Mid-Valley Football: Should you schedule tough opponents, or play cupcakes?

We’ve talked a lot about what it means for Charter Oak, South Hills, Damien and Glendora going to the powerful Inland Division, but the Mid-Valley Division is controversial because of the way playoff berths are handed out. The Valle Vista and Montview Leagues have seven teams, but only two teams from each league are guaranteed playoff spots, with the rest vying for the precious four at-large berths. The question is, how will CIF choose the at-large berths? Looking at how CIF ranked teams and how they were seeded in previous years, a team like Azusa was rewarded for a great overall record though they didn’t play anyone significant. Meanwhile, teams like Paraclete, San Dimas, Arroyo, Rosemead and others scheduled up in recent years and when they did lose, they paid the price in CIF rankings. You see a team like San Dimas playing Rancho Cucamonga and Monrovia next year, making you wonder if it’s worth it now. What if they have an injury or screw up in league, finish in a tie for second and lose a coin flip. They could be out if they have a not-so-impressive overall record. Diamond Ranch isn’t in the Mid-Valley, but they’re a perfect example of a team that schedules way up and loses in preparation for the playoffs, but if you tried that in the new Valle Vista and finished third, you would never get an at-large with a 4-6 or 3-7 record. If I’m one of the powerful teams in the Mid-Valley, it almost makes no sense anymore to schedule more than one tough team. You’re better off taking a page from Azusa and notching as many wins as you can before you start league. Aram is working on a story involving appeals, with the Valle Vista certain to appeal this new format, but if it remains like this, what would you do, continue to schedule up, or get as many wins as you could?


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    Fred why all the negativity about AZUSA?.


  • GHigh

    Will this also happen in other sports? Can’t see teams in those leagues being very happy about only two playoff spots.

  • Huskies

    I don’t think it’s negativity, Fred’s just stating the facts.

  • Stats speak for themself

    Ok Fred, let’s look at this statistically. (Info from calpreps) I’ll give you Paraclete for sure, ranking tops in the division at 13.5 SOS, Valley C strong at 12.4, and Whittier C coming in third at 9.2 (those are the 3 you should have mentioned really). You go on to mention that SD, Arroyo, and Rosemead are putting together much more difficult schedules than Azusa. SD is a respectable 5.7 compared to Azusa at a mear 0.4. But Arroyo, -2.1, and Rosemead at -0.6 aren’t exactly blowing away Azusa in their scheduling. In fact, Azusa playing in a far weaker league probably brought down their SOS even more, meaning they had to schedule tougher opponents preseason. Don’t forget they played Ontario C., who barely lost the CIF Championship by 6 pts. (Azusa beat them by 1). I understand the perception of Azusa scheduling the previous year, which was no doubt weak. But remember, Scherf inherited those games from the previous coach. When he had the opportunity to put a schedule together last year, he deffinetly upped the anty for Azusa. A little more respect for Azusa wouldn’t hurt here, but please don’t tell me how much tougher Arroyo and Rosemead schedules were.

  • FredJ

    The question I’m asking is their an advantage to scheduling up, or is getting a “W” the most important.

  • brave supporter

    Ok everyone wants to mention San Dimas playing Rancho, which I think is great and a serious step up, but Fred are you clueless on what BP has on tap next year? They scheduled Rowland, South Hills, Cantwell, and Bonita….. Just a little step up right?

  • Ralph

    See Walnut last years team as they went 5-0 with the cupcake opponents to start their season. All is looking good the fans and the players, the student body and the players parents all thinking this is the year we are on Roll “We believe!!!!”. League starts and they get creamed and do not make the CIF playoffs. You must play tougher and bigger opponents and step it up in non league so when league comes it seems somewhat lighter on you as you face lesser strenght in teams from your league. The only drawback to playing up is injuries before your league starts when playing bigger boys.

  • Oblivious

    I can definitely tell you that Rosemead has had a far tougher schedule than Azusa over the last five years! This upcoming season maybe the weakest schedule Rosemead has had in several years, and that actually disappoints me! Over the last five years Rosemead has played: South Hills, Los Altos (with Gano), Piedmont Hills (San Jose), Orange, Monrovia, and this year they have scheduled Rowland! They did not schedule Gary, and don’t compare Ontario Christian to South Hills or Monrovia for that matter! How’s that for tougher!

