Football: Monrovia claws its way to No. 1 in latest poll

Is it a coincidence that almost every WSGV team lost last week? We knew someone was going to win the Arcadia-Monrovia duel, Rio Hondo Prep and La Salle also won, but everyone else looked rusty. But I guess that was to be expected, and like some of you smart football junkies have stated: Last week is not indicative of how good area teams really are. It was noted: Arcadia battled and if not for red zone turnovers the Apaches probably make it a lot closer than it looked. Same with San Gabriel, Alhambra, Maranatha and Muir, all of whom made a valiant effort in the second half. Still, a loss is a loss and though some teams (Muir, Alhambra, San Gabriel, Maranatha) dropped a few spots none dropped out of the poll completely. Not sure how folks at Monrovia will handle its new ranking, but who can argue they don’t belong there right now? I think if you match Monrovia vs. Muir (throw out injuries and rust from lack of practice) the Wildcats in my eyes would still have the upper hand. This season, Monrovia is much too deep and slightly more talented than the Mustangs. Traditionally, that’s not the case, but we’re talking about this season. It’ll be interesting to see how St. Francis fares this week at Arcadia, and depending on that outcome we’ll either keep Monrovia at No. 1 or make the swap.

STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS
Compiled by Miguel A. Melendez

1. Monrovia (1-0) — Bueno ran the ball last week because that’s what the defense was giving him, and as a result he ran for over 200 yards and two touchdowns on runs of 30- and 55-yards. Monrovia doesn’t need Bueno to run every week, but that’s what makes him special: he can. Still, the Wildcats will wear down defenses with immense depth in the backfield, and a strong secondary and rising defensive line makes Monrovia the team to beat.

2. St. Francis (0-0) — The Knights are deeper than in previous years, but inexperience is the issue. The same could be said of Monrovia’s defensive line, but look at what unfolded last week; the young guns proved their worth, and the same might happen to this talent-loaded team.

3. Muir (0-0) — It won’t get any easier for the Mustangs when they visit Oaks Christian. It’s possible Muir could head into league play with an 0-3 record, but that’s what these games are for, to see where the Mustangs fare against some of the best. Jarron Williams played superb in the second half as did the secondary, but by then it was too late. I don’t think it was first-game jitters from the younger talent. Lack of practice on the field proved to be significant, and once Muir can get its pistons going they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

4. Temple City (0-0) — The Anthony White era begins against a hyped Arroyo team. I wonder if White sent a scout to the Alhambra-Roosevelt seeing as in White won’t get a chance to scout this week’s Alhambra-LC game, which was canceled. Max Ruckle can’t let the hype get to him. He must play with the same demeanor as he did last year and trust his veteran line will open the same holes.

5. Rosemead (0-0) — People are forgetting the Panthers, folks already crowning Arroyo, but you can’t ever count Matt Koffler out, at least we’re not.

6. Alhambra (0-1) — Crockom was nonexistent in last week’s loss to Roosevelt. He was tripled team, and I find it hard to believe Moors coach Gil Ruedaflores did not anticipate triple coverage. Crockom, who had only two passes thrown to him last week, was double teamed last week, and after a decent season last year, triple-teaming Crockom is the first thing the Moors coaching staff should have anticipated. Nevertheless, Ruedaflores said they learned from last week’s game. “I’m not going to give any Temple City advice,” said Ruedaflores when asked how the Moors will get Crockom more involved. “But no doubt now we know what to do to get him in the action. That was a plus, as far as what (Roosevelt) did; it’s a plus now to anticipate that, and it won’t happen again.”

7. San Gabriel (0-1) — The Matadors were overwhelmed in the second half, and it seemed like Isaac Valdez had an off night with only 119 yards passing. Don’t discount the Matadors. With Valdez leading the offense, San Gabriel is always a threat.

8. Arcadia (0-1) — There’s too much talent in the Apaches roster for them to not to break through. Taylor Legace had first-game jitters from what I could tell, but he settled and was a great target for QB Garrett Tuck. Arcadia’s meltdown in the red zone is a result of inexperience, but it’s clear there are a lot of bright spots, one of them being junior RB David Maldonado. Once Rodney Arnett returns, the Apaches could have the offensive compliment it lacked in last week’s loss to Monrovia.

9. San Marino (0-0) — San Marino isn’t expected to be tested Friday against Gabrielino. It’ll be interesting to see if the Titans’ offense jelled over the last few weeks.

10. Maranatha (0-1) — La Salle almost replaced Maranatha, but I decided to wait until I see how things go when they meet Friday at La Salle. The Lancers will have their hands full when they face safety Josh Jones, who was under the watchful eye of a scout from Arizona. Yup, the Pac-10 school. Jones was impressive with two interceptions and a touchdown.

