Thursday, January 8, 2015

Weekend tryouts coming for Central Valley teams

Team SWAG (Students With Aspiring Goals) will be holding its open tryouts for the 7-on-7 football season on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Madera High School.

Tryouts start at 10 a.m. and will likely end at 1 p.m. Returning high school players including incoming freshmen are invited to attend.

Last season, SWAG went on a stunning championship run at Passing Down's Cen Cal Regional held in Elk Grove. Despite none of its players holding a NCAA Division I offer during the tournament, SWAG went on an unbeaten run and claimed the Cen Cal title.

Since then, SWAG has produced DI athletes in Frank Ginda (linebacker/fullback, San Jose State commit), Bransin Johnson (athlete, Weber State offer) and Damarrio Hammonds (safety, Weber State offer).


Newcomer Core Active 559 will be holding its first open tryouts at Tulare Union High School on Sunday, Jan. 11.

There's no cost to tryout. Registration starts at 12 p.m. and the practice session begins at 1 p.m. Returning high school players in the 9th-12th grade are invited to attend. Core Active 559 plans to attend various tournaments including Passing Down in March.

Notable sponsors include the Core Active gym, Jeremiah Green (former CFL player), Virgil Green (tight end, Denver Broncos) and Marquess Wilson (wide receiver, Chicago Bears).

Email for more information.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Club 7-on7 teams holding tryouts in the 209 and 559

Stockton-based Diverse Sports has been a major player at different club passing tournaments, with championship runs in the last two seasons at Passing Down's Nor Cal Regional. Diverse is holding open tryouts for the 2015 team on Saturday, Dec. 21 (photo contributed).
Diverse Sports in Stockton - last season's runner-up in the Passing Down Nor Cal Regional - is holding open tryouts for their 7-on-7 team on Saturday, Dec. 20.

The event will be held at Stockton's Beneditt Park located on the cross streets of Harney and Kettleman Road. The session runs from 12-2 p.m.

Diverse Sports not only finished second at Passing Down's Nor Cal Regional in March 2014, but also appeared in the 2014 Best of the West tournament held at Fullerton College and won PD's 2013 Nor Cal event.

Coaching Diverse Sports will be former Oakland Raider Al Smith. Raider legend and Hall-of-Famer George Atkinson also serves as a guest coach for the Stockton-based team.

Notable alums of Diverse Sports include New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks, Fresno State wide receiver Josh Harper and St. Mary's-Stockton wideout Demetrius Ferguson, who holds a New Mexico State offer.

For more information, contact


Clovis 2016 wide receiver J.J. Wills positions himself for the football during a March scrimmage at San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno with his club team Field Up. Team Field Up, led by former Sacramento State receiver Elon Paige, will hold open tryouts on Sunday, Dec. 28, at Clovis' Alta Sierra Middle School (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).

Purpose Field is holding tryouts for their club team Field Up on Sunday, Dec. 28, at Alta Sierra Middle School in Clovis located behind Buchanan High School.

Head coach Elon Paige said this year's teams are planning to attend the Pylon Camps, the Quick 6 tournament and Passing Down.

The tryouts are free for participants and anyone who comes out must be a returning high school player in the Class of 2016 to '19.

Paige added that this year's team will have a grade point average requirement. All players must have a 2.5 GPA or higher to play on Field Up.

Last year, Field Up had Clovis High 2016 wideout J.J. Wills, Clovis West 2016 outside linebacker Bryan Wilcots, Buchanan 2015 WR Russell McClung, Clovis 2015 Db hank Wiggins and Edison 2015 OLB Xavier Hamilton making plays at Passing Down.

Along with Paige, former UCLA running back Shawn Wills serves as one of the coaches.

Contact for more information.

