Linemen: football’s unsung heroes

How many times you left a football game raving about the performances
of the running backs or quarterbacks, or receivers, or return guys, all
high profile positions.

How often have you come away marveling at the effort of a lineman? Better
yet, do you remember or even know the name of someone who stood out in the trenches?

We’re looking for names of returning high school players who
open (or close) holes for the speedy guys toting the ball, or who
provide time for the quarterback, or put pressure on him.

Guys like La Habra’s offensive trio of guards Jake Garvey and Willie
Mayoral sandwiched around center Nick McDermott, or Santa Fe’s up-front,
two-way standouts Nick Finney and Ray Pinedo.

Who else, from tackle to tackle, should be on this season’s list of
must-see candidates along the line? And maybe a short comment of why.


Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Wide receiver openings in abundance at area schools

At first glance, due to what figures to be an inordinate lack of
players returning who can catch the football, it appears area schools
will have to develop their wide receivers early this fall if they are to
have any type of a deep passing game come league play.

Several schools have returnees who have displayed receiving ability,
but they’ll come from tight end or out of the backfield to do it.

La Habra has Ronnie Hillman, who lines up either at running back or
in the slot, Whittier has tailback Daniel Enriquez, La Mirada has
running back Devon Tracy, Pioneer returns tailback Matt Botello and
Whittier Christian has tight end Mark Edwards.

This group represents, at least statistically, their team’s best bet
to catch the ball.

The top returning wide out is Cantwell senior Jeffrey Taylor, a
6-foot-2, 205-pound speedster reportedly being coveted by several D-I
schools. Taylor had 31 catches last season, tops among numbers available
for returning players, and he averaged nearly 20 yards per reception and
scored seven touchdowns.

Several coaches have indicated they have newcomers up from lower
level programs who are having impressive summers but they qualify any
judgment concerning their potential until the pads go on and the game
becomes a contact sport again in the fall.

Anyone have names of players to watch for before the teams begin
practice following the “dead period?”

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

One-and-done, or go for the $$ ??

Brandon Jennings, the recently-graduated high school basketball phenom,
who attended Compton Dominguez and then Oak Hill Academy (Virginia),
signs a letter of intent to attend the University of Arizona.

It figures the McDonald’s All-American will be a “one-and-done”
Wildcat, leaving after his freshman season for the NBA draft.

However, the lure of getting paid for displaying his considerable
talents becomes the priority and he opts to escape to Europe where he
can enjoy being rewarded handsomely with a playing contract and
opportunities for lucrative endorsement deals while he reaches the NBA’s
mandatory age minimum of 19 and fulfills the association’s
one-year-removed-from-high school rule.

Good idea?
Bad idea?

The educational purist will argue that it is important for a young
athlete to participate in the college experience as part of his
maturation process, even if only for a year, and ultimately, begin
building an educational foundation on which to prepare for a career
after basketball.

However, it is difficult even for the purist to ignore the amount of quick
money available, even if it is European-born, to the young athlete – in
Jennings’ case reportedly an unconfirmed multimillion-dollar deal over
three years – that can be a major step toward financial security.

Those who suggest the $$ side of the argument always mention the
possibililty of injury. If suffered while playing in college, it could
end any hopes of playing professionally, but if it occurs as a
professional (think Clippers point guard Shaun Lingston), the money
already is in the bank to provide financial peace of mind.

A tough decision for the young athlete, or is it really?

Jennings’ situation begs the question whether an 18-year-old just out
of high school is mature enough to deal with the opportunities (both
socially and financially, both good and bad) society has to offer. Or is
that really relevant when there are a plethora of advisors available
just waiting to provide guidance not only in any direction he chooses,
but in helping him make the choice.

A tough decision for today’s young athletes, or is it really?

NOTE: It is important to consider Jennings’ situation also may have
been affected by the NCAA Clearing House’s decision to question his SAT
scores, thereby putting in jeopardy his opportunity to play for Arizona as a freshman .

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

A couple of things ….

Following its very successful Tournament of Champions passing and
linemen competition won by Lakewood two weekends ago, Santa Fe High
School held its “Young Guns” passing tournament Saturday for junior
varsity and freshmen programs. It was passing only, with no linemen
competition. Twenty schools participated, with St. Bonaventure defeating
Banning for the title. Santa Fe’s freshmen’s only loss was to Banning.

St. Paul’s three-day youth football camp drew 425 participants, a number
that surprised/pleased some observers and helped make the endeavor a
rousing success. Cantwell’s “full contact” camp for boys and girls ages
10-14 drew 150 registrants for the first session and more than 100 for
this week’s second session. The National Football League’s Junior Player
Development program provided the equipment.

While there are some observers who choose to suspect ulterior motives
and personal agendas by those involved in the administration of youth
athletic camps, it must be acknowledged that from the athletes’
standpoint, there is much to be gained.

And that makes the events worthwhile. Accept them for that and be

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Cantwell HS joins with NFL in youth football camp

Cantwell Sacred heart of Mary High School will be the site for the second of two week-long sessions of the free full contact football skills camp sponsored and paid for by the National Football League’s Junior Player Development (JPD) program Sunday (July 20) with equipment issue at noon.

The camp, in its fifth year at Cantwell, is for boys and girls ages
10-14, and the two forms necessary for registration can be downloaded on (click on NFL JPD Camp in left column).

Physicals are required for participation. For those who have not
had one recently, they will be offered at Salazar Park in East Los
Angeles from Noon to 4 p.m. The cost is $20.

The equipment used is provided by the NFL.

The camp will feature fundamentals and techniques at all positions.
Instructors will include former East Los Angeles College head coach Rich
Gamboa and Cantwell head coach Pete Smolin and his staff.

“This is a great opportunity for youngsters to learn more about the
game, and a great opportunity for our players to interact with the
community,” Smolin said. The Cardinals players will provide support for the
coaches during drills.

The camp was initiated by the NFL as an introductory/developmental
youth tackle program designed to teach every particpant, every position,
through a step-by-step progression of skill instruction packaged in a
re-adaptive, fun and entertaining manner.

In addition to an NFL practice jersey, a football, a bag and a
participation certificate, all participants receive counseling through a
life skills/character development curriculum to be incorporated
throughout all on-field activities, with instructors making connections
between life skills as they are applied to football as well as other
areas of life, especially school, at home and in the community.

Smolin said that last week’s initial session drew 150 participants.
As of Saturday, he said there are were about 80 registrants for this
week’s session.

For more information, call (323) 877-2066, ext. 31.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email