NOTE: Here’s my column from Friday, in case you missed it.
There usually isn’t too much that the Bishop Amat, Charter Oak and West Covina high school football teams have in common.
Their fans like to argue about who would beat who in mythical matchups. They like to compare divisions, chide each other for past and current failures and downplay the others’ accomplishments. It’s all pretty healthy.
You know, the kind of stuff you’d see out of brothers and sisters.
There are a few people in the Valley like myself, who like to see all three do well, but we’re few and far between. Usually, being a fan of one prohibits you from being a fan of the others. Call it the trappings of success and tradition.
Well, tonight, all three teams and their followings will have something in common. They’ll all be playing way over their heads and wearing the title of prohibitive underdog when they take the field.
For Bishop Amat, the challenge is taking on a Servite team that’s defense is starting to be praised like the 1985 Chicago Bears.
For Charter Oak, it’s an opponent from Big VIII country named Roosevelt. No, not the Roosevelt you’re thinking of. The Roosevelt that plays out in Corona and has 67 players on its varsity roster.
For West Covina, the journey is to L.A. Valley College to face perennial power Loyola. The Bulldogs will be doing so without reigning Tribune Player of the Year Chris Solomon, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.
So there you have it, the top three teams in the Tribune area taking on Orange County’s top team, one of the Inland Empire’s top teams, and one of Southern California’s traditional powers. You can add more accolades to Servite, if you’d like. Everyone else is.
Situations like this aren’t rare for one or two Valley teams. Heck, even Arroyo took on Hart last year. But for the top three teams in the area to each be undertaking such monumental challenges on the same Friday night?
Well, I don’t recall that ever happening.
Because of the popularity of this newspaper’s blogs, the SGV is well known outside of what some people like to refer to as “our fishbowl.” I’ve heard on numerous occasions that the amount of coverage and notoriety given to SGV teams by the publication that covers them isn’t warranted. That’s probably true. But you can blame your own hometown newspaper if that’s how you feel.
Nonetheless, I’m not sure Servite fans really respect Amat. I’m not sure they view Amat the same way we do here. You see, in Orange County, 1995 was 16 years ago. In the SGV, it’s more like six months ago.
I am pretty sure that if you take a poll of the Roosevelt fans tonight, most of them will tell you they had no clue where Charter Oak was located until they exited the freeway. And West Covina? Well, Loyola fans might as well think they’re playing a team from out of state.
Somebody please pull off an upset.
Despite the Valley’s long track record of being able to produce shockers of epic magnitude, most of which in recent years have come from Amat, it doesn’t look like tonight will be the night. In fact, it could be downright ugly around 10 p.m.
Amat managed just 14 points, seven of which came in the closing minutes, against a Garfield team that Amat fans have spent the past week trying to sell the rest of the world on as being legit.
Charter Oak put up just 17 points against Glendora … but only three of them came in the second half when Glendora’s offense had been solved and everybody in the stadium was waiting for a dagger that never came.
West Covina had three coverage breakdowns against Covina, and if the same thing happens against Loyola’s receivers, we may see a running clock at some point.
I would like to think that our three best teams are good enough to take on such a daunting challenge, but I just don’t see it. The timing is off. They all have the coaching and probably the toughness to get the job done, but the talent disparity across the board looks to be too much in all three games.
Most people think my job is to sit here and homer for the local teams. I will be pulling for them, no doubt about it. But the other part of my job is to keep it real and maybe soften the blow by warning you that it may be a long, long night.
Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT