OK, you guys want to really get into it? You want to really break it down and stop pussyfooting around?
First let me say you cannot argue with what Coach Z has done. He told me the night they lost 55-7 to Covina in his first season (2005) that he was gonna get things turned around and nights like that to help get it done. Well, he has. Remarkable job, obviously, and well-deserved Coach of the Year honors. BUT ………. the question I want to know now is: Is this just a good two- or three-year run, or should we start making room on the Valley’s mantle of top-flight football programs?
Here are my cases for Fluke and Area Power:
The case for fluke: Mid-Valley Division. The Saints went from being ridiculously placed in a division that was dominated by Oaks Christian to being in the locals-only Mid-Valley Division. Obviously, that eased everything up and the Saints proved to be one of the better area teams around. But didn’t we already know that? That’s what winning the Mid-Valley proves, right? San Dimas is one of the better local teams around. San Dimas’ road to the title was: Workman, Valley Christian, Azusa and Monrovia. Not exactly murderer’s row. The Monrovia game was in the rain, which quite possibly tainted the results. Then again, Monrovia had to play in it, too, and lost. Did Monrovia choke? Or did San Dimas legitimately turn the tables?
The Saints didn’t play one team during nonleague with a winning record beside Monrovia, and they lost that one 36-17. They did beat Bonita, though, which my hunch is a better win than anything they did in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
And by the way, if you’re going to hold the Mid-Valley Division against San Dimas then you have to hold the Southeast Division against Charter Oak. Be sure you’re ready to do that if you want to go there.
The case for Area Power: Here’s Coach Z’s record since he took over. See if you spot a pattern.
2009: 13-1, CIF champs
2008: 10-2, lost in qtrs.
2007: 9-2, lost 1st round (Oaks Chr.) (I had these flipped earlier, but point remains the same)
2006: 5-6, lost 1st round
2005: 3-7, no playoffs
Not bad for progress, huh? Many area pundits used to believe that San Dimas was a sleeping giant. They felt the Saints underachieved year in and year out. You can’t say that anymore. I think Coach Z knew the reputation when he took the job and in a few short years has wiped it out. No more “Soft Dimas” as 13 opponents found out in ’09 and 10 others found out in ’08.
But how did that happen? What you have here is a very shrewd culture change going on at SD. Coach Z is no dummy and he saw that there would be no CIF titles unless things were shored up on defense. Enter defensive coordinator Brian Mustain, who took San Dimas from allowing 28 points in 2008! to allowing just 8 in 2009! Read that again! Mustain had head-coaching experience before being brought on by Coach Z and seemingly knew exactly what to do. If the Saints can play defense the way they have under Mustain, then they have the key ingredient for being an area power.
I think the last part of the argument for San Dimas being an area power is Rancho Cucamonga. Scheduling an I.E. power like RC would have never been considered at SD until recently. The Saints might be feelin’ their oats a bit too much, but putting RC on the schedule tells you exactly what Coach Z thinks of the “fluke/area power” argument. Will San Dimas win? Probably not, but you never know. However, simply putting RC on the schedule sends a message to everyone.
Summation: Back in 2005-06, Covina had two teams that were easily among the area’s best. The Colts (along with the Saints) played in a MUCH MORE DIFFICULT division than the Mid-Valley. They made the semis both years, losing to TESORO and OAK PARK. Had those Covina teams been in the Mid-Valley Division we all know they’d have won two titles. But where’s Covina now? History tells us that the Colts had an amazing once-a-decade group of talent. Is that what they’ll be saying about San Dimas in three years? Or will the Saints take their place right along side Charter Oak, South Hills and Amat as SGV teams you’d better be scared of when the switch is flipped on Friday night.
Disclaimer: Please don’t reply to this post if you’re just going to give me either rah-rah crap or pure haterade. I want educated replies only.