Joe T.’s First Thoughts on These 20 Programs

By Joe Torosian

After 20 years there are just some memories that pop to the top when you think of certain schools and programs. What follows has nothing to do with how good these teams will be this year or even a critique of the MVS Top 20…But just thoughts accumulated since I stepped back on the sidelines in 1998.

(I’d love to hear your first thoughts as well)
1. Sierra Canyon: Rolling to a Trailblazers game has always been tough. Given the distance and lack of common opponents in the SGV our contacts with them have been relegated to league championship contests with Paraclete and the post-season. But no matter, someone on that staff always seems to know who we are. I always feel tall when covering Sierra Canyon.

2. Cathedral—Parking. What else? Great tradition, gorgeous field…parking. Trying to find parking at Cathedral is like spending an evening with a good Amway salesman…I say good because he never knows when to shut up–A brutal experience that never seems to end. Classic post-season match with Downey a few years ago is a close second.

3. La Mirada–Jim Phillips.

4. Buena Park–Whenever the MVS needs to raise its analytics it just drops in, “Buena Park.” All we know is before Anthony White when you said, “Buena Park” everyone else said, “Uh? What?” …Since 2010, when you say, Buena Park, the response is often, “I hate those guys.”
If they weren’t winning no one would have cared.

5. Downey—Jorge Reyna (now at Fresno State), Justin Huff and a CIF title and an insane fanbase.

6. Charter Oak–For a long time when we interacted with CO the first response from the coaching staff was, “You guys are the best! You do a great job!”

7. Crescenta Valley– This program was dying, perhaps dead, a little over ten years ago. The Lazarus of the MVS coverage zone.

8. St. Francis–The dude in the robe…sorry, that’s what comes to mind.

9. Northview– The Bad Dude linebacking crew of 2008: Andrew Rodriguez, Christian Vargas & Lionel Acosta…The Darkside!

10. La Serna–The Lancers could never get over the hump—even before Frankie Football. Post-season losses to San Gabriel in 2003, Arroyo in 2004, Bonita in 2010 and so on and so on…and finally that miracle against Norwalk in 2013.

11. Arroyo–Gold Standard…It’s always been done right at Arroyo. That’s what comes to mind…and then fill in your Steven Rivera moment.

12. Los Altos–Ziola…Dale Ziola might be the most important coach in school history. They were 0-10 the year before he took over. How come the school couldn’t make it work? Also, I really liked the old crappy field a whole lot better.

13. Montebello–Daniel Drayton playing for the Oilers in 2000…Daniel Drayton playing for Los Altos in 2001…How did that happen? Mmm?

14. West Covina–Maggiore…The next person to say a bad word about Maggiore will be the first person.

15. Monrovia–Being on the sideline in the fall of 2000 and hearing people complain about what a lousy coach Steve Garrison was after three consecutive CIF finals appearances…Being on the sideline in 2012 as the Wildcats were winning their third consecutive CIF title and hearing people complain that Ryan Maddox didn’t know what he was doing…

16. San Dimas– “I’m telling you right now, Joe. Jake Payton is not transferring.” …Fifteen minutes later as I’m leaving San Gabriel High School this text arrives: “Tolegian just posted that Payton has transferred to Bonita!”…….I can laugh about it now…Trib kicked my butt and it’s a great story…

17. Glendora–I’ve only covered a few Glendora games…but it seems like every time I’m on their sideline, I’m catching up with somebody I used to know.

18. Schurr– “We hate Tim Peterson,” Schurr HC, Elvin Dick’s first response after winning the CIF title over Santa Fe in 2006. I will confess in a court of law with a hand on the Bible that Joe Orduno played the best quarterback I ever saw at the high school level that post-season. Kid was en fuego….Also Cantu and his fleet of receivers: Chiaromonte, Castro & of course Arredondo.

19. El Rancho– “You haven’t been hit till you’ve been hit by The Ranch!” What else is there?

20. Muir–Covered my first Arcadia game at Muir on October 14, 2005 … And I experienced a wave of smoke blowing across the field from the street beyond the chainlink fence. I soon learned it wasn’t fog but the warm smell of colitas rising up in the air.

