FOOTBALL: Who are the area’s top returning players?

Although the West San Gabriel Valley lost some talented players to graduation, there are many waiting in the wings to take over as the area’s best.

Question: Who do you think are the top players in the area? Here’s a sample list.

Todd Golper, fullback/tight end/linebacker: Arcadia: There’s been enough said about this kid to write a book. He should be right up there as the area’s top player.

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Above: Arcadia’s Todd Golper.

Dietrich Riley, wide receiver/running back/defensive back, St. Francis: A wide receiver, turned running back due to injuries last season, Riley has about as much natural talent and ability as anyone I’ve seen in the area. Look for a breakout season out of him.

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Above: Dietrich Riley, right.

Mitchell Crockom, wide receiver/defensive back, Alhambra: This kid is going to be a headliner as long as he stays healthy. He appears to be a man among boys, and he’s only a junior.

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Above: Ablhambra’s Mitchell Crockom.

Reuben Thomas, quarterback/defensive back/corner, Muir: Thomas has a good arm and plenty of speed. As he goes, so will the Mustangs.

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Above: Muir’s Reuben Thomas.

Marquise Williams, running back, Monrovia: Injuries were the only thing holding this kid down last year because opposing defenses sure weren’t able to. Great size and speed.

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Above: Monrovia’s Marquise Williams.

Tra’ Sumler, running back/linebacker, Rosemead: A kid with speed and natural talent. Look for Sumler to enjoy a solid 2008 campaign.

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Above: Rosemead’s Tra’ Sumler.

Angel Alejandre, quarterback, Rosemead: Alejandre hopes to pick up where he left off last season and lead the Panthers to a Mission Valley League title.

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Above: Rosemead’s Angel Alejandre.

Isaac Valdez, quarterback, San Gabriel: Valdez didn’t know he was going to be the starter until just before the opener against Walnut. He never relinquished the position and had an outstanding year. Look for more big things out of Valdez this season.

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Above: San Gabriel’s Isaac Valdez.

Francisco Villalobos, offensive line/linebacker, San Gabriel: Villalobos was a monster on defense last season for the Matadors. Expect more of the same out of him this year.

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Above: San Gabriels’ Francisco Villalobos, left.

Danny Beckwith, quarterback/defensive back, Maranatha: The kid can throw, and throw on the money, and he’s a solid defender at defensive back.

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Above: Maranatha quarterback Danny Beckwith.

Myles Campbell, wide receiver/defensive back, Muir: Here’s another kid with great speed and skills. Watch out for a big senior season.

J’Quan Hamilton, running back Pasadena: Hamilton was one of those guys who just did what he was asked to do last season and is capable of producing big yards this season.

DaVante La Flora, wide receiver/safety, Pasadena: A kid with great hands and speed. Should be the leader of the Bulldogs receiver corps.

Morgan Hatch, quarterback/defensive back, Temple City: Developed into solid quarterback last season.

Chase Rettig, quarterback, La Salle: Has a solid arm and good leadership skills. If the new crop of receivers step right in and play well, Rettig will be just fine.

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