Ten burning questions for high school football. While some teams have started league play, most begin Friday. Here’s how we expect several leagues to unfold in the following weeks.
1. After Bishop Amat’s win, how will it fare in the Mission League? Amat ended its four-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over Loyola using a third-string quarterback in the league opener. Word is that junior starter Blake Archuleta could be out a few more weeks with an injured shoulder, so how will that impact the Lancers’ league title hopes?
Fortunately for the Lancers, their next two games at home against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-1) and Crespi (1-4) are extremely winnable, with or without Archuleta. And they won’t have to face league favorite Chaminade until Week 10. The worst part of Amat’s schedule is over, so there’s a good chance it could go into the league finale playing for a title. It probably won’t win it, but after all it has gone through, there appears to be light at the end of this. League prediction: 1. Chaminade, 2. Serra, 3. Bishop Amat.
2. Who wins Friday’s battle of unbeatens? That would be the Mission Valley League special, South El Monte (6-0, 2-0) at Arroyo (6-0, 2-0). CalPreps, which makes weekly projections based on its computer formula, projects a 31-12 victory for Arroyo. The Knights beat the Eagles 38-14 last year.
Even though it looks juicy on paper, nothing is expected to change. None of South El Monte’s victims have a winning record and though it only is allowing an average of seven points per game, it hasn’t faced an offense anything close to the firepower of Arroyo.
South’s only chance is if running back Sal Tovar can grind out yards and chew up clock for long offensive possessions. But history says Arroyo won’t let that happen, and that CalPreps’ projection could resemble the final score. League prediction: 1. Arroyo, 2. South El Monte, 3. Mountain View.
3. Who wins the Valle Vista League? – Two of the three teams in the hunt play this week when Covina (4-1) hosts San Dimas (3-2) on Friday. The third team is defending champ Northview (3-2), the likely favorite. There won’t be lopsided games between the three, but Covina has been more impressive than San Dimas and Northview has been more impressive than both. Rowland and Baldwin Park are 3-2, but they should wind up playing for fourth. League prediction: 1. Northview, 2. Covina, 3. San Dimas.
4. Who wins the Angelus League? The beauty of this is St. Francis (5-0) is the favorite and won’t have to face contenders Harvard-Westlake (5-0) or Cathedral (4-1) until the final two weeks, so the drama will build. La Salle (2-3) could potentially sneak in the race, but it hasn’t shown enough in nonleague play. In all likelihood, St. Francis will host Cathedral in Week 10 for the title, and the Knights, who lost 24-17 last year, will get it done this time. League prediction: 1. St. Francis, 2. Cathedral, 3. Harvard-Westlake.
5. Who wins the Palomares League? – The only losses for Glendora (3-2) were to Damien and Charter Oak and has a slight edge over South Hills (4-1) and Ayala (2-3).
Bonita (2-3) might be dangerous, but it has clearly not played as well as the top three. South Hills is at Ayala on Friday and the Huskies continued to look dangerous, whipping Mira Costa 40-18 last week.
If South Hills wins at Ayala, then maybe it steals the edge because it hosts Glendora two weeks later. But for now, sticking with Tartans. League prediction: 1. Glendora, 2. South Hills, 3. Ayala.
6. Who wins the Hacienda League? Charter Oak (5-0) is the overwhelming favorite with Los Altos (4-1) and Diamond Ranch (3-2) playing for second.
Diamond Ranch is at Charter Oak on Friday and has more potential to give Charter Oak a game than Los Altos. But let’s be honest, we’ve watched this song and dance before and know how it ends, with Charter Oak wiping everyone out and finishing another undefeated league season. League prediction: 1. Charter Oak, 2. Diamond Ranch, 3. Los Altos.
7. Who wins the Del Rio League? You always take La Serna (2-3) right? It plays the toughest nonleague schedule and it’s proven to be one of the best in Whittier. But it won’t be so easy this time. Pioneer (3-2), Whittier (2-3), El Rancho (2-3) and California (2-3) have been in a lot of tight games and look more than capable than years past. But how do you bet against La Serna? League prediction: 1. La Serna, 2. Whittier, 3. El Rancho.
8. Who wins the Almont League? It came down to Montebello (3-2) beating Schurr (4-1) for the title last year and not much has changed. Alhambra (2-2) could be a sleeper, but this is a lot like the Mission Valley League in that it’s a two-horse race, and this time, Schurr gets the job done. League prediction: 1. Schurr, 2. Montebello, 3. Alhambra.
9. Who wins the Rio Hondo League? Winless Monrovia (0-5) could be the favorite because it’s the defending champ and started 1-4 last year and ran the table in the RHL. Monrovia has played a tough schedule, but it didn’t compete in four of its five losses. That’s why San Marino (4-1), despite losing its season opener at Los Altos, is the team to beat. Second place likely comes down to what happens when South Pasadena (3-2) visits Monrovia on Friday. League prediction: 1. San Marino, 2. Monrovia, 3. South Pasadena.
10. Who wins the Baseline League? This is really about whether Damien can finish top three and make the Division 3 playoffs automatically, though a fourth-place finish could do the trick, too, with an at-large berth. Rancho Cucamonga and Upland will compete for the title. Both are on another level. Third will come down to whether Damien can beat Chino Hills on Friday, and the Spartans have played well enough to get it done. League prediction: 1. Rancho Cucamonga, 2. Upland, 3. Damien