DISCUSSION TIME: Mission Valley League vs. Almont League …

NOTE: This is the first in a series of league comparisons brought to you by www.insidesocal.com/aram. IT ONLY PERTAINS TO THE 2000s. I don’t want to go too far back in history because of the ever changing dynamics of the Valley and my ever decreasing memory. You will find that the leagues involved have many similarities, possibly including sharing the same division. Thus the argument is valid and could prove noteworthy come mid-November.

I’m not so Schurr that Almont League fans will like what I have to say.

Schurr QB Joseph Orduno doing something the Spartans don’t usually do – pass.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you feel I’ve left out something important about these leagues, then please feel free to comment and I will add it if it’s valid. I don’t pretend to know everything about either of these leagues. Covering as many teams/leagues as I do, not all of the info is easy to retain. So, please help me out and help out the discussion by adding input or info.


Perhaps Salmon-to-Leon was a once in a lifetime thing.

Meet the boys …
Almont League: Alhambra, Bell Gardens, Mark Keppel, Montebello, San Gabriel and Schurr.
Mission Valley League: Arroyo, El Monte, Gabrielino, Mountain View, Rosemead and South El Monte.

Top coaches:
Almont League: Keith Jones (San Gabriel), Gil Ruedaflores (Alhambra).
Mission Valley League: Jim Singiser (Arroyo), Matt Koffler (Rosemead), Erick Escamilla (South El Monte).

Notable postseason accomplishments:
Almont League: San Gabriel (CIF-SS Division VII finals in 2003).
Mission Valley League: South El Monte (CIF-SS Division VII semifinals 2005), Arroyo (CIF-SS Division VII semifinals 2004), Rosemead (CIF-SS Division VII semifinals 2001).

Notable recent players:
Almont League: Jesse Ramirez (Schurr RB), Alfred Varela (San Gabriel WR), Frankie Bernard (San Gabriel QB), Fred Colbert (Alhambra RB), Dominic Breazeale (Alhambra QB), Kevin Harris (San Gabriel LB).
Mission Valley League: Deon Sumler (Rosemead RB/DB), Lee Aguirre (South El Monte QB), Dominic Salmon (Arroyo QB), Ronnie Williams (Arroyo LB), Efrain Oquendo (Arroyo LB), Sergio Leon (Arroyo WR), Paul Zuniga (Gabrielino QB), Kenny Andrew (Arroyo OL).

Top programs:
Almont League: Schurr and San Gabriel
Mission Valley League: Arroyo and Rosemead

Occasional noisemakers:
Almont League: Bell Gardens (not always the case)
Mission Valley League: South El Monte

Fading fast:
Almont League: Montebello
Mission Valley League: Gabrielino

Bottom feeders:
Almont League: Keppel
Mission Valley League: El Monte and Mountain View (tie).

Aram’s take: Call me crazy, but I think the Mission Valley League is the most underrated league around. Every year Mission Valley League teams embarrass other Valley teams i.e. Rosemead over Baldwin Park last year or So. El Monte over San Dimas. But every year the league maintains a stigma of weakness from outside observers. The numbers just don’t agree with the masses, though. However, I hope the stigma doesn’t wear off because I like how the MVL players compete with an edge that wreaks of their desire to prove people wrong.
To me, the argument between the MVL and Almont isn’t even close. I will take the MVL any day. I know that in reality the gap isn’t that big. But when I think of Almont League teams, I think of unfulfilled hype or promise. Disappointment, if you will. San Gabriel’s march to the CIF finals in 2003 is the only thing saving face for the Almont.
Things could change this year IF Alhambra lives up to the hype and IF SG continues to pick up where Jones and Co. off in 2003 … they started to last year. Keep in mind that Almont League teams lost in the first round of the playoffs by a combined score of 124-13. Almont League No. 1 Schurr was thumped by MVL No. 3 Arroyo, 44-6. ‘Nuff said.
Edge: Mission Valley League


Coming soon ….
Miramonte League vs. San Antonio League

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