STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS
1. ST. FRANCIS (7-1) — Is there really any debating St. Francis is not the best ream in the PSN area? Enough. St. Francis is the undisputed No. 1 team in the WSGV. Despite losing a few weeks ago to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, the Golden Knights dropped only one spot to No. 2 in the CIF-SS Western Division rankings. Say all you want about the CIF polls’ validity, but the pollsters finally showed a deserving team some respect, and that team was St. Francis. Most teams after losing a game drop several spots, just like San Marino did in the CIF-SS Mid Valley Division, dropping from No. 2 to No. 6 after losing to Monrovia, the No. 1 team in the Mid Valley. St. Francis’ biggest task comes Friday night at Alemany. This won’t be easy, and you’d be crazy to think Friday’s outcome doesn’t define the Golden Knights’ season.
2. MONROVIA (8-0) — The Wildcats have played down to opponents, and was that ever more evident last week against South Pasadena? Monrovia mustered 14 first-half points before De’Shawn Ramirez saved the day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Monrovia’s only enemy right now is itself. They can’t play down to opponents and lose focus. If and when they do, they’ll get caught off guard and the domino’s will follow.
3. TEMPLE CITY (4-3-1) — The Rams scored a yawner of a victory last week against Blair. The powers that be must have grown tired of watching Temple City have its way with Blair because with less than four minutes left in the game at Muir, the lights went out. Nevertheless, the Rams jump up one spot from No. 4 after San Marino’s loss.
4. LA CNADA (4-3) — The Spartans surprised the world when they knocked off San Marino. Despite a soft preseason schedule, the Titans were the favorite to win. Were they exposed? Rocky Moore is about as good as any quarterback in the Rio Hondo League, and probably the rest of the San Gabriel Valley. The Spartans’ win over San Marino throws the Rio Hondo League into whack, a bit. La Canada is probably going to finish 3-2 in league after losing to Monrovia and beating South Pasadena, while San Marino will be 2-2 heading into its finale against Temple City. A loss to the Rams, San Marino is out of the playoffs. A win over Temple City and we’ve got ourselves quite the scenario that certainly will give us all a reaching for Tylenol.
5. SAN GABRIEL (5-3) — San Gabriel’s making me look bad, and I’m sure they’re enjoying every second of it. As you may have noticed by now, I picked Schurr to win and already the SG fanatics are saying that guarantees the Matadors will win. Not necessarily. Schurr owns San Gabriel like I own my 2006 Accord — I beat it up, wear it down and tear it down. Sure, San Gabriel’s knocked off a few good opponents, but the Matadors are walking in uncharted waters right now. They’re in prime position to take the driver’s seat in the Almont League, but they’ll probably fumble the opportunity to land the coveted seat because they’ll succumb to pressure. I digress. This post was supposed to be about San Gabriel’s impressive win over Alhambra. The Matadors didn’t just win handily. They destroyed the Moors. My brother, a San Gabriel alum, gave me grief the entire Saturday morning. I got the last laugh when Oregon beat USC.
6. RIO HONDO PREP (8-0) — The Kares are taking care of business the way Monrovia isn’t. Rio Hondo Prep is the No. 1-ranked team in the Northeast Division and they’re leaving no doubt they are the best. The only reason why Monrovia hasn’t dropped from No. 1 is because they haven’t lost, but they’ve yet to dominate opponents like they did at the start of the season, particularly against Rosemead and San Dimas. One thing the Kares do need is a more efficient passing game. This week’s showdown with Pasadena Poly took a hit when Panthers sophomore Jackson Allan suffered a serious head injury and underwent brain surgery over the weekend. While the game has Prep League implications on the line it’s certain everyone will be thinking about Allan and his family.
7. SAN MARINO (6-2) — De ja vu? San Marino exposed Monrovia a few weeks ago and now they got a taste of its own medicine against La Canada last week. The Spartans secondary was a virtual wall against the Titans offense. A lot will be riding on the Temple City-San Marino game on Nov. 13. Wish I could be there.
8. ALHAMBRA (4-3) — The Moors still have a shot at the playoffs if they beat Bell Gardens and Keppel. Alhambra coach Gil Ruedaflores said the Moors would need a balanced attack to beat San Gabriel, but there was quite a lot of passes thrown and Alhambra never really established the run. This was a problem last year and it’s a problem this year.
9. MARANATHA (6-2) — The Minutemen escaped with a 19-12 win over Sierra Canyon. Maranatha coach Joel Murphy said the team’s made drastic improvements since the starting the season at 0-2. It’s safe to say the Minutemen will extend their streak to seven after taking on Marshall on Friday.
10. PASADENA (4-4) — Huckster I’m sure is banging his head somewhere on Sierra Madre Boulevard after seeing the Bulldogs make the list. Sure, Pasadena lost to Crescenta Valley, but after La Salle (3-5) dropped out of the rankings there was no other viable team to replace the Lancers. The Bulldogs in my book have surpassed all expectations. I’m sure that’s not what coach Mike McFarland is saying, but already at Week 9 he’s set the bar for next season. He’s building a solid foundation for Pasadena football, and in only his first year it appears McFarland has the Bulldogs ready to dethrone Muir from its pedestal that is the Turkey Tussle streak. Never mind that Muir’s having an atrocious season thus far. That’s besides the point. I last covered Pasadena against Saugus. The defense was solid and nearly came away with a win. That was Week 2. Lets see what things look like Thursday night.