Ryan Porter rattles off the names off his 1998 San Gorgonio High football team roster like it all happened last season.
One right after the other, teammates for a lifetime, came fluttering from his lips ⎯ and memory.
It was a fully stacked league that included CIF powerhouse teams like Yucaipa, Cajon and Pacific, loaded with MVP Alan Taylor of Yucaipa and all-leaguers like Pacific’s Joe Weber.
At San G, there was Myron Chivis and Alfonso Ornelas, Micah Herrera, Chauncey Jackson and Donte Lee ⎯ and Porter.
There’s some obvious pride taking place.
Porter, the quarterback of that Spartans’ squad, has spent a lifetime playing quarterback (Arena ball, one NFL camp, indoor ball), not to mention coaching the position.
The founder of QB Cavalry, Porter’s on the move again. He’s been an assistant at high school teams like Redlands Arrowhead Christian and San Bernardino, Yucaipa and Fontana Summit, most recently at Cajon.
“I’m not at Cajon any more,” he said.
Porter’s making 120-mile, round-trip drives to Orange County for his new landing spot at Rancho Santa Margarita High School.
“Trinity League,” he says.
Anyone with insight into the prep football world knows about the Trinity League. It’s filled with top guns like Santa Ana Mater Dei and Bellflower St. John Bosco, J Serra, Orange Lutheran and Anaheim Servite. In other words, powerhouse programs are normal.
Three-time CIF champion Santa Margarita, which has reached the playoffs a few times in recent years only because of its Trinity League status, hasn’t challenged first place for a while.
“Three years,” said Porter, who lists nine QBs on the Eagles’ overall roster. “Give us three years. We’ll see what we can do.”
If it seems like Porter’s ditching his hometown digs ⎯ QB Cavalry, local prep campuses, area QB hopefuls, etc. ⎯ for the glitter of Orange County, he won’t stand for that kind of talk.
“I’m still training in the IE [Inland Empire]. I’ve still got a caseload of over 50 quarterbacks. I don’t take a day off.”
Porter’s up for a challenge.
In many ways, his spot at Santa Margarita might reflect the growth at San G during his own playing years in the 1990s when Steve Carroll was coaching. Noting the teams’ records ⎯ “0-10, 1-9, 2-8 and then 8-4.
“We won the first playoff game at our school since 1989 [when the Spartans reached the CIF championship game]. We won a playoff game for the first time since that year.”
That’s not the true headline here, though.
Porter’s covering up something big that’s brewing. Won’t disclose its nature, either, other than “it’s big.”
One hint: He could be showing up in places like Texas, Colorado, Tampa Bay, along with various Southern California hot spots.
Another hint: Last fall at San Bernardino Valley College, Porter hosted a QB showcase for a pair of prep shooters looking for a collegiate spot.
Those two hints alone could offer up some interesting speculation.
Under his breath, he’ll rattle off the names of past and present NFL players and coaches, plus a few college-level add-ons that sound somewhat stunning.
COVID-19 has blown away the 2020 prep football season, leaving all high school-age players ⎯ not just this year’s class of seniors ⎯ with a gaping hole in their training.
Despite growing legions of parents and other supporters demanding a return to sports, it seems more than likely as if football will have a giant zero for the entire 2020-21 season.
Porter’s fighting to make up for at least a portion of that with his QB school ⎯ first of its kind in this area, at least to anyone’s knowledge.
Linked to area prep QBs like Nathan Martinez (Yucaipa), Casey Overholt (ACA), Kajiwa Hollowayne (San Jacinto), Donovan Smith (Los Osos), Trent Young (Redlands, Cajon) and, especially, Jayden Daniels, Porter’s gained a solid reputation among parents, QB hopefuls and even coaches.
Yucaipa coach Justin Price sings praises over Porter’s contribution to coaching QBs.
“He had a huge effect on us up here,” said Price. “He’s definitely made a career for himself coaching guys taking the snaps.”
As for Daniels, he’s about to enter his junior season at Arizona State.
It’s hard not to chuckle when Porter makes a surprising claim on the current Sun Devil starting QB.
“I predict,” said Porter, “he’ll win the Heisman next year. Bet a dollar on it. I don’t bet, but I think it’s a good bet.”