Burning Questions for Week 2 …

Kevon Seymour is part of a Muir secondary that could frustrate Nine.

Will the Almont League win a game?

0-10! That’s what Almont League teams are on the young season. Some of the losses are understandable, but some are downright worrisome, i.e. Alhambra losing to La Canada and San Gabriel falling to South Pas. I’m looking at this week’s slate and the only real safe pick for an Almont win looks to be Alhambra over Temple City.

Will West Covina survive the line of scrimmage vs. South Hills?

I said I thought this was WestCo’s best chance to do so in years only to have one pouty blogger lay into me about South Hills’ strength and conditioning program. Anyway, both teams have enough in the skill department to get the job done, but I think WestCo has slightly more in that department. So Thursday’s showdown really does come to how well the Bulldogs hold up against Aiono, Vargas and Nonu.

Will Muir’s athletic secondary give Nine problems?

Muir has the ath-oh-leets to present a major problem to anybody on its schedule … yes, even Amat. So the question becomes whether the Amat receivers can find separation on the Mustangs’ secondary. I don’t know, maybe it’s a dumb question because Lancers coach Steve Hagerty is the type of guy who’s got no problem abusing opposing defenses with his power run game. Nine will drop back at least a few times on Friday and when let’s go, it had better be on the mark or it could be six the other way.

Is Rosemead fast/quick/disciplined enough to stop The Michael Ball Show?

The Panthers, like all of Rowland’s opponents, will inevitably find themselves in a situation where a play breaks down and Rowland QB Mikey Ball is on the loose looking to make something happen. So what happens then? If Ball is able to create, it’s gonna be over quick for Koffmead because the Panthers probably don’t have the pass attack to come from behind on the road. So, Koffmead has to hope its defense can contain Ball. Rosemead has proven capable in the past of coming up with huge defensive performances and it will need to do so again on Friday.

Will Aram eat somebody’s carne asada at the Amat tailgate?

I think you all know the answer to this. But I’ve been getting a little too wound up before games this season to really enjoy grub … oh, who the hell am I kidding?

Will Bonita get out of Whittier with a 3-0 record?

The Bearcats have been one of the biggest surprises of the early season. You can never underestimate the job coach Eric Podley and his staff do. I’m not kissing butt, but seriously they deserve all the credit they get. Anyway, Santa Fe is (by default) the No. 1-ranked team in the Southeast Division. Playoff preview, anybody? But the Chiefs are only in that spot because of the shortcomings of other Southeast powers. There’s no doubt in my mind that Mahlstede’s crew will be very formidable as always, but Bonita deserves the No. 1 spot right now. To get it, Podley will need another huge effort because standout Casey Horine is questionable.

Muir QB Jeffrey Davis probable for Amat game …

Muir quarterback Jeffrey Davis is expected to be under center when the Mustangs visit Amat on Friday night, according to coach Ken Howard.

Davis took a hard hit in last Friday’s loss to Saugus and was forced to the sideline where he suffered an asthma attack. He will practice this week and Howard said he’ll have a definitive answer on his status on Wednesday.

The Mustangs did get good news, though, that top offensive lineman Danny Huerta will be back from a fractured foot that kept him out of Muir’s first two games. Receiver/defensive back Kevon Seymour, who missed last week’s game with an ankle injury, will also be back on Friday night.

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 going into Week 2 …

Bonita is making a strong move thanks to two giant wins

1. Bishop Amat (2-0) – Lancers remind everyone style points matter not
2. La Habra (1-1) – Shorthanded, but still beat Mats. Servite next?
3. Glendora (2-0) – Starts season with win over a CIF champ and runner up
4. St. Francis (1-0) – Offense looked just fine in rout of Arcadia
5. South Hills (1-0) – Huskies got rolling in second half to rout BP
6. Bonita (2-0) – ‘Cats deserve this after two huge wins despite Pendleton injury
7. Ayala (2-0) – D has allowed 13 points in 8 quarters; O has put up 60!
8. Charter Oak (1-1) – Chargers bounced back, now brace for Esperanza
9. Chino Hills (1-1) – Huskies play OK, but came up short vs.Santiago
10. Rowland (2-0) – Had easier-than-expected time vs. Cal Hi
11. Whittier Christian (2-0) – The forgotten Mid-Valley contender?
12. Monrovia (0-1) – Sloppy second half hurt ‘Cats vs. Glendora
13. Damien (1-0) – Spartans got it in gear late to put away D-Ranch
14. Covina (2-0) – Just remember who told you about Gevontray Ainsworth first
15. Arroyo (2-0) – Steven Rivera making early push for Trib Player of the Year
16. West Covina (1-1) – Maggiore’s boy bounce back in huge way vs. Venice
17. Muir (1-1) – Mustangs need some good luck going into Amat game
18. Santa Fe (1-0) — Chiefs will get quality test vs. Bonita
19. Azusa (1-0) – Aztecs avenge ’09 BG loss in style. Sked sets up nicely now
20. Claremont (1-1) – ‘Pack should be much better when Shaq and Taj return
21. San Dimas (1-1) – Saints bounced back, but how good is South El Monte?
22. Cantwell (1-0) – Outscored Schurr, which really isn’t an easy feat
23. St. Paul (1-0) – Swordsmen had week off to prep for dangerous Norwalk
24. La Mirada (0-2) – Matadores should still make big noise in Southeast
25. Rosemead (1-0) – Koffmead eeks out big win against Montbello

