Note: This is the second Top 25 of the 2011 season. The previous one was for spring. This one is post spring … and it reacts to what we learned/saw/heard. Another one will be out AFTER the summer passing/linemen circuit.
1. Bishop Amat — Don’t know what will happen prior to getting pads on that will make me feel more comfy about the defense. But we all know the offense should be dazzling.
2. West Covina — Athletes abound, but QB and line positions are a concern. Back seven on defense and skill players outside of QB should be special.
3. La Habra — Haven’t seen the Highlanders, but have heard quite a bit. Reloading and not rebuilding is evidently the theme.
4. St. Francis — Speaking of heard, I’ve heard nothing but very good things about the Knights … specifically about QB Jared Lebowitz. If Travis Talianko has someone to get the ball to him, and it sounds like he does, look out!
5. St. Paul — One of the most veteran teams around, the Swordsmen should be even better this year, but they have some ground to make up on certain teams that spanked them last year.
6. Monrovia — Southeast Division talent on a Mid-Valley Division team. And the wildcard that is De’Shawn Ramirez’s hopeful return makes this team even more enticing.
7. Charter Oak — I’m a little worried about the Chargers along both lines, but the skill talent is very impressive. Very impressive. But you need Clydesdales and not just Thoroughbreds to keep company in the Inland. Still my early Sierra League favorite, though.
8. Covina — In theory, you would think that C-Town would be in line to pick up some serious hardware this summer, but Coach DT doesn’t seem to overly sweat that. Despite the nonchalance toward passing tourney results, if the Colts do somehow run roughshod this summer that could be a scary indicator.
9. Chino Hills — From the what I’ve heard file: Nothing to worry about along both lines. But then again, that’s always the case at Chino Hills.
10. Arcadia — Yes, I’m worried about how the Apaches will hold up in the trenches. But then again, who is really THAT daunting at the line of scrimmage this year in the Southeast?
11. Santa Fe — Yet another team I will be very interest in seeing this summer, although the Chiefs’ brand of football isn’t really conducive to impressive passing tourney results.
12. South Hills — Would love to see a healthy Jamie Canada trotting around the field this summer. If I do, then I’ll feel even better about the Huskies bouncing back from last year’s 3-7.
13. Muir — D-1 prospects are nice, but the Mustangs need to limit mistakes, improve overall depth and avoid injuries. This team remains the biggest X-factor in the Valley.
14. Maranatha — We all know about the QB and skill players, but the Minutemen have improvements to make along the lines and on defense to be championship-worthy. They have the right coach for the latter.
15. Bonita — Coach Podley’s near exit highlighted the spring. With one of the top staff’s still in place, the Bearcats should be able to cultivate all that young talent. Here’s a team that can really use all the reps it can get this spring.
16. Damien — I’m hearing whispers about a WR/DB named Josh Savage. He could be one of the best around and we all know Damien could really use some skill upgrades and more overall speed. Hoping Coach Gano doesn’t keep such a low profile as last summer.
17. Glendora — New head coach Todd Quinsey’s style of offense really fits the strength of what’s returning. The RB combo of Victoria and Holmes should pile up the numbers, but the summer will be all about finding a QB to manage the show.
18. Diamond Bar — I will truly look like an ass if the Brahmas don’t live up to this billing this season. But, I love the skill talent that’s back combined with a Hacienda League that from top to bottom won’t be as strong as last year … especially in the trenches.
19. Diamond Ranch — Interested in seeing what Roddy’s got. Haven’t heard much buzz … or really anything yet about the Panthers. That could be good or bad news.
20. Arroyo — Very crucial summer for the Knights to groom all the skill guys to be ready for what should be an epic senior year for senior QB Rivera.
21. San Gabriel — Have the Mats won a step-up game since 2003? Are graveyards littered with sportswriters who bought in only to see the line play not match the skill? I can’t help it. The last two wins of last season stick in my mind. I have a lot riding on SG and D-Bar.
22. Rosemead — Not much to see hear in most summers. The Panthers are not a passing tourney team, but they make the rounds. With a QB and RB to replace, it will be interesting to see what Rosemead has. But outside of RB, skill isn’t where Rosemead’s bread is buttered.
23. La Serna — Have to hope that momentum from last year carries over and the few key returning players are a good enough nucleus to make another run at double-digit wins.
24. San Dimas — Very curious to see what this team has in the skill spots, but I’m only talking about looks because most summers SD makes you cringe when they drop back to pass. But then most falls SD makes opponents cringe when they hand the ball off.
25. Azusa — Is the cupboard half empty or half full? I really need to see this team as well.