RIO HONDO POWER! It’s not just about Monrovia and San Marino (right now) …

You know things are going well in the RHL when Blair is 3-2.

By Aram Tolegian
Maybe the Central Division wasn’t such a bad placement for the Rio Hondo League, after all.

After almost half a season, it’s obvious that not just perennial power Monrovia and consistent winner San Marino are carrying the day for the Rio Hondo. The rest of the league has come to play ball, too.

A quick check of the league standings finds that the there’s no team with a losing record and everybody but Temple City (2-2) has a winning record. Heck, even Blair is 3-2!

“I see it as a real tough dogfight.” said first-year La Canada head coach Ramsey Lambert, whose Spartans are one of the big surprises at 4-1. “It comes down to every game is going to be extremely important, not that they weren’t already, but every loss is going to surmount because everyone is so deep and having success.

“And with the confidence that everyone level is probably on right now, it’s going to be tough week in and week out. You can’t take any week off.”

This week, over half the league has a bye and the league openers will begin on Oct. 10. It’s hard to argue against Monrovia being the big favorite. The Wildcats are 4-1 and their only loss came in a competitive game against area power St. Francis.

San Marino has lit up scoreboards on a weekly basis and is also 4-1. The real improvement in the league, however, comes with the other four teams. La Canada won five game last season and is already at four wins so far in 2014. The Spartans are allowing just 14 points per game.

South Pasadena won four games in 2013 and is already at three wins this season. The Tigers are allowing just 7.2 points per game. Temple City has scored 30 or more points in every game this season under first-year coach Rob Castaneda. The Rams get a big test on Friday when they host Azusa.

And then there’s Blair. The Vikings have already equaled their win total for the past four years combined! Sure, the competition hasn’t been great but any confidence the struggling program can get is well worth it.

The Rio Hondo League was moved from the Mid-Valley Division to the Central Division by the CIF-Southern Section this past offseason thanks to the postseason dominance of Monrovia over the past several years. At the time, it appeared the rest of the league got taken for a ride with the Wildcats, but at this point the group may be ready for the challenge.

  • GP AKA Green Machine

    It’s good to see RHL teams having success. It seems like the move to Central has really motivated the other programs to strive to be better. I not sure how any of the RHL teams will fair in the Central. Of Course I feel Monrovia can make a run. However, the RHL will be the only division moving up in class while the others are experiencing relief. As we saw Monrovia struggle with Los Altos, if that’s a good indicator on how it will be for the RHL’s top team, the rest of the RHL can expect it to be even tougher. Depending on playoff Draws, RHL #2 San Marino may get to host a game, in which they would still be the underdogs vs pretty much anyone they play. The RHL’s 3rd place team will probably face a Colony, Kaiser or Glendora for a quick death. Overall the RHL is having a good year, but they all will have really lay it on line in league to get ready for the toughest playoff field since the late 90’s early 2000’s when the Pac 7/Los Padres teams ruled our divisions. This shows that sometimes moving up is not a bad Idea…you just might start playing up to your competition.

    • New York

      This still is not even close to the RHL playing against Los Padres, Crespi, Serra and those schools. Even though Serra was not today’s power, they still had a lot of depth back then.

      You are right about the graveyard of schools with many CIF Titles. Temple City fits right into that mix.

      • GP AKA Green Machine

        yeah…but some reason all of the central bloggers have some sort of false superiority complex. All of these teams were demoted to a lower division. Only The RHL was promoted. I don’t think Blair will ever get used to this division, but the rest of the teams can work there way into central shape.

        • AMAT 73

          Demoted or dropped down to better their chance of winning a title and being competitive ????? Kind of seems it’s a half way house , some because it was too hard to compete ( win a title ) at the previuos level and some because it was too easy for them to win a title ( MTown ) and few just are along for the ride ( the rest of the RHL ) .

          • New York

            That’s what is so nice about the Pac-5…no team is sandbagging. Although, a handful gone way too far in the arms race for talent.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            you right…Some Central bloggers had the nerve to ask why would CIF put the RHL in that division, but none of the noticed that were not good enough to be in the division we were previously in. In the midvalley, 3 Great programs can destroy a division. There is just not enough depth. CIF should seriously think about creating a new league where Monrovia and San Dimas are in that league along with Muir, PHS,Burbank and CV and place that league in the Central. It’s local. There are like teams, and it would the top league in the division. San Dimas will rip off 4 more midvalley titles if they don’t get them out of that Div.

          • Don

            I have a sneaking hunch the Saints are
            smack dab in the middle of the SS realignment radar. Rob’s hoods will have to make a few more moves than they like but teams like San Dimas, ‘Clete, and Sierra Canyon (a minor league Oaks Christian in the making) have too visibly outperformed the competition these past
            few seasons. No hiding behind a small enrollment anymore.

