Los Angeles Preps: Chris Solomon

South: Football All-CIF honors

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
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A list of players and coaches from south Los Angeles County who garnered top honors on All-CIF teams, sorted by division:

MID-VALLEY DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: QB Steven Rivera (senior, Arroyo)
Defensive player of the year: LB Brett Walsh (junior, Monrovia)
Coach of the year: Ryan Maddox (Monrovia)

Thoughts: No one was more valuable than Rivera, who capped his stellar four-year career by passing for 3,400-plus yards and 38 touchdowns and leading the Arroyo Knights to the Mission Valley League title. By all indications, Walsh beat out teammate Ellis McCarthy, one of the state's most highly recruited players, for top defensive honors. Walsh, a junior, was second in the entire Southern Section with 192 tackles, thriving behind McCarthy's havoc up front. Maddox was recognized for the second straight year after leading the Wildcats to their second straight title.

NORTHEAST DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: RB Alex Tayco (senior, Rio Hondo Prep)
Defensive player of the year: LB Jake Holguin (junior, Rio Hondo Prep)
Coach of the year: Ken Drain (Rio Hondo Prep)

Thoughts: A deserved sweep for the divisional-champion Kares. Holguin, a 6-foot-3 linebacker who led a defense that allowed just over 10 points per game last season, returns next year.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: RB Chris Solomon (senior, West Covina)
Defensive player of the year: LB Dorrin Turner (senior, West Covina)
Coach of the year: Mike Maggiore (West Covina)

Thoughts: The back-to-back divisional champs swept for the second straight year, with Maggiore and Solomon repeating in their respective slots. Backup tailback Jimmy Frazier, who had more yards and touchdowns than Solomon in less carries, could have easily shared the offensive player of the year award. Solomon, who is being recruited as a defensive back, recently took an official visit to Colorado.

L.A. South: All-region football teams

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
5:55
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Here’s an all-encompassing look at the top performers in south Los Angeles County for the 2011 prep football season.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Troy Williams, Narbonne, Junior -– Williams was superb in managing Narbonne's no-huddle spread attack. He did it with his arm (3,247 passing yards, 34 touchdowns), he did it with his legs (587 yards, 11 scores), and he made the right decisions with the football. The junior quarterback guided the Gauchos to the City Section Division I title.

OFFENSIVE MVP

Robert Lewis, South East, Senior -– Opposing coaches schemed to stop Lewis but the electrifying tailback still averaged 10 yards per carry and amassed 2,023 yards and 30 touchdowns for the City Section Division II champs. Coach Derwin Henderson pegged him as the city's best all-around talent. Lewis has verbally committed to Southern Methodist.

DEFENSIVE MVP

Ellis McCarthy, Monrovia, Senior -– The mind-boggling numbers aren't quite there because the big guy faced double- and triple-teams on a weekly basis. Coach Ryan Maddox built his defense around the 305-pound defensive tackle and it paid off with Monrovia capturing its second straight Mid-Valley Division championship. McCarthy has offers from all over, including Cal, USC, Florida, Oregon and Washington.

SPECIAL TEAMS MVP

Jack Schneider, Charter Oak, Junior -– With 89 total points, Schneider was the region's top scorer among kickers. In 12 games he made 65 extra points for the Sierra League champions.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Manual Douglas, Narbonne –- By the end of the season, Douglas had his Gauchos playing as well as any team in the area. Narbonne finished 11-3 and reached its third City Section title game in the last four years. Douglas scheduled tough with games at Long Beach Poly and Tesoro, and the strategy paid dividends.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Steven Rivera, Arroyo, Sr. –- Rivera capped his stellar four-year stay at Arroyo by passing for 3,408 yards and 38 touchdowns, leading the Knights to the Mission Valley League title.

RB – Tray Boone, Narbonne, Sr. –- The shifty back rushed for six touchdowns in the City Section Division I title game to finish with 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns. He did all of this in an offense that primarily throws the ball.

RB – Marquise Bias, Monrovia, Sr. -– The powerful Bias pounded his way to 260 yards and three touchdowns in the Mid-Valley Division title game, and finished with more than 1,500 yards for the season.

