ROSTERS: Hall of Fame All-Star Game …

When: June 24
Where: West Covina HS
Series: East leads, 19-10-2
Last year: East 40, West 0

WEST
Coach Ryan Maddox (Monrovia)
Team: Antoine Peterson (WR, La Salle), Josh Simangunsong (RB, Temple City), Derrin Jenkins (DB, Monrovia), Nick Bueno (QB, Monrovia), Tim Sanderson (TE/LB Temple City), Jay Henderson (WR/S, Monrovia), Michael Jimenez (RB, El Monte), Howard Vaughn (LB, Muir), Karl Holmes Jr. (WR, Muir), David Maldanado (WR, Arcadia), Mike Amaya (DB, Arroyo), Chris Chiramonte (WR, Schurr), Gregory Castillo (S, Salesian), Andres Fernandez (WR/CB, San Gabriel), Alejandro Castro (S, Schurr), Kenny James (WR/DB, Pasadena), Sam Torres (TE/DE, Arroyo), Blake Edwards (CB, Pasadena Poly), Abraham Gonzalez (RB, Schurr), Andrew Medrano (LB, Lincoln), Ray Herrera (LB, El Rancho), Dominic Gonzalez (LB, Alhambra), Giovanny Berrios (LB, Lincoln), Noah White (OL, Pasadena), Kevin Ramirez (OL, San Gabriel), Dean Bisterfeldt (OL, Monrovia), Michael Rodriguez (OL, Duarte), Bryan Luna (OL, Crescenta Valley), Chris Salgado (OL, Alhambra), Genaro Torres (OL/DE, Salesian), Michael Lind (OL, South Pasadena).

EAST
Coach Darryl Thomas (Covina)

Team: Nick Alexander (LB, Charter Oak), Chris Auxier (OL/DL, Northview), Charlie Avila (DL, Charter Oak), Michael Ball (QB/DB, Rowland), Allen Brown (OL, San Dimas), Tyler Burns (OL/DL, Chino), Alejandro Camacho (DL, Bassett), Jacoby Carter (RB, Diamond Ranch), DeAngelo Cole (WR/DB Montclair), Aubrey Coleman (WR, Walnut), Randy Collins (LB, Walnut), Mike Cortez (OL/DL, West Covina), Bryan Cox (DL, Diamond Ranch), Wardell Crutchfield III (LB, Baldwin Park), Shaq Davis (DL, Claremont), Aaron Dockery (WR, Claremont), Travis Doll (C, Charter Oak), Maurice Dupleasis (LB, West Covina), Julian Gener (DL, Bishop Amat), Donny Hageman (K, Damien), Joseph Herrera (RB/LB Gladstone), Demetrius Jackson (DB, Baldwin Park), George Johnson (QB, West Covina), Mike Juarez (LB, Bishop Amat), Tarez Lemmons (OL/DL, Bonita), Jon Logan (OL, West Covina), Griffin Lord (LB, Damien), Mario Majano (DL, Wilson), Eric Mikity (LB, Bonita), Matt Murray (LB, Covina), Peter Nonu (DL, South Hills), Jose Nunez (LB, Azusa), Christian Orduno (OL/DL, Bishop Amat), Jamal Overton (DB, Pomona), Garrett Pendleton (QB, Bonita), Mario Rodriguez (QB/DB, Baldwin Park), Jeff Stamp (K, Diamond Ranch), Jordan Taylor (DB, San Dimas), Marquise Thomas (RB, Northview), Moises Torres (C, Covina), Adam Vanderloop (DB, Covina), Jeff Vargas (OL/DL, South Hills), Moises Vega (RB/DB Wilson), Tahir Sanders (WR, Northview), Hector Dominguez (K/P, Wilson), Demetrius Counts (RB/DB, Pomona), Andrew Cameron (QB, Diamond Bar).

