The Tribune’s PrepXtra 2010 All-Area football team will be published on Jan. 6. In the meantime, here are some bests from 2010, including the top three teams in the final top ten poll that will be released later, to the projected top three in 2011.
Below: You haven’t seen this, 15 minutes of raw footage of West Covina’s 37-33 win over Bonita for the Southeast title
1. West Covina (13-1) – After the Bulldogs beat Rowland 41-17, coach Maggiore said after this should have been the season they took on Bishop Amat. He certainly had the athletes, and they were clutch when they needed to be, rallying to beat Bonita in the championship to claim the Southeast title, finishing the season with 13 straight wins. Don’t know if they could have beaten Amat or Chino Hills, but they were certainly capable.
2. Chino Hills (10-3) – The Huskies were the top choice on Maxpreps, beating Tesoro (the same Tesoro that beat Amat in the playoffs), Redlands East Valley, Etiwanda and winning the Sierra League. But their best game came in a 42-23 loss to Centennial in the Inland semifinals that was much closer than the score indicated.
3. Bishop Amat (9-2) — Far and away the top team after starting 9-0, but losing the Serra League title game to Alemany and falling in the first-round of the Pac-5 playoffs as a fourth-seed was the worst two weeks in the coach Hagerty era.
1. Bonita – Biggest winner, going from 3-8 to 12-2 and a spot in the Southeast title game.
2. Covina — Won the Valle Vista League in a year most thought Baldwin Park and San Dimas would fight for the title. The Colts finished 10-2 and beat West Covina … not bad after going 5-6 the year before.
3. Claremont — They were neck and neck with both above after starting 7-1 a year after finishing 5-5. But they lost their last three games to finish 7-4.
1. South Hills – They were in trouble before they got to the Sierra League, losing to West Covina, Monrovia and others. They finish 3-8 and miss the playoffs a year after winning the San Antonio League and finishing 10-3.
2. Rowland – With QB Michael Ball back his senior year, many thought the Raiders would contend for the Hacienda League and Southeast title after going 8-3 the year before. But they finished 4-6, missing the playoffs entirely.
3. Baldwin Park – You thought a team with two division one signees on defense would do better than 5-6. They underachieved all season, losing in the first round of the Mid-Valley playoffs.
Most surprising players
1. Vinny Venegas, Covina — On a team that surprised many, Venegas was the biggest surprise of all, turning into one of the area’s best all-around players. Not just a threat at wide receiver, but he can do everything, and should be one of the most exciting players returning in 2011.
2. Jalen Moore, Bishop Amat — The biggest pressure spot in the Valley is not at QB at Bishop Amat, it’s at running back, where you follow in the footsteps of Bienemy, McCutcheon, Brown, Wagner, McCleskey, Sermons, etc. The junior was the Lancers’ best playmaker, earning Serra first-team honors.
3. Matt Fregoso, Rosmead – The running back was among the section leaders, rushing for 2,458 yards and 22 touchdowns, an average of 204 yards a game to lead the Valley.
1. Covina 27, West Covina 20 — The Bulldogs dominated for 3 1/2 quarters, but the last five minutes of the opening game of 2010 proved to be the one blemish on a 13-1 record for the Bulldogs. Each week Covina’s upset grew more impressive, all the way to the Bulldogs’ title game. People are still wondering how the Colts did it.
2. Village Christian 31, Azusa 24 – Statistically, the Aztecs finished one of the most dominating 10-0 campaigns in history, boasting six shutouts and allowing just 30 points all season, earning the top seed in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs, then losing in the first round.
3. Tesoro 31, Bishop Amat 21 — Considering the Lancers were the fourth seed and hadn’t lost a home game at Kiefer since 2007, it was shocking to see Tesoro win a playoff game at Amat in front of another enormous crowd.
Best teams to watch for in 2011.
1. Bishop Amat — With Rio Ruiz at QB and Zach Shay and Jalen Moore in the backfield, you have the core back on a team that averaged 35 points. The road game at Servite in week two should give us a sneak previews of things to come.
2. West Covina — Chris Solomon, the MVP of the Hacienda League, is back along with several returners. They do have to replace George Johnson at quarterback, but West Covina has more athletes than any other public school.
3. Charter Oak — With Aaren Vaughs and Kurt Scoby in the backfield and a year more mature, look for the Chargers to go back to pounding the ball like the championship years. With Travis Santiago back at QB, they should be favored to win the Sierra League.
And finally, best agony of defeat shot …