Here’s a comment I made back in summer when Monrovia lost to Azusa in the SGV Shootout passing tournament. The ‘Cats did things that afternoon that baffled me and in the course of conversation I said the following:
When a team does what Monrovia did last year (go 13-0 into the final game) and loses when the big cheese is on the line, red flags go up in my head. I wonder not about talent, but mental make up. I went to that tournament wanting to look at certain things from certain teams. Mental make up was what I watching with M-Town, and I didn’t like what I saw and believe me, I’m not alone.
I bring this up because it needs to be brought up after the ‘Cats bricked it against San Dimas on Friday in a 35-34 OT loss to San Dimas. This was supposed to be the big revenge game for Monrovia … and they were well on their way when, guess what, they couldn’t finish it MENTALLY. I’m baffled. This is the probably the best team in the Mid-Valley Division, but if you didn’t believe in summer, you surely believe me now. Monrovia had everything set up for it make a statement on Friday, and it didn’t happen.
Will they win the Mid-Valley Division? I don’t know … I think they’re the best team, but can you trust them?
I’ve gotten a lot great emails from people about my column today. Check it out by going here if you haven’t read it already.
But first, Aram’s predictions for the top two in each league and the subsequent at-large berths.
2nd: San Gabriel
Mission Valley League
Rio Hondo League
2nd: La Canada
Valle Vista League
Champ: Baldwin Park
2nd: San Dimas
Champ: Valley Christian
2nd: Whittier Christian
Covina (Valle Vista)
San Marino (Rio Hondo)
La Puente (Montview)
Wilson (Valle Vista)
Gabrielino (2-1) vs. Azusa (2-0), at Citrus College — This is a pretty big game for Gabrielino, not so much for Azusa. If the Eagles can somehow pull the stunner, they’d probably need only finish third in the Mission Valley League and then pray San Marino doesn’t also finish third in the Rio Hondo League. For Azusa, this game is merely about posturing. The Aztecs want to be the No. 1-overall seed and will be just that if they go 10-0. But they also want the Montview League to be considered one of the division’s best leagues.
El Monte (0-2) vs. Gladstone (0-2), at San Dimas HS — Both teams aren’t looking like playoff-caliber entities right now, but you never know what could happen in league. It’s not out of the realm that either or both teams finish third in their respective league, in which case the winner of this game will have the edge.
Rosemead (1-1) at San Marino (2-0) — This is probably the biggest inter-division game of the week in terms of playoff implications. With standout RB Kwame Do lost for the season, San Marino looks like a better bet to be third in the Rio Hondo League, rather than second. Rosemead is very likely to be 1-2 in the Mission Valley League. But since anything can and will happen, there are scenarios where one or both teams will need some at-large formula love to get into the dance. Both coaches know this and it will be a playoff-like focus on Friday. This game is also a rematch of last year’s first-round game in which San Marino ran over Rosemead.
Monrovia (1-1) at San Dimas (1-2) — Yes, this is a rematch of the division’s championship game. Yes, it’s the most sexiest matchup of the week. But in terms of playoff implications, there probably isn’t much to this outcome. Monrovia looks like a cinch to win the Rio Hondo League. San Dimas, in most people’s eyes, won’t be any worse than second in the Valle Vista League. So you can probably pencil in both teams to the playoff bracket right now. In that case, this game is simply for posturing. Nothing wrong with that at all.
South El Monte (1-1) at Nogales (0-3) — Big game for the Nobles. They might be 0-3, but they haven’t played an inter-division game yet. A win over South El Monte would do wonders for them formula-wise. If you consider that Nogales plays in what most fans agree is the strongest league in the division (Valle Vista), then you’ll agree that will be a factor working in its favor come November … but the Nobles have to do the rest, i.e. finish third or better in league, AND make sure they have some wins over other teams that stand a good chance to also finish third in their respective leagues. For South El Monte, the Eagles need to pick up as many inter-division wins as possible. They got started on that last week by downing Workman. A win over a Valle Vista team would certainly help their personal power ranking and the Mission Valley League’s as well.