Westminster football coach Willy Puga resigns after two seasons

Westminster football coach Willy Puga has resigned after two difficult seasons.

The Lions went 2-18 overall the past two seasons under Puga, who replaced longtime Lions coach Ted McMillen.

“Bottom line, I didn’t get it done,” Puga said late Friday.

Westminster finished 2-8 this season, including a win via forfeit against Whittier. The Lions went 0-3 in the Big 4 League for the second consecutive year.

In 2018, Westminster went 0-10 overall.

Puga, a walk-on, arrived at Westminster after serving as the offensive coordinator at Los Alamitos.

Puga coached Garden Grove from 2010-13, compiling a 41-12 record. The Argonauts captured three league titles and advanced to CIF-SS championship games in three of the four seasons. They won the Southern Division title in 2010.

Puga said he plans to coach again.

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Newport Harbor boys water polo captures Memorial Cup to stay hot

Newport Harbor’s boys water polo team is playing its best as the playoffs approach.

Senior goalie Blake Jackson made 13 saves and junior center Eli Liechty scored four goals as Orange County’s top-ranked team toppled The Bishop’s of La Jolla 14-7 in the championship of the Memorial Cup in San Jose on Saturday night.

Center Ike Love and attacker Makoto Kenney each added three goals for the Sailors (22-3), who recently claimed their second consecutive Surf League title and beat previously undefeated Harvard-Westlake.

Liechty also drew five exclusions in the final. Sophomore attacker Mason Hunt chipped in two goals.

Newport Harbor also won the Bellarmine-hosted tournament in 2018.

In the third-place match, Miramonte beat Orange Lutheran 12-10. The Sailors defeated Miramonte 11-9 in the semifinals. The Bishop’s edged the Lancers 11-10 in the other semifinal.

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Five takeaways from USC’s loss to Notre Dame

Here are five takeaways from USC’s 30-27 loss to No. 9 Notre Dame:

1. First-half regrets. In all three of USC’s losses, the Trojans have had opportunities to win, if not for self-inflicted damage. Against BYU and Washington, it was all about turnovers and penalties. Against Notre Dame, it really came down to first-half execution. In the first quarter, the Trojans couldn’t take advantage of winning the field-position battle and failed to score more than three points. In the second, the defense failed to contain Notre Dame in the run game and paid dearly for it, giving up 17 points in the quarter. Those miscues came back to haunt USC in the three-point loss.

2. Cleaned up. Clay Helton wanted a cleaner performance against Notre Dame after flags and turnovers piled up prior to the bye week, and he got his wish. USC didn’t turn the ball over once; the only time the Trojans fumbled, they recovered (even if the officials initially pointed the wrong way). And USC had just two penalties enforced, a marked improvement from the 9.5 it was averaging the previous two games.

3. Stepp up. Though he was the third-string running back to start the season, redshirt freshman Markese Stepp is beginning to look more and more like USC’s future at the position. He had 10 carries for 82 yards and the late touchdown that gave USC one last gasp at a comeback. It was a strong performance for the Indiana native back in his home state, literally, as he often dragged several Notre Dame players with him on his carries.

4. Tackling woes. USC struggled to bring Notre Dame players to the ground on Saturday. Even stud safety Talanoa Hufanga missed two tackles on the Irish’s 97-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, including on the scoring play. USC had trouble with Notre Dame’s big receivers and tight ends and needs to clean this area up in the back half of the season.

5. Banged up. The defense got beat to hell in this game. Five different starters left at different points for injuries: Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV, defensive end Drake Jackson, and corners Olaijah Griffin, Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Greg Johnson. Their statuses moving forward remain unclear, but USC can’t afford to have all three of its starting corners missing practice before facing Arizona and Khalil Tate this week.

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Fryer: This Mater Dei team may be better than its 2017, 2018 teams that were national champs


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Mater Dei was crowned high school football’s national champions in 2017 and 2018.

This year’s Mater Dei team might be better than both of those two teams.

The Monarchs dominated the game from start to finish Friday in a 56-11 win over Servite before a big, vocal crowd of around 8,000 at Santa Ana Stadium.

In that game Mater Dei flexed its many strengths.

You’ve read or heard that “the game slows down” for athletes as they mature. That description fits Mater Dei’s Alabama-committed quarterback Bryce Young. Whereas last season Young danced around in the pocket some or would take off on a run as the pocket collapsed, Young now calmly watches as a play’s opportunities develop, and that’s why the senior’s completion percentage is at 74.

Quarterbacks are looked to as leaders. Young last season was a junior who had transferred to Mater Dei after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Cathedral of Los Angeles. Junior quarterbacks new to a roster sometimes lack the gravitas to take on a leadership position, but now Young is a seasoned and accepted senior leader.

The Monarchs might lack that spectacular receiver they had a couple of seasons ago when Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is now at USC, was catching touchdown passes for them. But this year’s group, led by Kody Epps, gets open and catches the ball. Against Servite it looked like at least two Mater Dei receivers were open on every pass play.

Mater Dei has another one of those big, strong offensive lines the Monarchs have in their finest seasons. It’s a superb pass-protect unit.

The Monarchs are very fast on defense, especially in the backfield. Servite receiver Zedikiah Centers, one of the Friars’ top playmakers, had zero catches with senior cornerback Nate White leading the coverage.

The best Mater Dei defenses have a steady anchor at linebacker. That linebacker this season is senior Dean Neeley, the Monarchs’ leading tackler snagged a fumbled football in mid-air Friday and ran 40 yards with it for a touchdown.

And the Monarchs are solid on special teams.

Mater Dei football coach Bruce Rollinson talks about the 56-11 win over Servite and how important it is to him to beat Servite ⁦@ocvarsity⁩ ⁦@MDFootballpic.twitter.com/wTekefc5Ww

— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) October 12, 2019

Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson summarized the Monarchs and their dominating performance against Servite: “Our defense tonight, man, they were just running and hitting. And our offensive line, and Bryce Young is wheeling and dealing out there. Our receivers catch any ball that is even remotely close, and tonight (Young) was pinpoint.”

Last year Mater Dei lost to St. John Bosco in a Trinity League game and beat Bosco in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship game.

The Monarchs play St. John Bosco on Oct. 25 at St. John Bosco. They will probably play Bosco again in the Division 1 championship game.

If Mater Dei plays like it did against Servite, and as it has all season, this year Mater Dei goes 2-0 against St. John Bosco.

Extra points

• There has been bad blood between the Mater Dei and Servite football programs in the past, even back when Rollinson was playing for Mater Dei in the 1960s. That bad blood, stirred up between the respective coaching staffs at the end of last year’s Mater Dei-Servite game won by Mater Dei 35-0, was noticeable again Friday night. There were eight penalties for 98 yards for Servite on Friday, and 20 penalties for 235 yards for Mater Dei with a few personal fouls in the mix for both. “There were some issues that had to be addressed,” Rollinson said after Friday’s game, “and you remember last year — it wasn’t a good situation, and now it’s over and done with.”

• For Mater Dei’s current players, St. John Bosco is the team’s big rival. For people who have been in and around the Mater Dei football program since before Mater Dei’s players of today were born, Servite remains the big rival. “Coach ‘Rollo’ isn’t a huge fan of Servite,” Young said. “We knew that. On Saturday we talked about it and he said, ‘I need this one for us (the coaching staff) and for the seniors, and when Rollo asks for one, we have to have his back.”

• The Mater Dei and Servite student sections, as expected, went at each other during Friday’s game. Mater Dei’s student section chanted, “We’ve got girls!” To which Servite’s student section replied, “Those aren’t girls!”

• Tustin is on a roll. After starting the season 0-2, the Tillers have won four of five and are 4-3 overall 2-0 in the Empire League after a 44-6 league win over Crean Lutheran on Friday. Crean Lutheran is trying to hang in there while suiting up around only 20 players a game. Crean (3-4, 0-2) has been outscored 99-6 in its two league games and next week plays Cypress (7-0, 2-0), which is averaging 36 points a game.

• Mission Viejo has cranked up its offense. The Diablos have scored 56 points or more in four of the past five weeks, including South Coast League wins of 56-0 over El Toro two weeks ago and 63-13 over Capistrano Valley on Friday. The Diablos have a bye next week before playing at home against San Clemente, which beat Mission Viejo last season.

