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.