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'SEGAL's View From The Bleachers': Negrete Retires, ELAC Football Hopes To Repeat

  • By Shel Segal
080912ELACFBxMONTEBELLO - After years of standing on the sidelines helping his Spartans to victory, Schurr High coach Ben Negrete has decided to retire.
It is a place he coached for 13 years. He also spent 28 years teaching in the Montebello Unified School District.
However, Negrete said he has no regrets about his decision to step down.
"It feels great," Negrete said. "I have all kinds of time. There are no deadlines. Every day is like Sunday."
Enjoying his retirement so much, will he miss anything?
"I'll miss the day-to-day relationships you build with the players and the coaching staff," he said. "You spend a lot of time with your football team, so I'll miss that."
But he does get a lot more time now to do the things he wants to do.
"(Everybody) thinks it's just game time, but during the season we're together nearly every day," he said. "It's a time-consuming profession."
However, he did say you could possibly see him in the stands during the season if you look carefully enough.
"I'm going to go to most of the games, especially the home games," Negrete said.
Former Schurr quarterback - and current East Los Angeles College QB - Aaron Cantu had words of praise for his old coach and teacher.
"He real was a great mentor," Cantu said. "The main thing that I learned from him was the disciplinary part of football, as far as being sound and keeping your head straight. He was just a disciplinary guy and that benefitted us in the long run."
Taking over for Negrete is long-time assistant coach Marco Ramirez. Negrete said Ramirez is ready to run the squad.
"Marco is very prepared for the job," Negrete said. "There'll be some surprises, but my advice to him would to be himself and have the players play to their abilities."

IN LOCAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL, ELAC is getting ready to try and repeat the spectacular season it had last year, one where it won a conference championship and a bowl game.
However, it, too, has a new head coach in Steven Mojarro - the team's old associate head coach - as Lynn Cain has stepped down. And it looks like Mojarro has his work cut out for him.
"I don't feel like it's taking over," Mojarro said. "We're keeping the same staff as last year. We worked well together, so we feel it's continuing to keep turning the page."
Mojarro said the goal for this year is to repeat as Mountain Conference champs, which won't be easy not that the Huskies have moved up to Division II from Division III.
"I think it'll be tough," Mojarro said. "Every team in our conference is very unique. They do special things, so we just have to do our basics, prepare every week for those teams. It's a very difficult schedule for us."
Leading the team for the second straight year will be Cantu, Mojarro said, adding he is undefeated as a community college quarterback.
"His biggest strengths are his leadership skills and the poise he has in the pocket and being able to control the game," Mojarro said of Cantu.
Cantu, however, will have to be without his favorite high school and college target, Carlos Arredondo, who moved on with a full scholarship to play NCAA Div. II football at Henderson State University in Arkansas.
Replacing Arredondo is expected to be Los Angeles Jordan High wide receiver Robert McCovery.
"He does everything," Mojarro said. "By far, he's our true, natural wide receiver. He could be the best wide receiver we've had in a long time. He'll be Aaron's number one target, has big play-making abilities and can take over a game."
In the backfield, Mojarro said to look for running backs Preston Oliver and Jonathan Lopez.
On Oliver: "Another solid year we're looking for like he had last year. He's just a powerful runner, challenges defenses and schemes because of his play-making abilities."
On Lopez: "He's a smaller running back, but knows how to stand up his blockers and come out well out of the backfield."
And Mojarro added the offensive line looks strong with center Albert Perez and left guard Hazel Santoyo leading the way.
"(Perez's) strong and knows how to manage the offensive line," Mojarro said. "And (Santoyo) has got strength. By far, he's the strongest player on our offensive line."
Defensively, Mojarro said he thinks the Huskies are very solid.
"The defensive unit as a whole will be very aggressive, well coached and very fast," he said. "I think our defensive line's pass rushing is the key."
Mojarro added look for outside linebacker Danye Olton and middle linebacker Hector Cazales to also play a big role in the defense's success.
And with the first home game at 6 p.m. on Sept. 8 against San Bernardino Valley College - a team that made it to a bowl game just two years ago - Mojarro said he knows there's a lot riding on this season, something that hasn't been there in years.
"It's an exciting season for the first time in school history just because having a good quarterback who's returning with a lot of great players around, so there's a lot of high expectations around here," he said.
(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and followed via Twitter @wvjournalsports.)

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