Should Arroyo have intentionally lost to Mountain View? … If it did, it probably avoids San Dimas in the first round … What’s more important: Playoffs or league titles?

Knights coach Jimmy Singiser said he’d never consider, but had Arroyo taken a powder on Friday night and intentionally lost to Mountain View, the Knights would be co-league champs and would have avoided drawing San Dimas in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

I know it sounds wild, and some of you may think I’m crazy, but people don’t forget CIF champs. Nor do they forget CIF finalists. But they do forget league titles, unless they actually played on the team.

I’m just sayin’ … Rosemead finished second in the Mission Valley League and drew a home game against Temple City, which Panthers AND Knights had both already beaten this season.

Something to think about …

Singiser after the draw: To be the best, you have to beat the best. Might as well start with them. Everybody can look at it, figure it out and see the way things went. At some point we’re going to have to get through tough teams. You get who you get. It would be nice to be rewarded for being 9-1 instead of having to prove we deserve to be 9-1.

Mid-Valley Division: San Dimas draws Arroyo, Schurr hosts BP and Azusa lands No. 1 seed …

Mid-Valley Division
Top Bracket
Village Christian (Olympic at-large) at No. 1 Azusa (Montview 1)
Temple City (Rio Hondo 2) at Rosemead (MVL 2)
Bell Gardens ( Almont 2) at Whittier Christian (Olympic 1)
La Canada (Rio Hondo at large) at No. 4 Covina (Valle Vista 1)
Bottom Bracket
San Dimas (Valle Vista at-large) at No. 3 Arroyo (Mission Valley 1)
La Puente (Montview 2) at Maranatha (Olympic 2)
Baldwin Park (Valle Vista 2) at Schurr (Almont 1)
Gladstone (Montview at large) at No. 2 Monrovia (Rio Hondo 1)

Best draws: Rosemead (gets to play TC team it already beat). San Dimas (not saying the Saints will beat Arroyo, but they’ll be favored. Not bad for an at-large).
Best first-round games: San Dimas at Arroyo. Baldwin Park at Schurr.
Best potential second-round matchup: Covina vs. Whittier Christian.
Aram’s early predictions (top): Azusa over Village, Rosemead over TC, Whitt. Chr. over BG, Covina over LC. Second round: Azusa over Rosemead, Covina over Whitt. Chr. Semis: Azusa over Covina.
Aram’s early predictions (bottom): San Dimas over Arroyo, Maranatha over La Puente, Baldwin Park over Schurr, Monrovia over Gladstone. Second round: San Dimas over Maranatha, Monrovia over Baldwin Park. Semis: Monrovia over San Dimas.
Predicted finals: Azusa vs. Monrovia

South Hills: 3-7 with a whole lot of heart …

Here’s my column from Saturday, in case you missed it.

One could look at the South Hills High School football team’s 34-31 loss to Charter Oak in overtime on Friday night as a cruel ending to a cruel season.

I’m still not sure what to make of it yet, but I’m leaning toward it being anything but a cruel ending. A cruel season, yes. A cruel ending, no.

How the Huskies were two fourth-quarter leads away from making it to the CIF Inland Division playoffs is beyond me. How they beat Claremont, then took Charter Oak to overtime is total mystery unless your judging heart.

On Friday night, two of what would have been South Hills’ biggest offensive threats were wearing Charter Oak blue. Several zip codes away, three more Huskies starters were wearing Amat blue during a loss to Alemany.

As for the players who didn’t seek greener pastures, South Hills’ best offensive threat and defensive back Jamie Canada was in street clothes, as he’s been all season due to a knee injury.

That’s OK, because there was still a hobbled Jamel Hart, a cagey Jordan Gutierrez, a gutty Vince Hernandez, several exhausted linemen and a sharper-than-ever head coach all using heart to try and stun the Valley and reach the playoffs.

Raise your hand if you thought in October that this motley crew was going to come within a whisker of extending their season to an 11th week. Most teams, when faced with such circumstances, would have packed it in. It appeared the Huskies were doing just that after they dropped five consecutive games earlier this season.

Then something happened, just when everybody had them dead and buried, they turned to playing with heart. That’s what should happen with a powerhouse program. Pride kicks in when physical skills cannot handle the full load.

