Here’s my column from Friday, in case you missed it.
It’s almost November and tonight the eyes of the Valley will be on … wait for it … not Charter Oak, not South Hills but West Covina High School.
That’s where the Bulldogs will take on Bonita in what will be the biggest regular-season game of the year between two Valley teams.
It sounds kind of funny to say it. Bonita. West Covina. But that’s the shape of things.
Seems like it was just last year that Charter Oak and South Hills were two of the most relevant teams around.
That’s because it was just last year at this time that the Chargers were a one-loss team speeding toward another perfect season in the now-defunct Miramonte League.
The Huskies were 5-2 and had just followed their rout of West Covina with a rout of Nogales. Another San Antonio League title was theirs. All the optimism of a banner postseason danced in their heads.
My, how times change. Now it’s Bonita and West Covina’s Valley. Charter Oak is 4-3 and simply trying to make the playoffs where most of us know what type of fate awaits them.
Meanwhile, South Hills is 2-5 and bracing for games against Chino Hills, Claremont and the Chargers.
That’s how most of you wanted it, right? The two powerhouse programs of recent memory rocketed up several divisions and put in a new league so strong that the playoffs no longer are a given.
Well, you got your way. And the rest of us got Bonita-West Covina for all the marbles.
Believe me, I’m not complaining. You put any two Valley teams with a combined record of 13-1 on the same football field in late October, and I’m there with all the excitement my overweight frame can handle.
But I have to be honest. I’m feeling a little gypped right now and you should, too. This could have been the year that power shift happened on the field.
This should have been the year I stuck a recorder in Bonita coach Eric Podley’s face after his team beat Charter Oak for the league title and asked, “How good does it feel?”
This should have been the year West Covina waxed South Hills with first place on the line, not bragging rights in mid-September. And also the year in which West Covina returned the favor in the postseason and sent Charter Oak packing for a change.
This was the year, people! The evidence is out there right in front of your faces. The Valley didn’t need CIF to displace Charter Oak and South Hills to knock them from their perch. Bonita and West Covina could have done it on the field.
Don’t believe me?
Bonita 42, Claremont 20. Claremont 35, Charter Oak 32.
West Covina 33, Glendora 28. Glendora 28, Charter Oak 21.
And finally, West Covina 42, South Hills 27.
I know, I know, comparative scoring is dangerous. But if the glove does fit then you must submit.
Charter Oak is no Inland Division team. Anybody in this area with half a brain can see that. The Chargers have had three step-up games this season against Glendora, Rancho Cucamonga and Claremont. They’ve lost all three.
South Hills is no Sierra League team. The Huskies don’t have the depth to withstand injuries and it’s showing. But they shouldn’t have to.
Charter Oak and South Hills fit better in the Southeast Division than they do the Inland. Charter Oak and South Hills are temporary victims of their own success. CIF gave them a timeout for the bad behavior of winning.
They won too much for too long and the other schools in the area just couldn’t handle it. You know who you are, and so do I. And to you, I say enjoy it. Enjoy watching the Huskies struggle. Enjoy watching Charter Oak fight just to make the postseason where it likely will be waxed two hours away from home.
And while you’re enjoying it, just know two things: 1) In two years, the Chargers and Huskies may be back in a division near you, and 2) It would’ve been much sweeter if it was Bonita and West Covina delivering the death blow.