Clovis gym holding tryouts for 7-on-7 team

Isaiah Langley calls the coverage signals for The Bod-e² Shop during a scrimmage at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno during March 2014. Langley was one of several NCAA Division I recruits who lined up for the Clovis gym's 7-on-7 football team last year. The gym is holding tryouts for the 2015 club season on Sunday, December 21, at Buchanan High School in Clovis (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).
The Bod-e² Shop gym in Clovis will be holding open tryouts for their club 7-on-7 football team on Sunday, December 21, at Buchanan High School located on the cross streets of Minnewawa and Teague Avenues.

The cost to participate is $10. The tryouts begin at 3 p.m and is designed for returning high school football players in the Class of 2016 to '19.

The Bod-e² Shop plans to participate in both the 2015 Pylon Camps and Passing Down; two renown 7-on-7 tournaments in the West.

Last year's team featured national recruits Isaiah Langley (athlete, USC commit), Bolo Olurunfunmi (running back, UCLA commit), Darrell Adams (wide receiver, three PAC-12 offers) and Cameron Burston (quarterback, San Jose State commit). Also lining up for The Bod-e² Shop last year were Chandler Gumbs (Colorado State and University of Penn offers) and Hayden Haupt (outside linebacker, Army and Colorado State offers).

The team will be coached by former NFL cornerback Ricky Manning Jr., who will call the defensive signals and former Fresno State wide receiver Brian Roberson, who's calling the offensive plays.

For more information, call 559-298-9348 or email the gym at

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rising star watch: Dru Mathis

Dru Mathis of Buena High School has emerged as a rising linebacker in Ventura County. The Class of 2016 prospect has drawn interest from schools in the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West and Big Sky (photo contributed). 
Buena of Ventura unleashed its biggest Bulldog frequently on the field this past season - outside linebacker Dru Mathis.

At 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds, the Bulldog junior is a combination of size, speed and disruption against Southern California offenses.

There's plenty of reasons to believe that Mathis could emerge as Buena's most highly wanted prospect in the Bulldogs' 2016 class. Here's a closer look:

WHAT TO LIKE: His long arms gives him the upper hand against one-on-one blockers, because they're lengthy enough to extend and shed past his opponent. Shows excellent reaction skills with locating the football, then bolts to the play like a shark locating its prey. He won't hesitate to blitz on the edge and brings the heat with his speed and instincts. He's also a strong special team performer who can block punts.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: I'll need to see more of his ability in pass coverage, especially in man situations. He tends to rely more on extending his hands and shoving a blocker to one side instead of using different hand techniques to get past his opponent. Mathis tends to come up too high on tackles and can work on sinking his hips to gain lower body leverage. He'll obviously need to hit the weight room hard before his senior season and bulk up from his current frame.

OVERALL: Mathis has the size and athleticism to do some damage for a college football program in the future. His speed can fit right in with a Mountain West school and some PAC-12 teams that thrive on defensive speed at linebacker; like Arizona State, Arizona, USC, UCLA, etc. Mathis is in a good football area as well, as Ventura County has attracted Florida State, Norte Dame, Nebraska and the PAC-12 in the past.

2014 STATS: 92 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries and one blocked punt.

SCHOOLS SHOWING INTEREST: University of Houston, Hawaii, San Diego State, Cal Poly and Azusa Pacific. 

Bowl Championship Series: California style

Record-breaking quarterback Jake Browning will be on the Stubhub Center Field in Carson this weekend, as the future University of Washington recruit and Folsom High will battle Oceanside for the CIF State Division I championship (photo credit Max Preps).
The Stubhub Center in Carson will be the place where high school football in California comes to an end, as the 2014 season now goes to the state championships.

Cali Gold Mine has taken a closer look at the matchups and there will be lots of future NCAA Division I prospects on display. Here's who to watch:

FOLSOM VS. OCEANSIDE: In this CIF State Division I battle, Folsom (15-0) comes in with a red-hot offense led by Washington commit Jake Browning at quarterback, who has a ridiculous 85 touchdown passes this season (state record). Wide receivers Josiah Deguara (Air Force offer), Cole Thompson (Harvard offer) and guard Cody Creason (Arizona commit) are the Bulldogs' other NCAA DI prospects.

