Los Angeles Preps: Mike Maggiore

South: Football All-CIF honors

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
9:20
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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.

Southeast: West Covina 84, La Serna 21

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
12:03
AM PT

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.

L.A. South: The Top 10

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
10:50
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Long Beach Poly fell out of the region's top spot for the first time this season following its second-round loss to Santa Margarita. Last week's second- and third-ranked teams -- St. John Bosco and Charter Oak, respectively -- also stumbled. Now, three of the region's top four squads come from the City Section. Marine League champion and top-seeded San Pedro is the only remaining undefeated team in the south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the third round of the playoffs:

1. (4) San Pedro (12-0)
The top-seeded Pirates eliminated the two-time defending City Section Division I champs Friday, securing another matchup with fifth-seeded Carson. The Marine League champs defeated the Colts 21-0 on Oct. 28. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 31-7. Next: semifinals vs. Carson, Friday.

2. (1) Long Beach Poly (10-2)*
The lack of consistency from the quarterback positions was a season-long concern for coach Raul Lara. That turned into a nightmare Friday when the Jackrabbits were intercepted five times. The good news: Gerard Wicks returns next season. Last week: Lost to Santa Margarita, 49-16.

3. (5) Narbonne (9-3)
Junior quarterback Troy Williams had six total touchdowns, and the emerging Tray Boone had two more to propel the Gauchos to their third straight 50-point performance. They now face perhaps the city's top defense. Last week: Beat West Adams, 59-20. Next: semifinals vs. Dorsey, Friday.

4. (6) Dorsey (11-1)
The fast and talented Dons defense had six takeaways Friday, and USC-bound receiver Jaydon Mickens had four total touchdowns to go along with six receptions and 82 yards. Last week: Beat Birmingham, 45-13. Next: semifinals at Narbonne, Friday.

5. (2) St. John Bosco (8-4)*
Bosco twice cut its deficit to four on Friday but the defense couldn't come up with stops. Still, the Braves made their first playoff appearance since 2006, so they've got nothing to hang their heads about. Last week: Lost to San Clemente, 42-24.

(Read full post)

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

L.A. South: Thursday's top games

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
6:01
PM PT
League championships are up for grabs across the region this week. Here are Thursday night's top five games in south Los Angeles County:

Cabrillo vs. No. 5 Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- As the Jackrabbits take the final turn toward a second consecutive Moore League title, it's only fitting that ESPN High School will recognize the defending national champion Long Beach Poly girls' track team during halftime Thursday. Football coach Raul Lara, meanwhile, can only hope that his team -- specifically the defense -- sprints through the finish line. A win would give Poly (8-1, 5-0) sole possession of first place and likely secure a high seeding in the Pac-5 Division bracket. Upset-minded Cabrillo (7-2, 4-1) has the division's leading passer, senior Derek Stewart (2,116 yards, 19 touchdowns).

Diamond Ranch at West Covina, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- When West Covina coach Mike Maggiore had his team take on Loyola earlier this season, it was with games like this in mind. West Covina (8-1, 5-0) will stay home this time but the hungry Diamond Ranch Panthers (5-4, 4-1) will try everything to unseat the defending Hacienda League champions. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Division, can go perfect in league play for the second straight year.

La Puente vs. Azusa at Citrus College, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- The Mid-Valley Division poll that the CIF-Southern Section released before the season didn't include the La Puente Warriors (9-0, 6-0). Well, look at the Warriors now. They have a chance to finish with an unblemished mark and their first Montview League title since 2007. It won't be an easy task against Azusa (6-3, 6-0), the three-time defending league titlist.

El Monte at Arroyo, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- El Monte, coming off a thrilling win against crosstown rival South El Monte, has plenty of momentum. The Lions (7-2, 4-0) scored two touchdowns in the final 43 seconds to remain in contention to win its first league championship since 1979. Two-time defending champ Arroyo (8-1, 4-0) is potent behind quarterback Steven Rivera (2,512 passing yards, 33 total touchdowns).

Schurr at San Gabriel, Thursday, 7 pm. -- The San Gabriel Matadors (5-4, 4-0) can win the Almont League outright with a victory against visiting Schurr (3-6, 3-1). A Schurr win, combined with an Alhambra win at Bell Gardens, would create a three-way tie atop the standings.

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: Football All-CIF teams

January, 28, 2011
1/28/11
4:19
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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.

Southeast Division: West Covina 37, Bonita 33

December, 11, 2010
12/11/10
12:38
AM PT


WALNUT -- George Johnson had himself quite the birthday.

The senior quarterback led West Covina on a dramatic 80-yard drive with less than two minutes remaining -- capping it with a lunge into the end zone from a foot away -- to secure the CIF Southeast Division championship with a 37-33 comeback victory over Bonita on Friday night.

Talk about blowing out the candles and having a piece of the cake too.

"The best present ever," Johnson said before breaking a smile.

Before Johnson's heroics, Bonita had taken a 33-30 lead on a Brandt Davis 38-yard field goal with 1:46 left. That's when Johnson knew top-seeded West Covina -- which is notorious for its deep stable of tailbacks, not Johnson's throwing abilities -- would need his arm for the first time all year.

"We usually run the ball, but we had to throw it this time," Johnson said. "On that last drive we showed we could do both."

Johnson, who had thrown the ball only five times prior to last possession, worked the sidelines for a pair of first downs to begin the drive West Covina fans won't soon forget. Bonita cornerback Zach Brungard telegraphed the next play perfectly, but dropped an interception that would have sealed the deal. With the Bearcats' defense thinking pass, the Bulldogs (13-1) rushed for 37 yards on the next two plays.