20 Comments to "Joe T.’s First Thoughts on These 20 Programs"

  1. J. Arellanes's Gravatar J. Arellanes
    August 25, 2017 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    #5 – Go Dogs!
    #9 – That was a special group! Miss those guys!
    #12 – Couldn’t agree more! He did an excellent job turning that program around!
    #14 – One of the best ever in the SGV and a great dude!
    #19 – Miss those days!!! Medrano will bring them back to glory!

    Wishing all a great 2017 season!

  2. Mtown's Gravatar Mtown
    August 25, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Also if mtown was playing in a midvalley type division, they would still be winning. They would have beat last years Arroyo title team and they were extremely down last year

  3. Mtown's Gravatar Mtown
    August 25, 2017 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Maddox had 6 next level player’s in that class including Nick Bueno.

  4. My Two Cents's Gravatar My Two Cents
    August 24, 2017 - 6:12 pm | Permalink

    BTW Joe, there is a new rule in high school football this year. There is absolutely no blind side block this year unless it is initiated first by open hands. I only mention this because I don’t want you and Tim to criticize the referees for throwing a flag on what everyone think is a legal block, 😂.

  5. Mtown's Gravatar Mtown
    August 24, 2017 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes the assistants make the program and tge head coaches get the credit. I’m not saying those coaches were bad, but they surely were not the reason mtown was great those years. It was the assistants. Some are still there now. All those coaches knew this thats why they never brought in their own guys. I wouldn’t expect a reporter to know this or the other inside things.

    From Joe T.: I don’t think I mentioned assistant coaches talking trash about the head coaches…I just mentioned what I heard from the countless people on the sideline…In fact both of these recollections did not include an assistant coach or coaches…

  6. Mtown's Gravatar Mtown
    August 24, 2017 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Well everyone at mtown knows, there are few coaches behind the curtain who made things work. You can’t stand the sideline as a reporter for two hours and think you know the ends and outs of a program. Thats kinda of arrogant. There are some true insiders even coaches commenting on your site. Some are haters and some care and know the truth. You really should consider that.

  7. CV's Gravatar CV
    August 23, 2017 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Schilling is a good coach, and he has built a good program at CV, but let’s not overstate it. A look back at the past five years:

    2012 – Talented, underachieving team that nearly got swept by the Glendale schools.
    2013 – Massively improved, and unlucky to miss the playoffs…but they still missed the playoffs.
    2014 – A magical season with an abundance of talent (don’t tell me that their success was a case of scheme overcoming talent – those guys were good!), coaching, and great team unity (to be fair, that also reflects well on the coaches.)
    2015 – Another really solid team. An early and decisive playoff exit.
    2016 – Ditto.

    No doubt, Schilling has built a real program, the sort that is consistently talented and deep and is going to be competitive year in and year out. There is quality coaching, and stability as well (which is huge in a league with a lot of coaching turnover). But let’s not exaggerate by calling them the Pats of the SGV.

  8. Lupe's Gravatar Lupe
    August 23, 2017 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    # 12 ???? No disrespect to Ziola but DeSpain is the most important coach in LA’s history & it ain’t close. DeSpain built a Valley power out of nothing. The reason Ziola had something to rebuild is because of what DeSpain started. Comparing a CIF hall of famer to a coach who never won the big one…smh.

    From Joe T.: I didn’t say greatest…I said most important…Because after Gano’s departure Los Altos quickly descended into chaos…0-10…Keppel goes 0-10…Ganesha goes 0-10… Blair goes 0-9….With the stuff we heard circulating about Los Altos and its fanbase around 2009 and 2010…We didn’t think anybody would want to take that job…Greatest, no…I agree…But most important, yeah because otherwise…Seven years after going 0-10 without Ziola you might be regularly 2-8 and hoping for admission into the Montview (a little hyperbole there)…

  9. erfan's Gravatar erfan
    August 22, 2017 - 11:47 pm | Permalink

    The El Rancho mantra has not been consistent for many years. But inch by inch Medrano has instilled the work ethic that results in physical hard hitting football. Disciplining players and teaching sportsmanship is starting to show. A reasonable schedule allows this team to continue a upward trajectory. Not going to shock the world but the team will show up.