Aram’s takes: The series has really gotten away from the West over the last decade. Yes, the West has had its moments, but not enough. This year probably won’t be any different, but you never know with Nick Bueno at QB and a healthy Jeff Davis right there with him. The East receivers are insane. Dockery is fantastic. If you haven’t seen him, you’re in for a treat. And then how does anybody matchup size-wise with Aubrey Coleman and Wallace Gonzalez? The East will be without QB Garrett Pendleton, who broke his hand on grad night. But they’re four-deep at QB with Cameron, Rodriguez, Ball and Johnson.

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 10 RBs heading into the summer passing circuit …


Jamel Hart is poised for another big year as South Hills tries to bounce back

Note: Obviously, a lot more will be learned over the summer about the guys on this list and how their teams will use them. And I will do another list after that. But for now, this is a pretty guideline as to who the top ball carriers in the “area” are. As always, let me know where I’ve screwed up, if I’ve screwed up, point out some nuggets I may not have heard of, and I will pay extra-close attention to them this summer.

1. Chris Solomon, Sr., West Covina — The reigning Tribune Player of the Year simply has it all — he can run with power and also run away from defenders once in the open. Solomon’s junior year came behind a veteran line that was a lot different than what he’ll have to work with this year. Will that hurt his overall numbers? It’s hard to tell right now. If there’s a weakness in his abilities as a ball carrier, I haven’t seen it.

2. Jalen Moore, Sr., Bishop Amat — Remember when everyone (me) was worried about Jay Anderson’s defection from the team last offseason? Well, Moore quelled those concerns with a monstrous junior season. Like Solomon, Moore uses a nice combo of power running and speed. But like Solomon, Moore will have some new linemen in front of him this season. That’s a concern, but he’s talented enough to rattle off another big season.

3. Tairen Owens, Sr., Muir — Owens has already given a verbal commitment to Washington. I think that like Muir teammate Kevon Seymour, most people will see Owens’ stats and shake their head as to all the college interest. Well, both are athletes and they project as the type of talents that big-time programs want. Owens worked behind an offensive line last season that lacked depth and had injury issues. He ran for 822 yards and 10 TDs. Muir’s line play and depth will determine just how big of a senior season he will have.

4. Jamel Hart, Sr., South Hills — Hart has lived up to the hype at South Hills, doing his part despite inconsistency of teammates or injuries to other key players around him. Like the top two on this list, Hart can run with power or run away from defenders. He rushed for 1,318 yards and 17 scores last season despite everybody knowing what was coming. The return of receiver Jamie Canada would take a lot of pressure off. When South Hills’ line was interested last year, they were a solid unit. With some key names gone to graduation, you have to wonder how Hart will be affected.

5. Michael Ortega, Sr., St. Paul — Ortega combines with fullback David Cabral to form a potent tandem. He will see a ton of action as its no secret what St. Paul wants to do. The Swordsmen have enough talent returning all over the field to make it obvious that every facet of the game should be even better this season … and that includes the running game where Ortega (and Cabral) should shine.

6. Corey Victoria, Sr., Glendora — Victoria figures to see his stats inflate in new coach Todd Quinsey’s run-friendly system. The senior was excellent in short-yardage situations and was a nice a compliment to QB Chad Jeffries last season. But this year Victoria will have to be the show instead of the supporting cast. Should be no problem and that’s for one major reason — the kid knows how to RUN NORTH/SOUTH (it’s a lost art these days).

7. De’Shawn Ramirez, Sr., Monrovia — I’m going on the assumption that Ramirez will be cleared to play. As a sophomore, Ramirez flashed signs of greatness and it’s pretty well known throughout the west SGV that Ramirez will be one of the top, if not the top, backs in the area. Remember, he had 851 yards as a soph and has now matured more physically.

8. Kurt Scoby, So., Charter Oak — None of CO’s stable of backs last year really distinguished themselves last year. Expect that to change this year with Scoby becoming one of the top rushers around for the next three years. Scoby has gotten more physically mature and has added quite a bit of muscle this offseason. I expect him to easily pass 1,000 yards and that’s saying something given CO’s new league/division surroundings.

