Heading into a scrimmage against Valencia on Friday evening at Valencia, St. Francis coach Jim Bonds has at least one thing to look forward to:
“Coming out here is good,” Bonds said. “It’s a short drive for me home tonight, so I got that going for me.”
A short commute isn’t the only reason the coach and Hart alumnus scrimmages Valencia on a yearly basis. Playing in Santa Clarita holds sentimental value and so does coaching against Vikings coach Larry Muir, whom he played with at UCLA.
Bonds is also thankful to be back on the field in general after receiving a multiple myeloma diagnosis, a treatable form of cancer that affects plasma cells, in mid-May.
“I’m just thrilled to be back out with my team every day and I missed a little bit in the spring and the summer with the treatments and getting that going, but these guys, my coaching staff and my players, it’s a nice outlet,” Bonds said.
“It keeps my mind off of it, but I’m in good hands with the care I’m getting and I couldn’t be doing better,” he added.
He received an overwhelming amount of support from Muir as well as Hart coach Mike Herrington and his brother and Paraclete coach Dean Herrington.
“It’s kind of a unique profession where we kind of know each other and we battle against each other,” said Muir, “But at the same time, we have certain connections over time that those are important and a lot of times more important than anything.”
Bonds was the Indians quarterback in 1985 and 1986, throwing for 3,225 yards and leading the team to a CIF championship in the latter year.
Afterwards, in his career at UCLA, Bonds played in 46 games, completing 49 of 86 passes for 631 yards.
“I think of what he as a quarterback, what he has done in the Santa Clarita Valley and he’s one of the guys that really elevated the position of quarterback in the Santa Clarita Valley to what it is today,” said Muir.
St. Francis has scrimmaged or played every Foothill League team except for Golden Valley – and Bonds says that could change in the near future. This season, they’ll take on Saugus on Sept. 14 in a preleague matchup.
The Golden Knights begin their season against Mira Costa on Aug. 24, while the Vikes begin against Arbor View at home.