Is it a down year in football? I don’t know. But there are some teams whose records are not indicative of how strong they can and will be this 2010 season. The team that most comes to mind is Arcadia. I’ve said it since summer and through fall camp: the Apaches are the darkhorse of the Pacific League and will definitely surprise some folks. Arcadia will earn its first win of the season Friday at Temple City. Same goes for San Gabriel, which should see its confidence rocket after it beats Contreras.
STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS
1. ST. FRANCIS (2-0) — The Golden Knights have always had a strong Mission League schedule, but we now know it’s possible that it can be even tougher. When St. Francis heads to the playoffs they’ll definitely have earned it after playing the likes of Serra, Cathedral and Harvard-Westlake. The big test comes Friday when the Golden Knights host Venice, and a St. Francis win certainly solidifies its standing as the top-ranked team in the West San Gabriel Valley.
2. MONROVIA (1-1) — The Monrovia team we all saw Friday night against Arcadia is the team we all expected would show up. I said it before, the Wildcats’ five turnovers is uncharacteristic on their part. Monrovia has some penalties to clean up, but overall proved powerful on both sides of the ball. You can bet the team has circled Sept. 24 since losing to San Dimas in the Mid-Valley Division championship game. I would be absolutely shocked if Monrovia lets this one get away.
3. MUIR (1-2) — Thank goodness for a bye week. Muir is reeling from injuries. Its roster is depleted and bodies are scarce. This bye couldn’t have come at a better time. Again, the Mustangs are another team that, should they stay healthy, could make a run back atop the Pacific League.
4. SAN MARINO (2-0) — What else can you say? Losing junior RB Kwame Do is going to be a big loss for the Titans. But as San Marino coach Mike Mooney likes to say, this is an opportunity for others to step up and shine when the moment presents itself. Now’s that moment.
5. LA CANADA (2-0) — Definitely not surprised by the Spartans’ 2-0 start and you shouldn’t be surprised when they beat Crescenta Valley on Friday. La Canada has the discipline needed to execute the little things. It’s a trickle effect that resonates throughout.
6. ROSEMEAD (1-1) — Matt Fregoso is a beast. He was tough to handle last year in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs and he’ll be tough to handle Friday when the Panthers visit San Marino.
7. ARCADIA (0-2) — Turnovers and lack of execution in the red zone did the Apaches two weeks ago against St. Francis, and against Monrovia turnovers again proved to be too much to overcome. Arcadia QB Myles Carr was rattled last week by Monrovia’s powerful defensive line. The pressure proved to be too much for Carr to stay in the pocket. He was sacked half a dozen times, but when rolling out Carr put his speed on display. He’ll need more of that when the pocket collapses, though I don’t anticipate that happening Friday.
8. SOUTH PASADENA (2-0) — The Tigers probably won’t be tested until two weeks from now when it it hosts Cathedral. Talk about improving the nonleague schedule. Nevertheless, it’s refreshing to see the Tigers enjoy success. I wouldn’t be surprised if South Pasadena heads into Rio Hondo League play with a 3-1 record.
9. ALHAMBRA (1-2) — The Moors recorded a nice win last week over Temple City, but their problems are far from over. There’s a big need for consistency from the run production. Until that happens, Alhambra will struggle stringing wins together. The Moors’ schedule will allow for one easy win this season (Keppel) but the rest are not a given.
10. SAN GABRIEL (0-3) — I’ll say it now, if the Matadors lose to Contreras then it’s time to hit the panic button. Having said that, I don’t see how San Gabriel will lose to a team that lost handily to Bosco Tech. Eric Alvarez started at quarterback for the Matadors, then we saw Andy Guerrero make a cameo and made the most of his opportunity, passing for 148 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another. San Gabriel still lost to Burbank, 44-26, but it was nice to see the Matadors swinging as the Bulldogs nearly lost their 37-point lead.