9. Tony Botello, Sr., Pioneer — Nobody does more with less than Botello. The pint-sized speedster is listed at 5-foot-5, 155 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from rushing for 1,189 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Pioneer went 5-5 last season and lost to La Serna and Santa Fe by a combined 105-7. Does that drive home just how impressive of a one-man show Botello is?

10. O.J. Medina, Sr., La Serna — Medina was the compliment to Richard Alvarez last year, but still managed 765 yards on 96 carries. He also had eight touchdowns. Those are pretty good numbers considering Alvarez tallied 1,100 yards and 25 touchdowns. Medina will be the main man this year and shouldn’t disappoint considering La Serna’s commitment to the run.

THOUGHTS AND SLEEPERS:
Covina’s Gevontray Ainsworth just missed the cut here, but I truly believe that with last year under his belt, he could easily find his way onto this list. If you wanted to put him there now, no argument. Same with Whittier Christian’s Grant Escobar, who had a 1,000-yard season last year. Diamond Bar’s Jamaal Clayton also looks poised for a big season. Rosemead always has a 1,000-yard back and this year it might be Matt Eddy. There are several teams that have more than one good running back. West Covina comes to mind. If Aaron Salgado was the feature back on his team, he’d probably be on the list. Same with Cabral at St. Paul or Michael Harris at Monrovia, who will be running the show if Ramirez isn’t reinstated.

Arroyo goes 1-3 in Bobby Hauck Passing Jamboree at UNLV …

Arroyo was unable to defend its title in the Bobby Hauck Passing Jamboree at UNLV on Saturday.

The Knights went 1-3 on the day, losing two games in OT and getting beat bad in another.

Aram’s take: Call me crazy, but my new passing tournament strategy is to only put stock in good results and very little in bad. If a team does well, it probably means they have some skill guys and with some sort of line play they’ll have a solid season. If they do poorly, well, they could be entirely different with some sort of line play. Oh hell, I give up …

Aram to Monrovia Admin: Let De’Shawn Ramirez play

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

Within the next week or so, Monrovia High School principal Darvin Jackson and his administration are expected to decide whether football standout De’Shawn Ramirez will be allowed to return to their school and play football this fall.

Ramirez is currently attending Canyon Continuation High School in Monrovia, which is where he was sent without playing a down last season for an unspecified incident while he was a student at Monrovia.

As is always the case when a minor is involved, privacy laws don’t allow schools to comment on the specifics of what a student did wrong. Obviously, it was serious enough to land Ramirez far away from the football field, where his former team won the CIF Mid-Valley Division championship last year without him.

Now, as Ramirez’s senior year looms, he’s seeking to return to Monrovia where, once on the field, the consensus is that he will be one of the top running backs in the Valley.

I urge Jackson and the Monrovia administration to let him return.

I say that with some caveats. I do not have Ramirez’s case file in front of me, but if his grades check out and he’s made progress in the areas where it’s requested, then Jackson needs to reach the same decision I have:

Ramirez must return.

Does making such a decision open up Jackson and his administration for extreme scrutiny and criticism if they allow Ramirez to return and he slips up? Yes. Does it matter? No.

And that’s because football could be the thing that turns Ramirez’s life around. It could be the thing that sends him on a path to a productive life.

And by denying Ramirez another chance to play, the administration would be doing more harm than good.

True, the sports world is littered with tons of athletes who got second, third, fourth and fifth chances but never turned things around. Even our own Valley has experienced the travails of players who got second and third chances only to squander them.

But those situations are on them, the athletes, not any coach or principal who cleared the way for something positive like football to hopefully have a productive influence on their lives.