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  • Big Baseball Fanatic

    Things look good this year for Maddox and the Cats.
    No contest this week against Duarte just pray no injuries.
    The Rosemead game at home should be the next test and if they can beat the Panthers everyone will know they are the “Real-Deal” this season.

  • New York

    So the #1 ranking is our burden to bear…so be it. I can’t necessarily argue against it at this point. We looked better than Arcadia. We are pretty deep and talented. Nobody else won… I know one thing, our running backs had better carry the football closer to their bodies. (A picture is worth a thousand words.) Nothing negates a 10-yard rumble worse than a turnover…

    The flawed comparison with St. Francis’s upcoming game against Arcadia, with the Apache’s running back injured, is soon at hand. Hopefully we will get a head-to-head matchup through a schedule upgrade sometime down the road. Admittedly, I found it surprising that the upper division private school, boasting the consensus best player in the valley, was not ranked pre-season #1. Monrovia did beat Temple City with Desmond Reid, the area’s last all-everything star to go to USC, in 2002.

    So, if Muir was ranked #1, but now Miguel’s honest assessment after seeing both teams 24-hours apart is that Monrovia is more talented than Muir this year, I suppose we deserve the #1 spot right now.

  • Tommy D Trojan

    Miguel,
    Keep this list and compare it to the end of the season rankings. I think the M Cats will stay at the top. The rest of the best? We shall see.

  • New York

    He reminds me of DuRon Turner, also #6, except this kid is about 6 inches taller than Nightrain Turner.

  • BigFatFan

    no slight to Rosemead, but from the scrimmage last week against SP, Rosemead has NO QB, and has NO Breakaway running threat. so I think they are vastly overrated.

  • JJIMENEZ

    FEAR THE MEAD!!! WAR PANTHERS!!!

    As long as the offense doesnt make too many mistakes I think the MEAD’s D will keep them in games until Macias gets his feet wet at the QB position.

  • TC Fan, Like M-Town

    What?…. What?

    As I recall New York…

    When DESMOND REED was at TC as a Senior, TC was Pitiful! They had only 3 returning starters from a Senior Heavy team the year before (2001) with only about 35 or 40 player total on the entire team! Monrovia was balanced both years with about 10 returning in the 02 season!

    2001 TC went 10-0, beating M-Town 52-0 AT THE HALF!!!!

    Don’t bring up the past unless you know what led to it!
    Ruckle is a stud! OLD SCHOOL! Power!
    Monrovia coaching always disappoints! They’ve had some the most talented groups around for the last 10 years and always finish 6-4, 7-3, come on! I want to see Monrovia Spread it out like Mooney did in 2001 with REED and still pound the ball up the middle when need be!

    If you have 4 good backs, move em to the slot or run a Spread Offense and move the ball around! It’ll only help the run game all around!

    I hope Monrovia can put together a 9-1, 10-0 season and make a run at the CIF title! No ones come close since Monrovia and TC in 1998! Akil Harris days!

    Good Luck TC and Monrovia!!!

    Oh Yeah, SCREW THE MEAD!

  • Goldenarm

    Huh??

    The bong cloud has apparently turned from euphoric to toxic as it floated over the Trib coverage area.

    No one comes close to a CIF title since 1998?? You do realize both TC and Monrovia were ONE GAME away from the CIF title game last year, yes?

    As far as offensive advice (run the spread) and a “diappointing” coaching history in M-town, I am not even sure where to start…hopefully some M-town alum can respond to those comments.

    I do know without question, their current head coach is one of the SGV’s best head football coaches.

  • Goldenarm

    Coach Rudy learned from last week’s game about dbl/triple coverage? In the previous decades of coaching this situation is a new thing? Why were no halftime adjustments made? One set of downs should have been enough to see and counter this coverage strategy…..This iso / blanket should have led to Roosevelt losing, not winning.

    With the exceptional talent the Moors have, a trainload of opportunities should have been exploitable if 3 defenders were camped out on Crockom. With the 150-200yds in penalties what is this outcome saying?

    Mostly it is saying the Moors will get much better. By 9/18 they could be prepped to explode at TC.

  • New York

    TC Fan, Like M-Town,

    I agree with a lot of what you said. After the 1998, every one of our assistant coaches was fired. Our head coach was the only varsity coach retained. This was a result of the CIF pressuring our school’s administrator following conduct complaints after the 1998 playoffs. Our team returned to the finals the following year, but we definitely did not have the swagger that we had the two seasons prior.

    I do, in fact, know what lead up to the 2002 season. I also know what happened during our 2001 season, which was a disaster following a mass exodus of blue chip athletes during the Spring of 2001. We had two guys transfer to Muir who then ended up at UofArizona. One guy transferred to Freemont who ended up at USC. Another guy became and All-League DB at Claremont. I am probably missing some others. I think talent exodus lead to an attitude of throwing the entire football season into the tank and looking forward to the 2002 season. I dont agree with this attitude, but that was the pattern of how things would happen.