          • AMAT 73

            Where’s San Marino ????? Or do you feel the’re over rated due to being in the RHL . If any other RHL team should move with MTown , they should be the one .

          • New York

            PHS has no business in that conversation. Pasadena is a one public school town in terms of football.

          • WCDan

            “CIF should seriously think about creating a new league where Monrovia
            and San Dimas are in that league along with Muir, PHS,Burbank and CV and
            place that league in the Central. It’s local. There are like teams, and
            it would the top league in the division.”

            Come on Greenie, you know I can’t let that one go, lets not get ahead of ourselves, the Hacienda would have their share of years where they would be better than your fantsy league, heck maybe even this year if that league was reality.

    • guest

      that is nothing more than feel good pap… Face it you screwed the RHL, enjoy your new home in the Central the rest of the league bought for you.

      • New York

        So it is Monrovia’s fault? Maybe it is if Monrovia had been the singular decision maker as to leave or stay in the Rio Hondo League. Otherwise, this is the byproduct of collective decision making.

    • SGV Football Historian

      Good points and don’t forget at that time the Suburban with La Mirada and at times the PCL from the OC with Laguna Hills, etc were there too in the mid and late 90’s. However, this is 2014 and CIF needs to completely change the way it does business concerning the playoffs….several other states have competative models that allow good teams to play other good teams that are relatively the same size. In Southern California (unlike other states) all areas have experienced demographic changes that have impacted more than any other sport – football. I don’t like the placement, but step up wherever you are

  • reality

    This thread is ridic.The last place team in the Palomares would beat the 2nd place team in the Rio Hondo with a running clock in the 4th.

    • Don

      If anything, this whole story only underlines how shameful it is for the SS to stick the Rio Hondo in the Central Division for football at all. There had to be a better solution to moving Monrovia up. And Blair? Come on. Beating the Little Soldiers of Perris, Marshall and Sherman’s Indians is almost embarrassing. Wigood and the Pine Street plutocrats ought to be ashamed of themselves. Hard to imagine Glenn Martinez even signing off on the whole thing.

      • GP AKA Green Machine

        Let’s See… We know RHL is among the bottom two leagues in the Central if not the weakest league. But you have to start somewhere.

        La Canada Ranked # 503 is the 3rd place team in RHL….

        Sunkist League Bottom 4

        Colton # 562- former Cif power
        Bloomington 787 former Cif power
        Grand Terrance # 532
        Fontana # 796 Fomer D1 power

        These are pretty weak teams to be coming out of Division 5 last year. This looks like a football grave yard.

        Actually the central consist of teams which all needed relief. All of them are coming down divisions. The RHL teams are the only teams they are bring up. So maybe should look at it that way.

        • Don

          I don’t know about any big dogs but taking a league of schools which average 1400 kids and throwing them into a division with schools mostly 50% totwice as big is wrong. Moving Monrovia up was great and they have obviously shown they can compete at the higher level. What won’t be great is when the playoffs come and the RH #3 gets tossed into the arena against Charter Oak or Colony or Glendora. It won’t be much better for the #2 team either.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            Yeah, but most # 3’s are going to get tossed in the first round…How is San marino going to get tossed, when they are ranked around #400. Like I said…if SM get’s the Mt Baldy # 2 that game is going to be close….

          • reality

            In L.A. Unified there are a lot of high schools with student populations of 4000 and more, yet field horrible teams. It is the opportunities to succeed at smaller schools that mean more. That is why schools like San Dimas and Bonita with populations of under 1900 can succeed and even excel against much superior numbers. The kids of the Rio Hondo league have the opportunities and the facilities that LA students may not have. To be competitive in football, all they need is the coaching and the heart. Like Mark Twain said, “It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of fight in the dog.”

          • guest

            yeah sure keep telling yourself that when injuries stack up and small schools even with a great year end up lacking the depth that their bigger opponents have due to shear numbers.

            Yeah it could happen that some 8 man football team could beat LB Poly, Amat Loyola etc.. maybe in a movie like Hoosiers. But that is about as fantasy land as the rest of the non Monrovian RHL winning a championship in the Central. Keep telling yourself that, as I guess you like fairy tales and once upon a time’s

          • reality

            You typed a lot of words but said nothing. Using fantasy land; once upon a time and hoosiers as gotcha lines but substantiating your position with nothing says you are a kid just using mama’s laptop. Go away sonny.