For Oceanside, the Pirates (14-0) held off a deep Edison-Fresno squad armed with at least 12 players with DI interest, including athlete Tyler Horton (10 offers including Cal and Houston). Versatile Jordan Miller is committed to Washington. Offensive tackle Christian Cronk (Hawaii commit) defensive end Tommy Woo (Hawaii commit) and guard Cedric Bigge-Duren (Washington State commit) round out Oceanside's DI prospects.

This was also the school that produced the late great Junior Seau.

CAMPOLINDO-MORAGA VS. EL CAPITAN-LAKESIDE: In this DIII contest, Campolindo (15-0) will have USC tight end commit Tyler Petite on the field. Petite had 30 catches, a team-high 867 receiving yards and nine touchdowns this season.

El Capitan (14-0) demoralized a deep and big Paso Robles team 41-0 last week in the San Diego area. Wide receiver Isaiah Capoocia (offers from Oregon State, San Jose State and Northern Arizona) and linebacker D.J. Smith (offers from SJ State, Colorado State and NAU) are the Vaqueros' top prospects.

ST. MARGARET'S-SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO VS. CENTRAL CATHOLIC-MODESTO: St. Margaret's (15-0) goes for perfection by bringing in an offense that's scored more than 28 points in every game.

Central Catholic (11-3) will look to play the spoiler of the Tartans' undefeated run with highly-touted Jared Rice (six offers including UNLV and Wyoming) lining up at tight end.

REDLANDS EAST VALLEY VS. CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER-CONCORD: Redlands East Valley is one of two representatives hailing from the Inland Empire in the state championships, as REV seeks its pursuit of the state's DII title against an undefeated Bay Area team known for having a black field turf.

The Wildcats (14-1) will have a balanced offense averaging 241.1 passing yards per game and 204.7 rushing yards. The defense, though, is a takeaway machine with 22 interceptions this season.

Running back Malik Lovette (Oregon commit) and offensive lineman Joseph Price (Cal and Washington State offers) help lead the Wildcats' 2015 class.

Clayton Valley's championship run came with controversy. The school's athletic department was placed on probation by CIF North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon for transfer and practice violations. The news surfaced during the weekend of Dec. 14.

Nevertheless, the undefeated Eagles (15-0) bring a monster Double Wing-T offense that's piling up 442 rushing yards per game and has Miles Harrison (2,380 yards, 26 touchdowns) in the backfield.

CENTENNIAL-CORONA VS. DE LA SALLE-CONCORD: The main event on Saturday night will decide the state's Open Division champion.

Centennial knocked off St. John Bosco last week to reach the state title game. Wideout Greyson Bankhead (Cal commit), defensive back Jihree Stewart (Oregon commit) and quarterback Nate Ketteringham (PAC-12 interest) spotlight the 2015 class for Centennial.

But the Huskies will be deeper again in 2016, as WR Javon McKinley (11 offers including USC, Washington and Texas Tech), DB Cam Bynum (Cal Poly offer), safety Chacho Ulloa (Boise State and Utah offers), OT Danny Juarez (Texas Tech offer)and safety Troy Dye (Washington State and Colorado offers) help comprise Centennial's 2016 class.

De La Salle never lets down college recruiting coordinators. The Spartans are always guaranteed an NCAA DI prospect and a shot at the state title every year.

Athlete Je'vari Anderson (Cal, Oregon State and Wazzau offers), OL Drew Sullivan (Cal and New Mexico offers) and safety Simba Short (Oregon commit) will be on the field for DLS's 2015 class. Leading the 2016 class are TE Devin Asiasi (11 offers including USC and Washington) and DT Boss Tagaloa (13 offers including Alabama, Ole Miss, Washington and Missouri).