WR – Bryce Treggs, St. John Bosco, Sr. –- The Cal commit made Trinity League defenses look foolish, hauling in 11 touchdowns to go along with 1,377 receiving yards.

WR – Darreus Rogers, Carson, Sr. –- Rogers, a USC commit, was the City Section's leading receiver with 1,251 yards. He had a monster performance in the title game but it wasn't enough for the Colts.

WR – Alex Villalobos, San Gabriel, Sr. -– The slot-type Villalobos was the state leader with 2,001 receiving yards. He added 21 touchdowns for the Mid-Valley Division runner-up Matadors.

OL - Beau Leati, Narbonne, Sr. -- City Section coaches selected Leati as the lineman of the year and for good reason. He anchored a line that opened gaping holes for Boone and protected Williams.

OL – Lacy Westbrook, Dominguez, Sr. -– The UCLA commit was out when the Dons started the season with two losses, but his added a major spark to their ground attack.

OL – Beau Boyster, St. John Bosco, Sr. -– The Braves averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game and the Arizona commit was in the middle of it, with his protection of strong-armed Rene Medina.

OL – Gerrad Kough, Pomona, Sr. -– The Colorado commit spearheaded a Pomona running game that averaged more than 215 yards per game.

OL – George Castro, West Covina, Sr. -– West Covina was 25th in the state in rushing yards per game (332) and Castro was a big reason why.

PK – Mason Bryant, Monrovia, Jr. -– Bryant did it all for the back-to-back champion Wildcats as a receiver, defensive back and kicker, totaling 117 total points.

P - Conrad Ukropina, Loyola, Sr. –- Six of Ukropina's 25 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, and he averaged 43 yards per punt, the best in the Pac-5 Division.

SECOND TEAM

QB – Travis Santiago, Charter Oak, Sr.
RB – Jimmy Frazier, West Covina, Sr.
RB – Kurt Scoby, Charter Oak, So.
WR – Richard Smith, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
WR - Antoine Anderson, Narbonne, Sr.
WR – Hunter Duran, Arroyo, Sr.
OL – Chase Eldredge, Palos Verdes, Sr.
OL – Chad Wheeler, Santa Monica, Sr.
OL – Justin Johnson, Dorsey, Sr.
OL – Alec Zenner, San Dimas, Sr.
OL – Nico Falah, St. John Bosco, Jr.
PK - Ret Tilman, Culver City, Sr.
P – Hayden Hunt, Long Beach Poly, Sr.

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Demetric McKinney, West Adams, Sr. -– McKinney recorded a state-leading 26 sacks in only 12 games.

DL – Jeremiah Allison, Dorsey, Sr. -– Allison will be used as a linebacker in college but he was fierce coming off the three-point stance for Dorsey. Allison had 14 sacks for the Coliseum League champions, giving him 34 over his last two seasons.

DL – Jesse Ojeda, San Dimas, Sr. -– He only measures 5-feet, 7-inches but Ojeda was a force for the Saints, getting to the quarterback 17 times.

LB – Brett Walsh, Monrovia, Jr. -– Walsh was second in the entire Southern Section with 192 tackles, thriving behind McCarthy's havoc up front. He added eight sacks, and figures to garner attention during the offseason.

LB – Sergio Gonzalez, Ganesha, Jr. -– The outside linebacker led the Mid-Valley Division with 17 sacks.

LB – Nuoye Clemmons III, West Adams, Sr. -– Clemmons ranked second in the City Section with 146 tackles.

LB – Salamo Fiso, Long Beach Poly, Sr. -– The Arizona State commit spearheaded a strong Jackrabbits defense with 117 tackles.

DB – Kevin Page, Dorsey, Sr. -– Page intercepted six passes, including a big one on the road to clinch a victory at Alemany.

DB – Tyrone Taylor, Torrance, Sr. -– The Cal State Fullerton baseball signee had 190 tackles from the safety position.

DB – Shane Baumann, St. John Bosco, Sr. -– Baumann was in the middle of every defensive play, it seemed. He ranked fifth in the Pac-5 Division with 126 tackles and also had five interceptions.