          • guest

            I agree having such huge differences in enrollments will be the undoing of the rest of the RHL who are paying Monrovia’s entry fee on a bill the CIF sent them.
            It is insult to injury to have Monrovia beat the rest of the league like a drum for a decade, and then turn around and have the rest of the RHL pay Monrovia’s entry fee to the Central. Clearly unless one is deluded, one can expect that SM TC LC B SP will never win another CIF football championship much less win more than one game in the playoffs ever.

          • New York

            I agree, but how would your projected playoff performances differ from the actual results over the past 15-20 years in different divisions? One and done, two and done…

          • guest

            yes I am quite sure the Monrovia football program would benefit from being moved up to some league populated by only parochial schools.

            I think it would be good for you, I can’t wait to post some sort of Blair comment that

            Gee it is nice to see Monrovia won a game.. Good for them.

            And given enough time that will come to pass, as it has for once #1 in the nation Blair and CIF record win streak Temple City.

            Enjoy the Central home everyone else in the RHL is paying for. A pesky gnat nothing more on the way to another title. Good for you, God Bless you.

          • New York

            What difference does it make if Blair does not make into the Central playoffs or if they don’t make it into the MidValley playoffs? What difference does it make if South Pasadena gets beaten in the first round by Paraclete or by Charter Oak?

            Who are you advocating on behalf of?

          • guest

            NY I didn’t know you were Hillary Clinton.. Wow I now have a sudden increase in respect for you…

            What difference does it make…..

            Dont worry I wont tell anyone your secret.

            Signing off….. I am done with this board..

            have a great Monrovia Central House Booster year.. Good luck with your free agent recruiting efforts. I suggest you get some of the M car dealers in the booster pool, it worked for Reggie Bush, it can work for you. Go Wildcats! .

          • New York

            That is a first, and I hope to never have that comparison again.

            So you call me the politician, but you are the one not answering the question. Why the hostility toward Monrovia? Blair, South Pas, Temple City and La Canada have not had any playoff success even in the MidValley, which was seemingly created originally so the RHL and Montview teams would no longer need to play the Los Padres teams.

          • observantcat

            My friend, where are you from? The last time I checked it was not called the Monrovia football league, If the Cats were bottom feeders this process would still be the same. Whether it’s TC, SM, M-town or whoever is on top in the RHL, CIF would find a way to balance out the competition. Next will be the Valle Vista League.

    • Mean Joe Green

      I don’t see South Hills beating San Marino with or without a running clock, but I get your point.

    • AramT

      Not even close.

  • Valley Athletics

    It’s good to see Blair win a couple . Great for the kids there .

    • GP AKA Green Machine

      Yeah, Blair Alumni and College All American…Sean Smith tore it up for the Chiefs sunday.

  • Titan Football Fan

    San Marino on 3rd straight solid year for football. We’re not Monrovia, but it’s fun to have some W’s. Coach Hobbie and his staff do a great job. Central Division is a stretch for all of RHL. Still, SM might get a good draw in the playoffs and win round 1. Also nice to see the other RHL teams posting some solid results.

  • New York

    There is a lot of empty complaints regarding Monrovia, and this distracts from the real issue at hand: what can be done at the other RHL football programs to improve their performance? Frankly, it is an attitude that holds the other programs back from achieving excellence.

    Success starts at the grassroots level. This is about people within the community deciding that they want to see their kids reach their potential. Blair was on a winning track when Tip Sanders was there, not that long ago. Self-inflicted destruction in Blair’s case. San Marino got tougher on the field when they hired Mooney and now Coach Hobbie, probably the most experienced offensive coach around. If San Marino can become competitive, why not their arch-rival South Pasadena? How about La Canada as well? Does anyone in that community want to have a successful football program? I am not even referring to play within the Central Division. Those schools were not even competitive in the various versions of the Mid-Valley since it was formed.

    Someone made a comment about Monrovia boosters and suggested unethical involvement. That is unfounded, but what is common with both Monrovia and San Marino boosters/administration was the thorough searches they conducted to find their recent head coaches and then the subsequent and ongoing support that it takes to achieve success. I think people in charge at Monrovia are still learning how far we can go. The, at-times, small and incremental steps have been frustrating at times, but it is reassuring to see us staying the course in the right direction.

    • Don

      NY, NY,

      With all due respect I’d like to suggest that the importance of prep football has gradually diminished in the SGV to the point where if one were to poll, say, 100 typical students at TCHS, or Blair, or Arcadia about the importance of the grid squad in their life, most would tell you is was less important than improved battery life in their i Phone and slightly more important than finding the best Boba Tea shop.

      Many if not most of these kids don’t have a parent who played competitive school sports and in their homes the dreams aren’t of someday being Aaron Rodgers but of someday getting a JD and winning a seat on the Garvey School Board. A brave new world my friend.