Well, with just six games left in the season, I thought it would be a perfect time to see who you guys think should receive some of the postseason awards, mainly player of the year and coach of the year.
Below are the frontrunners, in no particular order
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tyler Gangi, St. Francis — The senior has played big part in the Golden Knights enjoying their best season in nearly a decade. He has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards and has accounted for 33 TDs while leading St. Francis to a 9-2 record and spot in Friday’s quarterfinals
Kurt Scoby, Monrovia — Has lived up to the expectations, rushing for 1,796 yards and 29 TDs to top the area in rushing. He has keyed the Wildcats run to 10-1 and has them as favorite in the Mid-Valley Division.
Dejon Williams, Muir — He’s the glue of the Mustangs, accounting for nearly 300 yards a game. He’s helped Muir to a 10-1 season and a third consecutive trip to the quarterfinals. If Muir wins the Southeast Division, which is a possibility, his odds go up considerably
Nate Tayco, Rio Hondo Prep — The senior, who was offensive player of the year last season, has kicked it up a notch lately, rushing for 16 TDs in the past four games. His numbers are 1,231 and 25 scores. If Rio Hondo Prep 3-peats, you know Tayco had a heavy hand in the title.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Jim Bonds, St. Francis — Annually one of the top coaches in the area, and you know he helped turn around last season’s disappointing 4-7 campaign. The Golden Knights have already doubled their win total from a year ago, and if they make the semifinals, it will be their first in nearly a decade.
John Hardy, Muir — The Mustangs are having another stellar year under Hardy, who has taken the program to another level in just his second year. They haven’t lost a league game since 2011, and are in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year under him. If Muir wins the Southeast, it will be hard to pick against him.
Ryan Maddox, Monrovia — For Maddox, it’s like when Pat Riley or Phil Jackson coached the Lakers, all the success he achieves is expected, so he gets bypassed for such awards. But make no mistake, Monrovia is where it is because the Wildcats are very well-coached. Yes, they have more talent than their opponents, but they get coached up as well. If Monrovia, which is 10-1 and the top seed in the Mid-Valley, runs the table, and wins its fourth in a row, and gets back to a regional bowl, how can you not look in this direction?
Ken Drain, Rio Hondo Prep — Talk about doing the most with a little? It’s Drain, who despite coaching at the smallest school in area, continues to win. This year, he scored another Prep League title and has the Kares riding an 8-game winning streak at 10-1 and a shot at another title.
Jude Oliva, Maranatha — One the factors in a coach of the year is his ability to change the culture somewhere, and make the biggest jump from one year to the next. Oliva fits the mold at Maranatha, which after missing the playoffs a yeat ago, won the Olympic League in his first season. The Minutemen also feature one of the area’s better passing attacks, which is usually the case for Oliva-coached teams.
Keith and I are matching our knowledge of the area and high school football by offering our picks on the area’s games. This week, and until the end of the season, we will pick the rest of the brackets in which we have local teams.
LAIR: 169-28 (8-3 last week)
RAMIREZ: 164-33 (7-4 last week)
Last week: A very tough week as Keith picked up another win. The difference was me missing on St. Genevieve over Pasadena Poly. We both missed on Pomona over Rosemead, Carpinteria over La Salle and Duarte over Maranatha.
This week: We are now down to final area teams left. The most intriguing game appears to be San Marino hosting San Dimas in the Mid-Valley Division. The visiting Saints appear to have to much for the Titans. I also like Monrovia over Montebello, also in the Mid-Valley; Muir over Los Altos in Southeast, Rio Hondo Prep over Excelsior in the Northeast and St. Francis over Camarillo in the Western.
This week’s schedule and predictions
Monrovia at Montebello — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
Paraclete at Pomona — Ramirez (Paraclete); Lair (Paraclete)
San Dimas at San Marino — Ramirez (San Dimas); Lair (San Dimas)
Arroyo at Schurr — Ramirez (Arroyo); Lair (Arroyo)
Dominguez at Norwalk — Ramirez (Norwalk); Lair (Norwalk)
Los Altos at Muir — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
La Serna at Diamond Bar — Ramirez (La Serna); Lair (La Serna)
Burbank at Santa Fe — Ramirez (Burbank); Lair (Burbank)
Mission Prep at St. Genevieve — Ramirez (Mission Prep); Lair (Mission Prep)
Saddleback Valley Chrs at Desert — Ramirez (Desert); Lair (Desert)
Salesian at Boron — Ramirez (Salesian); Lair (Salesian)
Rio Hondo Prep vs. Excelsior at Victor Valley College — Ramirez (Rio); Lair (Rio Hondo Prep)
Oak Park at Valley Chrs — Ramirez (Oak Park); Lair (Oak Park)
El Segundo at Carpinteria — Ramirez (El Segundo); Lair (Carpinteria)
Bishop Diego at Duarte — Ramirez (Bishop Diego); Lair (Bishop Diego)
Nordhoff at Torrance — Ramirez (Nordhoff); Lair (Nordhoff)
Serra at Buena — Ramirez (Serra); Lair (Serra)
Camarillo at St. Francis — Ramirez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)
Santa Monica at Lompoc — Ramirez (Lompoc); Lair (Lompoc)
Chaminade at Ventura — Ramirez (Chaminade); Lair (Chaminade)
La Salle at Flintridge Sacred Heart, Harvard Westlake at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
Finals: Saturday at Santiago Canyon College, 5 p.m.
Whittier Christian at Troy, Mayfield at Palm Springs.
Finals: Saturday at Santiago Canyon College, 10 a.m.
Hemet at Don Lugo, St. Paul at Saddleback Valley Christian.
Finals: Saturday at Santiago Canyon College, TBD