If 99 situations where a kid was given a second chance fail, but one has a good outcome, then it’s been all worth it. The job of teachers, coaches and administrators is to point our young people in the right direction. Whether they choose to go that way is up to the student-athlete.

Allowing Ramirez to play football gives him an opportunity to use his exceptional talent to hopefully clear a better future for himself.

Indeed, football is a privilege and not a right. Ramirez had his chance and dazzled as Monrovia’s starting running back when he was a sophomore. Then, he messed it up. It’s now time for him to get the second chance that he is certainly not owed, but hopefully has done enough to earn.

Most of you think you already know how Ramirez’s story will end up. And the odds say you’re probably going to be right. But I urge you to think about the “what if” factor before writing Ramirez off.

What if this young man uses his talent and allows the positive influence of being around Monrovia’s coaches to right his personal ship?

What if the light suddenly goes on after hearing the same message from a coach or teacher after the 100th try?

Where else other than a football field is Ramirez better off?

Nobody in society should give up on kids. Not our school administrators, teachers or coaches, and certainly not our parents and communities. Football could be Ramirez’s ticket, but we’ll never know if he doesn’t get back on the field.

Wouldn’t you rather know instead of wondering what might have been?

It’s time to let Ramirez play and root for the best.

Arroyo in Vegas this weekend to defend its title …

Winning the Bobby Hauck Passing Jamboree at UNLV last year sent the Arroyo High School football team on its way to a 9-2 season. The Knights will be back in Las Vegas this weekend hoping to parlay another big performance in the offseason’s first passing tournament into another strong regular season.

Arroyo beat Foothill of Nevada last June to win the passing tournament, which featured a total of 18 teams. This year, the field has swelled to 20, with teams from California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado participating.

“It’s a great team-building thing,” Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said.

“The kids have a blast. And anytime you get on the field, everybody is competitive. Nobody wants to go out there and lay down.”

With quarterback Steven Rivera at the helm, the Knights have a strong chance to give another good account of themselves, but Arroyo is replacing its leading rusher and receiver from last season.

“It will be the second time we’ve thrown since November with the group we have out there now,” Singiser said. “We threw at San Gabriel a few times, but that was with the guys we had in the weight room.

“I know we’ve got a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. You take everything in passing league with a grain of salt. We have some guys who are really going to surprise people. If anybody is expecting us to fall off because of the guys we lost, they might be in for a little surprise.”

Singiser and some of his staff left for Vegas on Thursday. The players will ride up Saturday morning in two vans. They’ll begin competition at 2p.m. and won’t be done, possibly, until late in the evening, depending on how long they last. The team will then head straight back to Los Angeles following the conclusion of Saturday’s games.

“I’m not staying in Vegas with 25 high school kids; you’re out of your mind,” Singiser said.

“We stop off at state line, take them to a buffet and go home. We knock it out in one day.”

All-Encompassing Top 10 SGV(N) QBs heading into the summer passing circuit …


Just how good is Arcadia’s Myles Carr?

Note: Obviously, a lot more will be learned over the summer about the guys on this list and how their teams will use them. And I will do another list after that. But for now, this is a pretty guideline as to who the top signal callers in the “area” are. As always, let me know where I’ve screwed up, if I’ve screwed up, point out some nuggets I may not have heard of, and I will pay extra-close attention to them this summer.

1. Nine, Sr., Bishop Amat
— It’s hard to gauge just how good Nine was or wasn’t last season. To see him play in person, you’d be hard pressed to find a better combo of raw arm strength and athleticism. But in the biggest games of the year — Alemany and Tesoro — Nine threw for 384 yards with a 2-3 TD/INT ratio (both losses). The early part of the season is also difficult to read because Amat’s strength of sked wasn’t so hot. For as great as we’ve hyped him (and no, it’s not fair to do that to anyone), it was his first season under center, under the lights. That would be a learning experience for anybody and Nine is human after all. Last year’s 2,000 yards passing and 19-7 TD/INT ratio was a nice IPO. I just think when you combine Nine’s leadership skills with his athletic ability with a year of experience with a few games against big-time opponents under his belt, he has to get the nod atop this list.