  • Oblivious

    That is a great upgrade in scheduling BP! Good luck! i love seeing our kids playing elite opponents!

  • Baseball NUT!

    Sad to say but the CIF folks, are alot like the same hack jobs ranking the BCS in college. Some CIF people, think if they see a 7-0 ranking in late October the team MUST BE GOOD, regardless of the “pre season” opponent. Their are a few teams who will get left out becasue of this. A team may get a CIF game and be one and out because they played ” cupcakes” early on, play league, and go 8-2.

    Best idea is for a team to schedule 1 or 2 of teh big boys, and also 1 or 2 patsies. This way they can stay focused at all times. Also just becasue a team went 9-2 the prior season does not mean they will do the same. SO in reality scheduling is really a “crap shoot”. Just ask the 1999 St Louis Rams. A 3-13 record the prior year, and a Super Bowl win the next. You can’t tell me that the 49ers, or Panthers, or anyone else on thier schedule didn’t have the Rams circled as a “W”! Same for H.S football.

    Have a “preseason” ranking, THEN put out CIF rankings AFTER game # 7. This is usually when you can tell if the team is legit! I mean its always the SAME teams, and some may not be ranked to start but really have a good team.

  • socal footbal fan

    Since the cifss rarely looks at Strength of Schedule I would schedule 3 cupcakes,1 even game,and one opponent better than you.
    Another option is the way Glendora hoops schedules creampuffs in their preseason and hopes to finish in the top 3 in league and get a decent seed.
    Upland baseball is using the same philosophy playing weak teams in preseason with 2 easy tournaments and now are 0-3 in baseline league play.
    However if you want to play for a state berth in football you need to schedule tough teams as they do look at SOS in determining who gets to play.


    Fred I would take a W on any given Friday night, then scheduling up! You take your wins and you head into the playoffs, and do what youve been doing the whole season is (WIN).

    Scheduling up is all good, and I believe is a good measuring stick to see were your team is at, but like you said why risk having your players being injured and punished. AZUSAs last two UNDEFEATED LEAGUE seasons have been great and going undefeated in league did mean something to C.I.F. and were seeded righteously so. What AZUSA has accomplished in the last two seasons has been an incredible run, and what Coach Sherf and his coaching staff have done to turned this program around have brought Aztec Pride to the small city of AZUSA!

    Fred I do agree with something you said though, Your better tearing a page from AZUSA and notching as many wins as you can. BY THE WAY FRED, THATS NOT A BAD IDEA, BECAUSE THOSE PAGES WILL GET YOU BACK TO BACK, WINS AGAINST COVINA, AND SAN MARINO IN THE PLAYOFFS and playing against San Dimas in the semis! Im sorry Fred, I dont agree with you using AZUSA, as your door mat for your article and what you wrote is a CUP CAKE ARTICLE!


  • Have you looked

    You are finally correct on Azusa. They have a weak schedule. In 2008 all the teams up to week 6 except for Aquinas were 0 for in the win column. Ganesha was on a record losing streak 0 and 50 in the last 5 years, followed by Marshall who was close behind at 0 and 20 and were 0 and 1 on the 2008 season, Mt View was 0 and 2, Aquinas was 3 and 0 and crushed Azusa, Lp was 0 and 4, SV was 0 and 5, and finally Gladstone was 0 and 6, by the way Duarte was 2 and 4 when playing Azusa and Bassett was 1 and 9. Do not forget that killer playoff team in covina who was a mind blowing 4 and 6. Oh and Temple City was a butt whipping 6-5-1 and shut out Azusa in the 2nd round.

    Last year was no step up either Garey is the new Ganesha. And Ontario Christian is not a step up they are in a lower divison, who cares they made the finals it was in a smaller division. The only true team played last year was a team coming in the division this year in Bell Gardens, what happened Azusa 6 Bell Gardens 34.In the playoffs Covina had 7 players on suspension, San Marino was over looking them and they got 2 playoff wins. Can not take that away from them but again nothing they did just people over looking them.

