Above: Rio Hondo Prep’s Charles Quintero had a monster of a performance last week, rushing for 209 yards and three touchdowns in the Kares’ 40-0 win over Flintridge Prep. Cool uniforms, Rio.
1. MONROVIA (5-2) — Will anyone score against the tenacious Wildcats defense in the Rio Hondo League? That’s an honest question. Monrovia has recorded wins over Blair (57-0) and San Marino (56-0). The Wildcats should see a better challenge Friday against Temple City. I won’t quite say Monrovia won’t lose the rest of the season and through the playoffs, but I’m getting there. I’ll get a chance to see the Wildcats on Friday since checking ’em out in a win over Arcadia.
2. ST. FRANCIS (3-4) — The Golden Knights’ playoff hopes hang in the balance. St. Paul comes to town. On paper, St. Francis has the weapons to overmatch the Swordsmen, but how will the Golden Knights respond as they head in to their homecoming with a four-game losing streak?
3. ARCADIA (4-3) — The Apaches showed Burbank who’s boss last week. They are 3-1 in the Pacific League, and my guess is they’ll improve to 4-1 after Friday. Taylor Lagace will sit out the game because of a one-game suspension stemming from his ejection last week. Lagace could use the break anyway. Myles Carr, Rodney Arnett, David Maldonado, Sheldon McKinley — the field’s all yours.
4. MUIR (3-4) — Look out for the Mustangs, who are quietly marching to a possible playoff spot. Muir is 2-2 in league and currently sits fourth. They’ll host Glendale on Friday, so let’s go ahead and make it 3-2 after Friday. Now’s the time for the offense to hone its skills, iron out wrinkles and play with consistency. The Mustangs defense should take this as a challenge and do everything they can to record a shutout. The same goes for Arcadia.
5. ROSEMEAD (4-3) — Arroyo has all but wrapped up the Mission Valley League title. OK, that’s getting a bit ahead. But it’s safe to say the Knights are in the driver’s seat. The Panthers likely will finish no less than second in league, but don’t count them out because I’m certain they still have a crown in mind.
6. RIO HONDO PREP (5-1) — A big win over Village Christian has propelled the Kares into the rankings, and convincing wins in the Prep League is moving them ahead. Small school, shmall school. Rio Hondo Prep has some good athletes. That much was true when Cody Cowell anchored the defense last year, and that much is true with Charles Quintero in the backfield. He leads the team in rushing with 634 yards and 11 touchdowns. Nick Preciado is closely behind with 525 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Alex Tayco and sophomore Jake Holguin also are contributing big time. Circle Nov. 5, that’s when Rio Hondo Prep and Pasadena Poly throw it down.
7. MARANATHA (5-3) — To be honest, this may be a low ranking for the Minutemen. Looking at it purely from a record standpoint, Maranatha is No. 7. The Minutemen are 0-2 in the Olympic League, but it’s certainly not indicative of how strong they really are. No need to go over the explosive offense, again. You know that by now. Close losses to Whittier Christian and Cerritos Valley Christian suggest Maranatha can not only compete in arguably the toughest league in the Mid-Valley Division, but that it can also stand its ground in the division. Maranatha likely will get an at-large berth, but it must take care of business.
8. SAN GABRIEL (3-4) — A win over Keppel was a given. Bell Gardens will be a true test. Cal Preps has the visiting Lancers winning, 38-27.
9. PASADENA POLY (5-2) — The Panthers likely won’t face any real competition in the Prep League until visiting Rio Hondo Prep on Nov. 5. Until then, enjoy the wins.
10. ALHAMBRA (4-3) — The Moors took one in the chin last week against Schurr. Montebello will be another tough test. Schurr is 2-0 in the Almont League, but Alhambra, Montebello, San Gabriel and Bell Gardens are all 1-1, meaning the No. 2 or 3 spots are nowhere near settled. It’s gut-check week.