Azusa’s quest for 10-0 … You tell me where they lose

As I’ve said before, Azusa is looking like a good bet to go 10-0 in regular season and be the No. 1 seed in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

Here’s the remaining sked:

Sept. 16 Ontario Christian
Sept. 23 Gabrielino
Oct 1. at La Puente
Oct. 8 Sierra Vista
Oct. 15 Bassett
Oct. 22 at Duarte
Oct. 28 at Ganesha
Nov. 5 at Workman
Nov. 12 Gladstone

Aram’s take: Ontario Christian looks like the only threat.

Week 1: Talk your smack or cry me a river … More Mid-Valley Division PLAYOFF results …

Valle Vista League: The VVL is looking like clearly the best league in the Mid-Valley Divsion. Covina is 2-0, San Dimas bounced back by routing inter-division foe South El Monte. Baldwin Park has banged hard vs. Rowland and South Hills. Wilson was a letdown, but the loss won’t have much direct effect on their playoff hopes.

Rio Hondo League: Monrovia blew its chance to bolster the league’s overall rating, but San Marino helped its own chances by hammering Gabrielino in a big inter-division game. La Canada’s rout of Alhambra also helps its cause and the league’s cause. TC’s loss to Arroyo hurts, but South Pas waxed San Gabriel. Even Blair got in on the fun by beating Duarte. The RHL is looking like the second-best league.

Mission Valley League:
Arroyo and Rosemead posted big, inter-division wins. Mountain View even got in the mix. But El Monte, South El Monte and Gabrielino losing to inter-division foes gave some of the winning back.

Montview League: Azusa looks ready to go on a serious run for 10-0. And if they do it, they’re going to be the No. 1 seed in the division going into the playoffs. La Puente’s win over El Monte bolstered the league slightly. Even Workman waxing Keppel helps. But Bassett falling to Mountain View and Gladstone’s loss sting. Duarte’s loss to Blair hurts.

Almont League:
Uh oh. Yeah, the Almont is in serious trouble at this point. Schurr, San Gabriel and Alhambra all go down hard. I won’t even mention Bell Gardens. Very, very bad start. Not only are Almont League teams losing tiebreaker games left and right vs. inter-division foes, the overall sum of the results is killing the league’s argument it’s the best in the division.

Claremont RB Taj Teague will miss Friday’s game vs. Bonita …

Claremont coach Mike Collins confirmed Wednesday that running back Taj Teague will be held out of Friday’s game against Bonita while continues to nurse a calf injury suffered while he was still practicing with Pomona.

Teague also sat out Claremont’s opening rout of Cajon last Friday. The senior is expected to be one of the top running backs in the area and will bolster an already powerful Claremont offense.

“We’re hoping possibly he’s ready by the following week, but we’re not going to take any chances,” Collins said. “We’ll wait until he’s 100 percent so if that takes more weeks, we’ll be patient.”

Aram’s take: Huge break for Bonita. Facing Claremont with Teague is something that will give opponents fits. Without him, it’s still a tall task for the ‘Cats, but certainly doable if they play like they did in the Smudge Pot. Hopefully, Teague has a speedy recovery and is back in time for league because I, like many, want to see what he can do in the Sierra League.

The quest begins Friday for Schurr QB Aaron Cantu …

Aaron Cantu is too good not to be getting looks

READ THIS LINK: Schurr High School quarterback Aaron Cantu has a pretty simple formula for getting the college scholarship he desires: Win games and recruiters will come calling.

Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton on Cantu: “I think that kid can play at the next level. A lot of it is about PR, and I’m not talking about local media, but I would think with his height, his size and his films he should be getting something. I thought he was an exceptional quarterback.”

You want some REAL Mid-Valley Division talk? The PLAYOFFS start THIS WEEK!!!

And you thought we had to wait until November for the playoffs. Wrong! They start now. Why? Because as you know by now, the Mid-Valley Division has six leagues with each guaranteed playoff spots to the first- and second-place finishers. So, no more third-place automatics and the final four playoff seeds will be AT-LARGE berths determined by a CIF formula. That formula looks at a few different things, with the most important being head-to-head results, if there are any, and you can bet your behind there will be!

(a) Head-to-head competition of teams under consideration (4 points)
(b) Overall strength of the league from which the team is entered (1 point)
(c) Overall win-loss record (1 point)
(d) Strength against common opponents (1 point)
(e) Strength of schedule (2 points, using overall win-loss record of opponents)

That means, all these inter-division games this week and coming up at EXTREMELY HUGE. Coaches, you’d better START YOUR POSTURING NOW!

