St. Paul’s Matt Lopez looks for running room in last year’s victory over St Francis.
It’s still too early, but here’s a midsummer view of area football teams, based upon limited
visual and/or verbal examination.
The teams are broken into three groups, none of which is considered much
above or below the others, and listed in no particular order:
LA HABRA – One of the area’s best quarterbacks will be
complemented by the usual outstanding corps of receivers and an improved
running game featuring at least three bonafide ballcarriers.
SANTA FE – Chiefs have question marks, perhaps a few more than
usual, but as usual the talent pool is too plentiful to ignore. The road to the Del Rio League title still goes through Santa Fe, and as usual, it figures to be uphill.
ST. PAUL – The Swordsmen will be better than last season’s Western
League semifinalist team, although some observers feel they won’t be as
big up front. The schedule — including Servite, Bishop Amat, Crespi and
Chaminade, and staying healthy, again will be their biggest challenges.
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN – Roster size probably precludes the Heralds from
playing out of their division successfully on a weekly basis, but the
program’s rapid development over the past two seasons deserves
PIONEER – The sleeper here. The Titans are solid at QB and have
probably the area’s two most underacknowledged running backs – Matt Bottelo and
Tony Hernandez. It is said the line is much improved and a
large group of talented newcomers offer much to work with and brighten
CALIFORNIA – Condors have one of the summer’s most pleasant surprises
in QB Cameron Zaharioudakis, who backed up Drew Harris last season and
stepped up impressively when Harris sat out this summer’s work to take
care of personal issues. Harris is set to return this fall, and the
Condors didn’t lose as many linemen as is rumored.
SCHURR — Spartans lost a number of good players at key positions, the same as it was a year ago before they rallied to win a division champioonship. Good programs do that.
LA SERNA – New coach, revamped staff, huge transfer in RB Rudy Jordan
(from Schurr) put Lancers in the wait-and-see category. The QBs will be
a year older/wiser and if the line holds up, potential for success is
WHITTIER — Cardinals coming off one of their best seasons in several
years. Returning speed at running back and experience at QB make the
offense potent. Defense always a question mark until the contact begins,
but program has never been considered wimpy physically.
LAMIRADA — Matadores showed perhaps the most improvement over the
summer, and a slight adjustment in offensive philosophy (less wide open)
and an improved running game give them reason for optimism.
EL RANCHO – Only one way to go from an 0-10 season — up. New coach and
staff reportedly have established renewed vigor and commitment, and
expectations are high among the faithful.
CANTWELL – Like Whittier Christian, number of participants (and not
a lack of heart or commitment) limits the Cardinals in comparisons with
some of the area’s larger schools. A returnee at QB and increased
numbers are good places to build on.
MONTEBELLO – Not for lack of interest or effort, but not much
information available on the Oilers. They’ll be playing their home games
at crosstown rival Schurr while new artificial turf is installed at
home. Does that eliminate any home-field advantage they might have