  • MidValley

    The only team Azusa played pre-season was BG and they got drilled. They edged out Ontario Ch. who got handled by 20+ by Whittier Ch. And do you really want to keep throwing out Ontario Ch.??? They are a D12 team. They are damn near 8 man! I would never say your guys CIF run was a fluke. Covina getting kids ejected is their problem. And if SM overlooked you? Then good for you, for ending their season. That said, not many will agree that your recent schedules consisting of: Garey, Ganesha, Mtn. View, Ontario Ch. and Gabrielino compare to Hart, Tustin, South Hills, Temple City, Walnut, Claremont, Rowland, Warren, Schurr, Harvard-Westlake & Piedmont. The only people that truly agree with you are other Azusa fans. Bottom line is you got more respect on here by losing to BG than you did by beating Gabrielino. Good luck on your season.

  • New York

    Your question *should* be a bit of a “cupcake” to answer as, “of course teams should still ‘schedule up’.” How else will teams be able to stretch themselves and improve? But I see your point. The at-large selection process can be messy and reward a seemingly weaker team with a better record rather than a seemingly stronger team with losses to powerhouses. If the selection process were more granular, then this would be an easy question.

    I say go for it with a tough pre-league schedule. How else do you gain respect and know how you stack up to teams outside your league and division? If you don’t win your Mid-Valley league’s championship then don’t complain about your lack of playoff spot. Those teams who are tied for second in a competitive league will likely receive an at-large bid anyway. Tied for second in a 7-8 team league is a different senario than tied for third in previous years within a 6-7 team league.

  • Trojan Man

    Azusa ???

    Were talking Azusa …

    Fight On

  • Arroyo Knight

    Stats speak for themself, please don’t compare the Azusa to Arroyo or Rosemead. Last time Azusa played Arroyo at citrus with the Aztec dancers they got creamed 62-0, yeah thats right 62-0 Azusa is not a football school. Azusa will never schedule up because they dont have the kids or the coaching to play Monrovia, Arroyo, Rosemead, San Dimas, etc. Let them keep scheduling st lucy of the blind so they can rack up the wins in preseason.

  • GHigh

    Ganesha’s losing streak ended at 49! Stop saying 50 people!

  • Prep Fan

    I always find it amusing when folks (especially from other Mid Valley schools) start talking about schools like Ontario Christian being Division 12 and how they are practically 8 man as if the rest of the mid valley is so superior. You guys realize that the Mid Valley is division 11 right? There are only 13 divisions. The difference is not nearly as profound as you imply.


    Arroyo knightless,

    here your ripping AZUSA, and what has ARROYO DONE in the last ten years in the playoffs, (BUT LOSE)!

    HOW ABOUT THE BUT WHIPPING BY LA HARBRA 55-0 in 2002 and losing to SOUTH HILLS in the playoffs twice,a team you can’t BEAT!

    Yeah, thank goodness for stats smart AZZ!


    Hey… GHigh…. you lost 50:) 49? There is no difference. You guys still suck. You are going to get beat by Azusa, LP, and GStone. Just close the school already.

  • Steve Ramirez

    Baseball Nut,
    I don’t think you can fairly compare what happens in high school football and the NCAA FBS. High school schedules in football are made from year to year, some maybe two-to-three years in advance. FBS schedules are made 10 years in advance, so what looks like a top 10 team in 2002, might not be in 2012. Now when Florida or Alabama schedules Florida International, they know that’s a patsy, but they also know they will play two, maybe three or four top 25 teams in conference play, so they schedule down outside of conference.
    I think a more fair comparison would be NCAA basketball, where the selection committee for the tournament changes from year to year, with a different set of of criteria. One year, total wins is all that matters, the next it’s top 25 wins.
    CIF seems to lean more towards wins than who are those wins are against. So it will be interesting.

  • Your “monster” is some one else’s “cup cake” remember that!