Here are this week’s biggies!

Covina (Valle Vista) vs. Gladstone (Montview): This is a bigger game for Covina than last week’s win over West Covina. There, I said it. It’s the truth. Why? Because the scenario in which Covina finishes third in the Valle Vista and Gladstone finishes third in the Montview is still very much alive and that means winning this game means more to the Colts’ playoff hopes than beating West Covina. And if you don’t understand that, then I can’t help you. By the way, the rest of the Valle Vista League should send a thank you note to Covina because the Colts’ win over WestCo did wonders for the league’s argument that it’s the best in the division. Remember, “OVERALL STRENGTH OF LEAGUE” is a consideration worth one point in the CIF formula.

Montebello (Almont) at Rosemead (Mission Valley):
Have you got Rosemead penciled into one of the first two spots in the Mission Valley like the rest of the world? Good, so do I. But just to be safe, Koffmead had better pick up a win over Montebello, which very easily could be the third-place team in the Almont, which looks to be wide open after Schurr.

Arroyo (Mission Valley) at Temple City (Rio Hondo): Hey Coach Singiser, if you don’t want your boys to be playing another juggernaut third-place team in the playoffs this year, you’d better do everything possible to make sure CIF thinks the Mission Valley isn’t the worst league in the division. And what better way to do that than by waxing Temple City and showing the world that the Rio Hondo deserves to be at the back of the line because after Monrovia it stinks. There’s not a person from 710 to the 57 who believes Arroyo won’t finish first or second in the MVL, but just in case it’s second, the Knights don’t want to be facing the second-place team from the Valle Vista in the playoffs. For Temple City, third place in the wide-open RHL looks to be a viable goal. But third won’t get you in unless you can point to a win over Arroyo.

La Puente (Montview) at El Monte (Mission Valley): This is the type of the game the formula was made for. Strong chance one or both of these teams winds up third in their respective leagues. Whether they’re vying for a playoff berth against each other or against other teams, this game will go a long, long way via the formula.

South El Monte (Mission Valley) at San Dimas (Valle Vista): It’s not too wild to envision a scenario in which San Dimas finishes third in a hard-fought Valle Vista race … behind Covina, BP or Wilson? Whatever, if that happened, the Saints won’t be able to get an at-large berth simply on reputation. They’ll need the formula to work in their favor. And for it to do so, they have to take care of business against South El Monte. The Eagles, on the other hand, are a prime candidate to finish third in the Mission Valley and they’d definitely help their cause for a berth on multiple levels by beating San Dimas.

San Marino (Rio Hondo) at Gabrielino (Mission Valley):
Ahh yes, another RHL-MVL battle and a great place to make a case. This is also yet another game in which one or both of these teams could be a third-place team in their respective league after the regular season. So … overall strength of league may come in handy, as would the head-to-head result, obviously.

South Pasadena (Rio Hondo) at San Gabriel (Almont): Yeah hi, this is a very big one. Both teams are good enough to be in the top three in their leagues, so it’s pretty paramount that whether they’re battling for an at-large or simply trying to improve seeding, both need to win this game. Remember, this isn’t just about head.”OVERALL STRENGTH OF LEAGUE” is a consideration and it gets you a point in the CIF formula.

Monrovia (Rio Hondo) at Glendora (Baseline): Obviously, Glendora isn’t part of the Mid-Valley Division, but thanks to Covina’s win over West Covina last week, the Valle Vista League is likely to be considered the top league in the division, which is huge for not only the at-large formula, but the seeding as well. Monrovia can steal some of the that thunder back by beating Glendora on Friday. I’m pretty sure the ‘Cats will definitely care about seeding come November. They can start building their case right here.

Azusa (Montview) at Bell Gardens (Almont): There’s a scenario in which Azusa could be the No. 1 seed in the division going into the playoffs. That has a lot more to do with how many you’ve won in a row and not who you’ve beaten. Well, let’s say the Aztecs beat BG on Friday. They’re looking at being 10-0, barring any MAJOR upsets, going into the playoffs. That will definitely be good enough to make them No. 1 … and keeps them from playing the third-place team from (at-large), say, the Valle Vista or Olympic leagues. That’s pretty important stuff if you’re a team, like the Aztecs, that has CIF title aspirations. This game is also huge for BG because it might be third place in the Almont and needing some formula love. Not only that, if the Almont wants to be considered the top league in the division, it will need BIG wins in games like this.

Alhambra (Almont) at La Canada (Rio Hondo):
This, my friends, is a doozy. There isn’t much confidence on the street that either team will be able to knock off the big favorite in their respective league. So, that leaves both teams right in that second-, third- or fourth-place range … and likely to need some formula magic. So, if Alhambra is pleading its case against La Canada, or vice versa, come November, this game will answer the question. But beyond that, league strength will definitely be in play here.