DB – Mark Wright, Rolling Hills Prep, Sr. –- Wright had 10 interceptions in nine games, good for a tie for second place in the state.

SECOND TEAM

DL – Alonzo Williams, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
DL – Robbie Haines, Arcadia, Sr.
DL – Daniel Rios, Rosemead, Jr.
LB – Keishawn Haley, Culver City, Jr.
LB – Matt Rowe, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
LB – Jabari Ruffin, Downey, Sr.
LB – Thomas Brown, Gardena Serra, Sr.
DB – Trayvon Watson, West Adams, Sr.
DB – Gabriel Marks, Venice, Sr.
DB – Naijel Hale, Lakewood, So.
DB – Chris Solomon, West Covina, Sr.

Southeast: West Covina 84, La Serna 21

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
12:03
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Pedro Moura/ESPNLA.com
West Covina celebrates its second consecutive CIF-SS Southeast Division championship, which came Friday in a dominating 84-21 win over La Serna.

WHITTIER -- Thursday night, roughly 24 hours before Friday's CIF Southern Section Southeast Division title game between favored West Covina and upstart La Serna, West Covina star running back Chris Solomon and his father went to a local shop to get a custom hat designed and made.

West Covina, it read on the front. 2010-2011 back-to-back to champs.

His number -- 20 -- was on the right side and 'Solomon' was written on the back. Solomon, a senior being recruited by the likes of Arizona State and Arizona, was the only player to have one, but he told all his teammates during pregame drills that his plan was to run over to his dad in the stands at the final whistle and wear the hat throughout the postgame celebrations -- just like the professionals do.

It was that kind of championship game for West Covina. There wasn't even a thought that they could lose Friday's game against La Serna. And the Bulldogs didn't come close, pulling off a monstrous 84-21 win at California High to finish off a championship run in which they were never challenged in the playoffs.

"Thank God we won," Solomon said afterward, laughing. "And I'm glad I'm wearing this hat."

As his coach, Mike Maggiore, talked to the team afterward in an emotional final huddle for the 2011 squad, Solomon kept taking off the hat, looking at it, and putting it back on again. It was as if he was slowly realizing that his goal for the past 12 months had just been met -- forcefully and in incredible fashion.

"We knew we were going to dominate," Solomon said. "But we didn't know we were going to dominate like this."

Truthfully, the Bulldogs (13-1) dominated to levels never before seen, breaking the all-time record for points scored and margin of victory in a CIF final. La Serna (10-4), making their first CIF title appearance in 44 years, didn't have a chance after the first half, when they trailed, 49-7. But Lancers coach Margarito Beltran refused a running clock until the fourth quarter, and West Covina kept piling it on.

(Read full post)

West Covina's top two seeing double

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
11:13
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Chris Solomon and Jimmy Frazier see the finish line and the West Covina running backs plan to sprint through it.

Their 2010 CIF championship rings need some company, after all.

"Our whole team is giving its all to try to get this ring," said Solomon, who rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns in only 11 carries against La Mirada last week.

Top-seeded West Covina (12-1), a win away from repeating as Southeast Division champion, faces La Serna at California High on Friday. Solomon -- a senior with offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Nevada -- and Frazier figure to be at the center of it. They have combined for 2,419 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.

"Jimmy Frazier is a starting running back at most schools," Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore said. "He's talented and works hard, averaging over 13 yards per carry. But no matter who is carrying the ball, our offensive line is blocking and opening holes."

The scary thing for underdog La Serna (10-3) is that Solomon has fully recovered from a sprained ankle that limited him during the season. The scarier thing? Frazier might be the bigger threat.

"When my boy Chris went down, I felt like it was my job to step up and take charge," Frazier said.

The Bulldogs don't mask their identity -- they thrive on the ground (332 rushing yards per game) and wear down opposing defenses. Making it all the more impressive is the fact that they lost four starters from last year's offensive line.

