Bill Zernickow dubbed this season the strangest of his eight in the Valle Vista League.
Thankfully for the San Dimas High School football coach, the one thing not so strange is his team’s success.
San Dimas has won a CIF championship under Zernickow, reached at least the semifinals of the playoffs each of the last three years and finished lower than second in league just once in his tenure.
The consistency is undeniable.
But for all their success, the Saints have only one outright league championship in the past seven years. Entering league play tonight against Hacienda Heights Wilson, San Dimas is hoping another consistent performance translates into something that hasn’t been so consistent – a league title.
“To see the fluctuation with everybody else is so weird,” Zernickow said. “This team is, I don’t want to say we’re right there, but I think we’re better than we have been the last two years.”
The lone loss thus far for San Dimas (3-1) is last week’s 35-23 defeat by Monrovia, the two-time CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division champion.
Covina, which has won the Valle Vista each of the past two years since San Dimas swept the league and the CIF title in 2009, lost most of its contributors from the last two seasons.
Covina Northview, which Zernickow expected to take steps back toward the form that won it league championships in 2007 and 2008, hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record. The remaining four teams in the Valle Vista League aside from Northview have a combined nonleague record of 2-14.
Pomona, which ended a nine-year playoff drought last season, could insert itself in the middle of the playoff hunt if it can score a victory over Northview in its league opener Sept. 28. After the departure of head coach Anthony Rice, the Red Devils (1-3) are under new leadership this season. Former assistant Aaron Jamieson has taken over the program and, given the uncertainty, this could be a prime season for Pomona to continue creeping up the standings.
Pomona needs to get ahead of the game seeing as it finishes out league play with Covina and San Dimas. The Saints, who had concerns about an offensive line with four new starters, aren’t so concerned anymore. The new line has paved the way for 295 rushing yards per game. Junior Jake Payton has averaged 9.8 yards per carry on his way to 549 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
“Our offensive line was our biggest concern coming into the season,” Zernickow said. “The four rookies have really jelled as a unit and we feel really good about their progress.”
San Dimas 6-0
Baldwin Park 1-5