Note: All games should be televised on the west coast Fox Sports 1 affiliates beginning on Friday, or streamed online through Time Warner Cable's website

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oceanside holds off Edison

Before the rain fell, undefeated Oceanside marched down the field by controlling the trenches and attacked a deep Edison-Fresno secondary for the opening scoring drive.

From there and in between the rain drops, the Pirates put the Southern California state playoff game out of reach.

Led by Josh Bernard's three rushing touchdowns, quarterback Matt Romero's two touchdown throws and the Pirates' muscle at the line of scrimmage controlling both the Tigers' defensive front and offensive line, Oceanside advanced to the CIF State Division I championship with a 37-22 victory over the reigning Central Section DI champs.

Bernard, who's being recruited by Weber State of the Football Championship Subdivision, scored on runs of 1, 3 and 1-yard. Bernard scored the first touchdown on an inside run.

Then, Oceanside blocked a punt inside the Edison 5-yard line that made it 9-0, as the ball bounced out of the end zone for the safety. On the next drive, Romero connected with John Grumbling on a 19-yard scoring pass, extending the Pirate lead to 16-0.

The Tigers (12-2) were held to just two yards of total offense in the first quarter. But, Edison tried to fix its early jitters with big plays from Tyler Horton and Kamron Lewis in the second.

Horton intercepted the first of three Pirate passes and returned the ball to the OHS 39. Tiger quarterback Hunter Swearingen went to the air and found a dashing Lewis for the 39-yard touchdown, severing the OHS lead to 16-6.

However, the Pirates struck again with Bernard scoring his next two runs to make it 30-6 at halftime.

The Tigers tried to mount a late comeback behind Khai Williams' two fourth quarter touchdown runs. Horton added another interception and a 62-yard punt return. Lewis added an interception late in the contest that helped set up the Tigers' last drive.

The Tigers' final drive, though, ended on a Ju'Wan Murphy 9-yard reception on fourth-and-10 with 3:05 remaining.

Oceanside's victory sets up next Friday's CIF State DI title game bout against Folsom (15-0) at Carson. The Bulldogs out of the Sac Joaquin Section trounced Grant-Sacramento 52-21 at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium on Dec. 12.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rising star watch: Jordan Love

Jordan Love of Liberty-Bakersfield combined for 23 touchdowns throwing and running this past season, as the 2016 quarterback prospect led the Patriots to an appearance in the Central Section Division I title game (photo contributed).
It probably won't be long before college football programs show 'Love' to a Liberty-Bakersfield quarterback.

Jordan Love took over as the Patriots' signal-caller on Sept. 5 and didn't look back. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound junior gave the Pats a deep ball element with his howitzer on his right arm, as he unleashed bombs and Hail Mary's for a Liberty offense that scored 38 or more points in six games this past season.

Is he the No. 1 quarterback for Kern County's 2016 class? Time for Cali Gold Mine to weigh in:

WHAT TO LIKE: Love is excellent at fooling secondaries in the play action. He does a sturdy job of faking the handoff, looking up for his target and taking his shot down the field. He shows good eyes when locating an open receiver. He's athletic and can turn quarterback keeper runs into long gains or touchdowns. He's a former wide receiver, which gives him an edge in sprinting past defenders. Shows good comfort in the pocket, but can also frustrate defenders by escaping the rush, rolling out and completing his throw.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: I need to see how he handles the short throws and how accurate he is there. I noticed most of his passes were throws that sailed 30 yards or more down the field. When he scrambles, he runs too high and needs to work on keeping his shoulders and hips low, especially when a flock of defenders surround him. I'll also be curious about his leadership intangibles, because next season he'll quarterback a younger Liberty team that will lose some of its top playmakers to graduation.

OVERALL: Love isn't the complete package at QB yet, but he's fully capable of emerging as Liberty's next most highly-recruited star. He has the physical tools to succeed, including his deep ball and athleticism. A big offseason and senior year could get Love to become the next best quarterback in a county that's produced stars David Carr, Derek Carr, Cody Kessler and Tyler Ferguson.