Today’s feature on Fa’aola: Los Altos High School football coach Dale Ziola needs only three little words to describe what tailback/linebacker Justin Fa’aola means to his team. “He’s our guy,” Ziola said. “He is our guy. Justin is the one kid that when he’s not on the field, we’re a different team. I don’t know if the kids feel more confident when he’s out there or that they know they’re better, but it’s a night-and-day difference. He’s got that ‘it’ factor. When he’s out there, our kids feel good.”
San Gabriel Valley Tribune Super 35
1. Charter Oak (2-0) - The Chargers moved to No. 7 in the Inland after beating Roosevelt, yet some feel because Roosevelt had a few key players missing, the Chargers were fortunate, benefiting from fourth quarter turnovers to pull out the win. Well, they finally leave the friendly confines of home for an Orange County date at Esperanza Friday, a team also 2-0 with a 49-34 win over Whittier Christian, the same team that knocked Covina from the playoffs last year. However, Esperanza’s first two wins have come against Div. 11 and 9 opponents.
2. Bishop Amat (1-1) – Now that they know what Goliath looks like and feels like in a 49-14 loss to Servite, the Lancers need to show they’re capable of beating teams they should beat, like this week’s opponent La Mirada, and they need to show they’re tougher up front, a part that got exposed against Southern California’s finest. Otherwise, there is no way they get out of the Serra, not when Alemany, Notre Dame, Crespi and Loyola are already 2-0.
3. Chino Hills (1-1) – This is no down year for the Huskies, and despite ranking Charter Oak No. 1, the Huskies are STILL the favorites to win the Sierra. Look, they lost to a powerhouse from Colorado then beat Santiago. If, and I say if, they beat Tesoro on the road this week, maybe the Huskies deserve to be No. 1 in our poll.
4. Claremont (2-0) -- The Sierra League teams keep creeping to the top, and the Wolfpack are do different with wins over Kennedy and Bonita, the same Bonita that looked so good in thoroughly dominating rival San Dimas. With Walnut and Rowland next, no reason to believe the Wolfpack won’t at least start 4-0.
5. South Hills (1-1) – Say what you want, this is the sleeper in the Sierra as far as I’m concerned. If they beat West Covina this week everyone is going to say it’s because West Covina was all banged up, but I would have taken the Huskies at full strength anyway. They have as good an offense as anyone, and will find ways to get enough stops to win games.
6. West Covina (1-1) — They’re starting to remind me of Los Altos’ 2007 team with Bryce Mahmud-McBride that looked great until McBride got hut. After starting 3-0, they finished 5-5 and missed the playoffs. How well will the Bulldogs do without player of the year Chris Solomon, out with an injury? Fortunately, there is enough time to get all healed up, and my guess is they will be fine come playoff time.
7. Damien (1-0) - The Spartans took a lot of criticism on the blogs, and THEY won. I guess it wasn’t convincing enough for some folks. It doesn’t matter, once they take care of Chaffey and go to 2-0, it sets the stage for the mother of all games when Bishop Amat comes to town.
8. Covina (1-1) – Colts coach Darryl Thomas said they will not be defined by their season-opening 26-20 overtime loss to West Covina, and he’s right. The Colts are still explosive, and I don’t care if they’re ranked fifth in the Mid-Valley, I KNOW they’re the second-best team on paper behind Monrovia.
9. Arroyo (2-0) -- If you had to give the player of the year award after the first two weeks, it would go to quarterback Steven Rivera. He’s already thrown for 716 yards and 10 touchdowns. His passing yards are are nearly 300 more than anyone else. That’s incredible.
10. Los Altos (2-0) – Welcome back L.A. It’s only fitting the school with 11 championships on its resume should be in its local papers top ten. I’m buying when they’re doing and believe they will have a shot in the Hacienda. They crushed El Rancho and Bellflower, and both of those teams won their other games.
The rest: 11. Bonita (1-1), 12. San Dimas (1-1), 13. Pomona (2-0), 14. Ayala (1-1), 15. Diamond Bar (1-1), 16. Glendora (0-2), 17. Diamond Ranch (0-2), 18. Azusa (0-1), 19. La Puente (1-0), 20. El Monte (1-1), 21. Rowland (1-1), 22. Rosemead (0-1), 23. Duarte (2-0), 24. Workman (1-0), 25. Walnut (0-2), 26. South El Monte (1-0), 27. Wilson (0–2), 28. Northview (0-2), 29. Baldwin Park (0-2), 30. Nogales (1-1), 31. Mountain View (1-1), 32. Ganesha (1-1), 33. Bassett (1-1), 34. Sierra Vista (0-1), 35. Gladstone (0-1)