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.