Los Angeles Preps: Shareece Wright

I.E.: A closer look at the San Andreas League

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
10:02
PM PT
SAN ANDREAS LEAGUE

Last season’s results: San Bernardino Cajon (10-3, 7-0); San Bernardino San Gorgonio (7-5, 6-1); Colton (11-3, 5-2); Rialto Carter (6-4-1, 4-3); San Bernardino Arroyo Valley (4-6, 3-4); Rialto (5-5, 2-5); San Bernardino (3-7, 1-6); San Bernardino Pacific (0-10, 0-7).

Players to watch: The San Andreas League made a strong impression during last season’s SS-Central Division playoffs, finishing 6-3 and sending two unseeded teams to the semifinals, including eventual champion Colton. While the Yellowjackets will need to replace most of their leaders, the SAL features a busload of other returning talent. The most decorated athlete is Damontae Kazee of Cajon, a first-team all-league selection as a wide receiver and defensive back last season, and an all-Central Division selection on offense. Kazee committed to Washington last spring. Rialto and San Gorgonio also have a strong group of returners. Tyler Telphy of Rialto is the league’s top returning rusher after totaling 970 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He’ll be joined on offense by fellow first-team all-league offensive lineman Julian Ramos. On defense, Bernabe Orozco had 11 sacks for the Knights last season, and junior defensive back Bryan Davis had four interceptions. Rialto will also feature one of the top kickers in the I.E., senior John Pena, an all-Central Division pick. San Gorgonio features a returning all-Central Division player in wide receiver Brandon Charles, and running back Jamie Snowten made great strides in the second half of last season. On defense, the Spartans will lean on defensive end Ryan Hunter-Simms, who produced 13 sacks en route to making last season’s all-Central Division squad. Hunter-Simms won a SS-Masters meet title in the discus last spring and finished third in state. Pacific went winless last season but should improve with the return of 6-5 senior receiver Haneef Hill, a first-team all-leaguer, as well as a number of other players with varsity experience. Another player to watch is Kris Brown of Carter, who swiped five interceptions last season.

Projected order of finish: San Gorgonio, Cajon, Rialto, Colton, Carter, Pacific, Arroyo Valley, San Bernardino.

Key games: Sept. 2 – Cajon @ Temecula Chaparral, San Bernardino @ Upland; Sept. 9 – San Gorgonio @ Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, Rialto @ La Quinta, Colton vs. Riverside North @ Riverside College, Arroyo Valley @ Palm Springs; Sept. 16 – Fontana Kaiser @ Cajon; Sept. 22 – Colton vs. Fontana Summit @ Fontana A.B. Miller HS; Sept. 30 – Rialto @ Colton; Oct. 7 – San Gorgonio @ Cajon; Oct. 21 – Cajon @ Rialto; Oct. 28 – Colton @ Cajon; Nov. 4 – Rialto @ San Gorgonio; Nov. 10 – San Gorgonio @ Colton.

Alumni in the NFL: Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens (Colton ’06); Shareece Wright, San Diego Chargers (Colton ’06); Allen Bradford, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Colton ’06); Lonyae Miller, Dallas Cowboys (Rialto/Fontana Kaiser ’06).

Fast fact: Three players who were seniors on the 2006 Colton team were selected in the NFL draft in June, the most players from the same high school in this year’s draft. Jimmy Smith, a cornerback out of Colorado, is a safe bet to make the Baltimore Ravens. Shareece Wright, a cornerback out of USC, is in camp with the San Diego Chargers, and college teammate Allen Bradford is trying to secure a back-up running back role with Tampa Bay.

On the clock: Southwestern League.

Inland Empire: Colton's coaching position takes another turn

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
3:18
PM PT
Some of the juiciest high school football stories always seem to happen in the offseason.

Take, for instance, what’s going on at Colton High School.

First, a little background:

The Yellowjackets were searching for a head coach this time last year, and the most obvious candidate to take the reigns from Harold Strauss was right in front of them, Rick Bray, who had been an assistant at the school for 21 of the previous 25 years.

The only snag was, Bray was a security guard at the school and not a certified teacher. His hiring prospects put him behind the 8-ball in relation to the Rialto Rule, an education code stipulation that gives preference to certified teachers.

After six months of hand-wringing by the Colton Joint Unified School District, and with no better qualified candidates stepping forward, board members went ahead and approved Bray’s hiring in May of last year.

Bray then went out and made everyone look like geniuses, leading unseeded Colton to its first Southern Section football championship in 32 years.

But now Bray is back on the outside looking in, his job re-opened courtesy of the Rialto Rule, and this time there’s competition for the job, very well-known competition.

Don Markham, 71, is not only an on-campus teacher at Colton, but he owns 309 career victories and five section titles during stints at eight different high schools.

A gruff, iconic figure in the Inland Empire, Markham became well known for his creation of the tightly-bunched double-wing offense, which he used season after season to churn out thousands of yards and hundreds of points, despite not always have the best talent on the field.

(Read full post)

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