"The new kids stepped up and competed at a high level," Maggiore said. "This is great for the school and the community. The kids have worked tremendously hard, have earned the chance to come back and defend our championship. This is special."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Preview: West Covina vs. La Serna

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
6:54
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SOUTHEAST DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP

No. 1-seeded West Covina Bulldogs (12-1) vs. La Serna Lancers (10-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: California High School (Whittier)

Broadcast: Live on FoxSportsWest.com

How they got here: Top-seeded West Covina beat Norwalk (38-8), Pasadena (55-12) and fourth-seeded La Mirada (63-34). Unseeded La Serna beat Mayfair (47-34), Los Altos (42-38) and Muir (28-3).

School history: This will be West Covina's fifth all-time and second consecutive title game appearance. The Bulldogs captured the divisional championship last year with a 37-33 win over Hacienda League rival Bonita. This is La Serna's first divisional title game since 1967.

Key players: West Covina is led by the reigning division player of the year, senior RB/DB Chris Solomon (290 rushing yards and five TDs last week), and senior tailback Jimmy Frazier (115 yards per game, 16 TDs on the season). For the Lancers, senior running back OJ Medina (120 yards per game, 20 TDs) and senior defensive lineman Craig Jones lead the charge.

Bulldogs' take: "It feels good to compete for another championship. We put last year behind us and now we're just focusing on this year. We're hoping to get another ring and continue the legacy at West Covina." - Solomon

Lancers' take: "Our team is mostly made up of young guys. They've been stepping up after a couple of injuries. We've pulled through." - Medina

Prediction: West Covina 35, La Serna 27

L.A. South: The Top 10

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
11:12
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The Narbonne Gauchos gain a stranglehold of the top spot after an eye-opening semifinal victory. Of course, a little help from rival Carson didn't hurt. The Colts return the rankings following their shocking upset of top-seeded and previously unbeaten San Pedro. Ocean League champion Santa Monica falls out after its lopsided loss to underdog Culver City. The south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the championship round:

1. (3) Narbonne (10-3)
The Gauchos made easy work of a very good defense to secure a spot in the title game for the third time in four years. Quarterback Troy Williams is hungry. Last week: Beat Dorsey, 41-7. Next: City Section Division I championship vs. Carson at East L.A. College, Friday.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)*
Order appears to have been restored for the back-to-back Moore League champions.

3. (5) St. John Bosco (8-4)*
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006.

4. (6) Charter Oak (10-2)*
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (NR) Carson (8-5)
The Colts leap back into the rankings following a rather surprising upset of top-seeded San Pedro. They were expected to make it back to the title game, but they took a difficult route to get there. Last week: Beat San Pedro, 24-19. Next: City Section Div. I championship vs. Narbonne at East L.A. College, Friday.

(Read full post)

CIF-SS playoffs: Southeast Division

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
4:19
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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

L.A. South: Five games to see live

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
4:19
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League play kicks off with a bang. As part of our running feature, here are five of this week’s must-see games in south Los Angeles County:

[+] EnlargeChaiyse Hales
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comPoly QB Chaiyse Hales hopes to repeat his performance of a year ago against Lakewood.
No. 19 Lakewood vs. No. 6 Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium, Friday, 7 p.m.: When the final whistle blew last year, the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits gave coach Raul Lara the celebratory, icy Gatorade bath. He probably wouldn't mind a good soaking Friday night. The scoreboard keeper at the Vet might be busy. Poly (5-1, 2-0 Moore League) finally found its offensive rhythm last week, hanging 67 points on Jordan, and the Lakewood Lancers (5-1, 2-0) are averaging 45 points per game under first-year offensive coordinator Zach LaMonda, a former assistant coach at Servite. Jackrabbits senior quarterback Chaiyse Hales was the standout in last year's rivalry game, throwing for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another score.

No. 22 Alemany at No. 7 Bishop Amat, Friday, 7 p.m.: Poor defensive play is Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty's biggest concern heading into this one -- and for good reason. The Lancers (5-1) have allowed the most points (111) among Serra League teams this year. These two met for the league title in last season's finale -- Alemany (4-1) claimed the championship with a 38-30 win -- so you know the Lancers will be plenty motivated. "It's going to be a fight," Lancers senior running back Jalen Moore said after last week's 38-35 win at Venice. "The league is going to come down to the end, but I feel like we should be able to take it all way." The game will stream live on FOXSportsWest.com as part of the website’s Prep Zone platform.

