Los Angeles Preps: Pete Duffy

Rancho Verde's Junior Pomee plays with a purpose

December, 5, 2010

Courtesy of Ruben Arras
Junior Pomee, tight end at Rancho Verde, is one of the most highly recruited players at his position.

He plays for him, heavy-hearted and all.

Junior Pomee appears to have a rather promising future ahead of him on the football field. Keep in mind, the 6-foot-3, 225-plus pound senior from Moreno Valley Rancho Verde High is one of the country’s top tight end prospects with a scholarship offer on the table from several NCAA powerhouse programs.

Pomee, however, is a bit reluctant to move forward. He has some unfinished business to take care of, namely honoring a fallen teammate, Emil Smith, who was killed in an automobile accident months before the 2010 season.

Before life continues for Pomee, it’s his desire to commemorate the life that was lost the best way he knows how: with a Southern Section Central Division championship. Accordingly, he played a prominent role in Friday night’s 42-21 semifinal victory over host La Quinta to move the Mustangs a step closer to winning a title in Smith’s memory.

“We dedicated the season to Emil, and we know he’s upstairs, watching down on us. We’re not going to let him down,’’ Pomee said. “Before our games, we carry out a banner with his picture on it and then hit the field. It’s like Emil is still with us, in some ways. His spirit motivates us. His spirit gives us energy and emotion. His spirit gets us hyped to play."

Similar to Pomee, Smith appeared to have just about everything going for him. The senior linebacker had committed to Boise State in June. On July 18, he was sitting in the passenger seat, alongside his older brother and driver, Dimitri Garcia, when they crashed into oncoming traffic in nearby Hemet.

Just like that, Smith was gone. And just like that, Pomee was devastated. His teammates, too. Seemingly everyone on campus was distraught.

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Inland Empire: Rancho Verde 28, Arlington 16

November, 12, 2010

RIVERSIDE — When the Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and Riverside Arlington football teams met Friday night, there were plenty of reasons to leave it all on the field.

Not only was there a Inland Valley League title at stake, but Arlington was playing without coach Pat McCarthy, who was recuperating in the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest before practice earlier in the week.

Rancho Verde was trying to wrap up an undefeated regular season in honor of Emil Smith, the Boise State-bound senior-to-be who was killed in a car accident over the summer.

In the end, Rancho Verde had a little too much firepower and the Mustangs held on for a 28-16 victory at Riverside Ramona High.

“These guys are fighters,” said Eric Seckinger, who was filling info McCarthy. “They were feeding off coach Mac.”

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