• Cypress and Mission Viejo (8-0) among the six remaining undefeated teams in Orange County. The others: Foothill (7-0), Mater Dei (7-0), Newport Harbor (7-0) and Segerstrom (7-0).

• Western’s streak of shutout wins ended at six games. Western beat Artesia of Lakewood 34-23 on Thursday, the first time the Pioneers have allowed an opponent to score in double figures. Slackers!

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USC quotable: Players, coaches react to Kedon Slovis’ first start

Here are some of the noteworthy quotes from the press conferences following USC’s 45-20 win over No. 23 Stanford:

Head coach Clay Helton

If he imagined quarterback Kedon Slovis could have the kind of 377-yard, three-touchdown night he did against Stanford:

“We understood his talent and we understood the type of players our quarterbacks are. One thing, it’s not hard with [offensive coordinator Graham Harrell]. I said, ‘Graham, let’s cut it loose and let’s go have fun, let the kids have fun, and let’s play fast and play aggressive. Even though [Slovis] is young, we named him the No. 2 for a reason. Let’s go cut him loose.’ That’s not hard for Graham because he’s always looking to cut it loose and he did tonight. And that’s what he did, and it was fun to watch. I don’t know if I’ve had more fun in a game with a bunch of kids.”

If USC did anything different in practice because it was going to be Slovis’ first start:

“We had a great quarterback competition, and like Kedon said, don’t underestimate the value of a good spring competition, a fall competition. Basically, 45 practices, and the value of getting 30 reps last week in a game. It’s unbelievable when you have an Amon-Ra St. Brown and a Tyler Vaughns and a Michael Pittman and those guys around making plays. It all came together tonight, and credit to the quarterback for the amount of work he put in and the wideouts. We went in there saying, ‘He doesn’t have to be Superman, you do.’ And this man [St. Brown] was Superman tonight.”

On the offensive line’s play:

“Coming into the season, I thought they were our best-kept secret. I thought they were our most improved part of our offense. I’ve been waiting for those kids to grow up for three years. We signed them all together: Austin Jackson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Brett Neilon, Andrew Vorhees and Jalen McKenzie and you throw in Drew Richmond as a senior transfer, and they’re just playing really mature right now. We saw a bunch of pressures. They kept the quarterback upright. The quarterback did a nice job of using his legs and creating things for us and not forcing things. They’re playing great ball right now. We’ll go as far as they take us.”

On how corner Olaijah Griffin performed:

“Olaijah played really good ball in the first game and was even better today. We really were nervous going into the game because of the size of their outside receivers, especially for the tight ends out there. And he played big. He played hard for us tonight.”

On how important it was for USC to hold Stanford to a field goal after the fumbled kickoff return:

“It really sparked us, because it was getting away in a hurry. Anytime we have a sudden change, we talk about how important it is defensively to force a kick, and they did. A touchdown there would have devastating. And then all of a sudden, and I really credit Graham, because as poised as everyone was, he might have been the most. He said, you know what, we’re going to drive this one down. He didn’t try to deviate from the game plan. He stuck right to it the whole night, even though we were down 17-3. And then we go right down and it’s a one-score game and you could just feel the emotion on the sideline, like, ‘Yeah, we got this.”

Quarterback Kedon Slovis

On his mindset 

On where his timing with the receivers came from:

“I still got a lot of reps in the spring and the fall. That’s a credit to [Helton and Harrell] for mixing it in with all the quarterbacks. JT [Daniels] got named starter a few weeks ago, but we still got a ton of reps with the ones. They [the USC receivers] make it so easy on us, too. There’s a large margin for error with these guys.”

On how he felt before his first start:

“Pretty good. It was nice to get in the last half of the other game. But again, with so much talent around me, for me it was kind of, ‘Don’t take away from these guys.’ Just get in their hands and let them do the work. I don’t have to do too much.

On the student section chanting his name:

“I didn’t hear them chant my name. That’s pretty cool, I guess.”

On leading the USC band after the win:

“That was pretty cool, a pretty cool experience, but I mean, I couldn’t do it without these guys.”

On how he assessed his own performance:

“It was pretty good, but at the same time, how good is it with these guys [the USC receivers]? I don’t think it shows how good I am but how good of a team we have behind me.”

