1. MONROVIA — Still the most talented team in the area from top to bottom. Expect more of a ground game with considerable depth at RB and a athletic QB in Potts. Wildcats could be special again if Kurt Scoby makes his way into the backfield this fall.
2. LA SALLE — The only thing more disappointing than an 0-10 record is a 10-1 record. But huge strides were made last season under head coach Russell Gordon. There’s a good amount of skill talent to work with, plus some transfers. Where the worry lies is along the lines.
3. MUIR — The Mustangs are making progress slowly but surely under head coach John Hardy. The thing is that they’re not operating with all the talent that could be at their disposal. Depth is a sweat, but who else you gonna like in the Pacific?
4. RIO HONDO PREP — A dynamic senior class was lost, but this program knows how to reload. The new faces will need only some seasoning because they probably already have the system down pat. RB Nate Tayco is one of the best ball carriers around and expect him to be relied on early and often.
5. ST. FRANCIS — The rebuild is on. Knights were the least explosive they’ve been in a while last season and that was with Jarde Lebowitz at QB. Now he’s gone and there’s more work to do. St. Francis needs a serious upgrade in the speed department.
6. SAN MARINO — Here’s where things start to get shaky in local area. The Titans lost an excellent senior class, but reportedly have some nice prospects in the program. Head coach Mike Hobbie certainly knows what he’s doing, so it’s probably a matter of time before SM hit its stride again. Just don’t expect anything close to last year’s level of play.
7. TEMPLE CITY — The Rams started to make strides around the mid-point of last season. With some decent pieces to build around, they could put things together a lot quicker this season and make some more noise, or at least put themselves in position to again, in league.
8. MARANATHA — Former San Gabriel coach Jude Oliva takes over the head job after Pete Karavedas’ abrupt exit. Some will say that Maranatha missed a golden chance to do damage with the classes it had the past few seasons. But Oliva is a proven winner and his teams have been no stranger to the end zone. Don’t expect a breakout, just a solid product.
9. ARCADIA — Things aren’t what they once were, but lots of programs in this area can say the same thing. The Apaches’ only four wins last year came against the lower rungs of the Pacific League. And now there’s another coaching change to deal with. A repeat of last year seems a safe prediction.
10. FLINTRIDGE PREP — Why not? Who do you want to put here instead, Alhambra? San Gabriel? Flintridge Prep has become one of the area’s best in hoops and bases, so why not football? The Prepsters won six games last year, but weren’t close against RHP. Still solid.