STAR-NEWS PRESEASON TOP 10 POLL
1. MONROVIA — When the pieces come together, the Wildcats again will prove they’re a legitimate team that’s more than just a contender for a Mid-Valley Division championship — they’re a heavy favorite to repeat.
2. ARCADIA — Arcadia will be a much more balanced team, making the Apaches contenders in the Southeast Division.
3. ST. FRANCIS — St. Francis came close to a huge upset last year in the first round of the Western Division playoffs, going up against San Gabriel Valley League champion Dominguez of Compton. The Golden Knights couldn’t convert on fourth down, though, and St. Francis’ late rally fell short. It seems like the Golden Knights come close each season, but is this finally the year?
4. MUIR — In terms of area talent, Muir has enough to be one of the best teams. As for how it’ll fare in the tougher Pacific League and always-tough Southeast Division remains to be seen. Too many question marks surround the Mustangs, depth being the biggest issue.
5. MARANATHA — By all accounts, Maranatha looks promising but will be tested with a stronger schedule that includes several Mid-Valley Division schools. The Olympic League will be tough, too, but if the Minutemen start with momentum, look for this young team to fire on all cylinders come league play.
6. ROSEMEAD — With coach Matt Koffer at the helm, the Panthers are seemingly always in contention. A Mission Valley League title is always in the cards, but Rosemead will try to build on last year’s second-round playoff appearance.
7. ALHAMBRA — Perhaps this young group, a year older now, will feel more comfortable with the offensive schemes that will call for a more-balanced offense. If so, this could be one of the most-competitive Moors teams in some time, one that could compete for the Almont League title.
8. SAN GABRIEL — The Matadors have the weapons on offense, especially if Guerrero can adjust to playing tailback at times with Alvarez under center. There are options for a successful offense. If the defense can hold its ground, the Matadors figure to compete for the Almont League title.
9. PASADENA — Pasadena was one win away from making the playoffs, but mental toughness was missing against rival Muir. a game the Bulldogs needed to win to make the playoffs. If the Bulldogs can stay focused and disciplined, they could be the surprise team in the Pacific League.
10. RIO HONDO PREP — Rio Hondo Prep’s never been one to shy away from contact. The Kares last season recorded a huge upset win over Village Christian, a Mid-Valley Division team that beat Cerritos Valley Christian handily. That same Cerritos Valley Christian team needed five overtimes to beat Maranatha. In short, Rio Hondo Prep could be contending for another Northeast Division title.