By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The weather cooperated, but the field was another story Monday as the Arroyo High School football team held its first practice in preparation for the upcoming season.
With a cool breeze blowing and a clear sky above, the Knights were forced to practice in their football stadium rather than on the team’s practice field, which is being resodded and won’t be ready until next month. The situation wasn’t unexpected for Knights coach Jim Singiser, but it did bring up an interesting question nonetheless: What condition will the team’s field be in for actual games? (To continue and view video, click thread).
Fred Robledo’s predicted order of finish in the MVL
1. Arroyo, 2. Rosemead, 3. South El Monte, 4. El Monte, 5. Gabrielino, 6. Mountain View
“I already know what we’re going to do to our field. It’s going to look like a cow pasture,” Singiser said.
“But hey, just find me a piece of green grass and we’ll play. It’s a guarantee that (in a month and a half) our practice field will be better than our football field. It’s going to be great when it’s done, but the stadium field is going to look like it’s about Week 8.”
The Knights were merely conditioning and reviewing fundamentals Monday, but they couldn’t ask for better weather. Despite forecasts last week of a heat wave Monday, the temperature hung below 80 degrees during the morning session. And unlike recent Augusts, there have been no fires burning in the distance for Valley teams to deal with in terms of air quality.
“Any time you can see the mountains, it’s a good day,” Singiser said. “I don’t care what the temperature is, if you can see any part of the mountains we’re good to go. But everybody’s in the same boat. Everybody’s practicing. I don’t care what the situation is, weather be damned, we’re out here practicing and we’re ready to put the pads on and start knocking some heads around.”
Arroyo is one of several camps in the area where expectations are high because of a returning quarterback. For the Knights, that man is junior Steven Rivera, who threw for 1,941 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
The firepower doesn’t end there, though. Mikey Vasquez, a 1,000-yard rusher, also is back. The Knights rode the tandem to an 8-3 record and the Mission Valley League title last year, but they were eliminated in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs by Whittier Christian.
“Expectations are a funny thing,” Singiser said. “It’s real dangerous to look back at what we did last year and look at what we have coming back. We’ve got a good core of all-league guys coming back, but we need to up it a notch.
“Playing tight against Whittier Christian, it was a great game and I was happy to be a part of it, but I didn’t go home and throw a party because we played them tight. I took no joy in the fact they went on, were leading Monrovia with a couple minutes to go. That should’ve been us, as far as I’m concerned, and we didn’t get it done. We have a chance to do that this year, but these all need to understand that they haven’t done anything as a group yet. Last year’s team won a championship – they can have the T-shirts – but these guys haven’t accomplished anything yet.”