With the Hacienda League starting on Friday, defending league and Southeast champ West Covina is still the favorite, but the gap is closing and the race for playoff spots could change from week to week. Here is how I think it will shape up.
1. West Covina (3-1) — They will win league but not go undefeated. There will be a slip-up along the way against Diamond Bar, Diamond Ranch, Los Altos or Bonita.
2. Los Altos (4-0) – I’m buying. I love a feel-good story and when you start winning, confidence comes with it. I love the fact they can run the ball, teams that run are built for the long haul.
3. Bonita (2-2) -- They might win games you don’t expect them to win, but they also will lose games you don’t expect them to lose. They’re still a playoff team, but not sure if they’re consistent enough to win league.
4. Diamond Bar (2-2) — This may shock some that I have Diamond Bar ahead of Diamond Ranch, but when you have a quarterback like Henry Omana, the best in the Hacienda, you should finish no worse than fourth.
5. Diamond Ranch (1-3) — These aren’t the Panthers of the previous years. They will not enter league and flip the switch. For the first time in the Layton era, they will miss the playoffs.
6. Rowland (2-2) – They could have a lot to do with the league outcome because they’re capable of big upsets. They aren’t consistent enough or good enough among this group to make the playoffs, but they will compete.
7. Walnut (0-4) — It’s going to be a long, long year. Don’t be surprised if the Mustangs finish 0-10.