  10. Bt Bear's Gravatar Bt Bear
    August 22, 2017 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Claremont hosting Diamond Bar at Citrus College the last time Diamond Bar won a title. Down 49-0 going into the end of the 2nd quarter. Two plays stuck in my mind. Claremont was killing DB with a little swing pass, they ran it and DB made a play on the ball tippedit. Last time they ran it all night. Claremont scored and kicked off again, but this time the ball came down at the 1 yard line. First time all night I thought. DB regrouped and roared back for a huge win. DeAndre Belin rumbling for around 365 yards against Glendora at Citrus after he left Bonita and went to Alta Loma.

  11. :-/'s Gravatar :-/
    August 22, 2017 - 8:57 pm | Permalink

    @ falcon 1
    Other than the championship run with athletes, the first round exits are a minus, not a plus. Is how do you explain getting hosed in the first round of the playoffs with such tremendous coaching and scheming?

  12. Frodo Baggins's Gravatar Frodo Baggins
    August 22, 2017 - 8:38 pm | Permalink

    #18 Didnt someone get a new pair of kicks and someone else was eating crow. Hopefully we can add to this list after this season. Good luck to all coaches and players who are starting their quest for the ring.

  13. Falcon1's Gravatar Falcon1
    August 22, 2017 - 6:41 pm | Permalink

    #7 coach Schilling over the past five years has put together a tremendous staff. CV is like the New England Patriots.
    They never have the best talent but have just the right guys in the right spots and will outscheme you to death.

  14. Really?'s Gravatar Really?
    August 22, 2017 - 4:39 pm | Permalink


    Last years CIFFSS Division 12 final was one of the best! Arroyo had the balls to go for it, and won.

    It is a close 2nd or 3rd to the La Serna- Norwalk overtime win by Frankie Palmers team on that broken last play!

  15. Knightwatch's Gravatar Knightwatch
    August 22, 2017 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    @Colt74 TMI
    @Joe My memory moment: Oquendo’s hit on Sumler at Rosemead the sound of the hit followed by the audible gasp from the crowd on both sides.

  16. Highlanders Moment's Gravatar Highlanders Moment
    August 22, 2017 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Not sure La Habra is in the MVS “wheelhouse” (to coin a Peterson term), but the Hail Mary pass to win CIF over San Clemente two years ago with all zeroes on the clock as the ball sailed through the air is my top recollection.

  17. Colt74's Gravatar Colt74
    August 22, 2017 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Nov 26th 2010 was the freezing night. I was at Whittier college for our playoff game with my teeth chattering. I’ll never forget my testicles going up inside me for warmth.

  18. NWO's Gravatar NWO
    August 22, 2017 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    Honorable mention: “doubles right zip, Gator” 2011 SG over Arroyo and SG over San Dimas.

    From Joe T.: That was an unbelievable run…Arroyo in round two and San Dimas in the semis…I remember the night of the San Dimas game being so cold…It was played on a Saturday because the windstorm that week knocked everything out…A San Dimas fan accused Jude of using the windstorm as an excuse to get the game pushed back a day.

  19. sgv's Gravatar sgv
    August 22, 2017 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    #8: I view St. Francis like a fish out of water. They belong in the OC playing the Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana Point teams. To fancy for the SGV.

  20. sgv's Gravatar sgv
    August 22, 2017 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    #20: I was watching Bonita at Muir in a quarter final match-upon a freezing night in 2010. I wandered over to the North end zone drawn by the smoke wafting up in the cold night air. The other side of the fence is like the DMZ. A black and white rolled by the crowd of Muir fans standing along the fence amidst the smoke, nodded and sped off. Cool. Lets play football.

    From Joe T.: I left my house that night and my wife asked me if I was going to take a jacket. I told her I had my sweater vest on and would be fine…I also wore boat shoes…froze my butt off at that game.

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