    Although Monrovia and TC were both in the semis last year, neither team came close in quality and toughness as the Monrovia and TC teams of 1998. TC got smoked by Paso Robles in the semis and then Monrovia lost 28-24 to Paso Robles the following week in the finals, after leading 24-14 at half. The Monrovia-TC game that year was a close battle, probably too close given the talent Monrovia had, but DiFiori was running a well oiled Veer attack.

    The only reason I mentioned Mr. Reed, was to demonstrate that one cream-of-the-crop superstar does not necessarily lead to a great team. I also recall Mr. Reed scored about 5 touchdowns that night, but it was not quite enough. Maybe TC would have won if you had not gotten so fancy at the end with that double option play that fumbled the game away. But those are the types of plays that get called when you are outmatched.

    You guys were tough in 2001. Loyd/Mooney were able to open things up offensively. You had a senior QB in Malcynski as well as all-everything Reed. Unfortunately you guys kept running into Inglewood back then.

    I like what Maddox brings to our program. I like the direction we are headed and the attitude and demeanor of the players and staff.

  • Goldenarm

    CIF rankings
    Mid-Valley Division: 1. Paraclete, 2. Rosemead, 3. Monrovia, 4. Temple City, 5. Northview, 6. San Dimas, 7. Azusa, 8. Arroyo, 9. San Marino, 10. Pomona

    Pretty much the order of finish last year. Does not say much about this season – that will happen Friday, but win or lose TC will not move up unless the Mead looks absolutely horrible. Monrovia picnics at D-Rock this week.

    I can feel the gut acid going to work and it is a sure bet Coach White, as the new guy, is feeling some of that as well.

    I wish today was Friday.
    Go Rams!!

  • BigFatFan

    Frankly, I just dont get the point of the Alhambra coach continuing to complain about lack of practice and how bad it was to work out in the gym during the recent fires. He complained about the lack of practice after the loss last week, then reiterated to Miguel the same issue when the game with LC was cancelled. many teams were practicing inside their gyms last week. Like I said before, that did not seem to hinder Monrovia in their first game. I think Alhambra needs to figure out how to get the ball to other players when Crockom is double and tripled teamed. At least now Alhambra has a couple weeks to “practice” and scout upcoming opponents now that they have a bye this week.

  • New York

    BigFatFan,

    Not to dismiss your points geared toward game strategy, but the fires certainly effected Monrovia. We happened to play another team that was effected.

    Was Roosevelt effected by the fires?

  • New York

    Goldenarm,

    Other than Paraclete at #1 ranking, that Mid-Valley poll does not seem to have much rhyme or reason, other than literally taking the 2008 playoff results for #1-#7.

    We have a long road ahead. The only ranking that matters is the one in late December.

  • BigFatFan

    New York, good points, but in my mind, he’s making excuses

  • burbanksports

    After Muir loses two Pacific League games would they still rise up and claim the #3 spot in the PSN poll?

  • incorrect

    TC FAN,

    I can see why you dislike Rosemead so much; your two favorite teams are Monrovia and Temple City! hahaha I guess Coach Koffler never losing to Monrovia, and being 2-1 over the last three years against Temple City has something to do with those ill feelings! I guess time will only tell, but until then ill leave no disparaging remarks!

  • The Stang Fan

    Miguel,

    Monrovia won, Muir lost…a switch in the polls for this week was deserved. But let me point out a few things.

    First, as I mentioned earlier in the season, Arcadia will be the barometer for the top 3 teams the entire season. Whether we like it or not, or whether it is accurate or not, that is simply how it will play out. They are the only team that all three top teams share. With that said, SF will be your #1 team next week.

    Arcadia is an average team, and the G-Knights are going to put a hurting on the Apaches come Friday. Then, you will come on here and declare that SF is the best team in the area, as will the Arcadia faithful. That’s exactly how it will play out. Then, in Week 7 I believe, Muir will play Arcadia and beat them handily, as they sweep through the Pacific and you will want to change your pick again because SF will be losing to the Pac-5 behemoths and possibly struggle in their league. Then Monrovia, SF, and Muir will all make the playoffs and M-town will advance the farthest because they play in the weaker Mid-Valley, just like Rosemead…THEN what will you do. New year, SAME damn dilemmas.

    If I were you I would hesitate in claiming Team A to be better than Team B after two smoked-filled weeks and a Week 0 matchup. Things will definitely change over the course of the year. You mentioned how you doubted the “first-game jitters” idea, but that’s not what I said. I was speaking along the lines of experience. As the year goes on, the newbies will be gaining VALUABLE game experience against the likes of Diamond Ranch, Oaks Christian, and Venice, which will in turn make them DAMN good football players, ready to tear up their league and try to make a run in the playoffs.

