If the natural rivalry of these neighbors wasn’t enough, Diamond Ranch (2-3, 1-0) taking down Bonita last week only adds fuel to tonight’s matchup against Diamond Bar (2-3, 0-1) that has major playoff implications.
41-0: Neither of these teams has forgotten the beating Diamond Ranch dealt Diamond Bar last season’s league opener. The 41-0 victory for the Panthers can’t be far from either team’s mind.
After years of trying to schedule Diamond Bar to no avail, Diamond Ranch head coach Roddy Layton got his wish when both teams were moved into the Hacienda League last season, requiring them to play. The Panthers wasted no time dismantling a Diamond Bar team that was undefeated at the time after winning its first four games of the season.
Same old Panthers: Diamond Ranch is well known for scheduling a difficult preseason slate, which often times tarnishes its record but prepares it for league play and the playoffs. Accordingly, the Panthers entered league play last week with a 1-3 record but handed Bonita a 21-13 loss in the Hacienda League opener.
Coming off an appearance in the CIF-SS Southeast Division championship game last season, Bonita was the team most expected to challenge defending league and CIF champion West Covina. Diamond Ranch knows a little something about appearing in championship games, having gone to consecutive title games before joining the Hacienda League last season.
Turning the corner: Diamond Bar’s 4-0 start season led many to believe that the once-proud program was ready to return to prominence only for the Brahmas to stumble in league play.
Beginning with the 41-0 loss to Diamond Ranch, Diamond Bar dropped its first three league games punctuated by a 34-7 loss to a Walnut team that ended up qualifying for the league’s final playoff spot. Under first-year head coach Ryan Maine, formerly the Brahmas offensive coordinator, Diamond Bar is hoping to turn the corner this season and earn a postseason berth for the first time since 2003. A win over Diamond Ranch would vault the Brahmas in that direction.
Quarterback read: Diamond Bar quarterback Henry Omana may be the most talented signal caller in the Hacienda League. The 6-foot-4 senior has completed 58 percent of his passes for 927 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in five games.
The quarterback who defeated Diamond Bar last season, Cesar Carillo, isn’t on the Diamond Ranch roster this season after electing to focus on his baseball career. But Isiah Locke-Ramirez has stepped in admirably with the help of a healthy running game sparked last week by track star Andrew Fischer.