Random thoughts for a Tuesday morning, wondering whatever happened to Eugene Clayborn, who played for Carl Beach at Chaffey College in 2007 before transferring to Texas A&M-Kingsville, or Texas A&I as it was called when KCBS/Channel 2 sports director Jim Hill played his college ball.
There will be just 13 local high school football teams in the top four divisions of the 2017 CIF Southern Section playoffs in the fall, six in the top three classes. In sharp contrast, there are 34 teams in the bottom four divisions, which is not a good sign.
As a matter of course, there will be players and parents grumbling (and secretly, some coaches), but to its credit, the CIF-SS listened to the input of coaches who took their responsibility very seriously.
The sanctioning body released the makeup of the divisions last week. There were teams that dropped divisions (Upland from D1 to D2, for example) while others were moved up since they prospered in the lower division a year ago (Yucaipa, Silverado, Aquinas and Pacific among those schools).
Rancho Cucamonga’s 2015 run in D1 solidified its remaining in perhaps the toughest grouping in the nation, 18 teams vying for 16 positions. Upland dropped to D2, where another 18 teams will compete for 16 spots. Chino Hills and Redlands East Valley remain in the division.
From this standpoint, a pair of High Desert schools were misplaced. Both Serrano and Oak Hills will remain in D3, even though they suffered first-round losses after being elevated in the first year of the format. Yes, the schools are dominant in their region, but the jump still appears to be a bit much.
They would be a nice fit in D4, home to Etiwanda, Cajon, Damien, Colony, Carter and Glendora. There are 19 teams, which include Eastvale Roosevelt, battling for the 16 berths.
Yucaipa (up two divisions), Redlands and Los Osos are among the 22 teams in D5. There are also 22 teams in D6, with defending champion San Gorgonio and Summit in that field.
Of the 23 teams in D7, two are from Chino (Don Lugo and Ayala) and two from Pomona (Diamond Ranch and Pomona) in addition to Bonita. Among the 25 teams in D8, six are from the area: Citrus Valley, Chino, Claremont, Kaiser, Silverado and San Dimas.
There is just a trio of locals in D9, including Aquinas (bumped after its 2016 season), Hesperia and Chaffey,
In D10, Diamond Bar and Arrowhead Christian dropped a division while Twentynine Palms moved up to join Apple Valley, Grand Terrace, Alta Loma and Barstow. Pacific’s run last year put the Pirates in D11 along with Sultana, Ontario Christian, Miller, Victor Valley and Jurupa Hills; 37 in all for 16 playoff berths.
Ontario, Adelanto, Fontana, Rim of the World, Montclair, Big Bear and Colton are among the 45 schools in D12. It’s even worse in D13, where 84 teams are vying for the 116 spots. Yucca Valley, Western Christian, Granite Hills, Bloomington, Silver Valley, Indian Springs, Webb, Excelsior, Arroyo Valley, Garey, Ganesha, Rialto and Riverside Prep are in the field. …
It was great to see a pair of Southern California college baseball teams slug it out for a berth in the College World Series later in the week in Omaha, Nebraska. Cal State Fullerton, seemingly a regular visitor to the event, advanced with a 2-1 win over Long Beach State in the third and deciding game of the three-game Super Regional.
This will mark the Titans’ 18th trip to Omaha, and the second time in the last three years. CSF (39-22) will open against Oregon State of the Pac-12.
It will give our Ellis Davis, who was once our handicapper at the Los Angeles Fair horse meet, a local rooting interest. Davis has been a regular visitor to the event for many years and he’ll have a local player to root for this year. Ayala High School graduate Erik Cha is a pitcher for the Titans. ...
Best picture/news I have seen in quite a while: The demolition of the football press box at Cajon High School. It was an adventure trying to get into the small box, just big enough for (at the most) five people to work the game: announcer, clock operator and sportswriters.
It was solid, but old. It took a while to climb into, and a bit longer to get out of. It was one of the last of its kind in the area and the San Bernardino school district should be commended for building a new press box. And, despite the opinion of many fans, it is necessary for game operations.
Cajon will also replace the grass, but it will need help before the start of the football season. Artificial turf would have been the answer, but we understand how the high cost of such a field would scare any district from investing. However, virtually every district that has gone with the artificial stuff will sing about the virtues of the fake (and very durable) stuff. ...
Good news: Karl Gaytan, former San Gorgonio and Colton head football and assistant at Fontana, is recuperating at home after a brief hospital stay. As he’s proven in the past, he’s a tough ol’ bird. …
Here’s hoping we aren’t a jinx to the AYSO Region 65 Rancho Cucamonga Rage, an under-12 soccer team. Under the direction of coach Javier Martinez, the Rage posted a 42-3 record in winning 10 tournaments and finishing second in the Western State Finals, out of 900 teams,
In winning the Santa Clarita Gold Rush, Colorado River Invitational, Downey Kickoff Classic, Section 1, Rancho Cucamonga Grapestomp, Fontana Speedway, Beaumont Cherry Cup, Camarillo Strawberry Cup, Upland Highlander Classic and Mira Mesa Top Gun tournaments, the Rage scored 272 goals while allowing just 30.
Team members included Lucas Bernal, Matthew Walton, Sean Barkley, Mekhai Wilson, David Arancibia, Anthony Martinez, Gavin Dick, Roberto Martinez, Hayden Buege and Luke Bradley. Assisting Martinez was goalie coach Eric Dick. …
When you know you have too much money: In last week’s SCP Auctions 2017 Spring Premier auction, Lot No. 464 — Michael Jordan’s 1984 Olympics game-worn Converse shoes — attracted a bid of $190,373. Perhaps the fact they shoes are signed by Jordan shattered the previous mark of $104,765 for a pair of Nike Air Jordan XII shoes Jordan wore in Game 5 of the ’97 NBA Finals.
What makes the shoes so special? Not that Jordan averaged 17.1 points per game or that he scored 20 in the 96-65 win over Spain in the gold-medal game. No, they were last pair Jordan played in before he turned pro and signed with Nike.