The Whittier Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Pasadena Star-News all-encompassing daily football top ten concludes with Bishop Amat, ranked No. 1. If you missed a preview over the past two weeks, you can read them all here.
No. 1 Bishop Amat
The best football teams from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News were ranked in an all-encompassing top ten season preview countdown over the past two weeks and that concludes with Bishop Amat, who enters the season ranked No. 1.
Bishop Amat returns one of the Southland’s top recruits in defensive lineman Aaron Maldonado, who has verbally committed to UCLA along with junior quarterback Blake Archuleta, who grew each week once he was handed the baton as a sophomore.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding season a year ago, Bishop Amat finished 7-4 and tied for second in the Mission League, losing in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs to Vista Murrieta, 38-24.Bishop Amat, along with Serra and Chaminade, figure to be the favorites when the Mission League gets going the last week of September, but the Lancers should be well-tested by then, opening the season at home Aug. 25 against Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in MaxPreps’ pre-season national rankings.
No. 2 La Habra
There likely has been no program more successful during the past two decades than No. 2 La Habra. The Highlanders have won seven CIF Southern Section crowns since 2002 and they could add to that total in 2017, with several key pieces returning from a team that went 8-5 an advanced to the Division 2 semifinals.“Coming off (a semifinal appearance), it’s really promising,”La Habra quarterback Zach Fogel said. “At the beginning of last season, there was a lot of doubt from everyone else. Not really from us, we believed in ourselves the whole time. But people doubted us and we proved them wrong.
No. 3 Charter Oak
Over the summer the words you keep hearing to describe Charter Oak, ranked No. 3 in our countdown, is special. Or loaded. Championship quality.
The Chargers had it all last year when they advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 semifinals despite injuries and using third and fourth-string quarterbacks, losing to eventual champion, Sierra Canyon.
And though Charter Oak will move to Division 3 after finishing 11-2, it hasn’t lowered any expectations.
No. 4 St. Francis
If quarterback is the only issue for the St. Francis High School as the 2017 season approaches, then the Golden Knights should be just fine.
St. Francis checks in at No. 4 in our countdown and that’s because the biggest position concern entering the season, quarterback, is head coach Jim Bonds’ forte. And this season, that means grooming Darius Perrantes into the next Golden Knights star quarterback.
“We’ve got some big shoes to fill at quarterback,” Bonds said. “But I wouldn’t say that’s our only concern going into the season. As a coach, you worry about a lot of things.”
No. 5 Damien
Damien and fourth-year coach Mark Paredes, ranked No. 5 in the countdown, appear at a crossroads.
Damien hired Paredes, who won a CIF championship with Bishop Amat in 1992 and two more titles with JW North, in hopes of making the Spartans competitive in the ultra-tough Baseline league and having success in the postseason.
After back-to-back 4-6 campaigns his first two years, the Spartans showed signs of turning the corner last year, but still only finished 6-5 and lost in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs.
In fact, it has been more than a decade since the Spartans’ last playoff victory, and that’s not lost on Paredes or his players.
No. 6 Glendora
Glendora, which begins the season at No. 6, returns experienced quarterback Bryce Wooldridge and an offensive line that should allow the senior and the Tartans’ run game to be more versatile as it hopes to improve on last year’s 5-6 record and first round exit in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
Glendora, which finished 4-1 in the Palomares league behind league champion Ayala (5-0), is one of the favorites, and Wooldridge is a big reason.
No. 7 La Serna
The mantra for No. 7 La Serna has been next man up for a decade, and that isn’t expected to change this season. The Lancers again are in the midst of a reload, but again are expected to rank among the best in the area.
La Serna, despite some key graduation losses, begins the season as the favorite in the Del Rio League and a solid contender in CIF Southern Section Division 3.
No. 8 St. Paul
St. Paul, which begins the season at No. 8, has been one of the most improved teams in the area the past few seasons. The Swordsmen are six years removed from consecutive 1-9 seasons and have progressively become one of the area’s top teams in the area after advancing to the CIF Southern Section semifinals for the first time in a nearly a decade last season.
No. 9 La Mirada
La Mirada, which begins the season at No. 9 in the Tribune/Star-News/Whittier preseason top 10, appears to have slipped a bit after winning a CIF State title in 2015 and advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 finals last season.That’s news to the Matadores, who, despite losing 10 all-area players to graduation, still return enough key pieces to be among the area’s elite.
No. 10 Arroyo
The daily Tribune/Star-News/Whittier top ten countdown begins with a surprise at No. 10 with reigning Division 12 champion Arroyo, which won its first CIF Southern Section divisional title since 1986 in dramatic fashion, beating Rancho Mirage 35-34 in overtime, winning on a do-or-die two-point conversion.
The Knights checking it at No. 10 is a surprise because of so many talented upper-division teams considered for the top spots, but the Knights return a wealth of talent at key positions as it moves to Division 11, and that starts with junior quarterback Ernesto Camacho.