Charter Oak vs. South Hills at Covina District Field, Friday, 7 p.m.: For now, the Sierra League appears to be a four-team race and these two are a part of that group. The Charter Oak Chargers are the favorites (4-1) but Friday's road game could get tricky given that the South Hills Huskies (3-2) aren't strangers to tight games. Four of their five contests have been decided by four points or less. Chargers defensive coordinator Roger Lehigh would like to contain tailback Jamel Hart, who has hit triple-digit rushing yards in every game this season. It all adds up to an intriguing league opener.

Damien at Claremont, Friday, 7 p.m.: This is the other marquee Sierra League matchup, though it could have been a headliner any other week. The Damien Spartans (4-1) are fresh off a win against a Pac-5 Division opponent, JSerra, and their only loss this season was to Bishop Amat, which entered the week ranked No. 7 by ESPN Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Claremont Wolfpack (4-1) are looking to avenge last year's loss. Quarterback Gabe Schaper looks to rebound after throwing two costly interceptions last week.

West Covina at Bonita, Friday, 7 p.m.: Will spectators be in for another epic? These two met twice in 2010. West Covina thumped Bonita in the first game, basically securing the Hacienda League championship behind Chris Solomon's spectacular running. They saw each other again in the Southeast Division title game, which the West Covina Bulldogs (5-1) won on a thrilling last-minute drive. The Bonita Bearcats (2-3), coming off a bye week, will have redemption on their minds.

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

L.A. South: The Top 10

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
10:52
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The top seven teams held their ground in our latest south Los Angeles County rankings. Defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia fell off after losing to rival Arcadia, opening the door for a newcomer from the Western Division. Our top three teams hit the road Friday, so there could be movement next week. (Note: Last week's rankings are in parentheses.)

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (3-0)
The Jackrabbits bent but didn't break, holding on against a gritty City Section contender. Afterward, coach Raul Lara stressed how important it was to maintain the momentum they've built. Last week: Beat Narbonne, 19-16. Next: at Mission Viejo, Friday.

2. (2) St. John Bosco (3-0)
Senior quarterback Rene Medina threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Royce Moore had 150 yards rushing in a rout. Now, the Braves and their high-powered offense hit the road. Last week: Beat Santa Fe, 51-0. Next: vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College, Friday.

3. (3) Bishop Amat (2-1)
Talk about bouncing back. Playing big, bad Servite seems to have paid immediate dividends. Senior tailback Jalen Moore broke out for 303 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Last week: Beat La Mirada, 49-13. Next: at Damien, Friday.

4. (4) Carson (1-1)
Rested and refocused following a humbling loss to Long Beach Poly, the Colts begin the latter half of their rigorous nonleague schedule. The bye might have come at the right time for coach Elijah Asante's bunch. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Santa Margarita, Friday.

5. (5) Lakewood (2-1)
The "Milk Bucket" trophy stays in Lakewood for at least another year, as the Lancers came back from a halftime deficit to beat their rivals from the north. Brock Dale threw for three scores. Last week: Beat Mayfair, 42-29. Next: vs. Leuzinger, Friday.

6. (6) Narbonne (1-1)
Dual-threat quarterback Troy Williams had only 102 passing yards and eight on the ground, and the Gauchos still nearly pulled off a shocker at Veterans Stadium. Last week: Lost to Long Beach Poly, 19-16. Next: at Tesoro, Thursday.

7. (7) Serra (2-1)
The young Cavaliers overcame the absence of Anterio Bateman (ankle) and Raymond Ford (ankle), with tailback Ronnie Vaughn shouldering a heavier load. Sophomore Jalen Greene keeps showing progress at quarterback. Last week: Beat Mira Costa, 33-0. Next: at Banning, Friday.

8. (10) Charter Oak (3-0)
This offense is supercharged. Senior quarterback Travis Santiago accounted for six touchdowns, throwing for 336 yards on 18 of 24 passing and adding 72 rushing yards. Last week: Beat Esperanza, 54-28. Next: vs. Rancho Cucamonga, Friday.