On if he thought his long touchdown pass to St. Brown would be completed:

“I thought it would be complete because Amon-Ra was running under it, but I was worried he was going to get killed after it.”

On how he felt Friday night preparing for the game:

“I didn’t sleep very well last night. It was a long day today, too, but once I got out and changed into my warmup gear, it felt pretty good.”

Center Brett Neilon

On the offensive line’s play against Stanford:

“I thought we did a great job. We made a point all week, we had a rookie quarterback back there. We took this meeting very serious to protect him, run the ball, do whatever we had to do for him. I’m really proud of the guys up front. You can see that we’re starting to gel together pretty nicely.”

If he’s surprised at Slovis’ performance:

“I’m not surprised at all. I’ve watched the kid, I’ve gotten real close to the kid. I’m really proud of him. He’s a special talent. Everybody in the locker room believes in him, all the coaches, you can tell. So he’s a great kid, a great player, as you kids can see. Coach Harrell was like, ‘We’re going to run the same offense. We’re going to take the same shots. We’re going to do the same thing.’ Because that kid can ball. You guys saw it. He’s a special kid. He’s very poised. He got us all together, rallied us when things weren’t going that great in the first quarter. Very vocal, so I’m very proud of him.”

On what Slovis said when the team fell down 17-3:

“He called up the offense, he got us all to huddle up and he told us, ‘No matter what happens on the field, when the offense hits it we’re going to score and we’re going to do our thing.’ That was pretty impressive for a younger guy to do that, to get us all there and pump us up.”

On how Slovis was prior to the game:

“He’s a very poised kid. He was joking around, the usual Kedon. Doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low. Reminds me of the great quarterbacks I’ve been around. He’s pumping us up. He didn’t look nervous.”

On the run game against Stanford:

“I thought we did well in the run. We took some pressure off Kedon, ran the ball when we had to. Some of the outside zones and running the five-man box was a huge hit for us.”

Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell

On Slovis’ first start:

“That’s what I expected him to do. I told you since the beginning that he’s special. We have a lot of confidence in him. We put him in there and that’s what we expected him to do. He did his job and played well. We’re gonna run our offense and he’s gonna execute it. There’s gonna be plenty to improve on, I’m sure. We’ll go watch that and get better.”

If there was a moment early in the game that reinforced his belief in Slovis:

“He’s been good all week and pregame he was good. He had a good look in his eye and he went out there and executed. He played just like he’s practice since I’ve been here.”

On what he told Slovis after the game:

“Just that I’m proud of him. But most importantly, I told him he was going to go light it up and he went and lit it up. When he plays with that kind of confidence, that’s what I expect. But we got to prepare to do it again. This can’t just be a one-time deal. Like, you got to come back ready to work on it. That’s basically what I said: ‘Hey, I’m really proud of you, make sure you come back tomorrow ready to work again because we got a long season ahead of us.’ “

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown

On his long touchdown catch:

“It was a great throw. When I was running my route, I knew I had him beat from the start. When I looked up I saw the ball was kinda high. It kinda made me nervous because I knew it was going to give the safety time to come over. But it was perfect. Dropped right in my hands. Safety came over and hit me but I was able to make the catch.”

On what Slovis proved to the team against Stanford:

“We all knew Kedon was a great quarterback. We saw him in the spring and he looked great. He wasn’t a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school so we didn’t know much about him. But after the first day, we knew he could sling the ball. And going into spring and fall, it was a QB competition so we didn’t really have a starter named. So we were getting reps with all the quarterbacks. We didn’t care who was out there, as receivers we just went out there and catch the ball.”

On how good Slovis is:

“He’s a great quarterback, like I said. We knew when he came, the first day he was throwing the ball. We all knew what his potential was and he showed it tonight. We got out there and he didn’t look rattled at all. He rallied us up after each drive and said let’s go.”

Safety Talanoa Hufanga

On what changed on the defense to hold Stanford scoreless after its first four possessions:

“Coaches just preach, so now what? You just got to move on. Just got to battle through adversity and that’s what our team did today.”

Defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a

On the depth the defensive line displayed against Stanford:

“That’s how it should be. We’re rotating, we’re playing defensive line by committee. So when the twos come in, they shouldn’t miss a beat in what they do.”

