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PREVIEW: San Dimas vs. Bonita (CA): “Smudge Pot Game”

August 26, 2013

GLENDORA, CA – Stakes will once again be high when the San Dimas Saints take on the Bonita Bearcats in the annual “Smudge Pot Game” on Thursday at 10 p.m. (EST) in front of more than 7,000 fans at Citrus College. The game is part of the 2013 Great American Rivalry Series presented by the U.S. Marine Corps and Hibbett Sports.

Last season, the Saints snapped a two-game winning streak in the series in incredible fashion, converting a fumble into the game-winning touchdown to win 37-36 after blowing leads of 23-0 and 30-8. That gave them a 23-17 lead in the all-time series that dates back to 1972 and a trophy that symbolizes the area’s local citrus industry.

San Dimas finished last season 11-2 with a semifinal loss to Paraclete in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley. The Bill Zernickow-coached team will return its senior quarterback Josh Avila, who threw for 1,129 yards and 16 TDs. Its 1,000-yard senior back Jake Payton (1,628 yards and 22 TDs) recently transferred to Bonita.

1,000-yard duo of quarterback Josh Avila and back Jake Payton. Avila threw for 1,129 yards and 16 TDs last season, while Payton rushed for 1,658 yards and 22 TDs.

While the Saints had a solid 2012 season, the Bearcats struggled, going 5-6. Second-year coach Adrian Medrano will have to replace back Reggie Turner Jr., who rushed for 1,381 yards and 24 TDs last season. But they will return senior quarterback Tanner Diebold, who threw for nearly 1,800 yards and 11 TDs, and second-leading wide receiver and junior Christian Ramos, who had 257 yards and a TD.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.