MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Top 10 Games of the Year …

Quit fronting like you have a social life.

Something tells me that if you read this blog, you’ll have plenty of time on your hands between August and December … and, that’s OK. Needless to say, any kind of list isolating the top games of the year is subject to change. Things change. People change. Teams change. At least that’s what she said … minus the whole teams change part. Whatever. Anyway, a game that maybe isn’t on the radar right now could be played for the highest stakes of the season. I doubt it, but it’s possible. But for now, in the dead of summer, I’m confident in identifying what look like the biggest games of the season. Hopefully, these don’t overlap. But if they do, with the Tribune scoreboard and your Iphone, you can be in two places at once.

1a. December 7, Charter Oak vs. South Hills, CIF-SS Southwest Division finals – Quasi kidding.

1b. October 26, Charter Oak at Los Altos – The Miramonte League title and a top four seed in the Southwest Division playoffs figure to be on the line this night, unless Roddy and the Panthers get crazy again. Anyway, this is a huge rivalry even when patches aren’t up for grabs. Did you know Los Altos hasn’t beaten CO since The Miramontes Miracle in 2004?

2. October 12, South Hills at Los Altos – A battle of Southwest Division heavyweights, this could be a semifinals preview. Two of the area’s most successful programs, two of its top coaches and, of course, Dorian Wells vs. Bryce McBride. Don’t think the former teammates turned competitors storyline won’t be in-play.

3. October 12, Damien vs. Glendora, at Citrus Coll. – OK, we’ve got a nasty overlap here with South Hills/Los Altos on the same night. Coin flip and decide. This is a huge game for the Tartans and Spartans as it’s the Sierra League opener for both. The loser can probably forget about a league title and faces a climb to secure a playoff berth.

4. September 21, Glendora at Charter Oak – Big Lou wants the Mayor’s Trophy back. Glendora’s front seven doesn’t give anything back.

5. October 12, Northview vs. Covina, at District Field – OK, October 12 is going to be a nightmare. Is this the night that Northview tosses its big rival from the Valle Vista League throne? We’re going to find out everything we need to know about the VVL on this night.

6. October 12, St. Paul at Bishop Amat – More October 12. What a night! I might have to chopper to all of these games for a quarter. Anyway, given all that’s happened at Amat this off-season, nothing would be as bad as losing to St. Paul. I don’t know what Lancer fans will do if that happens. Major blood rivalry here.

7. November 2, Arroyo at Rosemead – No disrespect to South El Monte, who I fully expect will split with Arroyo and Rosemead once again. But by this date, the Knights and Panthers will have both played SEM, which probably makes this game the difference maker in the Mission Valley League. Plus, this rivalry has a longer history of meaningful games.

8. September 7, Monrovia at Duarte – If, and that’s a big “if,” Duarte is able to win this game, it could signal an official power shift between the neighboring cities. And to the victor goes the spoils, a.k.a the talent pool. Duarte’s resurgence just won’t be official until the Falcs beat the ‘Cats. It’s great to have these two teams playing a biggie!

9. October 5, Bonita at San Dimas – Little boys from these two communities dream of winning this game since they’re old enough to pee in the pool at Raging Waters. Smudge Pot – now that’s a rivalry!

10. November 11, Loyola at Bishop Amat – Think about the Amat season ticket plan – you get Orange Lutheran, St. Paul, Notre Dame and Loyola. OK, follow along here – let’s say Amat beats Alemany, Crespi or ND, that probably makes the Loyola game for a playoff berth, or a coin flip at least. And even if there’s nothing on the line, it’s still Amat vs. Loyola and all week I’ll remember going to Glendale College in the early 90s six hours before kickoff just to to see Scott Fields run without having to stand along the rope in the end zone.

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“The White Reggie Bush” … their nickname, not mine …

Cody’s runs

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“Hey little Cody, come to our place and I’ll buy you some Skittles.”

The kid’s name is Cody Paul. His Los Alamitos Griffins went 15-0 … no shock. For those of you who think Charter Oak, Los Altos and South Hills get their hands dirty, just imagine what some Orange County coaches are probably already doing to get this kid to Servite or O-Lu or Mater Dei or Los Alamitos.

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SEMI-BREAKING NEWS: QB Junior Tamayo transfers to Los Altos …

First of all, I want to thank the loyal bloggers who truly broke this. Using proper protocol, and acting upon your tips, I confirmed that former Amat QB Junior Tamayo has transferred to Los Altos. Before any of you flip out, I’m not trying to overblow this because Tamayo was one of several players in the mix for Amat’s starting job and was a reserve last year. In my opinion, he’s LA’s frontrunner. I saw Tamayo in spring drills and thought he threw the best ball of any of Amat’s QBs. That was before all of the Lancer QBs in the fray were out at practice, however. Nonetheless, I think that Tamayo could develop into a pretty good player for Gano, and we all know that QB appears to be the missing piece at LA. But that’s only if Tamayo actually wins the job, which Gano says is still up in the air.

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Top 10 linebackers: They should change it to Linebacker V. (for Valley) …

What a year for linebackers in the Valley. It’s one of my favorite positions at the high school and college level because these guys have so much of a say in the game. Not so at the pro level, where it seems like only handful of linebackers can truly play a big role in the outcome. I’m aware this is going to be a controversial list, but hey, it’s a controversial position. My advice to those who shake their head at the list is to ask you to simply realize that some schools have a monopoly at the position. Then ask yourself if any of the guys on the list were at your school, what would they do? That should help ease the tension. Also , I want to stipulate something: I don’t fully trust most stat keepers when it comes to tackles. Some teams give credit for a tackle when a player is simply within the same zip code as the ball carrier. It’s kind of subjective. Therefore, I think LB is a position better observed in person than in the stat column. Anyway, as a whole, the Valley is once again loaded with good linebackers.

1. Damon Kuklinski, South Hills – Most overused term in football writing/broadcasting: Throwback.

2. Marcus Wagner, Bishop Amat – Amat’s rock, literally, in the middle.

3. Mikey Niles, Glendora – This year’s Todd Bruno. Should get major aid from the D-Line.

4. Nick Padilla, Charter Oak – Will have to play a Pasalo-like role this year. That’s a hard act to follow.

5. Marc Felix, Los Altos – Six sacks last season and third on the team in tackles. I expect even better in ’07.

6. Robert Horn, Glendora – The new “Beast of the East?” Gottsta stay healthy. Between you and me, I get scared watching him from the sideline.

7. Ray Washington, Charter Oak – It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the biggest breakout player on the list.

8. Andrew Rodriguez, Northview – The area’s version of A-Rod hits QBs and RBs, not homers.

9. Drew Carreon, Charter Oak – Plays a hybrid position and came on like gangbusters after the position switch midway thru last year. Now Big Lou tells me Washington State is interested.

10. Chris Bowden, South Hills – 106 tackles a sophomore. Should have a similar season playing alongside Kuklinski.

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