Johnson called his own number with 32 seconds remaining, sneaking into the end zone to send the West Covina sideline into a frenzy.

"George has done that for three years," coach Mike Maggiore said. "There's no question we want the ball in his hands. We're not a throwing team, but we know that George can move the ball by his legs, by his arms, by his determination."

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Southeast Division: West Covina, Bonita - Part II

December, 9, 2010
12/09/10
1:55
PM PT
West Covina coach Mike Maggiore was genuinely surprised.

Were his eyes fooling him? Had his team really scored 55 points against Hacienda League rival Bonita? Had his team actually walked off the field with a 34-point victory over the then-No. 2 team in the Southeast Division?

"I thought we could move the ball on them," Maggiore said on Oct. 29 following West Covina's 55-21 win. "I thought it would be a tight game, thought it would come down to the fourth quarter."

It didn't. Not even close. The top-seeded Bulldogs (12-1) thoroughly dominated the Bearcats (12-1) behind the play of standout tailback Chris Solomon. It was a beautiful display in a game that turned ugly quick.

On Friday night, Bonita has a chance to make things right -- or at least prove the disparity isn't as wide -- in the Southeast Division championship game at Walnut High.

Maybe we'll get a surprise or two.

LA South: Five things from the weekend

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
3:20
PM PT
1. West Covina coach Mike Maggiore seemed to be caught off guard when I asked him if his team's 55-21 win over Bonita was surprising. He paused for a second, then admitted he didn't expect the Bulldogs to post 55 points. He might even thrown a smile or two in there. And for good reason: West Covina, the top-ranked squad in the Southeast Division, had seven players combine to rush for 400-plus yards. Running is what the Bulldogs do best, but the fact that they did it against previously-unbeaten Bonita (7-1) was surprising. Just ask Maggiore.

2. Facing the top seven teams in last week's L.A. South rankings was downright spooky, if not unfair. Serra, Bishop Amat, Crenshaw, Long Beach Poly, Lakewood, Dorsey and Compton Dominguez each posted dominant victories, outscoring opponents by a combined 327 points. That's an average margin of nearly 47 points -- or nearly seven touchdowns -- per game.

3. This week's breakout performer award goes to Bishop Amat's Rio Ruiz, the junior quarterback who is best known for his work on the baseball diamond. Ruiz threw for 346 yards and five touchdowns on 22-for-24 passing in Amat's 52-7 home win against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. The Lancers (9-0) hit the road Nov. 12 for a highly anticipated Serra League matchup against Alemany.

4. Things got ugly quick in Whittier on Friday. Del Rio League-leader La Serna (7-1) held rival Pioneer (4-4) to just 63 yards of total offense in a 70-0 rout. Tailback Richard Alvarez ran for five touchdowns and had only one carry after halftime.

5. Remember the Carson Colts? If you don't, Carson was the trendy City Section pick before falling in back-to-back losses to Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo. The Colts are in the picture again following a 26-23 victory over Narbonne. Crenshaw and Dorsey are -- and should be -- the clear-cut City favorites, but keep an eye out for Carson (6-2).

LA South: West Covina 55, Bonita 21

October, 30, 2010
10/30/10
12:12
AM PT


WEST COVINA -- Consider any questions surrounding West Covina's validity completely answered. The Southeast Division's top-ranked team is legit. The Bulldogs left no doubt Friday night.

No. 1 West Covina and No. 2 Bonita were supposed to play a tight one. Each side would score its share of points, but everyone assumed the battle between Hacienda League powers would be decided in the final seconds. It had all the makings.

To the surprise of West Covina coach Mike Maggiore and probably all of those in attendance, the exact opposite happened.

"I didn't think we'd score 55 points, to be honest with you," he said following West Covina's 55-21 win. "I thought we could move the ball on them, thought it would be a tight game, thought it would come down to the fourth quarter. But we made some big plays early and took their momentum away in the first half. I'm proud of our guys."

One guy -- junior tailback Chris Solomon -- stood out above the rest. He scored three rushing touchdowns, ran for 187 yards on 11 carries and added a 97-yard score on a kickoff return in the final minute. And like his coach, Solomon was genuinely shocked by the way the Bulldogs won.

"It ended up being a blowout because we worked hard every day of the week," Solomon said.

West Covina (7-1), which has won seven straight, used the consistency of its patented run game to crush previously-undefeated Bonita (7-1). Though he's referred to by teammates as "Solo," Solomon wasn't the only one chewing up yards. Far from it.

(Read full post)

LA South: West Covina 42, South Hills 27

September, 16, 2010
9/16/10
11:46
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COVINA -- The night began with South Hills bursting through a banner that read, "Huskies run this town."

As it turns out, West Covina tailback Beejay Lee does.

The junior tore through South Hills' defense as if it were made of paper, despite only carrying the ball six times while splitting duties with three other backs. But Lee was effective when called upon, contributing three scores on 126 yards rushing to pace West Covina to a 42-27 win at Covina District Stadium.

Lee's legs secured the city's bragging rights for the next year. Less than two miles and exactly three stop lights separate South Hills and West Covina on Cameron Avenue.

"They're always favored," Lee said regarding rival South Hills. "We always come out ready to work and ready to win. We feel like we work harder than them at practice and we showed it."

The Bulldogs (2-1) ran away with it, the Huskies adding two late touchdowns that made the outcome more respectable. This was domination by West Covina's offensive line, which not only paved the way for Lee but also helped sophomore Jimmy Frazier reach the end zone twice on close to 100 yards rushing.

(Read full post)

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