Varsity Times Insider
High school sports across the Southland
Football: Steve Bogan makes the jump to Maranatha

Private schools have been raiding public schools of some of their best coaches, and the latest to make the jump is Steve Bogan, the former West Covina South Hills football coach who has taken over as head coach at Pasadena Maranatha.

Bogan spent 20 years as head coach at South Hills. He coached freshman ball last season and still teaches at South Hills, but he decided to make the leap of faith to Maranatha. He started out coaching at St. Francis many years ago but still enjoys being a teacher at South Hills.

“I love that place. It’s my home,” he said of South Hills.

He’s expected to make an impact at Maranatha, which returns its outstanding quarterback in Eli Snyder.

“He’s a special kid,” Bogan said. “He’s a football junkie. He likes to study the game.”

Maranatha also hired a former public school basketball coach, Tim Tucker, from Pasadena last year. He still teaches at Pasadena while coaching at Maranatha.




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Football participation increases despite concussion concerns

Despite concerns over the risk of concussion injuries, football participation among high school students increased for the first time in five years, with an additional 6,607 boys participating in 11-man football during the 2013-14 school year, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Assns.

Overall, sports participation increased for the 25th consecutive year, rising to 7,795,658, a record. The increase was 82,081. Girls participation also set a record at 3,267,664 and increased 44,941. Boys participation reached more than 4.5 million. Football had 1,093,234 participants.

"With the precautions that are in place nationwide to address concussions in all high school sports, including football, we have maintained that the risk of injury is as low as it ever has been," said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director, in a statement. "Certainly this rise in football numbers is a confirmation of those beliefs and...

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Cross country: Birmingham's Ryan Alexander is growing up and getting faster

Three years ago, I visited Birmingham High, where cross country coach Scott King introduced me to 4-foot-11, 85-pound freshman Ryan Alexander, who had been a youth cross country standout.

King thought Alexander had great potential.

On Tuesday, I was back at Birmingham, and Alexander had gone from size five shoes to size eight and had spurted to 5-8, 115 pounds. The best City Section finish he's had is ninth place. But he grew three inches over the summer, appears in good health and may be ready to challenge teammate Jordy Ceja for the City individual title this winter.

"I trained very hard over the summer," Alexander said.

Birmingham's first-year cross country coach, Jose Torres, said, "I think he's gearing up for a strong season."

Alexander has always had great stamina but lacked a closing kick. With his additional size and strength, things could be different.

"I always felt I had more endurance than I could possibly do anything with but not enough speed," he said. "Now that I'm much...

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Football: Mission Viejo's Cole Smith commits to USC

Mission Viejo center Cole Smith has committed to USC, reported.

Here's the link to Smith's comments.

His father, Doug, was a standout center for the Los Angeles Rams.





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Football: Nine-part series previewing Southland's top players begins

With a little more than a week to go before high school football games begin, The Times begins a nine-part series previewing Southern California's players to watch for the 2014 season.

First up in Wednesday's paper is quarterbacks and features a profile of Blake Barnett, the Corona Santiago standout who committed to Alabama in June.

Each day will have a profile and video look at an outstanding player in Southern California, along with a list of players to watch at that position. The list is based on recommendations from coaches, along with taking into consideration college potential and high school performance.

Here's the link to quarterbacks to watch.

On Thursday, the focus will be on wide receivers, with a profile of Servite receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.



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Football: Jeremy Vincent is player to watch at Oaks Christian

Coach Bill Redell makes his official return to the sideline for Oaks Christian on Friday when the Lions participate in a four-team scrimmage at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Redell already has an idea who is his team's best player.

"Jeremy Vincent," he said. "He's going to be a big-time player."

Vincent is healthy and ready to star at safety, receiver and running back for the Lions.




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Boys' basketball: Village Christian settles for three transfers

All summer, there has been speculation on how many transfers Sun Valley Village Christian might get to join Bennie Boatwright this season.

Well, school began on Monday, and the Crusaders ended up with three transfers, according to Athletic Director Kevin Aust.

They include Kahlil Simplis from Campbell Hall, Clifton Powell from Taft and Josh Caston from Mater Dei.

Caston should be the happiest of all. He was commuting to Santa Ana from Burbank and will have to sit out the opening month of the season after not moving his residence.

Not showing up were two players from Florida rumored to be considering the Crusaders.

So as the summer ends, it looks like Maranatha was the big winner from the Olympic League, picking up Tyler Dorsey from St. John Bosco and Trevor Stanback from Chaminade.





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Football: Chatsworth will have to wait until Oct. 6 to use transfer QB

Chatsworth will have to wait until Oct. 6 to get sophomore quarterback Tyger Goslin eligible after he transferred from Westlake. The City Section ruled he must be part of the sitout period. His first game will be against Cleveland on Oct. 10.

"We'll be all right," said Coach Andrew Kim, who has three quarterbacks competing for the starting position while waiting for Goslin to become eligible.

What it means is that Chatsworth will likely rely even more early in the season on All-City running back Justin Santos, who ended last season with games of 211, 254, 271 and 179 yards rushing.

When Goslin returns, putting him with Santos could make Chatsworth a City Section Division II title contender.

"He's a player," Kim said of Goslin, who was quarterback on Westlake's freshman team.




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Football: Former Alemany QB Vernon Adams leads No. 1 FCS team

Eastern Washington, ranked No. 1 in the nation in the FCS, opens its football season on Saturday against Sam Houston State.

Former Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., a junior, was the runner-up for the division's top award, the Walter Payton Award, in 2013.

His ability to run and pass should create lots of highlight videos for the upcoming season.



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Football: Damien has high hopes for two junior linemen

Damien Coach Mark Parades said he is excited about the potential of two junior offensive linemen moving to the varsity level after playing junior varsity as sophomores.

Liam Ryan, 6 feet 6, 260 pounds, and Evander Achan, 6-1, 260 pounds, give Damien two players to build around on the line.

Achan is a physical player making steady improvement. Ryan's size will make college recruiters take notice.





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Football: Josh Greaves makes new start at Crespi

Josh Greaves, who was the quarterback for Einstein Academy in Santa Clarita last season as a sophomore, is now a backup quarterback at Encino Crespi. It's a new beginning.

Greaves' father, John, who founded the football program at Einstein, died in April of 2013 after a bout with leukemia.

"He's a great kid," Coach Troy Thomas said.

Greaves passed for 1,585 yards last season on the varsity team. Einstein has since switched to eight-man football.




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Boys' basketball: Sierra Canyon to play Oak Hill in Nike Extravaganza

Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, expected to be a candiate for the No. 1 high school basketball team in California, will play Virginia's Oak Hill Academy on Friday, Feb. 5, as part of the Nike Extravaganza at Santa Ana Mater Dei.

On the same day, Santa Margarita will play Village Christian and Colony will face Mater Dei. In a girls' game, Mater Dei will play Bishop Gorman.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, Mater Dei will play Fairfax in the 8:45 p.m. final game.

Other games set for Feb. 6: Servite vs. St. Margaret's, 8:30 a.m.; Los Alamitos vs. Villa Park, 10 a.m.; Anaheim Canyon vs. JSerra, 11:30 a.m.; Orange Lutheran vs. Sonora, 1:15 p.m.; Corona Centennial vs. St. John Bosco, 2:45 p.m.; Chino Hills vs. Westchester, 4:15 p.m.; Bishop Gorman vs. Etiwanda, 5:45 p.m.; Bishop O'Dowd vs. Oak Hill, 7:15 p.m.




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