Los Angeles Preps: Jordan Robinson

Locals shine at Nike SPARQ combine

April, 3, 2012

LONG BEACH -- For under-the-radar players like Alex Kline, Saturday's Nike SPARQ Combine was about opportunity. The rising senior tailback out of Cerritos Gahr had nothing else on his mind.

"It can put you on the map," Kline said. "It can get you the looks you never thought you were going to get."

Kline made the most of it, posting impressive numbers in the annual event held at Veterans Stadium. He ranked fifth among 1,290 attendees with a 41-foot power ball toss, 24th with a 33.6-inch vertical jump and eighth with an overall rating of 100.41 -- a number that takes into account an athlete's speed, power, agility, reactions and quickness.

Kline, who has been contacted by San Diego State, Tennessee and Missouri, was the overall leader for much of the five-hour combine.

One of the bigger names to participate was Sherman Oaks Notre Dame running back Khalfani Muhammad, a local standout who has offers from UCLA, Oregon State and Washington. He finished 12th with a rating of 98.64.

"My name has gotten a little bit bigger than it used to be," Muhammad said. "Right now I do not have any favorite [schools]. I want to get a feel for what fits me best."

Alemany receiver Steven Mitchell, competing in his first SPARQ combine, finished 19th with a 94.62. Jordan Robinson, a running back at Chino Hills Ayala, was tops among all Southland athletes with a rating of 102.30.

"I feel like I did very well," said Mitchell, who already has 10 scholarship offers. "My group was a very competitive group, so that drove me to do even better."

CIF-SS playoffs: Central Division

November, 13, 2011
CIF-SS playoffs:
Central Division
This group might not carry the hoopla of the Inland Division, but it certainly has some quality teams and superb athletes. Rancho Verde hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2007, yet hasn’t won a section title in that stretch either. Not so for Palm Springs and Colony. Palm Springs won the Eastern Division title in 2009, and the Titans won Central Division titles in 2006 and 2007. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Rancho Verde, No. 2 Palm Springs, No. 3 La Sierra, No. 4 Colony.

Best first-round matchup: Palm Desert (5-4) at Carter (9-1) -- Carter had a chance to clinch the program's first outright San Andreas League title Thursday night against Cajon but lost, 24-7. That missed opportunity could spill over to the playoffs. Carter will have its hands full trying to stop Palm Desert running back Tim Santa Maria, who rushed for 333 yards in 33 carries and scored four touchdowns in a 38-35 loss Friday against La Quinta, dropping the Aztecs into third place in the Desert Valley League and setting up this matchup.

Toughest road: Palm Springs (10-0) -- The Indians’ unblemished record might be a bit misleading because they really haven't played any quality opponents this season, though they did blow out everyone except Palm Desert in the season opener. They open against a Rialto team that has a big-time victory against Cajon this season, one that likely cost the Cowboys a top four seeding. Waiting in the wings would be a matchup against Chino or Arlington, two other programs that could pose a problem with their potent run games.

Potential shocker: Valley View at Colony, first round -- Valley View had a bye in Week 10 to give them extra time to prepare for the playoffs and provide running back Michael Harrison a chance to rest up for the heavy workload he’s likely to encounter. Harrison, who has rushed for 1,373 and 16 touchdowns this season, is the type of power runner that has given Colony fits this season. The Titans have already allowed 100-yard rushing performances to Xavier Browne of Chino, Devon Samuels of Chaffey, Jamel Hart of South Hills, Jordan Robinson of Ayala and Corey Victoria of Glendora.

Darkhorse: Cajon (9-1) -- As mentioned above, Cajon would likely be one of the top three seeds if not for its loss against Rialto three weeks ago. The Cowboys have the athletes to make a run at any team in this division, and seem to have found a quality replacement for quarterback Edwin Martinez, who went down with a knee injury two weeks ago. De Juan Brooks stepped up from the junior varsity and threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns in the victory against Carter, locking up a share of the San Andreas League title.

Final analysis: This division is Rancho Verde’s to lose but that’s exactly what the Mustangs did last season, cruising to the championship game before getting stunned by Colton, the third-place team from the San Andreas League. They certainly didn’t catch any breaks in the brackets, getting stuck on the same side as Cajon and Colony, both of which feature Division 1-bound athletes who can change the course of a game.

Championship prediction: Palm Springs vs. Rancho Verde – These two programs appear to be in a class by themselves, though neither has really proved themselves against quality opponents during the regular season. Look for both teams to build momentum during some challenging early games and meet head on for the section title. Rancho Verde 27, Palm Springs 21.

Link to the Central Division bracket on CalPreps.com