Gone are the days when the WSGV was heavy with stellar running backs. Marquise Williams, Tra Sumler and Todd Golper have since graduated, and Duarte’s Jordan Canada transferred to South Hills. This year’s list of the top running backs won’t be as loaded but the five who make the list are ready to go on a tear. And if you really think about it, any list can start with the one and only Dietrich Riley.
1. Dietrich Riley, Senior, St. Francis — Like my boy Jay-Z said in his “Black Album”: What more can I say?
2. Max Ruckle, Senior, Temple City — Ruckle is just as deserving to be at the top of the list. He rushed for 1,599 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged 123 yards per game last season for the Rams in nine games as a starter (including the playoffs). He rushed for at least 100 yards in each game. Joey Stewart was designated the starting running back to start last season and then came Ruckle stealing the spotlight. I wonder if Ruckle, now knowing he’s the starting running back heading into camp, has a different mentality compared to last year when things were still a bit up in the air.
3. Fabian Amaro, Senior, San Gabriel — Amaro was the second-leading rusher for the Matadors (five yards shy from Issac Valdez) with 610 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was limited to action because of injuries. If you thought San Gabriel was loaded with running backs last year (Arthur Brown was third on the depth chart) then you haven’t seen nothing yet. Not only do the Matadors have Amaro, Brown and Valdez, but San Gabriel is expected to add another running back with the additino of a JV call-up.
4. D.J. Cole, Senior, Monrovia — Rushed for 580 yards and had a season-high 121 yards and three touchdowns rushing, albeit against Blair. Cole was largely behind the shadow of the great Marquise Williams. But Cole’s speed was evident early in the season, enough that Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said Cole’s presence gives the Wildcats’ an added element to the rushing attack.
5. David Maldonado, Junior, Arcadia — He rushed for only 354 yards all season but he was a late-season callup to the Apaches squad. He rushed for 198 yards against Hoover and 106 yards against Glendale. Sure, Glendale and Hoover are not the most inferior teams in the Southland, but for a sophomore with no varsity experience to come into a tough situation and help the starving Arcadia offense proves Maldonado was ready to take on the situation head-on.