Why there was a mass exodus this offseason makes less and less sense as it stands now. Was the grass really greener? No transferred player won a league title. True, Amat and Charter Oak will be dancing next week while South Hills turns in gear.

The record books will show 3-7 next to the 2010 South Hills team. It won’t say anything about what led to it and how it almost ended with an improbable 11th game. But those who there know the immeasurable qualities, the ones that numbers can’t describe, were there at the right time and that made this ending anything but cruel.

There’s no denying it, everybody loves the blogs …

Here’s my column from Friday, in case you missed it.

Like certain other things people do on the Internet, it seems everybody is in denial when it comes to this newspaper’s prep sports blogs.

Let me guess. You don’t read them either.

Funny, but I can’t make it through covering a game without at least three or four people mentioning something they read or watched on the blogs. But nobody’s reading it.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me about something that was on the blog, but they didn’t personally read it. They just “heard about it.”

Coaches are even worse. There isn’t a prep sports writer in this office who hasn’t gotten a call from a coach who told them verbatim about something he didn’t like on the blog … but it wasn’t something the coach actually read. It was something somebody told him about. Supposedly.

Each morning I receive a report that tells me exactly how many page views each blog got the previous day. I was stunned one day this past week when Fred Robledo’s blog got more than 18,000 views, because everybody I talk to said they don’t read it.

Well, today I’m here to tell you it’s time for everybody to come clean and admit they read the blog.

And if you’re really feeling it, it’s time you admit you actually like it. How could you not? Live scores, breaking news, opinion, quick-hitting tidbits of information … you really can’t have your finger on the pulse of this area’s preps scene unless you’re doing the unthinkable and reading the blogs.

What’s not to like? Oh wait, I know. The personal attacks. The bashing of kids. The anonymous comments. It’s terrible. Believe me, I know. After all, you’re talking to the Valley’s fat, uneducated terrorist, according to some commenters.

When it comes to the bashing of kids, we try very hard to eliminate comments that do so as quickly as possible.

And what we often view as the scrutiny that comes with being a high-profile prep athlete other people view as bashing.

But in case you haven’t noticed, social media has taken over. From Facebook to Twitter to blogs, society is doing things differently than even five years ago. Because of this, there are going to be haters everywhere.

These blogs are no exception. Trust me, kids are more aware of this dynamic than you think.

I’m not one to tell any parent how to do their job, but I would suggest using the blogs as an educational tool to show how you often have to take the good with the bad.

The good is the blog was an excellent tool in getting fans to a charity baseball game between Covina schools to raise money for the family of victims after the Christmas Day massacre in 2008.

The good is the blog gave us the proper outlet earlier this week to share how amazing it was to cover the college signings of 34 local athletes.

The good is an e-mail the Tribune recently received about the blog and how it was used following the recent deaths of Northview softball coach Fred Fraijo and former Vikings wrestler Jesse Cruz.

To quote some of it: I would like to commend the SGV Tribune, and specifically, Mr. Fred Robledo, for affording us, members of this community, a networking vehicle to reach out and connect during our times of need.

As a subscriber to the Tribune that has received a hard copy newspaper on my driveway every morning for the past 10 years, I feel your online sports blog have served a greater purpose.

The good is the blog is read by very influential people. Major media members, college coaches, recruiters, professional and college athletes all have told me at one time or another they read the blog. And almost all of them say they love it.

What this means is Valley athletes and their teams are getting the kind of exposure they otherwise would not get if they were unfortunate enough to live elsewhere.

The good also is the blog puts butts in seats. It then allows those people to come back and say what they thought of what they just saw.

The bad is everybody’s business is in the streets. Sorry if you don’t like it, but that’s the way it is now.

I guess you’ll be deleting your Facebook any minute.

Back when former Tribune sports editor Doug Spoon first offered our staff the opportunity to blog, I was one of two people who raised their hands to do it. My first blog post was back in 2006 and it was titled “This blog is my blog, this blog is your blog …” I won’t lie, I knew it would be wildly popular. Not because I’m a genius but because I saw where society was headed on the Internet and knew blogs fit in perfectly to our little corner of the world.