9. (8) West Covina (2-1)
More proof the Bulldogs are more than just a one-man team. Top player Chris Solomon (ankle) isn't 100 percent but it didn't matter, as Jimmy Frazier ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns. Last week: Beat South Hills, 35-33. Next: vs. Glendora, Friday.

10. (NR) St. Paul (2-0)
The Swordsmen showed why they're ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Western Division poll, steamrollering a helpless Norwalk team to the tune of nearly 300 yards rushing. Last week: Beat Norwalk, 48-6. Next: at Garfield, Friday.

Dropped out: Monrovia (9)

Five more, in alphabetic order: Cathedral, Claremont, Crenshaw, Gahr, St. Francis.

Agree or disagree with the "L.A. South" top 10? Did your favorite school get snubbed? Leave a comment on this post or contact ESPNLosAngeles.com preps writer Blair Angulo directly on his Twitter page.

West Covina values improvement over perfection

September, 7, 2011
9/07/11
3:39
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West Covina HS football teamBlair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comWest Covina will be stepping up in class when it faces Loyola on Friday night.

West Covina coach Mike Maggiore knows the odds won't be in his team's favor when they travel to play Loyola at Los Angeles Valley College on Friday. It's a step up six levels for the Bulldogs, from the Southeast Division (VII) to the Pac-5 (I).

You just don't see that type of leap often.

"We're going to be playing a very physical, disciplined football team," said Maggiore, whose team is the defending Southeast champ. "Loyola is big, much bigger than us. They have athletes. It's going to be a huge test but I expect our guys to be a lot better next week. I expect us to compete, not back down and play hard. We'll see what happens."

That the Bulldogs (1-0) are battered and bruised doesn't help. Starting quarterback Jon Najera (concussion) left Friday night's 26-20 overtime win against rival Covina at the half and, at one point, Maggiore was down to his fourth and fifth running because of cramping. Standout tailback Chris Solomon suffered an ankle injury early and missed the entire second half. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, both Najera and Solomon will miss Friday's game.

"Chris has kind of been our iron man the last couple of years," Maggiore said. "Whenever he goes down, you worry because there's bigger games we'll be playing later in the year."

For the Bulldogs, non-league games don't get much bigger than this. Loyola (1-0) doubled up Mira Costa, 28-14, in its opener and, needless to say, there aren't many people expecting West Covina to pull off the shocker this week. The Bulldogs' modest 14-game win streak is in serious jeopardy. Maggiore, though, sees the bigger picture.

"We want to keep getting better," he said. "Our goal is to compete for a league championship and go deep in the playoffs. Playing a team like Loyola gets you better."

Even if that means having a scuff mark on the old record.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Defending Southeast Division champion West Covina avenged its only loss from 2010 Saturday night, beating rival Covina, 26-20, in an overtime thriller.

Solomon
Solomon
The Bulldogs did it without standout tailback/safety Chris Solomon, who was on crutches after suffering an ankle injury in the first half. Solomon, a senior with offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Nevada, is one of the area's top returning rushers. He ran for 1,790 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, guiding West Covina to a 13-1 record and the Hacienda League title.

"I don't think it's serious," West Covina coach Mike Maggiore said, adding that Solomon had X-rays and was walking normally.

Jimmy Frazier shouldered a heavier load and ran for 102 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Salgado had the game-winning, two-yard touchdown run in overtime.

"We had guys go down all night," Maggiore said. "Things just kept going wrong for us and we kept playing hard. I was proud of our effort. We showed a lot of character."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

LA South: Preseason Top 10

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
9:39
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We catapult into the high school football season and bring you a preseason look at the top 10 teams in south Los Angeles County. Eight of the 10 were ranked in our final regional rankings last year -- St. John Bosco and Narbonne are the only newcomers. And although teams such as Lakewood, Serra, Crenshaw and West Covina graduated a ton of talent, they'll need to falter before they're bumped from the list. We'll release new rankings every Tuesday. (Notes: Last season's records are in parentheses; this top 10 is independent of ESPNLA.com's prep football top 25 rankings).