    What an incredible level of stupidity and lack of common sense on this blog. It’s always about the “other” guy. Reminds me of people who worry about every one else’s “virtue” and exhibit none of their own in the process.

    Azusa needs to do what? Satisfy the numb nuts who want and actually “need” Azusa type teams to beat on? Azusa was a team with more heart than skill and will than size but somehow came together and did their community right. What’s wrong with that? Man the hateration is just plain stupid and Fred assigning “cup cake” status to teams is equally culpable.

    You build by building. Better yet how is it that Garfield, a “cup cake” beats Birmingham and then schedules Bishop Amat so rapidly yet Charter Oak won’t play “cup cake” for Bishop Amat…OUCH! Some could say that any Sierra League team is a “cup cake” win when matched against I.E. teams in the playoffs yet no one out here in the Fish Bowl wants any part of Serra HS who would “cup cake” any team but Bishop Amat, who’s never had Fish Bowl Syndrome in it’s life!

    Is Cathedral a “cup cake” win for Bishop Amat? I don’t think so. In fact I know no other area team wants to play Cathedral but they were in League with Serra…at a much lower division with that school that’s had a bit of success as well….Oaks Christian.

    How stupid to bag on Azusa after all their woes but not examine CO’s lack of wanting to be Mater Dei’s “cup cake” for a night. Hey Servite and LB Poly might want to “cup cake” Glendora, South Hills and Damien…how likey is that? Try never!

    Fred, do you know allot about Football? Which SGV Fish Bowl team beats Serra High school last year? How about who plays Serra…here’s the “nut up ” list:

    1) Diamond Ranch who plays any one any time
    2) Dan the Man’s West Covina team who plays any
    one any time
    3) San Dimas probably would because they have “built” and now want to test their building.
    4) gee I ran out…guess a top ten isn’t necessary, lol

    Cup Cake schedule….sht! What a stupid remark seeing as we live in a GD FISHBOWL that hasn’t see the Ocean in years.


    Okay, I see how several of you have done a little research and put your best effort to stomp on our past seasons. Im going to do my best to address each one of your comments. First to (Have you looked), did you know in the season in 2007, we lost to La Puente, Gladstone, Mt. View, Duarte and yes to Aquinas. I see you put the 2008 season up, so wouldnt you say that AZUSA completely turn it around in 2008!

    By the way I know we lost to Aquinas, BUT, we were in that game into the last minutes of the fourth quarter, which by the way we had a chance to take over the lead, but Aquinas defense, held us at the one yard line. So dont hype it up by saying they CRUSHED us, because (I) WAS THERE MY MAN!

    Also, the 2008 season was the year we beat Duarte, 44-6, and let me tell that was a BIG GAME for us, even with Crutchfield! So yes the 2008 season was a great season for AZUSA, and then came the playoffs against Covina, whom Fred and all his people had AZUSA losing to, and you know the outcome of that game was. Heck, Fred even put AZUSA in the front page of the Tribune after that playoff win.

    Yes we lost to Temple City the following game, and it was a game AZUSA never got going! The next Week Temple City plays Paraclete and loses. And to my man the (Trojan Man) who stated why we talking about AZUSA, ROSEMEAD LOSES TO PARACLETE IN THE MID VALLEY CHAMPIONSHIP GAME in 2008!

    So (HAVE YOU LOOKED), wouldnt you say we only got better in 2009, and yes went even further in the playoffs. Come on you can do better then that, on making excuses on why we won Covina and San Marino. And to (MID VALLEY) wouldnt you say its better to be playing in the playoffs in December, then not even making the playoffs! YES IM TALKING ABOUT (BELL GARDENS). One more here, and its to ARROYYO KNIGHT, please see the comment STATS wrote! So as Freds article trickles down and soon all you STOMPERS will also be gone, all Im going to say, I cant wait for the 2010 season to start!

    Montview League BACK TO BACK CHAMPIONS 2008-2009!



    Hey Pride…That’s right, you lost to Aquinas…Nuff said.