2. Andrew Elfers, Jr., Maranatha — All Elfers did as a sophomore was lead the Mid-Valley Division in yards with 3,328 and a whopping 37 touchdowns. He is obviously the darling of many recruiters already eyeing the Class of 2013 and justifiably so. It’s reasonable to expect Elfers to be even better this year as some of their young skill players also got some valuable time under the lights last year. Not sure the Minutemen can stop the class teams of the division, but they’ll certainly be able to put up numbers of their own.

3. Travis Santiago, Sr., Charter Oak
— Santiago was blessed with an amazing cast of receivers last year. He will have some good talent to throw to this season, but probably not to last year’s levels. Santiago braved injury and an entirely different class of competition than he saw as a sophomore, yet the numbers were quite strong — 2,418 yards and 21 TDs (good for No. 4 in the Inland Division). Maybe the numbers don’t get better without Thropay and Rufus to throw to, but is there any doubt that Santiago would be on any coach’s short list of QBs he’d like to build a team around.

4. Steven Rivera, Sr., Arroyo — Rivera is good enough to start and perform well on just about any team in the Valley. His numbers at Arroyo have been simply dazzling. He got hurt last year and missed time, but still threw for 1,963 yards and a savvy 21-4 TD/INT ratio. Rivera will have some new faces to work with this year, but I just don’t see many teams on Arroyo’s schedule that should keep him from flirting with a 2,000-yard/20-TD season. But a playoff win may be how everyone judges his success.

5. Billy Livingston, Sr., Covina
— The experience gained in his sophomore season coupled with an offseason of being mentored by some pretty big names helped Livingston really take a big step forward as a junior. 2,838 yards and 25 TDs are nothing to sneeze at. With a veteran team around him this season, Livingston’s numbers could be even better and that’s scary. You could be looking at the Mid-Valley Division MVP if the numbers and postseason wins are there.

6. Henry Omana, Sr., Diamond Bar
— Omana has the tools and college recruiters are taking notice. He also has the weapons in WR Katrib and RB Clayton to put up some major numbers. Not only that, the rest of the league and division seem to line up nicely as several teams won’t be as good as last year whereas D-Bar should be as good or better. Omana has the raw tools to come away with a scholarship, but does he have what it takes to get D-Bar back in the postseason?

7. Jared Leibowitz, Jr., St. Francis
— The Vermont transfer is 6-3, nearly 200 lbs. and going to be junior. He gets to work with St. Francis coach Jim Bonds, who knows a thing or two about grooming top-notch QBs. Leibowitz threw for five TDs in a game last fall while in Vermont. The more I think about it … he’s got the frame, he’s got the arm strength, he’s got Bonds and he’s got Travis Talianko to throw to. He’s got to move up on this list, no? I will see him in two weeks and let you know.

8. Kevon Seymour, Sr., Muir — Seymour’s offers from Florida, USC, et al aren’t to play QB. He’ll be a DB or WR in college. But as for his senior season, he’s involved in a serious three-way battle to be Muir’s QB this season. Seymour got ample time under center last year when starter Jeff Davis was hurt. Even if he doesn’t win the job, which is something I can’t see happening, Muir coach Ken Howard said Seymour will be at QB 30 percent of the time. Again, that’s if he doesn’t out and out win the job. He’ll win it. I firmly believe it and you’ll see one of the best all-purpose QBs around. I’ll get my first look at just how things are going in a couple of weeks.

9. Myles Carr, Sr., Arcadia — You know what stands out to me about Carr’s junior season? 26 TDs and only 4 picks. Very nice ratio. Carr has some outstanding skill talent to work with this season, led by the heavily recruited Taylor Lagace. I can’t remember Arcadia having this much skill talent. Anyway, Carr looks like a good bet to improve on last year’s numbers and now you might be seeing why I like this team as much as I do in the Top 25.

