All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 heading into Week 6

It’s LEAGUE. People wanna see how tough you are. Don’t wind up in a roadside ditch!

1. Bishop Amat (5-0-1) — One week off to scout, plot and figure a way to beat Alemany.
2. Chino Hills (3-1-1) — Seething over last year’s result vs. CO, Huskies bent on revenge.
3. La Mirada (5-1) — Looking like a sure thing now in the Suburban.
4. Charter Oak (4-1) — Is defense ready for what Matty Ice and Chino Hills are bringing?
5. Ayala (4-1) — Bulldogs better have Jordan Robinson this week, or else.
6. La Serna (4-1) — Had week off to get ready for Del Rio race.
7. South Hills (4-1) — Nobody really taking Huskies serious in the Sierra (yet?).
8. Monrovia (3-2) — Got their statement win. Could be a while before the next one.
9. St. Francis (3-2) — Monrovia loss should benefit Knights in rugged Mission.
10. San Dimas (5-1) — Saints are merely posturing for a top seed in the Mid-Valley.
11. Damien (2-2) — Sparty humbled by Los Al. Can’t afford loss to Ayala.
12. Rio Hondo Prep (4-1) — Handed Big Bear its first loss of the season.
13. La Salle (5-0) — Area’s biggest surprise has to keep it going in Del Rey.
14. San Marino (5-0) — Kinda surprise the Titans needed to rally to beat South El Monte.
15. California (5-0) — Looking like La Serna’s only threat in the Del Rio.
16. Los Altos (4-2) — Conqs flying high after WestCo upset. But how long will it last?
17. West Covina (3-3) — Better find some offense making playoffs will be in doubt.
18. Gladstone (5-0) — Now Duarte looks like a legit threat to derail dream season.
19. Bonita (3-3) — Scary team now that they’ve hit their stride.
20. La Habra (2-3) — Highlanders not even a lock anymore in the Freeway.
21. Diamond Ranch (3-2) — Can put rival D-Bar in big trouble in Hacienda this week.
22. Gabrielino (5-0) — Can burst the bubble of fellow surprise team Mountain View.
23. El Monte (3-2) — Here’s your chance, Lions. Arroyo visits on Friday night!
24. Northview (4-2) — Have to stay on task to set up San Dimas showdow Week 10.
25. Muir (2-3) — Welcome back, Stangs!

Will South Hills’ bullying tactics with its ‘Linebacker at Quarterback’ Adam Goss work in the Sierra League?

Adam Goss has run over the competition so far.

The South Hills High School football team’s offense literally does run through quarterback Adam Goss.

And it’s Goss’ job to run through opposing defenses. So far, so good.

South Hills has started the season with a 3-1 record. The Huskies won just three games in each of the past two seasons. There’s plenty of credit to go around, but a lot of it goes to Goss, a junior quarterback who plays the position like a linebacker.

“The morning after games, I’m a little banged up and bruised up,” Goss said. “That’s just the game.”

There’s nothing complex about Goss’ role or the Huskies’ game plan. Goss takes the snap, then picks which part of his mammoth offensive line he’s going to run behind. Sure, there’s a pass mixed in here or there, and maybe even a handoff to a running back, but for the most part the Huskies are comfortable having Goss grind out tough yards.

“You obviously want to tailor your offense to what you have,” first-year South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez said. “With Adam, we have an athlete who is playing quarterback. We’ve molded the offense to his strong points, which are obviously his ability to move the chains with his feet.”

Goss has rushed for 414 yards this season. Most of those rushing yards have been bitterly earned. With Goss methodically wearing down defenses, the sequence usually starts with several 4- or 5-yard gains before Goss breaks one for big yards, and possibly a touchdown.

It’s all a stark contrast from last season when the Huskies were a high-flying act on offense with some of the best skill players in the Valley like quarterback Vince Hernandez, running back Jamel Hart and receiver Jamie Canada.

South Hills averaged 34 points per game in 2011, but is averaging just 21 this season. However, last season’s win total has already been equaled and the Huskies are taking long stretches of time off the clock on most drives.

That’s helped the defense improve from allowing 36 points per game last year to just 19 so far this season.

It’s all added up to a strong start that’s breeding confidence that South Hills can contend in the vaunted Sierra League. The question is whether the Huskies can reasonably expect to simply overpower teams in the Sierra and keep things so basic on offense. That won’t be a problem, according to Goss.

“I’ve thought about that,” Goss said when asked whether he thinks league foes will stack the box against his offense. “I would say they will have to stack more people and I know they will, because they’re going to have to stop our running game and our line.

“I love a good challenge and if it’s going to be a challenge out there, I’d love to take it because I know I have good receivers out there. With a league like this, we just need a little good hype in order for us to play our hardest and put our name back on the map.”

South Hills football runs in the family for Goss. His father Wayne Goss Jr. played for the Huskies and Adam is the third son to play. Brothers Wayne III graduated in 2009 and Cody in 2010.

Both of his brothers graduated before the Huskies were moved up to the CIF-Southern Section Inland Division and placed in the Sierra League. Only a junior, Goss has the rest of this season and the next to hopefully help establish the Huskies program against such a high level of competition.

On Friday, Goss and his teammates will get one last prep for league play when they take on Glendora.

After that, the legacy building begins.

South Hills won’t be the most talented team in the Sierra League, but it could be the most determined and best at knowing its capabilities and limitations.

Who knows, with Goss leading the way, the Huskies just might grind out a surprise or two.

“I love being that one person out there to make those plays for a team,” Goss said. “I’m grateful to have a line that big. They relieve a lot of pressure and allow me to read a lot better because I know they have my back.

“Everybody in the league is good and they all have good players. It just makes it more challenging for us, but I think it’s a good time to be out there with all those athletes.”

Super Thursday in the Montview League …

If you haven’t seen this kid play, and I know you haven’t, I suggest you use Thurs. to do so.

League title and playoff spots on the line on Thursday in arguably the most critical night of the season in the Montview League.

The Valley is going to know a lot more about the Montview League around 10 p.m. Thursday.

The league has the stage to itself with two showdowns that will go a long way in not only determining the league champion, but also who makes the Northwest Division playoffs.

Duarte (2-2, 1-0) plays Azusa (2-2, 1-0) at Bonita High. Sierra Vista (3-1, 1-0) visits Gladstone (4-0, 1-0) at Citrus College. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.

For Duarte and first-year head coach Jason Martin, the opportunity couldn’t be bigger. The Falcons have a chance to end Azusa’s 27-game win streak in league and put the four-time defending champion Aztecs in a tough spot with games still to come against Gladstone, Sierra Vista and La Puente.

“Myself, coaching staff included and players are aware of their dominance in league, and we know in order to be the champ, you have to beat the champ,” Martin said. “Especially with the way our league is looking right now — each team has improved — win or lose (tonight) we still have got five more competitive games to come up.
“This will test us to see where we’re at, but we’ve still got a long way to go in the season.”

It’s hard to tell whether the Aztecs are truly vulnerable this season because although their 2-2 record doesn’t get anyone excited, they have played solid competition. There is no doubting, however, that Gladstone has stolen some of Azusa’s thunder with its 4-0 start.

The Gladiators sent notice to the league last week by building a 37-7 lead early in the fourth quarter against La Puente before the game was halted due to a neck/head injury to Warriors quarterback Ivan Vasquez.

Gladstone can’t bask in the glory, though, because Sierra Vista looks formidable enough to pull the upset. The Dons are led by running back Lee Jones, who leads the Valley in rushing (if the team’s oft-inflated stats are to be believed) with 993 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Gladstone will counter with the duo of quarterback Kevin Amezquita and bruising running back Aaron Sanchez. Amezquita has put himself in the mix for Tribune Player of the Year honors by throwing for 481 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for 506 yards and seven scores.

Although it appears that Gladstone and Azusa are headed for a league-deciding showdown on Oct. 19, Duarte could throw a wrench into things. The Falcons has program picked itself up off the mat from back-to-back winless seasons in 2009 and ’10 to become a contender again. But taking the next step won’t be easy and Martin knows that.

“Anytime that you’re the team that could possibly end another team’s winning streak, it’s always a good thing,” Martin said. “There’s always an optimism there that you could be the team to knock them off. But, there’s been 27 other teams that felt like that before us, too.
“We haven’t played a full four quarters yet. No matter what happens in the game, with the trials and tribulations, we can’t let that effect us. From there, we just need to do what we’ve been coaching this week. We have a good game plan set and we know they’ll have a good game plan set for us.”