Here’s my column from Friday, in case you missed it.
League titles are nice, but the only people who actually remember them years from now are players, their families and coaches.
Maybe I should, but I don’t know the last time Bonita won league. Nor do I really care. But I do know the last time the Bearcats won CIF – 1999.
See what I mean? I don’t remember anything else about 1999 but that.
That’s the difference. League titles are fodder for class reunions. CIF titles are unforgettable.
Tonight is the night legends begin being built. It’s the first round of the CIF playoffs.
Our season-long quest for the truth gets a little closer to completion tonight.
We’ve spent the past 11 weeks cutting through all the bull.
Most of the contestants didn’t make it to the 11th game. They prepared valiantly and fought hard but got the cold, hard truth on the field.
The rest have moved on to the high-stakes tables. Nothing can be more raw than win or go home.
With that in mind, I simply can’t wait for the next month to play out. And anyway, after watching 11 weeks of action I feel I have a pretty good base of knowledge to make the predictions I’m about to make.
So, without further delay, here’s one sportswriter’s forecast of some of what will take place in the next four weeks.
Amat will get past the second round
This is a big deal because before any Amat fan can get too excited about the program’s surge under coach Steve Hagerty, they first must watch their team make it past the second round.
It’s been a while since that’s happened, but it’s going to happen this year. Unfortunately, after that Amat is in big trouble because big, bad Mission Viejo likely will be awaiting them in the semifinals.
Getting past the second round should not be considered a successful season at Amat. But doing so will be further proof Hagerty has this program heading north.
West Covina will win the Southeast Division
Teams that can run the ball this well, this late in the season, simply do not get beat. West Covina’s ground game isn’t going to be stopped by anybody in the Southeast Division.
Then you throw in that the opposition simply cannot kick the ball off to the Bulldogs without avoiding the likelihood that B.J. Lee is going to take it back for a touchdown, and there’s nothing really anybody can do to get in West Covina’s way.
West Covina’s opponent in the Southeast finals will be Bonita
Bonita, at 9-1, is the second-best team in the division. They played in the best league, they beat the best nonleague schedule and there’s nobody in the lower bracket of the Southeast pairings that’s going to stop quarterback Garrett Pendleton.
Azusa will reach the Mid-Valley Division final
Considering all the talk I’ve heard this week about how Village Christian is going to upset the Mid-Valley’s top seed, this prediction looks daring.
I don’t care what the schedule was. If holding 10 opponents to a combined 30 points in a season was so easy to do, then everybody would be doing it.
Azusa has been money the entire offseason and regular season. Please remember the Aztecs won the San Gabriel Valley Shootout passing tournament this summer over Monrovia. They also fared well in linemen competitions. The regular season has been a continuation of that.
I actually feel bad for Village Christian because I’m not sure it knows what awaits tonight at Citrus College.
San Dimas will advance farther than any other Valle Vista League team
The Saints may have finished behind Covina and Baldwin Park in the league standings, but they will be the last team standing of the Valle Vista trio. Where exactly that is, I’m not sure.
I firmly believe San Dimas’ first-round game tonight against Arroyo will be more difficult than its potential second-round game with Maranatha or La Puente.
San Dimas has proven it’s still good enough to beat a team like Monrovia. The Saints just haven’t put four good quarters together. But reports from Saints practices this week have made it very clear this team is ready to put it all together and that means a long-lasting stay in the postseason.
If I’m wrong about any of what I just predicted, I will be the first to remind you this is high school football and anything can and will happen. That’s why this final prediction never will be wrong.
If you get to your local football stadium tonight, I promise you there will be no better way to spend your Friday night than to show your support to the hometown team. Remember, it’s your civic duty.