We’re talking about Sept. 3, by the way. So save the date, it’s only two months away!!!!
1. Glendora vs. Charter Oak, at Citrus College, until I hear otherwise — This is supposed to be at Citrus, which is where it should be. But there’s talk of it being moved to Charter Oak. No matter where it’s played, this matchup is filthy. Best QB in the Valley takes on Valley’s top program. Did I say that? Yes, I did. Valley’s top program (sorry Amat, not yet). So can Chad Jeffries and the Glendora receivers get their’s against what should be another strong CO defense? Will CO’s offense show it’s the best around? Again, I want to remind that CO can four-wide with no receiver under 6-feet tall. But more than that, I want to see just how CO’s running game is now that Adam Muema isn’t toting the rock. Two of the SGV’s top-five teams! It’s Big Lou vs. Pasqy! This game will be sick!
Early prediction: Charter Oak 21, Glendora 20
2. Rowland at Baldwin Park — It takes a big game to keep the Smudge Pot from being even the No. 2 attraction, but that’s what you’ve got here. It’s Michael Ball’s first chance to show last year’s injury is behind him. And it comes against a BP defense that has guys like WC3 and Demetrius Jackson. This is also the game where Jackson can show what all the hype is about. BP was 9-3 last season. Rowland was 8-3. Both teams could be even better this season. But they have questions — for BP it’s at QB and for Rowland it’s the running game. What better way to show everything’s fine than with a win over one of the top team’s in the Valley. That’s what the victor will get.
Early prediction: Rowland 20, Baldwin Park 14
3. San Dimas at Bonita — I’m sure some of you are going to let me have it. Yes, I realize the magnitude of this rivalry. I’ve been to a couple of them. But while San Dimas has certainly held up its end of the bargain, Bonita has not. The last two years the combined score has been 71-56 in favor San Dimas. The Saints are 23-3 the past two seasons, with a CIF title. Bonita is 10-12. You see my point? This rivalry would still be nasty if both teams are 2-8 every season, but in order to be considered a better game than BP-Rowland or CO-Glendora, it’s gotta be good for both sides involved. Obviously, this game is huge for Bonita. The Bearcats are hungry to show they’re back and there’d be no better way to do it than to upset San Dimas. In terms of atmosphere, I will admit the top-two games can’t touch this one.
Early prediction: San Dimas 30, Bonita 21
4. San Gabriel at Muir — Jude Oliva makes his head-coaching debut for the Matadors with a road game in Mustang Country. In terms of the west side of the Valley, this game is very big as it pits two of that side’s best programs. Both teams have several reasons to be optimistic about the season, but both teams also have questions. For San Gabriel, this is a great chance to show its passing game won’t miss a beat without Isaac Valdez. For Muir, it’s a chance to show there’s life after Jarron Williams. The Mustangs think they have the type of line play good enough to win a CIF title. Pushing around San Gabriel would be the first chance to prove it.
Early prediction: Muir 35, San Gabriel 20
5. Covina at West Covina — The Colts will be decided underdogs against an absolutely loaded Bulldogs squad. If they can hang, then it could be a sign the Valle Vista League has yet another dangerous team. If West Covina rolls, then watch out! Covina got its feet wet last year and has several talented returners back. They remain young. This game will be the varsity of Gevontray Ainsworth, and he’ll be tested right away. Talk about a nice neighborhood game. Let’s hope these two teams make this an annual battle.
Early prediction: West Covina 30, Covina 20