that it’s on the verge of something special and new head coach Travis Brown is confident he’s the man who will get the Falcons over the top.
Brown, a former standout receiver at Los Altos in the early 2000s, is conducting his first fall camp as a head coach and the excitement is starting to build that the beginning of something big for both the Falcons and their rookie coach is about to happen.
“We have a lot of guys that not too many people know about,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t expect us to be anybody’s favorite. But I will say that we’re going to turn some heads this year and we’re going to make a lot of noise.”
Brown did just during his playing days. He was a receiver on Los Altos’ 2002 and ‘03 CIF championship team and earned Tribune All-Area honors in ‘03. He then starred at New Mexico where he was an all-Mountain West selection in both his junior and senior seasons.
The success continued into the early days of what he hoped would be an NFL career. Brown was atop the depth chart for at one wide receiver spot for the Cincinnati Bengals entering the preseason in 2008.
Baldwin Park football photo gallery
By Aram Tolegian
New Baldwin Park High School football coach Daniel Algattas isn’t bashful when he talks about his goals for the Braves’ program.
“We want to be recognized as a team that can play with the best of them,” Algattas said. “Our kids want to be No. 1 in the Valley. Whether that’s realistic or not, somebody can tell me that in 5-10 years. We want to get there one day. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But we want to play to our full potential.”
It doesn’t end there. Algattas is hopeful that he can take Baldwin Park on such a run that the Braves will “earn our way into Charter Oak’s league.” And if you remember him as a standout quarterback at Walnut, it’s not a wise idea to bet against it happening.
When last seen by most Valley prep football fans, Algattas was firing the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion pass in the final seconds of the 2003 Hall of Fame All-Star Game.
It was the culmination of a stellar prep career that saw Algattas lead Walnut to the CIF championship game against South Hills in 2002. He parlayed his high school career into a scholarship at Colorado St.
But before Algattas’ freshman season in Fort Collins, CO,, he injured his shoulder and suffered a serious concussion in car accident that came as a result of another driver running a red light.
By Fred J. Robledo
Ask Azusa Pacific’s Mayra Almazan about her most memorable moments over the past few years and it’s no wonder she has to pause and think for a while.
Was it scoring the game-winning goal in sudden-death overtime to lead Azusa Pacific to the National Christian College Athletic Association national championship with a 2-1 victory over Dallas Baptist last fall?
Was it being named the most outstanding offensive player of the tournament, or being named the NCCAA national player of the year?
“It was all humbling,” said Almazan, who also starred at South Hills high school. “Really humbling.”
It could get even better.
Almazan is competing with Costa Rica in the Under-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this month. Costa Rica is in Group D and opens with France Wednesday followed by games against Paraguay and New Zealand in hopes of advancing past the group stage.
“I’m really excited,” Almazan said. “Nobody expects much from us, we’re one of the (sleepers). Hopefully we can surprise a few teams and get to the next round.”
The season is just under a month away for teams with Week 0 games and that means just a few weeks to tighten the screws in preparation for the long grueling campaign.
At San Dimas, the defending Mid-Valley Division champion Saints held their first practice under the watch of head coach Bill Zernickow. San Dimas opens the season in arguably one of the top games of the year against Monrovia on Aug. 29.
“It went fine,” Zernickow said of Monday morning’s practice. “Our guys were extremely excited to be back out there. You could see their posts on Twitter saying ‘Can’t wait for football’. That ended after about an hour.
“Nobody got hurt. I think we caught a little break in the weather. I think Sunday was a lot more humid.”
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
As a wrestler, Randy Aguirre was one of the area’s best.
Now the South Hills High School graduate is in the toughest match of his life. He was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma, which effects the brain, and his family and friends have come to his aid.
Fans of Los Angeles City Wrestling are hosting a fund-raiser for Aguirre this week. The event is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club.
The night for Aguirre will include comedians Adam Hunter, Aldo Juliano and John Diresta.