10. Vince Hernandez, Sr., South Hills — Hernandez has a legit gripe in that his top target — Jaime Canada — hasn’t been there for him due to injury. With Canada, Hernandez’s numbers should shoot up. Hernandez also has RB Jamel Hart to take the pressure off. South Hills lost a lot along the O-line this year, so that might be a concern because protection will be key in the Sierra League. Hernandez has the natural skills to put up a solid season if all the offense’s working parts are healthy.

THOUGHTS AND SLEEPERS:
What struck me in doing my research is that there’s a lot of questions at QB in the Whittier area. Last year there were guys like Clements and Cantu, but this year it seems to be quite a bit down. I have heard that Cantwell got a transfer from St. John Bosco, a junior-to-be named Walsh (first name?) and coaches think he’ll be special. Also, I can’t get a read on St. Paul’s Paul Telles. Can somebody tell me if they think he truly belongs on this list. Give me some stats and whatnot. There are some guys with strong numbers from last season who didn’t make the list like El Monte’s Manuel Santa Cruz. He could get some consideration later this summer once I see how everything goes. Same with San Gabriel’s Andy Guerrero. Chino Hills has a strong candidate in Andrew Chavez, who was solid as a junior but lost a lot from his supporting cast. Monrovia’s George Frazier is lacking experience, but could join the list later on. Again, I’m not trying to be a genius here. I’m doing this off what I saw last year and what I’ve heard so far this year. So if I’ve missed someone glaring, PLEASE TELL ME. I just want to have it all right going into all the passing games I’m going to be seeing.

UPDATED: Former Diamond Bar stud Bret Lockett at the center of Kim Kardashian controversy …

UPDATE: Bret Lockett did a video hit for TMZ today saying that Kim K. isn’t be honest about their relationship.

Former Diamond Bar WR/DB Bret Lockett, who was a Tribune All-Area selection in 2004 before playing at UCLA and now the New England Patriots, is at the center of a reported sexting/cheating scandal with Kim Kardashian.

You can get yourself filled in here and here.

By the way, Lockett is hosting a football camp at Diamond Bar on June 25 for kids between ages 7-11. Sign ups are at bretlockett.com

Aram’s take: Seems like just yesterday Bret and I were talking in the Tribune’s photo lab and now he’s at the center of a scandal with a reality TV star and an NBA player (if it’s true). This is why I always tell Freddie we need to GET AND KEEP every big-time athlete’s cell number BEFORE they head off for college. Actually, I had Bret’s but that was in the old Tribune’s computer system and before my imprisonment at FOX. Would love to give Bret a call now. Anyway, big ups to Bret if it’s true.

IMPORTANT DATES: Post yours and I will post mine (that I know of) …

Even if it’s two or four teams getting together for a passing workout, I want you to post it. And of course, post any tournaments or linemen competitions. If you can’t post, then email me at aram.tolegian@sgvn.com

June 24-25: Bonita Air Assault (Locals include: Glendora, Pasadena, Damien, Arroyo, Northview, Walnut, Chino Hills, San Gabriel, Bonita, South El Monte)

June 24: Hall of Fame All-Star Game at West Covina HS

June 25: West Covina Linemen Competition

July 9: SGV Shootout (@Arroyo) Passing Tournament

July 9: Tournament of Champions @Santa Fe and Linemen Tournament (38 teams)

July 15-16: Claremont Passing Tournament

July 16: Ayala Passing Tournament

July 16: Los Osos Linemen compeition

July 16: Arroyo Linemen Competition (Azusa, Covina, Gladstone, West Covina (3 teams), Villa Park, Los Altos (2 teams), Monrovia, Baldwin Park, La Salle, Temple City … I probably missed a few.

July 23: Ayala Linemen competition

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 … heading into passing/linemen circuit …

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.