Note: This would typically be Saturday Morning Quarterback, but since West Covina-Covina was played on Saturday, we had to move things up a day.
The Valle Vista League went 1-6 in Week 0 with only Pomona getting a win. Am I worried? Yes and no. San Dimas and Covina lost to very good teams … teams from a higher division, too. And Wilson blew a big lead to fall to Bosco Tech. I’m a little worried about the overall depth of the league in terms of quality. Last year, Baldwin Park and Northview fielded much stronger teams. Nogales was thought to be improved, but a brand-new Rowland spanked them. Baldwin Park’s loss looks to be the most concerning if you don’t believe that El Monte is fielding one of its better teams in years. Lions coach Joel Sanchez is looking like a genius for going with Brandon Martinez at QB. We’ll learn even more when the Lions take on La Puente this Thursday. The Hacienda League was 4-3 this weekend. I thought this was going to be a down year for the league, but it’s hard to know whether I’m right just yet. The amount of talent loss to graduation was pretty remarkable for West Covina, Bonita, D-Ranch, Walnut and Rowland. Kudos to coach Dale Ziola for winning his Los Altos debut in nice fashion. Some people in the Whittier area pegged El Rancho as a contender in the Del Rio League. Nice win for LA. Stunningly, that Los Altos game story was one of the most viewed on Saturday in terms of overall hit counts for the Tribune. I guess LA fans are still out there. And what can you say about Rowland’s Craig Snyder? You can say “It was only Nogales” that the Raiders beat, but I took the win as a sign that you’re still going to have to beat Snyder. That program will not roll over for anyone … and they have the most players on their frosh team that they’ve had in a while. Good sign. Back to West Covina-Covina for a second. The Colts couldn’t have asked for a better scenario with Trib Player of the Year Chris Solomon missing more than half of the game, but they could not take advantage because like coach Darryl Thomas said, the defense could not get off the field on third down. Who knew WestCo could pass when the pressure was on? I sure didn’t. You have to be impressed with West Covina’s resolve. Solomon goes down, QB Jon Najera goes down and several players cramp up, but the Bulldogs seemingly never missed a beat. You have to tip your cap to Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore and his staff. Although I was a bit confused by some of the play calling and a timeout on what should have been a drive to ice the game, which allowed Covina to get the ball back and tie the game, I’m extremely impressed by how they got this team ready to play. Believe me, this is not last year’s team. They had to replace a A LOT of key guys and even with in-game injuries, Maggiore and his staff seemed to be one step ahead of everything throughout the game. They showed why they’re one of the better staffs around. I want to see more out of Covina’s offense than a deep passing game. Colts RB Gevontray Ainsworth was held to 38 yards. One of the most impressive players of the weekend was Glendora RB/LB Skyler Crall. Wow. This may be beating a dead horse, but Glendora got the defensive performance it needed to beat CO, but the offense clearly was too one-dimensional to threaten the Chargers defense. It’s also very obvious when Glendora is going to get Chad Johnson the ball. He simply enters the game. I remarked TWICE to people I was watching the game with that No. 3 is going to get the ball/be targeted on this play. Sure enough, he was. If I can see it, you can be rest assured that opposing d-coordinators can, too. All eyes will be on Bishop Amat this Friday. The Lancers play in a marquee game against Servite down in the OC. It would be huge for the Valley if Amat is able to come away with the win. I’m not particularly concerned with Amat’s 14-0 win over Garfield. If you think for a second that Lancers coach Steve Hagerty showed much with Servite scouts keeping an eye on the happenings in La Puente, then I’ve got a mortgage to sell you in Riverside. I say this every year, but until Muir can string a few solid performances together, I won’t take the bait and start calling for a deep Southeast Division run. If Arcadia can’t take care of St. Francis on Friday, some of the luster of the following week’s showdown with Monrovia will be off. Some. I’ve heard from several people that the pressure is on coach Greg Gano at Damien this year. Get real. When is the pressure not on at Damien? And have the people who think Gano has underachieved at Damien taken a look at the talent he had to work with the past two years? If anything, he’s overachieved. Rome and Servite weren’t built in a day. Damien fans need to take a look at the growing talent base and not the W-L record to see whether the program is making progress. If you do that, then you realize it is. Want an early prediction for 2012? Damien will spend some time at No. 1 in the area with all the underclassmen talent that’s currently up on varsity this year. Last thing on Damien: the Spartans had to be happy to see another team go nowhere on Bonita’s defense. Final last thing on Damien: Gano will be a guest on Tuesday’s PrepXtra Live. I was impressed by the attendance at all three games I attended, but the best atmosphere had to be West Covina-Covina. The chants from the crowd and the overall noise were fantastic. I wonder how many family members Chris Solomon has. There must have been 30 people in the WestCo stands wearing No. 20 jersey/shirts. Let’s hope his injury isn’t too serious. Nice win by Montebello on Friday. The Oilers edged Roosevelt of L.A. … as Steve Ramirez said, close wins are something Montebello didn’t always get last year. Good sign. La Serna put up 32 points in its season-opening win. Another good sign. It was a rough trip to Arizona for Santa Fe, which lost 42-0 to Hamilton.