The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club is located at 1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Suite 222, in Universal City.
Aguirre wrestled at South Hills before competing at the collegiate level at San Francisco State. He is now the coach at Palisades High School in Los Angeles.
More information on the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/816534431700486/
Bishop Amat released this statement: The Bishop Amat Family welcomes Mr. Joseph Hoggatt as teacher and Head Varsity Baseball Coach. Mr. Hoggatt comes to Bishop Amat as an experienced and successful Division I high school varsity baseball coach (from Canyon High School) with thirteen consecutive CIF playoff appearances, six league championships, and two trips to CIF finals. Thirteen of Coach Hoggatt’s student/athletes have gone on to play at the Division I college level. In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Mr. Hoggatt will serve as a full-time member of the faculty.
Fred’s thoughts: Don’t know a lot about Hoggatt other than he had a successful run at Canyon. But his reasons for leaving are unclear according to the Register’s Steve Fryer: Joe Hoggatt’s tenure as Canyon’s baseball coach has ended after 12 seasons. Canyon’s athletics website states that former Comanches player Matt Morris is the school’s varsity head coach. Canyon athletic director Patrick Bendzick said he could not discuss school personnel matters, so the reasons for Hoggatt’s removal are unknown for now. I will say that Bishop Amat’s first choice was Clemente Bonilla, but sources said they couldn’t come to agreement on the salary
By Fred J. Robledo
As expected, Damien High School hired former Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto to take over its baseball program on Thursday.
Nieto, one of the winningest coaches in Southern California over the last decade, resigned less than a week after earning his fourth championship in eight years at Bishop Amat.
The Lancers ended the season with ten straight victories culminating with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over top-seed Palm Desert for the CIF-SS Division 3 title at Dodger Stadium in June.
Nieto said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities, and soon after he announced he was leaving, Damien fired coach Al Leyva, prompting speculation that Damien would target Nieto.
Damien’s principal Merritt Hemenway was the principal at Bishop Amat when it hired Nieto, and the two remained close.
“I think it’s probably easier to say third time’s the charm,” Nieto said. “He (Hemenway) hired me at Cantwell (Sacred Heart) many moons ago when I was finishing my degree at USC. It’s a great relationship that we built and I owe the start of my teaching career to him and I owe a lot to him helping me establish my career as a coach and teacher.”
Leyva was 107-61 in six seasons at Damien, but never won a league championship. His best year was his first in 2009 when Damien finished 21-9 and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals. Damien was 17-10 this past season, finished in a tie for third in the Sierra League and was ousted in the first round of the playoffs.
Nieto thinks he can take Damien to the next level.
“I have always had the utmost respect for Damien, they never lacked talent or ability,” Nieto said. “For me this place has endless possibilities. When you combine the athletic facilities and resources, Damien is a sleeping giant.
“This program, there’s no fixing here, it’s on solid ground. For whatever the reason, they’ve always played well and they’ve knocked on the door of a championship. They’ve been knocking on the door for many years, lets figure out how to go through it and win this thing.”
Nieto won back-to-back titles when he first arrived at Bishop Amat in 2007 and ‘08, and added another banner in 2011 to go with seven consecutive Del Rey League championships.
Nieto finishes with a career record of 196-55-1 at Bishop Amat and in 2011 the Lancers finished the season ranked sixth nationally and won the prestigious National Classic.
Nieto arrived at Bishop Amat with huge expectations after previously serving as an assistant coach at USC from 1997-2006.
Nieto won a national championship with the Trojans in 1998 and went to the NCAA college World Series in Omaha three times with the Trojans in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
Nieto also served as an assistant baseball coach at Glendale community college in 1996 and was a recruiting coordinator for East Los Angeles College in 1995.
Bishop Amat was Nieto’s second high school head coaching job, having coached at Cantwell Sacred Heart from 1991-94 where he led the Cardinals to three league titles with a 62-35 overall record.
