Above: Northview’s Kamaron Germany being pursued by Ganesha’s Justin Goytia
After speaking to every coach in the Valle Vista League the consensus is the same, that the VVL may have the most parity in years. Not Goliath parity, just parity. There is no clear-cut favorite. There are no great Mike McDonough led Colts teams of a few years ago (imagine if they had been in the Mid-Valley today). Even Northview and San Dimas, which had Mid-Valley championship aspirations last year and stumbled in the playoffs, are taking a huge step back. In fact, if a VVL team gets past the quarterfinals, it would be a huge, huge surprise. If I’m being honest, it’s a down year in the VVL. Here’s what I’m hearing: After years as a defensive coordinator at Pomona, Johnny Brown has taken over as the head coach for Don Cayer, who was let go just a couple months ago. Brown is raving about his backfield, and many feel Pomona is the big wild card…….. After breaking the school’s 49-game losing streak, Ganesha coach Dave Fleming said the next goal isn’t just to break their 28-game Valle Vista league streak that dates back to 2004, but to win at least a pair of games and reach the playoffs…….. Baldwin Park is the consensus favorite if you have to pick one. You won’t hear that from coach James Heggins, but they have a little of everything and return the most starters……. Defending champion Northview and runner-up San Dimas lost too much to simply pick up where they left off. But they realize the VVL is up for graps, and with the Vikings returning RB Kamaron Germany and the Saints still confusing everyone with the Wing T, don’t count them out. As for Covina, keep hope alive. They struggled last year and lost just as many players as San Dimas and Northview.
What the coaches are saying:
Covina coach Darryl Thomas.
“If our league ever had parity across the board, this could be the year. I don’t know what we’re (Valle Vista league teams) capable of doing once we reach the playoff stage, but the (race) for the league title and playoff spots looks like it’s going to be tight.”
Northview coach Jim Arellanes
“Our attitude is we’re the two-time defending champs. If you want it, you have to take it from us. We’re still the favorites and we’re going to compete our butts off to win it again.”
San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow
“The kids know what they’re doing. We don’t have as much speed (in the backfield), but from a physical standpoint we might be more punishing. It’s like going from a Ferrari to a truck. Different, but we think both can be effective.”
Baldwin Park coach James Heggins
“We like what we have, but it’s still a work in progress until we see it on the field. Whether people think we’re the favorites or not doesn’t matter, nobody is going to roll over for Baldwin Park, we have to go out there and earn it.”
Pomona coach Johnny Brown
“I won’t say we won’t throw it, but you’re going to have to force our hand to make us put it in the air. Teams are going to have to stuff eight, nine and ten in the box. We’re coming right after you, if you stop us, you stop us, but I like our offensive line and our athleticism in the backfield. We think we’ll be a handful for a lot of teams.”
Ganesha coach Dave Fleming
“We have to set our goals higher. Winning two games, three games, that’s not good enough. We won’t be satisfied with just winning a league game. We’ll be satisfied when Ganesha is in the playoffs again.”