On Jay Tufele:

“Jay was Jay. He played sound assignment technique, snapped off the block violently, something we stressed, and there was a bunch of times that Jay was in the backfield.”

On the improvement after the first quarter:“We felt confident about the run game. So what we did at halftime was make a few adjustments in the pass rush. We told those guys, we turned them loose and said, ‘Hey, let’s go.’ “

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Intended to protect consumers, Prop. 65 has become a threat to small businesses

When the voters of the state passed Proposition 65, we did so with the intent of protecting people from chemicals that are serious threats to the environment or people’s health.  We did not intend to create a method for unscrupulous attorneys to put small businesses out of business based on meritless technicalities. Unfortunately, Prop. 65 has been used quite a bit for the latter.

Proposition 65 works by requiring businesses to give proper warning to consumers when products contain dangerous chemicals that have been linked to cancer or birth defects.  A problem arises when the overzealous take this mandate too far.  We saw this first-hand recently in the debate over whether every coffee you order on your way to work needs to come with a cancer warning.  The overzealousness has two side effects: it can result in label fatigue – who takes warnings seriously if they are ubiquitous?

And it has a huge cost to small businesses.  The battle over labeling everyday items like coffee and beer, while sounding silly, was very real in my neck of the woods.  A local coffee shop was almost put out of business by someone who made absurd claims (and threats) based on the coffee shop serving him beer.  Thus, while Proposition 65 compliance can be a minor nuisance to large companies, it can mean a death sentence to smaller businesses.

Many lawyers genuinely care about the environment and health.  But when predatory lawyers come after small businesses for technical Prop. 65 violations, the businesses are often left with two bad choices: try to fight the claim in court or reach a settlement agreement, no matter how ridiculous the alleged violation may be.  Since many small-business owners know that even if they win in court, it will cost them a lot of money and time, they often settle just to be done with it.  Many of the bad actors also target business owners who speak poor English, thinking that immigrant business owners will be even more likely to settle.  This is morally wrong.

In my time in the legislature, I worked to curb aggressive Prop. 65 litigation by introducing legislation to protect small businesses and ensure that Prop. 65 is used as intended, rather than as a settlement cash cow for unscrupulous individuals. Under my proposals, businesses could be given proper warning before they suddenly find themselves blindsided by a lawsuit in which they are labelled as a defendant. After all, as we’ve seen, it can often be much more difficult than it appears to determine which products warrant special warnings under Prop. 65.

Now, it is time for the California legislature to pick up where I left off and make smart reforms to Prop. 65.  By better clarifying its requirements and reigning in loopholes that create an environment that fosters meritless litigation, we can both honor the original intent of the measure to keep people safe without risking our small business climate. Proposition 65 can play an important role in keeping our environment clean and our bodies healthy.  But it falls on our shoulders from time to time to update any good law to that we address abuses that have manifested.

Small businesses help to keep California’s communities and its economy strong.  By implementing the proper reforms, we can allow them to continue to grow and spark the innovation for which our state is known, without the fear of meritless lawsuits.

Mike Gatto, a Democrat, served four terms in the California State Assembly, in a district that includes Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank.

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Video: OC Varsity’s epic recap of the highlights for 2018-19

OC Varsity wraps up the 2018-19 sports year with Jonathan Khamis’ amazing recap of the year’s biggest games, most dramatic moments and the unforgettable celebrations. There are some behind-the-scenes moments, too, that might even surprise you.

– Videos by Jonathan Khamis, for the Orange County Register 

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Photos: The Register’s 2018-19 Athletes and Coaches of the Year banquet

The Register wrapped up the 2018-19 high school sports season with its annual Athletes and Coaches of the Year banquet on Wednesday night at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin. See all of the photos of the event, which honored more than 50 athletes and coaches.

