I ran into a Northview lineman at Tijuana’s, one of my favorite taco joints on San Bernardino road in Covina. He said some interesting things on how well Northview is doing under new coach Marcel Perez, and that the new atmosphere is paying off. But then he followed with something like “we’re going to take league and CIF,” and said it so convincingly that I didn’t have the heart to tell him they really have no chance. But that’s what two-a-days and the summer are supposed to produce, optimism. But here we talk reality, and the reality is the defending Mid-Valley Division champs aren’t gong anywhere. Here is how the Valle Vista shakes out…On Friday we break down the rough and tough Sierra.
1. San Dimas — This is a team that loses QB Shawn Kennedy to an injury, then learns of the fortunate news that a quarterback from up north transfers into the program, and from what I hear he’s pretty darn good. Why we’re talking QBs on a team that runs the Wing T to perfection tells you how stacked the Saints are. Jordan Taylor and Allen Brown are a handful in the backfield, Kevin Kolbeck is a money go-to-receiver, and coach Bill Zernickow is one of the best. ’nuff said.
2. Baldwin Park — This is the only team that has a shot to knock off San Dimas, and it’s a real opportunity. James Heggins’ teams have been knocking on the door and Wardell Crutchfield III is probably the best linebacker in the league, plus he can run the ball too and will be asked to do a lot more. After sitting out a year after transferring from Duarte, Demetrius Jackson is set to go. You add him to the line strength the Braves had, and this very well could be a team that competes for it all.
3. Wilson — This is a case of buying or selling and I’m buying. I really believe coach Brian Zavala is a program guy and has been licking his chops for the opportunity to move to the VVL. RB Moses Vega is a stud, but what this team will do is play defense. There’s a big difference from facing Charter Oak and Diamond Ranch in the Miramonte to going head up with San Dimas and Baldwin Park. Something tells me the Cats are going to be in the mix.
4. Covina — All conversations start and end with QB Billy Livingston. He’s only a junior but proved last year he’s talented and is a perfect fit in coach Darryl Thomas’ spread offense. They also have the fastest high school sprinter in the country in Remontay McClain and a WR/DB named Randy Robledo, so what’s not to like about them.
5. Pomona — I would have penciled them in at No. 3, but with the recent loss of RB Taj Teague to Claremont, Pomona loses a first-team all-leaguer from a year ago. New coach Anthony Rice did wonders at his previous stint at Colony, and a few of those players are now at Pomona. But Pomona also lost a few with Rice’s arrival, so this is a wait and see.
6. Nogales –– When the Nobles coaching job opened up, some coaches told me this was the best opportunity in the Valley because of the kids on campus, especially the ones who weren’t playing. Well, that opportunity belongs to new coach Sebastian Hernandez. I kind of felt bad for the Nobles last season in the San Antonio. There was no way they could compete with South Hills, West Covina, then had to deal with Walnut and Rowland during one of their good cycles. Going to the VVL is surely relief, and I won’t be surprised if they compete for a playoff spot. I’ve heard great things from people on campus raving about the work they’re putting in, but lets wait until the lights turn on.
7. Northview –– Is this as good as it gets for the Vikes? It was just a couple years ago this was a top ten team in the Valley, but they slipped so far last season, going 1-9 and 0-5 in the VVL, which included that remarkable 16-10 loss to Ganesha. I wanna believe the kid who tells me they’re fighting for a league title and want to believe Perez is up for it, but he’s a coach, not a miracle worker. BTW, watch out for RB Marquise Thomas and a sophomore named Javon Taylor.