Nieto earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from USC in 1991 and master’s degree from Azusa Pacific and is a 1982 graduate of Schurr High.
The Chino Hills basketball community grieved Wednesday for Nnamdi Okongwu, a member of the boys team that went to the CIF Southern Section Open Division championship game in March and a Pac-12 prospect. Okongwu was critically injured in a skateboarding accident Tuesday.
Conflicting reports surfaced as to the player’s condition Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.
A message on the player’s instagram account was posted early Wednesday evening showing “Nnamdi Michael Okongwu, September 20, 1996 – July 16, 2014,” but that same account had a subsequent post after midnight saying, “Please stop telling nnamdi is dead please just pray for him.”
Three television stations and another print publication cited a school official who had confirmed that the player had passed away.
“He was a big presence as a basketball player and an even bigger presence as a person,” said Chino Hills coach Steve Baik, who was on vacation in Hawaii. “It’s kind of staggering to think about right now.”
Okongwu was at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. Details of the accident were not available.
Baik out of town, so was assistant coach Don Grant. Another assistant, Mel Simms, found out about the accident from a text his daughter received.
Gomez, 31, had been a mainstay on Layton’s staff, joining it in 2006 as head junior varsity coach, only to be elevated to assistant varsity coach two weeks later.
He was part of a staff that took the team to CIF championship games in 2008 and 2009.
He had been the team’s defensive coordinator the last three years.
Gomez, who also teaches Spanish at the school, took the team through spring and summer drills and has retained many of the assistants so he expects the transition to be easy.
“We’re all on the same page and it has been a pretty seamless transition,” Gomez said. “I know the players and they know and respect me so we’re ready to move forward.”
I thought for sure with two weeks away from this place Andy Nieto would be at Damien by now and Bishop Amat would already have replaced Nieto at Amat? I also thought the Lakers would have added at least one free agent but it’s like time stood still. Or maybe a million things happened and I was so far out of sight, out of mind that I need some of you to get me up to speed on what’s happening around the Valley, what rumors are out there and what stories need looking into??? Best news I heard while gone is that we struck a deal with MaxPreps to provide localized standings, schedules, leaders and updated scores on our websites. Best part is our website should provide daily schedules and results through MaxPreps and we hope everything comes together by the fall. Other than that, time to make some phone calls and get back in the groove, football starts in just over a month.
UPDATE: Source confirms Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto HAS interviewed at Damien this week.
UPDATE: Bishop Amat AD Michael Manzo said he expects the Lancers to announce its next baseball coach next week.
UPDATE: San Dimas has hired Northview graduate Omar Diaz as its next wrestling coach. Saints also looking for a boys and girls varsity soccer coach.
UPDATE: Los Altos baseball has hired assistant coach Hector Gutierrez to take over the program following last month’s resignation of Andrew Formano.
RUMOR SPECULATION: Despite an email and tweet telling me that super Northview baseball freshman Jacob Amaya is transferring to South Hills, Northview coach Dan Roddy said there is no truth to it. He says he’s heard the rumor too, but has been told by Amaya’s family he isn’t going anywhere. Amaya is already committed to Cal State Fullerton. South Hills already has benefited by getting a transfer from Bishop Amat, Christian Moya.
Chino Hills BB coach Kyle Billingsley via twitter confirming he has been let go. Was only coach the school had ever had. More to come!
— Michelle Gardner (@MGardnerSports) July 9, 2014
OK, I’m confused…Bishop Amat is now in the Mission League, and St. Francis is in the Serra League…No Amat is still in the Pac-5, but because Serra moved up to the league Amat and Alemany and the rest called home, officials thought it wasn’t right, so they gave the league the Mission name, and transferred the “old Mission” to the Serra. We heard it might be the Angelus League, but have not heard any official word.
From a historical perspective, I don’t see any reason why they just couldn’t call the “old Serra” the Angelus League, which has the tradition of being a D-1 league, and then keep the Mission League, which has tradition as a D-3/4 league.
What do you think?