As most of you know, the Whittier Daily News is part of the San Gabriel Valley newspapers coverage and its team of reporters, local sports editor Fred Robledo, football writer Aram Tolegian (email@example.com) and reporters Steve Ramirez (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Keith Lair (email@example.com). Former prep editor Dave Felton is now on the sports desk, leaving it to the four of us to provide prep news in Whittier and the San Gabriel Valley. Look at us as one team that serves three newspapers, the Whittier Daily News, Pasadena Star-News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune. We don’t view local news as just what’s happening in Whittier, we view local news as what’s going on in Whittier and the surrounding areas. The digital world is evolving and so is your taste for local news coverage. Whittier teams are part of leagues and CIF-SS playoffs divisions that compete against teams in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, so why limit your prep news to JUST Whittier. While Aram will cover most football he also will keep Whittier readers entertained with his SGVN “In the Huddle” football blog. Aram will provide most of the football content for you, so feel free to email him anytime with tips. Keith Lair and Steve Ramirez will focus on other sports like girls volleyball, water polo, cross country, etc. Feels free to contact them anytime. We’re all here for you and hope to make this another fun and entertaining season. Feel free to reach out to any of us with tips or story suggestions. Also, if you’re a high school sports fan interested in covering high school football games in Whittier, send Fred Robledo an email to chat about it
ARAM’S SEASON PREVIEW COLUMN: CIF football playoff groupings set the stage for new rivalries, champions
RECRUITING RANKINGS: Bishop Amat football’s Trevon Sidney heads list of area’s top recruits
TRIBUNE PRE-SEASON ALL-AREA TEAM: Find out who made the pre-season all-area team
TRIBUNE RANKINGS: No Surprise, Bishop Amat starts at No. 1
By Aram Tolegian
At 68 years old, the last thing Charter Oak High football coach Lou Farrar needed was a bucket of ice water dumped over his head.
But there the veteran coach was last week, surrounded by his team and in front of cell phone cameras, documenting his acceptance of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that’s sweeping the country.
“It was shocking,” Farrar said of the experience. “My assistant coaches were joking that they had the paddles ready to go in case my heart stopped. But I think the cause is important. If that means getting doused by some football players on a hot afternoon to raise awareness, then it’s a very small thing to do. I was very happy to bring some awareness to the issue.”
Awareness and the subsequent donations are the ultimate goal of the challenge, which has gone viral thanks to social media. Quite simply, the challenge is getting a bucket of ice water poured over your head, then posting video of the ceremony on social media and extending the challenge to somebody else.
@SGVNSports Coach Johnson Impacted me! When I saw him come to practice Everyday in a Wheelchair, My complaints about practicing Evaporated
— Chris Rix (@CoachRix) August 20, 2014
That was the year when Johnson’s life changed completely. Some would say for the worse judging by the wheelchair he now calls home. Most would say for the better judging by the thousands of kids whose lives he has touched.
It was March and Johnson was some place not uncommon for him to be back in those days — in the air over the San Gabriel Valley hang gliding. Johnson’s journey that day started at Mount Wilson went over Glendora and ended tragically on the ground at Royal Oaks Elementary School in Duarte.
“I was in the air for about four hours,” Johnson said. “I had landed at that school a half-dozen times. I was having a little trouble getting down close enough to the ground because it was, I don’t want to say turbulent, but we used to call them poppy days.
“And when I came down, I obviously made a mistake and cartwheeled in. I broke my neck. I don’t remember the last few seconds of the crash. What I remember is that my right wing tip hit the ground and that made me cartwheel and I made contact with my forehead with some part of the glider. Albeit I had all the equipment I should be wearing, I hit the glider so hard with my head that it caused my neck to hyper-extend.”
— Beto Duran (@DuranSports) August 20, 2014
END OF AN ERA: La Serna coach Mike Lowe, one of the area’s best boys basketball
coaches, has decided to retire. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)
By Steve Ramirez
Nothing lasts forever, and for La Serna High School’s Mike Lowe, his tenure as boys basketball coach has come to an end.
The long-time coach, who also won a CIF-Southern Section and CIF State title at Hacienda Heights Wilson in the 1980s, previously had announced his retirement and recently was honored by the La Serna community at the team’s postseason banquet.
“I just think it was the right time,” said Lowe, who had been at La Serna 20 seasons. “It’s been a lot of fun. But now I have the energy to do other things.”
Lowe is regarded as one of the top coaches in the area and the Southern Section. He is known for making the most of his team’s talents. His teams traditionally were among the most fundamentally sound in the section.
He came to La Serna after a stint at Wilson, which he coached to the 1986 CIF-SS 3A title and also the Division II state championship that season. Lowe’s Wildcats, led by future NBA player Scott Williams, beat Ganesha for the CIF-SS 3A title before outlasting Aptos for the state Division II championship.
Lowe won several Del Rio League titles for the Lancers, including a three-year stretch in which they were 70-13 between 1999-2001.
“I think the one thing I will miss most is my relationship with the players,” Lowe said. “I’m really proud of it all, all 20 years.
“But those three years we went 70-13. That was special and was a pretty good run. We were consistent every night.”
La Serna has not been dominant lately, but the Lancers have won the league title outright or shared it five times during the past seven seasons.
They were 10-0 in 2006 and 2009 and shared the league title in ’07, ’10 and ’11.
La Serna, led by the inside play of Jared Wight and Taurean Oram, went 4-6 and finished third this season. The Lancers lost in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs.
Lowe, whose replacement has yet to be named, now will view the Lancers from afar as someone new takes over. But he believes it’s time.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I hope they hire a good coach and they win a ton of games. There’s nothing negative on my part.”
We screwed up. The PrepXtra Preview Football magazine is NOT in today’s home delivery or news rack. I’ll spare you all the details, but a major breakdown in communication caused this. I have been assured that the PrepXtra Football Preview will run in WEDNESDAY’S home subscription and newsracks. Sorry for the inconvenience, it’s embarrassing and we let you down. – Prep Editor Fred Robledo
Mike “The Cousin” Robledo and I are relying on you for UCLA-USC game updates while we take care of prep nation for tonight’s CIF-Southern Section semifinal games in the Southeast and Mid-Valley Division. Mike is blogging from La Serna-Bonita and I will be doing the same from Monrovia-San Dimas. Click on Coveritlive, we’re in progress