At stake tonight when Bonita hosts four-time defending Miramonte League champion Charter Oak is Bonita’s first league championship since 2004, when it was a co-champion.
With both teams undefeated in league, there will be no shared title this season when CIF-SS Eastern Division No. 2 Charter Oak (8-0-1, 3-0) squares off with No. 8 Bonita (7-2, 3-0). The winner will take all. Here is a breakdown of the matchup
Charting the results:
Charter Oak has won outright Miramonte League titles the past two seasons and shared titles the two seasons before that. The only time Charter Oak didn’t win a piece of the title in the last seven years was a third-place finish in 2003.
Since entering the Miramonte League in 2002, Bonita has shared the league title twice, in 2002 and 2004, but never won it outright. Eric Podley, the Bonita head coach since 2000, didn’t understate the significance a league title would hold for his team.
“To be honest,” he said, “it would be something that would resonate throughout our program for a long time.”
Sizing up the matchup:
Bonita is hardly used to dwarfing opponents, but tonight’s size difference is particularly gaping. The Charter Oak offensive line is, on average, 6-foot-2 and 256 pounds. Oh yeah, and they have a 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end.
The primary beneficiary is running back Adam Muema, one of the most impressive athletes Bonita has seen this year, according to Podley. The senior has piled up 1,148 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry.
“We’re used to going into every game smaller than our opponent,” Podley said. “It’s not going to bother us at all. We’re a stunting, slanting team. We try to disguise our little guys.”
Running the ball isn’t Bonita’s forte, but the Bearcats make up for it with one of the most prolific passing attacks in the area. Quarterback Terry Paradez is 72 yards from eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark for the season. The senior has thrown for 25 TDs opposite five interceptions.
In accordance with the Bonita aerial attack, the Charter Oak player that most concerns Podley is hard-hitting safety A.J. Powell, who guards the middle of the field where much of Bonita’s damage is done via quick slants and post routes. The Charter Oak defense, however, isn’t going to alter the Bonita approach.
“The throwing game is our strength,” Podley said. “We know we’re in for a tough game. We know we’re going to have to play our best game to have a chance.”