    Keep scheduling cup cakes and get pounded in the semis like last year…if you even get there. I am predicting 2 losses by you guys…if you lose any more they you are even worse that I thought. Too bad you don’t play Arroyo or Rosemead, then I could give you some credit.

  • New York

    Azusa Pride,
    I thought you said you would do some research. Remind the Arroyo guy of the 1995 season when Arroyo had an inflated #1 ranking and a first round bye in the Division 6 playoffs. They hosted Baseline #3, Upland, who beat Charter Oak the week before. Andre Bishop had a physical knight running the ball for Upland’s victory. Maybe the Knight is too familiar with that and is giving some first hand advice…

    Azusa Pride, Azusa should consider taking on some tougher games. Don’t sign up to be somebody’s cupcake, because I’m not so sure that does any good. BUT, Azusa should sign up for some games that are a stretch to win.

    I don’t think getting steam rolled by a legite powerhouse builds a champion. However, playing a team from a better league and losing by two touchdowns might be useful. If your league does not offer CIF championship calliber competition then you need to find it elsewhere.

    All that said, who are we to critique the building process that has happened at Azusa??? Last year they made it further than they had in a very long time.

  • New York

    The question of whether or not to schedule a tough pre-season might be more relevant to “bubble teams” who typically contend for their league’s last playoff spot. In those cases, padding the stats with some wins could do some good if the END GOAL is simply making the playoffs. The dilemma, though, is that receiving the at-large bid almost assures that you will play the division’s highest ranked team and get blown out in the first round…

    For the better teams who hope to win the CIF title: you are likely a favorite for your leagues #1 or #2 spot. So, you need to prepare yourself for the Title Game by playing some tough games during the regular season.

    It makes complete sense for San Dimas to play Rancho Cucamonga and stretch themselves. It might not make as much sense to play Monrovia because they will likely see them in the playoffs as well. They should try scheduling West Covina instead.

    I am excited about the reconfigured Mid-Valley. Schurr came VERY close to beating Diamond Ranch in the playoffs last year. They are just a couple seasons removed from beating those Fullerton teams in the playoffs. Plus, the fact that only two teams from each league are guaranteed playoff spots will ideally make the first round games more competitive and meaningful.

    We have developed gross senses of playoff appearance entitlement. Once upon a time only LEAGUE CHAMPS made the playoffs and leagues were bigger.

  • Have you looked

    Aztec Pride
    2008 was no turn around like was stated before they have a weak schedule. In 2008 all the teams up to week 6 except for Aquinas were 0 for in the win column When they played Azusa. Ganesha was on a record losing streak 0 and 50 in the last 5 years, followed by Marshall who was close behind at 0 and 20 and were 0 and 1 on the 2008 season, Mt View was 0 and 2, Aquinas was 3 and 0 and crushed Azusa, Lp was 0 and 4, SV was 0 and 5, and finally Gladstone was 0 and 6, by the way Duarte was 2 and 4 when playing Azusa and Bassett was 1 and 9. Do not forget that killer playoff team in covina who was a mind blowing 4 and 6. Oh and Temple City was a butt whipping 6-5-1 and shut out Azusa in the 2nd round.

    You said it was a step up from 2007 but the teams in 2007 you mentioned were better than the 2008 teams MT View was 4 and 6, LP was 8 and 2, Gladstone was 4 and 6, Aquinas was 7 and 3, and finally Duarte was 8 and 2. For a combined record of 31 and 19.

    2008 schedule had a combined record of all teams including your killer playoff teams was 43 and 82 and 1. In case you do not understand that is 43 wins 82 losses and 1 tie. That is for all 12 teams. What you mentioned in 2007 was only 5 teams and they have almost as many wins as your 12 team 2008 cupcake schedule. I am not saying 2007 was much better but the cupcakes were a little tougher in 2007 and they didn’t play a bunch of teams with no wins prior to playing them.

    Just face it they play nobody we are saying playing somebody tough before your weak league schedule. We know you can not control your weak league schedule but you can play a tougher preseason! cupcake!

  • know it all

    azusa sucks. they will always suck because they are azusa. so aztec pride, (an oxymoron) shut up already!

