This will be your last edition until the final preseason Top 25 is released, probably right around the last week in August. But now that the offseason is over and most of the secrets are out, I think this will be a pretty reliable guideline.
Hmm … while I’m at it, why not a game between La Habra and Amat?
1. Bishop Amat — The Lancers stay No. 1 because Rio is the real deal, Wallace G. is a major matchup problem and the coaching staff, while not talkative, is outstanding. Just please don’t tell me that Amat will somehow be the same or better without Jay Anderson. That stuff works on Freddie, not me. Thanks.
2. La Habra — All the skill players are in place for another CIF plaque to go on Coach Mazzotta’s mantle. Season opener vs. O-Lu will tell us whether Highlanders are even better than usual.
3. Chino Hills — Passing games and tire throws are very overrated, but cleaning 320 pounds is cleaning 320 pounds. It’s not hard to argue that the Huskies had the best offseason around. Scary.
4. Charter Oak — QB Travis Santiago got rave reviews from those I’ve spoken to. Unlike recent years, offense may have to carry the show.
5. South Hills — Size + skill players + Coach Bogan = scary. But the Huskies are banged up in two key skill spots. Those concerns cannot linger too far into the season.
6. La Mirada — Offseason was highlighted by the D-1 signings of several key players and Coach Moschetti’s downplaying of how good the Mats will be.This is your Southeast Division favorite. Can’t wait for the La Habra game.
7. Glendora — Nobody’s questioning the Tartans at QB, but what about the other skill spots? Pasqy isn’t sweating it, so why should we?
8. St. Francis — All reports are the Knights have reloaded. A very popular line around the Pasadena area is “Watch out for Travis Talianko.”
9. West Covina — Bulldogs look like the consensus early favorite in the Hacienda League. That’s not a distinction they should like.
10. Diamond Ranch — This is the most difficult D-Ranch team to read in a while. But one thing we do know is that the secondary will be sick.
11. Muir — Is it me, or do the Mustangs have a lot to prove in order to justify the hype? They always have skill, but this year they have size. Consistency shall be key.
12. San Dimas — If Kevin Kolbeck doesn’t get at least five balls thrown his way per game, then something’s wrong. Then again, if he doesn’t, that probably means the Saints are rolling.
13. Rowland — Ball-to-Freeman is one of the scariest combos in the Valley … kinda like Capital Dim Sum and BBQ.
14. Monrovia — I had no problem with what I saw from the ‘Cats on the field during the passing circuit. But that was while the ball was in play … get it? Remember, jerseys should stay on and your teammates are your friends. I have faith Coach Maddox will get that corrected.
15. Schurr — Taking on St. Paul in the nonleague — audacious or smelling blood in the water? Sparty could be one scary sight if it heads into league play undefeated.
16. Whittier Christian — Got the sense at the SGV Shootout that there was one team constantly thinking “let’s put the pads on” … and that was these guys.
17. Claremont – If you put your ear close to the SGV (and surrounding parts) pulse, you’ll hear lots of whispers about how good the ‘Pack are going to be.
18. Baldwin Park — Coach Heggins might just have the team capable of taking BP to the next level. Only problem is that San Dimas stands in the way everywhere the Braves turn.
19. Ayala — The Bulldogs have the talent to be higher on this list, but you have to wonder if they’ll get lost in the mix of the new Sierra.
20. Santa Fe — There could be a Mahlstede leading the Chiefs on the field as well as on the sidelines. Stay tuned … The Chiefs are your early Del Rio favorites.
21. Damien — Coaching can only go so far … give it a couple of years.
22. Bonita — I’ve seen dangerous Podley in the past. And this is what it felt like prior to those seasons.
23. Arroyo — Pointless passing circuit point: Knights QB Steven Rivera may throw the best deep ball in the area. He’s a good bet to keep doing it once the pads come on, so I thought I’d mention it.
24. Rosemead — Koffmead looked ho-hum on offense when I saw them throw and tenacious on defense. If you understand Rosemead football, that should tell you the Panthers are going to be very good.
25. Azusa — Giving the Aztecs the nod here over Pomona simply because they had a great offseason. But forget about winning the SGV Shootout, the Aztecs showed grit and that, and little else, makes them dangerous.