The wait was worth it for Bert Esposito and Temecula Valley High.
Esposito, the second-year football coach from Temecula Valley, distributed section championships to his players on Sunday.
The Golden Bears defeated Cypress 28-21 on November 29 for the CIF Southern Section Division 7 title, their first section title since 1991. Morningside High, in 1991, lost a title game victory to the Golden Bears due to an ineligible player .
The nearly three decades of drought between section titles for Temecula Valley was matched by Esposito, who last earned a section title as head coach in ’91 while on the defunct Southern High in California.
“Oh my god, the kids were excited,” Esposito said. “My daughters were handing out the rings and the children’s hands were shaking. We have it on video. Some of them gave us their wrong hands or they didn’t know which finger to put on, so we had to tell them.”
The $ 200 rings are from Southern California Recognition Inc., Esposito said. Each player has paid for his own money. The rings have 200 stones on top, along with the school’s TV logo.
“They are completely custom-made and weigh a lot – 108 grams,” said Esposito. “That’s more than Tom Brady’s last Super Bowl ring.”
Engraving on the rings pays tribute to Temecula Valley’s league and section titles, academic achievements and the ‘Rise as One’ team motto.
Esposito’s first thought was to spread the rings on campus, but the COVID-19 pandemic sank that. So he let the players drive their vehicles to his dead end and the baubles were split over 2 1/2 hours, with the help of the coach’s wife, Kelli and his daughters Rachel, 21, and Melissa, 18.
It was an intoxicating experience for Esposito, who inherited a 0-10 team in 2018 and went 6-6 for his memorable 12-3 finish last season.
“It’s been an incredible run,” said Esposito, 55. “It’s amazing to win everything in Temecula Valley in less than two years. Temecula was about 15 years old as everyone’s little brother. We were the homecoming game of everyone, but I don’t think we will be. ”
Cajon and Citrus Valley should once again be at or near the top of the Citrus Belt League football race. But it is only May and hope is everywhere.
In Redlands East Valley, the Wildcats will attempt to beat last season’s 0-10 record with quarterback Jeremiah Donahue (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) returning for his senior year. Wildcats coach Rich Lunsford said Donahue has sparked interest from colleges and is eagerly awaiting to get back on the field.
REV is scheduled to open its August 21 season in Santa Margarita, which is now coached by former Cal Poly San Luis Obispo coach Tim Walsh. Walsh played for Bob Toledo at UC Riverside in the 1970s. He also coached Barry Bonds in football and baseball early in his career with his alma mater, Serra High of San Mateo.
Newcomer CBL Beaumont is also eager for the 2020 season.
“We do pretty much what most others do with team meetings and positioning meetings on Zoom,” Beaumont coach Jeff Steinberg said by email. “(I’m) excited to be back in the CBL, even if we will (take on) the little brother role as we make the transition.”
Yucaipa has added a transfer junior that will take Jalen Lemos back from Redlands East Valley. Thunderbirds coach Justin Price thinks the CBL has improved with the addition of Beaumont.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Steinberg,” Price said. “They will be tough and well coached. Made our competition even better. ‘
Cajon clearly has no shortage of talent. This week, linemen Toreon Penright (6-4, 260) and David Gusta (6-4, 265) have both committed to the state of Fresno, according to player tweets. Gusta transferred from Grand Terrace to Cajon.
STEWART FOR BIG BEAR
John Stewart has stepped down as a football coach at Yucca Valley High and is expected to become a coach at Big Bear, according to a press release from the Morongo Unified School District.
“John Stewart, who has served as a coach since spring 2019, announced his resignation from Director Justin Monical (on April 27),” the release said. “After escorting the Trojans last season, Stewart Monical told by phone (last week) that he had courted Big Bear High School, his” dream “job, after being the Trojan head coach this season.
“During the conversation, Stewart noted that he was grateful for his time and the support he received at Yucca Valley High School, but eventually sought the position at the school he longed for and found that the (Yucca Valley High) – community was not the right match for his family. ‘
Stewart announced his resignation from the team on April 28. The Bear Valley Unified School District board meeting where Stewart is expected to be approved as a coach today.
In 2019, Stewart led Yucca Valley to a 7-4 record, a championship title, the first Bell Game win against rival Twentynine Palms in 15 years, and a section playoff berth. He coached Victor Valley in 2018. He also led Silver Valley to a section title game in 2017.
Monical said via release: “John Stewart is an excellent coach whose professional resume speaks for itself … We hope Coach Stewart finds what he is looking for in his next role and wishes him the best of luck, and we thank him for what he did for our student athletes. ”
Monical also said that Yucca Valley “is looking to hire a head coach who is as committed to being part of the Morongo Basin communities as the individual is in coaching the talent of the athletes found in it. ”
Dave Griffiths, the outgoing veteran Big Bear football coach who is still a teacher and athletic director at the school, said he cannot comment on his school’s football track at this time.
Cross country final back on Mt. SAC
The CIF Southern Section cross country championships return to Mt. San Antonio College for the 2020 season, the section said via a press release.
The measure has not been held there since 2015 because Mt. The SAC stadium was renovated.