Note: I love this new blog feature, when a thread is thriving with comments, I can kick it up to the top to give it more play.
We’re finally a month away from the football season, and a couple weeks from the start of summer camp. This is when all the fun begins and all the predictions are made. The Tribune’s preseason top ten may not look like this come September, but this gives you an idea of where I’m leaning before all the discussions with head coaches over the next month. There is a brief explanation on the top five and a guesstimate on the Tribune’s Super 33. Enjoy your weekend and lets start breaking it down by position next week.
And still champion …
1. Charter Oak — Even though the schedule doesn’t blow you away, the combination of Adam Muema and Brandon Golden — both Division I backs should. Then you have either Travis Santiago or Josiah Thropay at QB, with most thinking it’s Santiago’s job to lose. Then you two-way stud A.J. Powell, corner Dennis Rufus, linebacker Keith Smith and arguably the best coaching staff in the Valley coming off another CIF championship. Forgetaboutit, it won’t be a surprise at all if they run the table and go undefeated for a second straight year.
2. Glendora — Maybe this comes as a surprise, but everything I hear about junior QB Chad Jeffries is positive and with a coach like Pasquarella grooming him, this could be a special offense with Wallace Gonzalez and Aaron Stockham at WR and Andrew Holmes in the backfield. You also have two returning second team DB’s in seniors Duwani Bankhead and Dylon Nichols. If the Tartans step up on defense, and they always seem to do so, they should have more than enough offense to prove this ranking is legitimate.
3. Bishop Amat — With the departures and schedule, this could be the Lancers’ highest ranking of the season. I don’t see how you lose defensive gems Sheldon Price, Brent Seals, Isaiah Bowens and running back Deshawn Gaisie and pick up where you left off. Coach Steve Hagerty has a more difficult task in his second season, but offensively, quarterback Jerry McClanahan is one of the Valley’s best, and Jay Anderson could be a monster in the backfield as a junior. Having corner Darian Johnson back is huge and the Lancers arguably have more depth than anyone in the area. But the schedule might be too brutal to overcome.
4. South Hills — The biggest question is at quarterback, but the Huskies are loaded everywhere else. If Duarte transfer Jordan Canada becomes eligible, everything I’ve heard from insiders and outsiders is that he could have a player-of-the-year type season, especially because the Huskies are built to run and run often after the departure of Cameron Deen. As far as pure talent, the Huskies have Miles Bevel (DB), Geoffrey Vaughns (WR), Ify Umodu (WR), Sioasi Alonsi (OL) and Peter Nonu (DT). With Bogan in charge, they will find a way to challenge Charter Oak for the divisional title.
5. West Covina – I hear ya when you say that the Scouting Guru doesn’t give the Bulldogs enough credit, but the Southeast Division semifinalists could potentially be better than last year. RB Ricky Johnson and fullback Jesse Ili are back. That’s a potential dangerous combo. Quarterback George Johnson is back. First-team DE/OL Ryan McLaurin and first-team DB Jon Hernandez returns. Second teamer Jesse Madrid (OL) adds to the depth and the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive lines always seem to stack up against anyone. I won’t be surprised at all if they knock off Bishop Amat this year, they knocked off Glendora last season, and are better on paper this season.
The next five
6. Damien, 7. Rowland, 8. Diamond Ranch, 9. Bonita, 10. Walnut
The Middle Ten
11. San Dimas, 12. Diamond Bar, 13. Rosemead, 14. Los Altos, 15. Northview, 16. Arroyo, 17. Baldwin Park, 18. Wilson, 19. South El Monte, 20. Covina.
On the bottom looking up
21. Azusa, 22. Pomona, 23. Sierra Vista, 24. El Monte, 25. Nogales, 26. Duarte, 27. La Puente, 28. Workman, 29. Gladstone, 30. Mountain View, 31. Ganesha, 32. Western Christian, 33. Bassett.