Armed with an undefeated record and top seed in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs last year, Azusa was knocked off its pedestal in the first round by Village Christian, 31-24. The shocking result from a team that had beaten its opponents by an average of more than 30 points a game told coach Joe Scherf the Aztecs needed to improve their easy non-league schedule with step-up games against playoff-caliber teams.
That’s exactly what Azusa has done in 2011, scheduling 2009 Mid-Valley Division champ San Dimas in the season opener followed by up-and-coming Maranatha.
“The major thing for us is that we weren’t challenged during the season and when it came time to being challenged, we didn’t know how to react,” Scherf said. “It was obviously time to change our preseason schedule and present ourselves with bigger challenges.
“In previous years there wasn’t that ‘chance you could lose,’ feeling. By scheduling San Dimas and Maranatha, two of the better teams in our division, we should have a better idea of what the playoffs are going to be like and how to handle it when we get there.”