What I started, Robledo has perfected. We know we’ll never be able to eliminate the stigma of negativity that surrounds the blogs. We know the little bit of bad can ruin the abundance of good for a great many people.

But just know this. Should you ever need the blogs because you’ve moved out of town and want to stay current on the alma mater, want to be entertained, need a score, want a place to vent, need to get an important message out for a good cause, it always will be there for you just how it was intended to be.

And don’t worry. Just about everybody in town will see it whether they admit it or not.

Sources: Several Duarte players quit, Falcons down to 20 players program-wide …

Several members of the Duarte High School football team have quit the team, leaving the program with about 20 players program-wide, according to sources.

Because of the low numbers, Duarte will have to pool what players it has among all four classes to field one team for Wednesday’s game against La Puente, the sources say.

Duarte is 0-8 this season and has not won a game since principal Eric Barba fired former coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. following the 2008 season.

Somebody needs to rock the Mid-Valley vote …

Here’s my column from Tuesday, in case you missed it.

There’s still one last shot for voters in the CIF Mid-Valley Division high school football poll to prove they get it, but I’m growing skeptical that they will.

The second-to-last poll of the season was released Monday, and the numbers don’t match reality.

Azusa is ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Valley Division. As you know from previous writings, I’m a huge fan of what Azusa’s accomplished but I’m an even bigger fan of reality.

And reality is Covina deserves to be No. 1 when the playoff seedings are released Sunday morning.

Covina’s regular season ended last week with its win over San Dimas. The Colts finished 9-1 and upended the division’s defending-champion Saints to put an exclamation point on a regular season that also included a win over West Covina, which just so happens to have not lost since and is the No. 1 team in the upper-echelon Southeast Division.

That body of work should be more than enough to earn Covina the No. 1 ranking. Azusa (9-0) instead occupies the top spot, with Monrovia (7-2) at No. 2 and Arroyo (8-1) at No. 3. Covina checks in at No. 4.

Azusa, Monrovia and Arroyo are heavily favored to win this week. As is Whittier Christian, which Covina leapfrogged this past week despite the fact the Heralds won their game and improved to 8-1. Covina has a bye and is done helping its cause on the field.

You might be asking yourself, “Why is this so important?” After all, seedings are just seedings and the division ultimately is going to be decided on the field.

That’s true, but history tells us one of the subtle rewards of having a season so strong is it earns you a top seed and you get an easier road to the championship. It’s like that in every major sport.

In the case of this particular division in this particular year, however, being the nos. 3 and 4 seeds make a team worse off than not being seeded at all.

Therefore, getting it right when it comes to the voting is paramount, and it’s just not happening so far.

If the rankings don’t change on the final vote, which takes place Friday night after the last regular-season games are played, Covina will be playing a very difficult at-large team in the first round.

Current No. 3 Arroyo would be as well.

Specifically, if form holds this week, Covina likely would draw Maranatha (7-3) in the first round and Arroyo likely would draw San Dimas. Meanwhile, Azusa and Monrovia would draw the other two at-large teams, which would be significantly less difficult than playing Maranatha or San Dimas.

For Covina, it’s an unnecessary risk that’s brought on by most voters’ shortsightedness, says Tribune preps sports editor Fred J. Robledo, who voted in Monday’s poll and had Covina ranked No. 1, followed by Monrovia, Azusa and Arroyo.

“At some point, who beat who has to matter,” Robledo said. “You can’t just go by wins and losses. Covina’s victories were so much better than anybody in the division. Nobody has a win like Covina’s over West Covina.”

At Arroyo, the Knights are used to tough draws in the first round. Last season, Arroyo was the No. 4 seed and drew third-place Whittier Christian.

The Knights lost a close game, then watched Whittier Christian come within two minutes of making the finals.

This season, there’s a chance Arroyo could draw defending division champion San Dimas. If that happens, Arroyo would be viewed by many as an underdog against the Saints. San Dimas is ranked No. 7 in the latest poll, far ahead of where a typical at-large team would be.

Sorry, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

“My only knock on the system would be is if the CIF polls are supposed to mean anything, then how can you have a (team ranked) three and a (team ranked) seven play each other?” Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said. “It ought to be a three and a 12. That’s the way I look at it. I’d much rather see everybody get reseeded and now you’ve got a true 16-team poll.”

