West Covina coming back to the pack in Hacienda

It’s hard not to regress after winning the CIF championship by 63 points.

But could West Covina High School’s football team could conceivably dip to, say, one win in its first four games and still have a shot to win the Hacienda League? We’re about to find out.

The two-time defending CIF and league champions lost most of the group that carried it to an 84-21 win in last season’s CIF title game and have begun the season 1-3 as they enter league play tonight. Of course, one of those losses is a forfeited 34-0 win over Covina and the other two to prolific teams in the Pac-5 and Inland Divisions.

Considering the level of dominance the last two years by West Covina in the playoffs, much less the Hacienda League, nobody is taking them anything but seriously.

“I still think they’re a force to be reckoned with,” Bonita coach Adrian Medrano said. “It’s too early in the season to say anything about them dropping off. They’re playing big-boy football.”

Diamond Ranch, which finished second last season courtesy of a 28-point loss to West Covina, is off to its best start in 10 years. Panthers coach Roddy Layton, who has twice led the team to the CIF finals, typically loads his nonleague schedule with powerhouse opponents. This season Diamond Ranch (3-1) will test a new philosophy, but the Panthers will find out about themselves very quickly in league play beginning tonight against West Covina.

Bonita, the third-place finisher last season, enters league play with a record one might expect from Diamond Ranch. The Bearcats (1-3) didn’t win their first game until last week’s blowout of Claremont provided Medrano a wave of relief. Of course, Bonita’s first three opponents are a combined 9-2.

Diamond Bar, which was knocking on the postseason door last year, got much younger in the offseason. The Brahmas have played an unexpectedly difficult nonleague slate and have given up an average of more than 35 points per game as a result. If Diamond Bar’s young corps of skill players, which has countered with 31 points per game, has developed sufficiently, the Brahmas could be a factor.

PREDICTION
West Covina 6-0
Diamond Ranch 5-1
Los Altos 3-3
Bonita 3-3
Diamond Bar 2-4
Rowland 1-5
Walnut 1-5