Upsets are a great part of any football season, but after reviewing the schedules for all the teams in our vast coverage area, it’s becoming obvious that there could be even more than usual this season. The new leagues make it that way. The beefed up nonleague schedules make it that way. Too many landmines for the powers to make it unscathed. Here are the potential shockers that stood out to me. Please note, I’m not saying these upsets WILL happen, but since we know upsets will occur, the idea now is to pinpoint which games hold the greatest likelihood. This is what I came up with …
SEPT. 9, LA MIRADA OVER LA HABRA: The fact there’s been a lot of chatter about this game already lessens the chance of La Habra taking La Mirada lightly …. BUT … the Highlanders will be coming off the season opener with Orange Lutheran and will have Servite on deck. So, this is a sandwich game and when you beat a team 54-13 the year before, how seriously can you be taking them? This is a good spot for La Mirada as the Highlanders’ running game may not be fully cranking yet. And any time you have five D-1 players on the field, anything is possible.
SEPT. 17, CAL over LA MIRADA: How can the Mats be up for this game? Believe me, Coach Moschetti will be more psychologist than coach the week leading up to this game. La Mirada will be coming off its showdown with La Habra, which means they could be flat. Whittier Daily News front man Andrew J. Campa is warning that nobody should be taking Cal lightly this year. Are they this good? Maybe.
OCT. 1, WALNUT OVER WEST COVINA: Look at how this one lays out — West Covina will have played Venice, South Hills and Glendora the previous three weeks. The only thing possibly saving the Bulldogs from a motivation standpoint is that this will be the Hacienda League opener. Is that enough? Walnut could prove very dangerous this season. The ‘Stangs were good enough to beat Arroyo and Bonita last season, so we know the quality is there. And when you have a talent like Aubrey Coleman, anything is possible. Plus, with early games against Troy and Claremont, Walnut should be fully tested.
OCT. 8, ARCADIA OVER MUIR: There’s a lot of expectations surrounding Muir this season. The Mustangs lost some guys from last year, but they also have some good talent in key spots coming back. Arcadia is coming off a 2-7-1 record in ’09, but I keep hearing “Taylor Lagace” from Star-News aficianado Miggy Melendez. Again, scheduling is everything, and Arcadia couldn’t ask for a better situation to spring a stunner. Muir will be entering off games against Bishop Amat and defending Pacific League champ Burbank. So how do they get up again for a team they beat by 20 the year before. I wouldn’t put anything past Apaches coach Jon Dimalante and staff, especially if the excuses for last season’s debacle are legit.
OCT. 21, COVINA OVER BALDWIN PARK: There isn’t going to be a breather in the Valle Vista League this season for anybody, so expect chaos … and it may begin with this game. Check it, BP will be coming off its game against San Dimas. Win or lose, it sets them up badly to face a dangerous staff like Coach DT and Co. and a QB like Billy Livingston. Covina may not be good enough to win the league this year, but they will certainly be good enough to ruin somebody’s season and maybe make the playoffs in the process. If the Colts can beat Wilson a week prior, Coach DT will have them thinking a league title is doable.
Oct. 29, DAMIEN OVER CHARTER OAK: Before Charter Oak can even think about its two big showdowns with South Hills and Chino Hills to close the season, it has to get past Damien. Here’s the problem, we all know the two games the Chargers looking forward to most are South Hills and Chino Hills. There should be a A LOT on the line in those games. So after Sierra League games against Ayala and Claremont, Big Lou’s speech before the first game in league about taking everyone seriously will probably have worn off. And then here comes coach Greg Gano and his staff. The Spartans are being counted out in a lot of circles and even if the talent is down, you know they’ll try and the coaching staff should have them in a lot of games. It’s hard to imagine CO not looking ahead to the following two weeks. Can’t you just hear it, the whole offseason the Spartans’ faithful rambles on about how it beat CO?
NOV. 5, CLAREMONT OVER SOUTH HILLS: Oh man, of all the trap games I’ve seen, this is the biggest doozy. Guess who South Hills will have played the week BEFORE Claremont. OK, I’ll tell you, Chino Hills. Guess who the Huskies play the week AFTER Claremont. OK, I’ll tell you, Charter Oak. That’s an upset sandwich with fries and a drink for 99 cents. You buying?
NOV. 5, WORKMAN OVER AZUSA: I can hear Aztec Nation now. But before you guys start your war dance, please note that Workman coach Scott Morrison is going to be dangerous. And by this date, he will have had plenty of time to get the Lobos believing. Azusa shut out Workman last year in a 28-0 win. But I get the feeling that the Aztecs will view their proving ground this season as the playoffs and not league, and this game will take place just two weeks before the playoffs. The saving grace is that Azusa coach Joe Scherf could have his team posturing for the No. 1 seed in the Mid-Valley Division. Will it be enough?
NOV. 12, WILSON OVER SAN DIMAS: OK, let’s get this established right now, Wilson is going to rock somebody’s world this season, but you may have a hard chance convincing your teenagers of that if you’re a Valle Vista League coach. It might be to hard to ask the Wildcats to win the league outright, but on the final Friday of the season they just might be battling for their playoff lives while the Saints just might be thinking the following week when they start their quest for back-to-back. If Zavala’s boys can start fast, force SD to throw then …
NOV. 12, BONITA OVER DIAMOND RANCH: Dangerous Podley is the guy you don’t want to face when you’re not 100-percent focused. He’s even scary when you are ready for what’s coming. Anyway, Bonita has given D-Ranch scares recently and the Bearcats just might be playing for a playoff berth or the entire league title. Same with D-Ranch. Here’s the kicker, Diamond Ranch will be coming off its showdown with West Covina a week prior. That game should be for first place and the hangover effect could be lethal. Pendleton to Horine (either one) with a minute left for the winner?
NOV. 12, SAN GABRIEL OVER SCHURR: The Almont is usually good for one stunner every season, so why not save the best for last? This truly is about timing. We all know that Schurr’s going to put up some big numbers with Aaron Cantu back. But San Gabriel’s been known to light things up, too. So by Week 10 of Mats coach Jude Oliva’s debut season, San Gabriel should be humming. In other words, it’s safe to say San Gabriel might be hitting its stride late in the season compared to early. Last year’s game was 38-30 in favor of Schurr. SG has to break in a new QB this year, but since when has that ever been a problem. Plug and play, que no? Schurr might, just might, be the No. 1 team in the Mid-Valley Division going into this game and will be coming off its huge rivalry showdown with Montebello a week prior.