1. Long Beach Poly (8-3)
Expectations are always high at Poly, but they're up near the moon this year. The Jackrabbits return a plethora of talent, including five players that are committed to Arizona State. Poly will go as far as senior quarterback Chaiyse Hales takes them. Up next: at Sacramento Grant, Friday.

2. Bishop Amat (9-2)
There might not be a team in the Southland more antsy to get on the field than Amat. The Lancers were a perfect 9-0 to start 2010 but faltered late, losing to Alemany in what amounted to a Serra League title game and stumbling against Tesoro in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs. Up next: vs. Garfield, Friday.

3. St. John Bosco (5-5)
We present the best team that didn't make the postseason last season, an award coach Jason Negro would probably not be too happy with. On the bright side, the Braves are now a year wiser. The rest of the Trinity League should be on its toes. Up next: vs. Mission Hills, Friday.

4. Carson (11-3)
Someone might want to check Elijah Asante's sanity level. The second-year coach has lined up the area's most difficult nonleague schedule, undoubtedly trying to play the best to become the best. The Colts aren't shying away from anyone, that's for sure. Up next: vs. Mater Dei, Friday.

5. Dominguez (10-2)
A defense littered with college prospects, including cornerback Brandon Beaver and lineman Damion Turpin, promises to be this team's strength. The offense, meanwhile, will most likely run through top blocker Lacy Westbrook. Up next: vs. Crespi, Friday.

6. Lakewood (10-2)
New coach Vince Lobendahn takes over for the popular Thadd MacNeal with one clear objective: getting the ball to Darius Powe, the area's top uncommitted wideout. Big Red is rebuilding but Lobendahn thinks a Moore League title is within grasp. Up next: vs. Locke, Friday.

7. Serra (14-1)
The Cavaliers aren't as loaded as they have been recently, but they're still considered a contender in the Western Division. UCLA commit Raymond Ford has the tough task of filling George Farmer and Marqise Lee's big shoes. Up next: vs. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Friday.

8. Narbonne (6-6)
With junior Troy Williams, perhaps the top signal caller in the City Section, under center, the Gauchos have set their sights on making a trip to the Memorial Coliseum in December. The defense will be key. Up next: vs. Palos Verdes, Sept. 9.

9. Crenshaw (12-2)
Stud De'Anthony Thomas is now in Eugene, so the pizzazz might not be as high as it has been for the defending back-to-back City Section champs. Still, coach Robert Garrett figures to have his Cougars ready every week. Up next: vs. Alta (Utah) at Mission Viejo High, Saturday.

10. West Covina (13-1)
The Bulldogs are led by one of the better players you've never heard of, tailback/safety Chris Solomon. West Covina captured the Southeast Division crown last year and look like the early favorites again this fall. Up next: vs. Covina at Covina District Stadium, Saturday.

Five more to watch, in alphabetic order: Charter Oak, Mira Costa, Monrovia, St. Paul, Venice.

Agree or disagree with the "L.A. South" preseason top 10? Did your favorite school get snubbed? Leave a comment on this post or contact ESPNLosAngeles.com preps writer Blair Angulo directly on his Twitter page.

LA South: Top returning rushers

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
6:10
PM PT
With the start of the high school football season less than two weeks away, we give you a list of the top 15 returning rushers in south Los Angeles County, sorted by last year’s totals. Robert Lewis, a senior at South East, is ranked No. 12 on this list but is more than just a ball carrier. Lewis, the top-rated senior running back in the area according to ESPNU recruiting, is committed to Southern Methodist. He's a dynamic playmaker that should build on a solid junior season. West Covina's Chris Solomon ranks second on this list, even though he's projected as a safety at the next level.