  • John Humphreys, of Corona del Mar, accepts the Male Outstanding Competitor award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kyliegh Wilkerson, of Trabuco Hills, accepts the Female Outstanding Competitor award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • John Humphreys, of Corona del Mar, accepts the Male Outstanding Competitor award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kyliegh Wilkerson, of Trabuco Hills, accepts the Female Outstanding Competitor award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Sean Rhyan, of San Juan Hills, accepts the Male Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Randy Post, of Foothill, accepts the Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Scott Wittkop, of Laguna Beach, accepts the Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Anthony Grover, of JSerra, accepts the Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Patrick Bendzick, of St. MargaretÕs, accepts the Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • John Haygood, of Los Alamitos, accepts the Girls Golf Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Irene Kim, of Kennedy, accepts the Girls Golf Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jake Kyman, of Santa Margarita, accepts the Boys Basketball Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cami Brown, of University, accepts the Girls Tennis Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Michael Pronier, of San Clemente, accepts the Boys Soccer Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Brooke Demetre, of Mater Dei, accepts the Girls Basketball Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Dennis Piramo, of Fountain Valley, accepts the Boys Wrestling Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Derek Mitchell, of Cypress, accepts the Boys Basketball Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Shane La Fortune, left, and Ted Clark, of Buena Park, accept the Girls Water Polo Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Breanna Carrillo, of Villa Park, accepts the Girls Soccer Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Maya Avital, of Corona del Mar, accepts the Girls Water Polo Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Blake Bowen, of San Clemente, accepts the Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Guests watch the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Vincent Gomez, of Anaheim, accepts the Girls Basketball Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cameron Repetti, of Cypress, accepts the Baseball Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cameron Repetti, of Cypress, accepts the Baseball Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Max Rajcic, of Orange Lutheran, accepts the Baseball Pitcher of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Trey Munoz, of Trabuco Hills, accepts the Boys Wrestling Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Natalie Berty, of Mater Dei, accepts the Trinity Award from Mike Schabert, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools, left, and broadcaster Bob Gibson, during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hunter Ingram, of Foothill, accepts the Boys Swimming Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Grace Uribe, of Huntington Beach, accepts the Softball Pitcher of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Ed Medina, of Godinez, accepts the Softball Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jim Brumm, of Foothill, accepts the Boys Swimming Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hunter Ingram, of Foothill, accepts the Boys Swimming Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Ayla Spitz, of Newport Harbor, accepts the Girls Swimming Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Craig Hanson, of Aliso Niguel, accepts the Baseball Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Ciara Briggs, of Orange Lutheran, accepts the Softball Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tessa Green, of Santa Margarita, accepts the Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Aditya Gupta, of University, accepts the Boys Tennis Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Danny Werner, of Aliso Niguel, accepts the Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Peter Herold, of JSerra, accepts the Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • John Cahill, of El Modena, accepts the Boys Volleyball Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Dayne Chalmers, of Newport Harbor, accepts the Boys Volleyball Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kelly Dullard, of Mater Dei, accepts the Girls Swimming Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Chase Frazier, of Mission Viejo, accepts the Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kevin Groeninger, of St. MargaretÕs, accepts the Boys Lacrosse Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cristina Johnson, of Foothill, accepts the Girls Lacrosse Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Charles Shea, of University, accepts the Boys Golf Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mike Schreiber, of Yorba Linda, accepts the Boys Lacrosse Coach of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Bruce Sanborn of San Juan Hills, accepts the Boys Tennis Coach of the Year award, which he shared with Tim Di Leo, during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Sean Rhyan, of San Juan Hills, accepts the Male Athlete of the Year award during the Register’s Athletes and Coaches of the Year Banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Stagecoach 2019: Jason Aldean gives a strong finish to the 13th annual country fest

Singer-songwriter Jason Aldean has become a Stagecoach Country Music Festival staple. He performed at the very first fest back when it was a two-day affair in 2007. He came back in 2010 for an earlier daytime set and headlined for the first time in 2012. He headlined again in 2014 and, like his peer and Friday night headliner Luke Bryan, he has now headlined Stagecoach a total of three times.

His sets are always strong, energetic, filled with all of his radio hits and he’s nothing if not consistent. He’s a solid and reliable performer and only further proved that Sunday night as he blasted out his hits including “Take a Little Ride,” “When She Says Baby,” “Any Ol’ Barstool,” “Tattoos on this Town,” “Amarillo Sky” and “Lights Come On.”

He is never really chatty in between songs but did introduce his single “Drowns the Whiskey,” which he did with fellow country artist Miranda Lambert. He also covered Brantley Gilbert’s “My Kinda Party” and played his latest single, his album title track, “Rearview Town.”

