Los Angeles Preps: Cameron Griffin

L.A. South: Top first-round playoff games

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
9:30
AM PT
It's win or go home now. Here are Friday night’s top first-round playoff games in south Los Angeles County:

Pac-5: Huntington Beach (8-2) vs. No. 16 Loyola (8-2) at L.A. Valley College, 7 p.m. — The Loyola Cubs have some momentum after coming back from a 15-point deficit in the Serra League finale against Crespi. Loyola tailback Wyatt Bradford could eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, and senior quarterback Nick Cotton is coming off his best game of the season (17 of 28 for a season-high 208 yards and four touchdowns). The impressive thing about the Cubs is that if opposing teams want to grind it out, they will too.

Inland: Corona Santiago (7-3) at No. 19 Charter Oak (9-1), 7 p.m. — The Sierra League champion Charter Oak Chargers might be the league's only hope for a playoff win, given that third-place Damien plays at Vista Murrieta and runner-up Chino Hills heads to Rancho Cucamonga. An attractive matchup against undefeated Upland looms in the second round, but senior quarterback Travis Santiago (2,629 passing yards and 21 touchdowns) will have to steer his group clear of overlooking Corona Santiago.

Southeast: Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2), 7 p.m. — The defending Southeast Division runner-up Bonita Bearcats capped the regular season with four consecutive wins, so they've got a bit of swagger heading into this one. It's not the same team coach Eric Podley had last year but running backs Cameron Griffin and Reggie Turner and receiver Garrett Horine were capable weapons during the season. And speaking of weapons, Arcadia has its share in quarterback Myles Carr, the top-rated signal caller in the area according to ESPNU Recruiting, and Washington-bound receiver Taylor Lagace.

Mid-Valley: Pomona (6-4) at Monrovia (7-3), 7 p.m. — Will defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia take its first step toward a repeat? Highly touted defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, rising linebacker prospect George Frazier and the rest of the Wildcats defense appears to have found its groove in Rio Hondo League play, allowing under six points per game on average. Monrovia might be on upset alert, though: Three of Pomona's four losses were by a combined 10 points, and the Red Devils gave top-seeded Covina all it could handle.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

CIF-SS playoffs: Southeast Division

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
4:19
PM PT
Defending champion West Covina is in prime position for a repeat after receiving the division's top seeding Sunday. The Bulldogs (9-1) didn't go undefeated because, really, they wanted to test themselves against Loyola, a Pac-5 playoff team. Coach Mike Maggiore hopes that loss pays dividends. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 West Covina, No. 2 Santa Fe, No. 3 Burbank Burroughs, No. 4 La Mirada.

Best first-round matchup: Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2) -- Tailback Cameron Griffin is running the ball well for Bonita. Arcadia has the weapons -- namely Myles Carr and Taylor Lagace to be a scary team.

Toughest road: La Mirada (6-4) -- If the La Mirada Matadores make it past Crescenta Valley -- and that's a big if -- they'll have to fend off either Bonita or Arcadia in the second round. That's the epitome of a grueling draw.

Potential shocker: Muir (6-4) at No. 2 Santa Fe (6-4), first round -- It might not be that big of a shocker, given that Muir has the star power with Kevon Seymour, rated as one of the top athletes in the area, and running back Tairen Owens, a Washington commit.

Darkhorse: Bonita (6-4) -- The Bearcats have won four straight and gave Hacienda League foe West Covina all it could handle in last year's championship game. Griffin is averaging 125 yards rushing over the last four games.

Final analysis: The division breaks down quite simply -- there's West Covina and there's everybody else. Talented teams abound, but no one is as physical as Maggiore's bunch. Tailback/safety Chris Solomon, the reigning division player of the year, could very well take the honor again this season.

Championship prediction: West Covina vs. Burroughs – Solomon isn't the only capable runner in West Covina's backfield. Jimmy Frazier has rushed for over 1,000 yards and Aaron Salgado is also approaching the four-digit mark. Unless Burroughs' running back Zander Anding can pull off another 300-yard game, there's too much power here for the Bulldogs not to make it two straight titles. Final score: West Covina 33, Burroughs 27.

Link to Southeast Division playoff bracket on CalPreps.com

Bonita breaks in new QB Tanner Diebold

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
6:53
PM PT
Tanner Diebold admitted he felt jittery, if not completely nervous, when he saw fans streaming into Citrus Stadium for the annual Smudge Pot game between rivals Bonita and San Dimas on Thursday night. The sophomore quarterback attended the showdown in 2010 but going as a fan didn't quite prepare him for what he felt on the field during pregame.

[+] EnlargeTanner Diebold
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comTanner Diebold's first varsity start was in the Smudge Pot game, leading Bonita over San Dimas.
"Before it all started I was real nervous," Diebold said following Bonita's dominant 40-20 win. "After the first series everything settled down. It was like playing in any other game."

Diebold, making his first varsity appearance, was shaky throwing the ball, completing only five of 13 pass attempts for 71 yards. He missed some throws early, though his receivers dropped at least four balls. Diebold made an adjustment and his first throw of the second half was a 19-yard laser up the middle that led Garrett Horine into the end zone. Bonita's student section, one of the liveliest in the area, chanted his name on various occasions.

Bonita coach Eric Podley said Diebold "looked like a rookie" but, overall, was pleased with how the sophomore directed his shotgun offense.

"I think he has unlimited capabilities," Podley said. "But he's got to show some progress."

Some of that development hinges on how he adjusts to the faster pace of the varsity game. Diebold guided Bonita's freshmen team to a 10-0 record last year, but he said he could stand in the pocket for a good while and scan every option. Now Diebold has to make his read and fire quickly.

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Football: Bonita 40, San Dimas 20

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
11:31
PM PT
Smudge Pot trophyBlair Angulo for ESPNLA.comBonita players huddle around the Smudge Pot trophy after beating their rivals from San Dimas.

GLENDORA -- After the dust had settled and Bonita had hoisted the Smudge Pot trophy for the second straight year, Bearcats coach Eric Podley could breathe a sigh of relief.

"This means a renewal of my contract," Podley said jokingly. "I'll be back next year."

All kidding aside, Bonita looked like the team that reached the Southeast Division championship game last season, beating rival San Dimas handily, 40-20, in the annual Smudge Pot game Thursday night at Citrus College. The Bearcats claimed the hardware for the second straight season and have inched closer in the head-to-head series, which San Dimas now leads 22-17-1.

"The first goal we always have when we meet as a team, our number one goal, is to keep coach Podley employed," Podley said with a smile, not shying away from speaking in the third-person.

The Bearcats (1-0) led 10-6 at halftime before outscoring the Saints (0-1) 17-0 in the third quarter. Tailback Cameron Griffin had a pair of touchdown runs to go along with 64 yards rushing, receiver Garrett Horine scored twice and tailback Reggie Turner added another.

"We'll be running the ball a lot more this year," Griffin said. "You'll see more touchdowns."

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