    Truth is, I like this “under the radar” thing. I hope it continues, and I’d be interested to see how the boys play in response to it.

  • The Stang Fan

    Tommy D Trojan,

    “The best of the rest? We shall see.”

    LMFAO!!!

    Are you serious? Lol! So now Monnrovia is HEAD and SHOULDERS above “the rest?” C’mon bro….give it a “rest!”

  • The Stang Fan

    burbanksports,

    Let me guess. Those two losses would happen to be at the hands of the two Burbank schools, right?

    To quote the principal from the movie “Wildcats,”……riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…

  • Observantcat

    The only way to find out who really does represent the true number one is to play each other. I would call this game the “HATER BOWL” It should be played between all three team in pre-season. Personally I dont think the ratings do much for any teams in the top five, because if on is truly dominate over the other then it will show in the numbers. There are two many variables to determine a true number 1. There are several arguments that can lead to each team having a say at why they should or should not be number 1 but the truth is on the field and the name of the game is winning. If Muir has a commanding halftime lead over Oaks Christian or a lead period then I will give them their props they would have accomplished Coach Howard’s mission but that still wouldn’t make them number one over every other them they played (LOOK BACK AT OREGON ST. VS. USC 2008). That win did not catapult the Beavers any higher in the Pac 10 or the BCS polls for that matter. Playing Arcadia by no means is the measuring stick that any poll should use in determining a number 1 spot! If that be the case then the BCS would be completely Screwed up. I’m not sure how many of the Arcadia players are going to even suit up for tomorrow’s game but I do know that their #1 & #2 backs will not play. All St. Francis has to do is prepare for a long night of pass coverage. Who Knows what will be left of Arcadia by the time the Mustangs roll into town. So for that to be the measurement gives false value to a true determination of number 1. I wish the fans did have some input in who our teams play to get a real gage on who could potentially beat who, but we don’t. 1 or 2 injuries to some Key players and a lot could change at Muir, Monrovia, & St. Francis. As far as the Mid-Valley being an easier Div. I would agree but Monrovia hasn’t always had the luxury of being in an easy Div. and has held it’s own from the beginning at every level in the playoffs. When you get to the top of any of these Div. it’s never easy, all of these come to play their best and final game. Let’s let the year play out and see where each of our teams stand in our own leagues before we all declare ourselves number one in each other’s. I personally hope that someone does step up to the plate and show’s what true team domination is all about.

  • New York

    Observant Cat,

    That might be the first post I have read of yours in three and half years that was fair and balanced. What happened?

    Regarding #1 PSN ranking: “They” can have it! When is the last time the #1 ranked PSN team won a CIF Title? I don’t think Pasadena Poly or Rio Hondo Prep has ever finished ranked #1 by the PSN. So that would suggest that Muir’s team in 1990 is likely the last team to win a title and finish PSN #1.

    I would much rather have Monrovia finish 14-0 (c’mon guys only 13 more to go…no pressure) and then have an argument against a 2nd round St. Francis team or a semi-final Muir team for the #1 local ranking.

    The future and the now look very bright for Monrovia. I am not saying this based on a win over Arcadia. I say this after observing first hand the natural depth complimented by player development that is now happening. Soon, players will transfer into Monrovia and that will only add more depth. Hopefully we will make a HUGE improvement with our college placements.

  • Philly B

    Stang Fan,
    Man once more you put it right on the money which will most likely happen. francis will put a whoppin on the apaches then muir will give it to them later on in the season. monrovia and t.c. will go far in the playoffs because of our weakened division

  • !stang!

    THE STANG FAN, I agree muir have to fall into the shadows for a while. I think the 10 grader who went to running is going to be this year! He was so smooth running thru the holes and dodging defenders. But I guess our Boy MM missed that story from last friday’s , how A 10 grader got muir back into the game. With a int returned for 60yds , 25yd TD , and a Pat. I think a different teams shows up this friday. Maybe an upset it they can tackle the big) from oaks.

  • !stang!

    THE STANG FAN, I agree muir have to fall into the shadows for a while. I think the 10 grader who went to running is going to be this year! He was so smooth running thru the holes and dodging defenders. But I guess our Boy MM missed that story from last friday’s , how A 10 grader got muir back into the game. With a int returned for 60yds , 25yd TD , and a Pat. I think a different teams shows up this friday. Maybe an upset it they can tackle the big) from oaks.

  • !stang!

    THE STANG FAN, I agree muir have to fall into the shadows for a while. I think the 10 grader who went to running is going to be this year! He was so smooth running thru the holes and dodging defenders. But I guess our Boy MM missed that story from last friday’s , how A 10 grader got muir back into the game. With a int returned for 60yds , 25yd TD , and a Pat. I think a different teams shows up this friday. Maybe an upset it they can tackle the big) from oaks.

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