Since former Banning legend Don Pellum has been hired by Chip Kelly at UCLA, you really haven’t been treated to much news in recent weeks about Bruin football.
There’s an easy answer for that. Those guys are out recruiting, beating the bushes for February’s signing date. For Kelly, Pellum and anyone else connected to the Bruins, there’s nothing to write about, talk about or read about – yet.
Truthfully, UCLA has landed some top recruits, plus quarterback transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels, from Washington. Another is outside linebacker Bo Calvert, easily the best player off a 9-3 Westlake High School team – recruited by Pellum.
It’s getting interesting in Westwood.
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For a few years, I’ve tried tracking down Alvin Walton, the onetime Banning High/Mt. San Jacinto College legend who wound up winning a Super Bowl ring with Washington in 1987. It’d be a nice story, right? Apparently, he doesn’t want to talk. Word is he’s living in Las Vegas. Bowling is, incidentally, his current game of choice.
Remember this, high school sports fans: League champions in any sport, any league, are virtually guaranteed a home playoff game in the first round. That’s a huge advantage.
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C.J. Clemons, which got a fairly nice write-up in the county paper, was missing in Beaumont High’s Inland Empire Classic lineup against Redlands Citrus Valley last month. All of which accounts for a 69-45 loss to the Blackhawks.
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No wearing of black. That was the request of Bill Egleston’s family for his gravesite services. He’s the driver killed at Perris Auto Speedway on Jan. 13 in a crash during the IMCA Modified main event. Egleston, from the Central California city of Atwater, drove mainly at the Merced Speedway.
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If you’re seeking area sports entertainment, look no further than Cal Baptist University, just off downtown Riverside. That sparkling new Events Center will host an NCAA Division I team in the Big West Conference beginning next year. Meanwhile, they’re playing sharp ball.
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It’s always a nice show when those NASCAR vans roll through Banning along Interstate 10 from Arizona in pursuit of Fontana’s speedway. Once the March 11 event in Phoenix concludes, they’ll be convoying to the Auto Club Speedway. I wonder if they have to stop at the Cabazon scales?
By the way, apparent road rules require all trucks no longer than 53 feet. NASCAR truckers get an apparent special variance to tow beyond that limit.
Speaking of NCAA Division I programs, it doesn’t seem as if UC Riverside’s climb into that level has been all that successful. Women’s hoops, maybe, but that’s about it.
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Apologies to L.A. football teams, professional ranks: A year ago, we ran a story that read “L.A.’s being spoiled by bad NFL teams.” I officially retract that remark. The Rams reached the playoffs and the Chargers, if they’d had a reliable placekicker in the early going, would’ve matched the Rams.
For L.A., it looks like things are only going to get better.
When it’s written that Bill Belichick, the NFL’s Coach of Coaches, believes prototype safeties are six-feet, 180 pounds, where does that leave Banning Hall of Famer Derron Smith, the Cleveland Browns’ 5-11, 200-pounder? He’s been an NFL player for three seasons.
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If you can find Copper Mountain College up in Joshua Tree, near where Banning will be playing Twentynine Palms and Yucca Valley high schools beginning this fall, check out its men’s basketball team. Still can’t believe the first-year Fighting Cacti is ranked 14th in California JUCOs.
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Speaking of Super Bowl, Walton and a ring. Walton’s story might be the biggest of all coming out of the San Gorgonio Pass in over a century of sports. Name a bigger achievement.
Super Bowl Sunday is for everyone, not just football fans. So enjoy!