PREPXTRA LIVE REWIND WITH Muir’s Ken Howard, San Gabriel’s Jude Oliva and CIF’s Thom Simmons.

Tuesday’s PrepXtra Live featured CIF spokesman Thom Simmons (14:51 mark) followed by San Gabriel coach Jude Oliva and Muir coach Ken Howard at the 34:58 mark (SAME SEGMENT) with a brief break and then back with a few last questions for Oliva and Howard. The video also includes West Covina coach Mike Maggiore and Darryl Thomas (SAME SEGMENT) at the 54:01 mark.

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BREAKING NEWS: We apologize for NOT having the PrepXtra Preview Magazine in today’s editions, it will be in Wednesday’s paper.

We screwed up. The PrepXtra Preview Football magazine is NOT in today’s home delivery or news rack. I’ll spare you all the details, but a major breakdown in communication caused this. I have been assured that the PrepXtra Football Preview will run in WEDNESDAY’S home subscription and newsracks. Sorry for the inconvenience, it’s embarrassing and we let you down.

For those who don’t know, we print all editions of the San Gabriel Valley newsgroup (Tribune, Star-News, Whittier, Bulletin, Sun, etc) at the Orange County Register, then distribute them to our drivers. From what I understand, there was a mix-up on the dates our drivers were supposed to deliver the magazine. Apparently, the Register and drivers were given a date of Aug. 31 instead of the 30th to deliver the magazine. How that happened after all our promotion of the magazine on the 30th is difficult to comprehend, but it happened. I don’t like making excuses, but what can I do other than say we screwed up, and that it will be in tomorrow’s papers.

– Prep Editor Fred Robledo

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Star Picks: The season’s finally. Let’s make this happen.

Here we go.

The season kicks off Thursday with one area home game featuring Blair against Fulton of Van Nuys. The Vikings won convincingly last year in the season opener, so expect the same result. I’ll be at Muir to cover my first ever Blair football game. Our Keith Lair will travel to Ocean View High to cover Pasadena Poly at Brethren Christian.

Most of Friday’s games are pretty much no-brainers, but here’s hoping even though I picked Muir to beat San Gabriel that I still get to see a very competitive game featuring some of the most skilled players in the West San Gabriel Valley. La Salle shockingly opened the season ranked No. 5 in the Northwest Division, but the Lancers will open the season with a loss to a much tougher Village Christian team out of the Mid-Valley Division. How’s this for a shocker: Keppel will beat Bassett and Marshall will beat Duarte. If Pasadena can come away from Alemany without sustaining injuries, count that as a win for the Bulldogs. As for the win/loss column, mark an “L” for Pasadena in the road season opener.

I’d really like to make a nice bet this season. The Stang Fan and I never came thorugh on our bet, which I’m clueless about right now. I’m thinking of inviting longtime Star-News correspondent Nathan Cambridge to go head-to-head with me this season with a bet to be named later. In case you don’t know Nathan Cambridge (and I don’t see how you can not) he’s the guy who makes hilarious TV commercials, like the Swiffer one below. He’s the DJ. Nathan Cambridge is a commercial and TV actor, but he’s passionate about covering preps. I feed off his enthusiasm and look forward to inviting him to make picks with me this season.

That’s it for now.

Look for the 2-minute drill video later today as Aram Tolegian and I discuss Muir-San Gabriel. Hope you all enjoyed the 2011 Star-News PrepXtra Magazine. Enjoy!

Thursday’s games
Blair vs. Fulton at Muir, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Blair)
Pasadena Poly vs. Brethren Christian at Ocean View, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Poly)

Friday’s games
Muir at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Muir)
Village Christian at La Salle, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Village Christian)
Big Bear at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha)
Alhambra vs. Mountain View at Moor Field, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Alhambra)
Cerritos at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Cerritos)
Keppel at Bassett, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Keppel)
Bosco Tech at Wilson, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Wilson)
Marshall at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Marshall)
Rio Hondo Prep at Parker San Diego, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Parker)
Pasadena at Alemany, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Almeany)
Flintridge Prep at Bell-Jeff, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Flintridge Prep)

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Check out the Star-News preseason top 10 poll.

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.

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