  • KnightStalker

    New York, Upland was a league champ in 95. They got the #3 because they lost a tie-breaker. And they went on to rout their way to a ring. They beat Arroyo 17-6. But I agree Arroyo’s schedule was soft and their league was really bad that year.

    Stats, Arroyo has 4 playoff wins. They also have 5 league championships and have been to the playoff’s 24(?) years in a row. They got smashed by La Habra and did get beat 2 years in a row by South Hills. But, honestly, in the past 10 years has Azusa played anyone of that caliber? In 05′ Arroyo destroyed #1 Schurr in that 1st rd game 44-6 and the 1/4 final game with South Hills was a heck of a game for about 3 qtrs. Recently Arroyo lost by 1pt. to a TC team that also beat you guys and to Whittier Christian by 3 in a game that saw 2 missed Arroyo fg’s in the 4th qtr. Tough loss, but I think the division saw what WC was made of when they dominated a really good BP team and they were a couple of minutes away from knocking off Monrovia in the semi’s. Im not going to throw out Arroy’s wins over Azusa in 04′ and 05′ because I think you guys are a totally diferent team now. You have had a really good run and people can’t knock the way you guys schedule if it isn’t hurting you in CIF. As far as who played who and who is better, etc. Unless teams meet on the field it is really tough to say. You’d have to look at common opponents. Gabrielino is the only common opponent. Both teams beat them. Azusa 31-20 and Arroyo 41-0. Enjoy the run… I don’t care what you are doing, winning games is a huge plus when you look back at Azusa football just a couple of years ago. Congrats.

  • sgv

    darn this Aztic pride guys stop talking about azusa they do not play and good teams like everyone says and face that fact that you guys dont need to be all happy about the way that team is. yea you won back to back champs so has other teams in that league and other leagues as well remember back in 2001. 2002, and 2003 Lp ruled that league and 2003 was their best season and they did play against better teams then you guys did like San Gabriel was one and they didnt lose that bad in their round in CIF against cathedrial and that was a power house team and as well as morro bay and did Lp ever get respect then not really but they didn’t care.

  • Trojan Man

    Aztec Pride,

    Rosemead MADE the Championship game in 2008.
    Has Azusa EVER ?

    2010 should be an exciting season …

    Fight On MID VALLEY !!!


    Okay, what I have put (3) entries to this article and have NOT disrespected anyone on here! I thought this is what this BLOG WAS ALL ABOUT! I mean for the last several Weeks on Freds blog, has there been anything interesting to write about? (NO)! So Fred comes up with this nice little article about CUPCAKES and I beg to differ. I mean if you dont like what Im writing and its beginning to annoy you, dont read it! And I could some expletives words here, but Im not going to stoop to that level! By the way, if you would have read my entries they were directed to Fred!

    But now there some (JOKERS) using words like SUCK and what not. Okay thats all good, because thats part of the Game of Football. Believe me I know that being a RAMS FAN! I see (Arroyo Knight) had a changed of heart and wrote something worth reading. I appreciate that Arroyo.

    Let me explain to you why Im a loyal supporter for AZUSA, first of my son just recently graduated last year and was on the team that won Covina, which AZUSA hadnt won a playoff game in 35 years. You see Ive been watching some of these same kids play sports together since there elementary years and I knew one YEAR they would make something happen!

    Im no fool and I realize were not Bishop Amat, C/O, Damien etc. Okay were the Montview League and probably have the smallest group of kids out there, compared to the other leagues. All these years of hearing how the Montview League sucks and Im keeping it real here on they couldnt win any other leagues, well in the last several years things have changed with the right coaches now. Let me tell you something, you get to know a lot of different people and coaches over the years and to a part of program that is heading in the RIGHT direction is a feeling youll never understand! And that is why Im on here with my opinions and its not being an (OXYMORON). Its CALLED! (AZTEC PRIDE)!!!

  • Azusa Pop Warner

    The reason Azusa Football is so powerful is their outstanding Pop Warner program. Some of the best coaches in the area get their start there. Top flight program. Those teams dominate, so let’s give credit where credit is due.