I’ll be getting hitched and on vacation at some far-away-beach over the next two weeks so send all tips and breaking news to firstname.lastname@example.org or his twitter @steverramirez. And keep Stevie honest, it’s his job to update the blog and keep you talking while I’m gone.
Not that I’ve had a lot of time to think about it while trying to keep the future Mrs. Robledo calm in the final stretch and watch World Cup soccer at the same time, but here’s my stab at the Tribune pre-season Top Ten Football Rankings and who else do you think I’d start at No. 1? Uh, duh. In any case, would love to hear your thoughts on a top ten, what teams you expect to do well and what players to watch for this fall. We’re beginning production on our annual PrepXtra Preview football magazine and over the years your input has always helped.
TRIBUNE PRE-SEASON TOP TEN FOOTBALL RANKINGS
1. Bishop Amat — How often do we not start a season with Amat No. 1. It is what it is, area teams don’t beat them, they compete in the Pac-5 and have powerful juniors returning like Tre Sidney and Tyler Vaunghs. But will it make the playoffs? That’s a different story.
2. Glendora — They were 7-3 and return the areas best quarterback in Matt Fink. Let me say that again, the best quarterback. When you throw for nearly 1,500 yards and 12 TDs as a sophomore against the type of schedule the Tartans face, you’re going to be dangerous your next two years. And now that Glendora is in a league and playoff division they can compete in, get out of the way.
3. Charter Oak — Juniors Kamden Brown (quarterback) and Zion Echols (RB/WR) are the future and the Chargers should go back to dominating the Hacienda now that they’re finally out of the Sierra and Inland division. Good for Big Lou, would love to see him dominate and enjoy his final years at the school.
4. South Hills — Like Charter Oak, the Huskies should enjoy the drop from the Sierra to the new Palomares where Bonita and Glendora are likely their toughest competition and back in a playoff division they can compete in. Quarterback Garrett Fonseca should be ready to have a big senior season and coach Albert Rodriguez, or fuzz as they call him, has shown he gets the most out of his players, especially defensively.
5. Damien — Here’s the deal, competing in the Baseline is brutal because they barely hung in the Sierra. If anyone can handle the move it’s probably coach Mark Paredes but you can’t do anything without players and there hasn’t been an off-season buzz about players transferring to give you an idea they can compete at this level. But hey, in our little fishpond, they’re top five no doubt about it.
6. San Dimas – Can we just pencil in a back-to-back Mid-Valley title already? I don’t know if the Saints are legitimately better than the others ranked below, but they’ll dominate the Valle Vista and be favored to win a division that Monrovia is no longer part of. Look, coach Bill Zernickow is a master, he’s already proved it, it’s plug-and-place at San Dimas so get ready for another 14-week season.
7. Diamond Bar – The Snoop Dogg show is gone and so is coach Ryan Maine but they’ve got Antonio Noodles Hull and quarterback Tyler Peterson returning for their senior years and a new coach who’s been a winner everywhere he’s gone. I’m telling you now, don’t sleep on the purple.
8. West Covina — It’s felt like forever since the Bulldogs won back-to-back championships and were dominating everyone not named Bishop Amat or Charter Oak but something tells me coach Mike Maggiore will have the boys ready for the new Hacienda and its renewed rivalry with Charter Oak.
9. Bonita – The Bearcats lose a bunch but they have a bunch returning. This is a program that is solid year-after-year and has a lot of players in the program. It’s probably time for them to get their act together again.
10. Diamond Ranch — This is a pure guess because Roddy Layton is no longer coaching and a new coach hasn’t been named yet. But everyone knows there are talented football players at the Ranch and to have a top ten without them in it would be silly.