By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Given how things looked at the mid-point of the season, the Bonita High School football team really can’t complain too much about getting powerful Arcadia in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.
At 8-2, the Apaches are thought by many to be the second-best team in the division and the team most likely to give No. 1 seed West Covina its best game.
Unfortunately for Bonita, though, Arcadia enters the postseason as the No. 2 team out of the Pacific League and that opened the door for a matchup like Friday’s.
“I’m not the greatest bracketologist in the world, but looking at them on film, they’re an outstanding team,” Bonita coach Eric Podley said.
“They’ve got a lot of talent, good discipline and a great record. They’re a tough draw, without question.
“I kinda thought we’d get them or Mayfair. Either one of them would be tough teams.”
Considering Bonita was last year’s runner-up, Friday’s game with Arcadia is almost too good to take place in the first round. But the Bearcats started the season 2-4 and even making the playoffs was a real long shot until a big fourth-quarter rally against Los Altos on Oct. 21. That win sparked a four-game win streak for Bonita that has the Bearcats hitting their stride at just the right time.
“We still don’t feel like we’re playing to the full extent of our potential, but that’s a good thing that we still have room to go,” Podley said. “At some point, you need the potential and it better be pretty quick because these guys (Arcadia) are pretty good.”
Bonita junked the more wide-open offense it was using earlier in the season for a more run-based system. The Bearcats haven’t been complicated, but they have been brutally effective. Running backs Cameron Griffin (907 yards) and Reggie Turner (748) have proved to be quite the duo.
Bonita had better hope its ground game can eat clock and keep a talented Arcadia offense off the field. The Apaches are averaging 37.6 points per game. Arcadia quarterback Myles Carr cannot be counted on to make mistakes either, as evidenced by his 25-to-3 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio.
“You guys have been talking about them all year, so it wasn’t a shock to see their skill talent,” Podley said. “I do read the papers, so I guess I’m not shocked by it. They’re definitely a good team and from what people have said, this is one of their best teams that they’ve had in a number of years.”