Stunningly, it may serve Arroyo better to lose to Mountain View this week so it could drop out of the top four and face a second-place team from one of the other leagues, as opposed to playing Maranatha or San Dimas.

The Knights still would be Mission Valley League champs but Singiser, as you might expect, won’t even entertain the thought of intentionally losing a game.

“In all honesty, you don’t need a quote from me,” Singiser said. “Anybody who knows football can look at it and see that something needs to be tweaked. It ought to be the No. 1 team vs. the 16th-best team. Then No. 2 vs. the next-worst team and so on.”

That won’t happen anytime soon, though, so fans and teams are left at the mercy of the polls. The voting is done by coaches and media. Collectively, they’ve gotten it very wrong so far.

Right now the entire Valley wants to see Azusa get tested. What better way to do that than to see the Aztecs face Maranatha or San Dimas in the first round?

The Aztecs have a decent argument to be the No. 1 overall seed, but it’s not a better argument than Covina’s.

Nor do Monrovia and Arroyo have a good case to be ahead of the Colts.

But if the voters don’t get a clue and fast, Azusa and Monrovia likely will enjoy the spoils that come with their high rankings, meaning easy first-round games. That’s something neither of those teams deserves over Covina.

Let’s hope they get it right Friday night.

Chew on this …

CORRECTION: Charter Oak has the last two South Hills freshman team MVPs on its roster in quarterback Travis Santiago (’08) and running back Aaren Vaughns (’09).

In my original, I incorrectly had it as receiver Chris Gilchrist in 2008. The overall point remains the same, though, CO does have SH’s last two frosh MVPs.

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 going into Week 10 …


Even when Bogs isn’t ranked, he still impacts the rankings

1. Bishop Amat (9-0) — Yes, even I’m excited.
2. West Covina (8-1) — If La Mirada weren’t playing so well, I’d hand Southeast to WestCo
3. La Habra (6-3) — When do the playoffs start?
4. Chino Hills (7-2) — Claremont loss had Huskies celebrating even more on Friday
5. Covina (9-1) — Wins over WestCo and San Dimas stamp Colts as CLEAR Mid-Valley’s No. 1
6. Cantwell (8-1) — Northwest postseason challenge awaits
7. Whittier Christian (8-1) — If you want to argue Heralds’ case for top seed, I’ll listen
8. Azusa (9-0) — Here comes rival Gladstone looking for a share of the Montview
9. La Serna (8-1) — The Southeast’s forgotten contender did beat La Mirada this year
10. Bonita (9-1) — Difference between being a 2nd- or 3rd-place team in playoffs is huge
11. Claremont (7-2) — As I warned in Aug., nobody in Sierra would go unbeaten
12. Monrovia (7-2) — Seem to be enjoying all the attention others are getting in Mid-Valley
13. St. Francis (5-4) — Remember, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year
14. La Mirada (6-3) — Don’t discount huge league wins over Mayfair and Norwalk
15. St. Paul (6-3) – Loss to St. Francis really hurts Swordsmen’s playoff hopes
16. Arroyo (8-1) — It’s hard to deny Knights a top-four seed if they go 9-1
17. Schurr (6-3) — Sparty stuffed a lifetime of emotions into 1 minute vs. Oilers
18. Arcadia (6-3) — Do you think Apaches could hang with, say, Diamond Ranch?
19. Diamond Ranch (5-4) — Stood in front of WestCo train and … splat
20. Glendora (5-4) — Biggest disaster of a second half belongs to Tarty
21. Charter Oak (5-4) — Chargers and Huskies for a trip to the dance. Love it!
22. Maranatha (7-3) — Minutemen have done enough to get an at-large invite
23. San Dimas (5-4) — Saints seem only capable of playing one good half
24. Muir (5-4) — Can’t trust the ‘Stangs either way, but I wouldn’t want to play them
25. Diamond Bar (6-3) — Hey man, I’m just as stunned as you are

Chew on this …

South Hills held Claremont to 146 total yards. Wolfpack QB Daniel Kessler was limited to 13 of 30 for 105 yards.

Aram’s take:
If the Huskies do that against CO, then they’ll be dancing the following week.