It truly doesn’t get better than the SGV Shootout passing tournament this Saturday Arroyo. It’s as if Knights coach Jim Singiser wants to give the Trib and Star-News an all-in-one look at the Mid-Valley Division and some key locals in the Southeast Division. We’ll gladly oblige …
Anyway, here’s what I’ll be looking for (hopefully it’s not shade) on Saturday.
Arroyo — Thus far I’ve only heard about the prowess of WR/DB Brandon Jauregui. He’s been busy with baseball, but he will be out there on Saturday with the Knights. Only a sophomore, he’s supposed to be a very legit weapon this season. We’ll see.
West Covina — Passing really isn’t WestCo’s thing, but with the collection of athletes the Bulldogs have all over the field, they should give a good impression. I’m not looking for the Bulldogs to win this thing (they didn’t last year and still won CIF), but I’m gonna start getting worried if I see ducks flying all over the place from the QBs.
Gladstone — I’ve heard things about the Gladiators’ top senior talent not playing this season. So, let’s just see what remains. Also, DC Brian Zavala. Let’s see if his intensity has rubbed off on the defense.
Kamiak — Pass.
Covina — Total buzzkill that QB Billy Livingston won’t be there on Saturday. And remembering the “let’s get this over with” vibe the Colts gave off in last year’s early exit, I’m not expecting much. Does it matter? No. Coach DT and staff really don’t sweat the passing circuit and it clearly hasn’t cost them when the pads come on.
Diamond Bar — I’m really hoping to see better competitive nature out of the Brahmas than what I did in June. I’m not saying D-Bar should be playing tackle out there while everyone else is playing two-hand touch, but it would be nice to see this team respond when on-the-field adversity strikes. All that and QB Henry Omana and WR George Katrib putting on a show.
Rosemead — I haven’t seen Rosemead at all yet. But what I’ve heard hasn’t been pretty. Am I sweating it? No. The Panthers NEVER wow anybody in July, and yet they seem to lay hat when the hats come on. I just want to see the types of bodies I’d expect of a typically good Rosemead defense.
San Dimas — I haven’t seen the Saints at all this summer. I’ve heard good things, which surprises me because this isn’t really a throwing offense. Last year, San Dimas threw it up to Kevin Kolbeck a lot during passing games and that made for some highlight-reel grabs. With Kolbeck gone, I guess I will simply be athlete checking when it comes to the Saints.
El Monte — Is this a playoff team? Is this a team that can really split the annual Arroyo-Rosemead exacta box in the MVL? Some people think so. If you’ve seen OL/DL Jesse Gaytan, you might think so, too. But Gaytan won’t be part of the throwing festivities on Saturday. QB Manuel Santa Cruz and last year’s top WR Memo Silva will be. Athlete checking here.
Rowland — Like Rosemead, the buzz this summer on Rowland isn’t good. But buzz means squat in September. Still, let’s see just how well the Raiders have reloaded now that the Michael Ball (and Leonardo Freeman and Ervin Crawford) Era is over.
Maranatha — Andrew Elfers, what else? I’m excited to see what many believe is the top QB in the entire area. If Elfers is as good as the billing, then he should be enough to take the Minutemen far on Saturday. However, I’ll trust the public and recruiters on how good Elfers is. What I want to see is whether he has anything to throw to.
Northview — This one is simple: Improvement.
Azusa — The one time I saw Azusa this summer, I was impressed. Since then, I have heard from other people who were not impressed. Uh, yeah, I guess I’ll be hoping the tourney’s defending champs put on another show.
Walnut — The Mustangs are sticking with the spread this year … more because of their line woes in recent years than the offensive skill talent on hand. A lot of production from last year graduated, so let’s see if The ‘Nut has some more horses ready to light up the scoreboard. Also, WR/DB Donte Lawson is a speedster worth watching.
Buena Park — Just want to say hi to coach Anthony White.
Monrovia — Better polish out of the QB spot. The ‘Cats will be one of the most talented teams out there, but they gotta get the ball to the receivers. If you haven’t seen them, you’ll be in awe (same thing with WestCo). It would also be nice to see De’Shawn Ramirez, but I ain’t holding my breath. Just remember M-Town fans, if you wanna be considered one of the OVERALL Valley’s best (and lay down challenges to Amat), then your team has to be able to take care of business in a tourney like this.
Baldwin Park — Yet another team the buzz has not been good on. The Braves do have to replace some pretty nice players in Mario Rodriguez, WC3 and Demetrius Jackson. I’m not expecting to see BP fling it all over with precision, I just want to see frames that look like they’ll be able to hang in the VVL with Covina, SD and Pomona (I guess).
San Gabriel — Readers of this blog know I’m high on this team. This is rough for me because I never thought I would be the one hyping this team. I want see what I would consider to be the best collection of skill talent in the Almont League. Passing games are pure finesse and nobody did finesse better than the truly good teams of SG’s recent past.
La Puente — Let’s see if the mild success I saw against Claremont a week or so ago translates into a nice showing on Saturday. The Warriors actually have a pretty nice deep passing game, so maybe they’ll surprise some people.
Bonita — The buzz also hasn’t been too kind here either. Man, the Bearcats’ QBs are under some serious pressure this year. Everybody sees that the supporting cast is there, but the inexperience at QB is tempering excitement. If Coach Podley wants my advice, and I’m sure he doesn’t, I say let’s cut to the chase, name Tanner Diebold the starter and let him roll. Saturday would be a great place to start.
Nogales — The buzz hasn’t been all negative and this is one place where it’s been pretty intriguing. Obviously, QB Keith Bolden is a very nice player. But I’m hearing the Nobles have got some serious athletes around him. I’ll see for myself on Saturday.
Alhambra — I liked what I saw of QB Joshua Mendoza and his WRs when I saw them a couple weeks back at Arroyo. The Moors are a longshot to make a deep run on Saturday, but further improvement would only make me more of a believer in a truly wide open Almont League.
Whittier Christian — OK, the buzz is back to being negative. I’ve heard WC is way down. Compared to last year, how could they not be? But still, Whittier Daily News anchor Andrew Campa says Grant Escobar is the real deal. I’m interested to see whether things are that bad. They rarely are …