Non-league games are over. The race for league titles is on and again it is the Baseline League with numerous compelling match-ups looming.
Damien and Los Osos were the bottom two teams a year ago and both of those have shown much improvement over the course of the non-league season. Damien has RB Dylan Thigpen upon who they rely while the Grizzles have a couple of Division I signees in LB Bryce Youngquist (Oklahoma) and OL Cohl Cabral (Arizona State).
Los Osos has also come up on the winning end of some close games so they seem poised when it matters.
Have those teams improved enough to actually contend? They are probably going to be hard-pressed to do so but they’re god enough to pull an upset that could throw a monkey wrench into some team’s title hopes.
The top team a year ago was Upland but the Highlanders graduated a majority of their starters including nine who advanced to Division II schools. Is Upland as good as in years past? Only time will tell. But if the Highlanders are going to repeat, it will take big contributions from those who weren’t the headline performers a year ago.
Rancho Cucamonga is the team with the most returning starters with that group including quarterback Angel Matute, running back Aaron Manning and DB Jaylon Redd. The Cougars also added a top-notch DB in Thomas Graham, who has committed to USC.
Chino Hills the most formidable test for Upland a year ago and looks like it too poised to challenge. The Huskies had newcomer at QB in Caleb Arreola. He was banged up in the Huskies win two weeks ago. His backup is already out for the season, so much of the Huskies hopes hinge on his health and development.
Just where does Etiwanda fit in? The Eagles wee a disappointing fourth a year ago and they have a new and energetic coach in Kevin Davis. The got off to a tough start this season but stayed the course and have momentum going into league play. They face Upland tonight so we’ll see right away what Etiwanda is made of.
The battle for the top spot could take place the last week of the regular season when Upland and Rancho square off. But no doubt, every battle is going to be a big one.