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean (center) performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • A fan sings along as country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • A country music fan watches Jason Aldean on a big screen as he performs on the Mane Stage to close out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country artist Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Country music fans watch as Jason Aldean performs on the Mane Stage as he closes out the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Sunday night April 28, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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Old Dominion’s first time at Stagecoach was back in 2016. It was an early day set in the blazing sun and the quintet only had one single anybody knew, “Snapback.”  Now, the band is huge and has an arsenal of songs that fans sang loud and proud on Sunday evening, including “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” “Written in the Sand,” “Make It Sweet” and the cleverly written “Song for Another Time” that features titles from a myriad of familiar Top 40 tracks. It was also a lot of fun to dance along to the bouncy single “Hotel Key.”

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Throughout the weekend, the men turned in stellar performances, however it was the ladies on the Mane Stage that definitively brought the fire. Cam was so lively and entertaining on Saturday night and “American Idol” runner-up Lauren Alaina had the audience in the palm of her hand from the start of her sunset performance on Sunday.

The 24-year-old has certainly proven she’s much more than just a reality TV singer. She’s scored several radio hits that fans went wild for at Stagecoach, including “Road Less Traveled” and her latest single, “Ladies in the ’90s” went over huge as she gave shout outs to artists like Reba McEntire, Britney Spears, Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Christina Aguilera and more.

Since she is a newer artist, she was also smart to insert some really fun covers and medleys like Guns ‘N Roses “Paradise City” and a medley that included Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” “The Middle” by Zedd and Maren Morris, Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” “Everybody” by Backstreet Boys, “Brand New Man” by Brooks & Dunn and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain. She also brought up probably one of the best audience members to sing and dance along to her song “Next Boyfriend.” Not only did he know all of the lyrics, he had some sweet moves, too.

Over in the Palomino, Tom Jones may have been an unlikely candidate for Stagecoach, but delivered one of the best sets of the festival. The set times were a little wonky upon arrival due to Mane Stage opener Jordan Davis and Palomino performer Mark Chesnutt dropping off day-of-show due to illness.

However, it all worked out and SiriusXM Spotlight Stage performer Mitchell Tenpenny, who is known for hits such as “Drunk Me” and “Alcohol You Later,” got a better, later time slot on his stage, however he made the ultimate flub and announced that he was at Coachella rather than Stagecoach. He did quickly take ownership of his error and if he keeps cranking out hits like he has, I’m sure the Stagecoach overlords will forgive the slip and he’ll end up on the Mane Stage in the future.

Stagecoach Country Music Festival

When: Sunday, April 28

Where: Empire Polo Club, Indio

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Coachella 2019: Childish Gambino changes his tune and embraces fans cellphone usage

Donald Glover, known as Childish Gambino, had a change of heart and embraced his fans throughout his Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival weekend two set.

Gambino broke away from his “put away your cellphones” mindset from weekend one by embracing his fans’ phones Friday, April 20.

“I’m not against pictures and (expletive),” Gambino told the audience, even though he bared media outlets such as this one from photographing his set. “Just bring (the energy) for me.”

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The same energy the performer asks of his fans is the same type of energy that his fans appreciate about him.

“I just like him as a person and his personality,” said Coachella attendee Candice Lodge. “He is really smart and he is the nerdish type.”

Childish Gambino’s #Coachella Weekend 2 set is a complete 180 from the Weekend 1 performance.

He loosened up on the “put your phone away” rule and took selfies with the fans instead of sharing a ‘smoke.’ pic.twitter.com/XRzFGPrBzW

— James H. Williams @ Coachella (@JHWreporter) April 20, 2019

Gambino took a group selfie with his audience, one week after sharing a blunt with a weekend one fans.

“I loved it,” Nikki Warmsley said. “Artists forget there fans and when you smoke a blunt with someone that means so much. It’s personal. Our ancestors do that.”

Weekend two festival goers knew very little about his Gambino’s weekend one performance after avoiding the Coachella live stream last Friday.

“I never watched him live before so I am pretty excited,” Julie Hamilton said after buying some exclusive Gambino Coachella merchandise. “I didn’t watch the stream because I wanted to be surprised. I saw some things on social media, but I just didn’t watch.”

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