By Aram Tolegian
Rowland’s undefeated record and No. 1 ranking in the Southeast Division say a lot about the Raiders, but Friday’s game against Claremont will say a lot more, according to coach Craig Snyder. Rowland has posted wins over Baldwin Park, California and Rosemead so far, but Friday will be its first, true upper-division test.
“I’m excited about it, I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Snyder said. “It will give us a really good look at how we’ll shape up in our league.
“They’re an awfully good football team. Bonita caught them flat and they were missing some personnel. They’re not coming out of any cupcake league.”
Claremont hasn’t been at full strength all season. Star running back Taj Teague has yet to play because of a calf injury and is questionable again this week. Top lineman Shaq Davis didn’t have enough practices to play in the Wolfpack’s first two games but was back for last week’s rout of Walnut.
The Raiders, led by quarterback Michael Ball, have been impressive against solid competition but nothing like the test they’ll face on Friday.
Fortunately for Rowland, receiver Leonardo Freeman returned last week and immediately showed why he’s one of the top weapons in the area by going 80 yards on a slant pass for a touchdown early in the game against Rosemead.
Claremont has a good quarterback of its own in Daniel Kessler, who already has thrown for 901 yards and nine touchdowns.
“That quarterback is good,” Snyder said of Kessler. “He can really throw the ball and his receivers are quick and run good routes.”