NEW! All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 entering Week 6 …

1. Chino Hills (4-1) — Slight favorites to win Baseline.
2. St. Francis (5-0) — Defense deserves tons of credit, too.
3. La Mirada (5-1) — So much for (previously) undefeated Bellflower.
4. Bishop Amat (3-3) — Playoff/league title hopes alive after Serra win.
5. Glendora (4-1) — Getting better and better. Scarier and scarier.
6. Monrovia (4-1) — San Marino comes calling in RHL opener.
7. La Serna (4-1) — Get The Ranch in sexy Del Rio opener.
8. Ayala (4-1) — Forgotten team in the Central.
9. Charter Oak (2-3) — If any team needed a bye, it was CO.
10. Diamond Ranch (4-1) — Dangerous as ever.
11. Bonita (4-1) — Riding Verdugo is a good thing.
12. San Dimas (3-2) — Brought down to earth by Bonita.
13. Damien (3-2) — Thought Sparty was putting it together.
14. Maranatha (6-0) — Will Bogan go 10-0 in first season?
15. Northview (4-1) — Gets San Dimas challenge to start league.
16. West Covina (3-2) — Where do Dogs fit in the Hacienda?
17. Claremont (4-1) — This team arrived a year early.
18. La Habra (2-3) — Freeway League could be interesting.
19. Pomona (3-3) — Things should get real good, real soon.
20. La Salle (3-2) — St. Paul in league opener is doable.
21. Los Altos (2-3) — Shown quality, need wins now.
22. Diamond Bar (3-2) — Better ride Noodles in league, or else.
23. California (3-2) — Ready to ride offense in league play.
24. San Marino (4-1) — Are Titans ready to topple M-Town?
25. Whittier (3-2) — Where do Cards fit in Del Rio?

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

blair
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.

NEW! All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25 … entering Week 5 …

1. Chino Hills (3-1) — Bye week is only thing that could cool offense.
2. St. Francis (4-0) — So much for a bounce against Canyon.
3. La Mirada (4-1) — Not expecting much drama in league.
4. Monrovia (4-1) — ‘Cats know how to win the close ones.
5. Glendora (3-1) — Call it luck. Also call it 4-1 3-1.
6. San Dimas (3-1) — Allowing just 16 points per game.
7. Damien (3-1) — Where does Sparty fit in Baseline?
8. Bishop Amat (2-3) — Things only get tougher vs. Serra.
9. La Serna (4-1) — What a program!
10. Charter Oak (2-3) — Bye comes at perfect time.
11. Pomona (3-2) — Won’t be touched in the Miramonte.
12. Ayala (3-1) — Huge test vs. Damien looms.
13. Diamond Ranch (4-1) — The forgotten Hacienda contender.
14. Maranatha (5-0) — Playing Keppel and Mountain View though.
15. Northview (4-1) — Even in a loss, Vikes impress.
16. West Covina (3-2) — Dangerous team when right.
17. Claremont (4-1) — Young team putting it together.
18. Bonita (3-1) — ‘Cats have serious weapon in Verdugo.
19. La Habra (2-3) — Quality win over Colony.
20. La Salle (3-2) — Got right against Duarte.
21. Los Altos (2-3) — Conqs proved worth vs. M-Town.
22. Diamond Ranch Bar (3-2) — Finished nonleague on solid note.
23. California (3-2) — Offense has erupted past two weeks.
24. San Marino (4-1) — Bounced back against Beverly Hills.
25. Arroyo (4-1) — Rosemead looms on Friday.

Bishop Amat needs relief … no other way about it …

From 2006 to 2013, Bishop Amat has one playoff win and several thousand fans and coaches who think the Lancers still belong in the Pac-5 Division, SoCal’s elite playoff grouping.

Following Friday’s loss to Crespi, the Lancers face an uphill battle just to make the postseason with tough Mission League games left against Serra, Chaminade and Alemany, to name a few.

If the Lancers don’t make the postseason, it will mark the fourth time in the past nine years that Amat didn’t even go dancing. Considering Amat was in a four or five-team league for most of the past decade, that’s saying something.

Heck, in one of the years Amat did make the playoffs, the Lancers needed the stars to align and a coin flip in their favor on the final night of the season just to make the dance.

This year was supposed to be different. Amat has one of its most-talented teams in quite some time, with three players receiving college offers from some of the top college football programs on the West Coast.

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