Rank / Name (Year, School) / Yards / Touchdowns

1. Giovanni Rivera (Senior, Sierra Vista): 2,304 yards - 14 TD
2. Chris Solomon (Senior, West Covina): 1,790 yards - 20 TD
3. Jalen Moore (Senior, Bishop Amat): 1,634 yards - 23 TD
4. Jamel Hart (Senior, South Hills): 1,318 yards - 17 TD
5. Marquise McGuire (Junior, Long Beach Jordan): 1,200 yards - 3 TD

6. Michael Ortega (Senior, St. Paul): 1,196 yards - 7 TD
7. Walter Moctezuma (Senior, Marshall): 1,190 yards - 15 TD
8. Tony Botello (Senior, Pioneer): 1,189 yards -- 12 TD
9. Michael Wimberly (Senior, West Adams Prep): 1,026 yards - 9 TD
10. Darrell Santiago (Junior, San Pedro): 965 yards - 15 TD

11. Thomas Brown (Senior, Serra): 960 yards - 6 TD
12. Robert Lewis (Senior, South East): 901 yards - 11 TD
13. Kori Garcia (Senior, Santa Monica): 856 yards - 9 TD
14. Tairen Owens (Senior, Muir): 822 yards - 10 TD
15. Anterio Bateman (Junior, Serra): 783 yards - 5 TD

LA South: Five things from the weekend

May, 16, 2011
5/16/11
2:55
PM PT
1. Not exactly the ending the Mira Costa boys' volleyball team had in mind, as the top-seeded Mustangs were shocked by Mater Dei in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs Saturday, 29-27, 20-25, 25-14, 18-25, 15-9. The Monarchs used a 7-1 run in the final game to pull off the upset at their home court. Mira Costa, which lost in the CIF title match last year, finished with a 33-2 record.

2. Marqise Lee (Gardena Serra) and Beejay Lee (West Covina) set new track and field marks on Saturday. Marqise Lee's long jump of 24 feet 8 inches at the Division 4 prelims was the best in the country this year. At the Division 1 Prelims, Beejay Lee registered a time of 21:00 in the 200 meters, the best in California this year. Marqise Lee's teammate, sprinter George Farmer did not participate because of an ankle injury.

3. Keppel High doesn't have a pool on its campus but that didn't stop the Aztecs from claiming the boys and girls CIF titles at the Division 3 swimming and diving championships Saturday. Keppel is making a habit of winning without the proper resources -- it was the girls' fourth title in the last five years and boys' third in five years. According to the Pasadena Star-News, Keppel, which is located in Alhambra, must travel more than a mile to train and host meets at Barnes Park in Monterey Park.

4. There are exclamation points and then there's what the Bonita baseball team did Friday. The Bearcats, ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 3, capped their regular season with a 19-2 win at Diamond Ranch. Justin Row led off with a monster home run to left and the demolition was on. K.C. Huth and Robert Mieradded back-to-back home runs in the second, and the Hacienda League champion Bearcats scored 11 in the fourth to finish with a 24-4 record. Head coach John Knott couldn't have asked for better momentum heading into the playoffs.

5. West Covina standout Chris Solomontook his talents to the Bay Area and participated in the Nike SPARQ Combine in Oakland after missing the showcase in Long Beach last month. The tailback/safety showed why he's garnering more attention in the recruiting world, being named the top rising senior by ESPN Rise. He ran a 4,58 40-yard dash, logged a 3.97 shuttle time and ranked third with a SPARQ rating of 106.17. Solomon has offers from Arizona State and Colorado.

LA South: Football All-CIF teams

January, 28, 2011
1/28/11
4:19
PM PT
The following is a list of players and coaches who garnered top honors on All-CIF teams, sorted by division:

MID VALLEY DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: QB Nick Bueno, Monrovia
Defensive player of the year: LB Derrick Johnson, Monrovia
Coach of the year: Ryan Maddox, Monrovia

NORTHERN DIVISION

Defensive player of the year: DL J.R. Tavai, Mira Costa

NORTHWEST DIVISION

Defensive player of the year: Eric Capachione, South Torrance

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: HB Chris Solomon, West Covina
Defensive player of the year: LB Maurice Dupleasis, West Covina
Coach of the year: Mike Maggiore, West Covina

WESTERN DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: WR George Farmer, Serra
Defensive player of the year: S Marqise Lee, Serra
Coach of the year: Scott Altenberg, Serra

For a list of all the All-CIF-Southern Section football teams, click this link.

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