How tough should a first game be?

It is understandable that most coaches want their preleague schedules
sufficiently challenging to prepare their teams for league
competition.

The question is how challenging should it be?

Supposedly the ideal preseason would include games that a team, at least
on paper, should win, teams that perhaps will be a toss-up, and a team
or two that will be favored, perhaps even be bigger, stronger, faster,
and will help determine how tough mentally the underdog is when faced
with adversity.

The key when scheduling is to choose that favored team carefully. Taking
on an opponent that is all three, bigger, stronger, faster, and probably
deeper in talent, can be detrimental to not only a team’s won-loss
record but also to its health – mental as well as physical.

Nothing wrong with being an underdog. Putting a team’s psyche at risk is
something else again.

St. Paul faced one of the CIF Southern Section’s toughest football
schedules a year ago. That would be expected to do the Swordsmen well
for their opener this season against Servite and teams that will follow.

As it was a year ago, St. Paul’s enrollment (a bit more than 700) will
be smaller that any of its opponents this season except St. Francis (a
bit less than 700). However, St. Paul has both boys and girls, St.
Francis has all boys.

Servite, also an all-boys school, had an enrollment in 2006 of 820,
according to the CIF-SS directory. St. Paul has fewer than 400 boys.
Servite is a solid Division I (PAC-5) football program. St. Paul is in
Division III (Western), although in terms of numbers, probably should be
no higher than Division V (Central).

On paper, Servite definitely is bigger, stronger, faster than St. Paul.
Clearly, that makes the Swordsmen an underdog.

A St. Paul victory would be considered a monumental accomplishment. A
tie would be impressive. A close defeat would be admirable. A lopsided
loss likely would be expected.

In any of those scenarios, serious injury causing the loss of one or
more key players would be critical to the program for the rest of the
season, and because the make-up of the team would be changed, it would
give rise to the question was it worth it.

Perhaps for future scheduling, just how much above a team’s level of
ability and strengths should potential opponents be considered?

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Area teams acknowledged in CIF-SS preseason polls

Area teams dominate the Southeast Division in CIF Southern Section
preseason football polls released Tuesday.

Defending Freeway League champion Troy is ranked No. 1 in the Southeast
Division, but is followed by Santa Fe (2), Schurr (3), La Serna (4) and
California (5).

La Habra is No. 9, perhaps a bit lower than than expected in some
circles of faithful who had expected Highlanders to get recognition among at least the top
five.

Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary and St. Paul are ranked No. 6 in the
Mid-Valley and Western divisions, respectively.

Whittier Christian is among others receiving votes in the Northeast
Division, as is Whittier in the Southeast Division.

La Mirada is among others receiving votes in the Southwest Division,
but could be the division’s sleeper.

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Which Transfer Will Make the Biggest Difference This Year

New St. Paul running back Aubrey Haynes carries the ball during practice last year in Pomona, when he played for Diamond Ranch. (Bernardo Alps/Staff Photo)

La Mirada’s new wide receiver, Rashon Newkirk, formely of West Covina

It is no secret that several area high school football programs will be
relying on transfers this season.
It is a talented group of athletes but the question is how much will
they impact their new teams?
Nothing is guaranteed. Will they fit into the systems?
Will their arrival disrupt the chemistry already established?
The following are most of the area’s transfers. Briefly, which of the
top five, or 10, among them will make the biggest impact on their new
teams?

Montebello

Adam Acosta (Bishop Amat)- Middle Linebacker

El Rancho

Marcus Aldeacoa (St. Paul)- Running Back
Marcus Galan (St. Paul)- Running Back
Travis Shafer (St. John Bosco)- Offensive Line
Tate Harshbarger (Crown Point, Indiana)- Middle Linebacker/Fullback
Anthony Ayala (St. John Bosco)- Running Back

St. Paul

Gabriel Encinas (Santa Fe)- Wide Receiver
Chris Willson (South Hills)- Quarterback
Aubrey Haynes (Diamond Ranch)- Running Back
Dante Webb (Los Altos)- Wide Receiver
Terrell Dolberry (Wilson)- Running Back
David Flores (Santa Fe)- Tight End/Linebacker
Cesar Diaz (Cal-Hi)- Defensive Line

La Serna

Rudy Jordan (Schurr)- Running Back

Pioneer

Joshua Garcia (Lompoc)- Linebacker/Defensive Line

Cantwell Sacred Heart

Christopher Moreno (Eagle Rock)- Center
Mark De Luna FB/LB (Bishop Amat)- Fullback/Linebacker
Jordan Scanlon O/DL (Upland)- Offensive/Defensive Line

La Mirada

Zach Salerno (St. Paul)- Running Back/Defensive Back
Anthony Franco (St. Paul)- Cornerback
Rashon Newkirk (West Covina)- Wide Receiver/Defensive Back

Schurr
Josh Melendez (Garfield)- Middle Linebacker
Carlos Arredondo (Los Altos)- Wide Receiver
Gabriel Rodarte (Los Altos)- Wide Receiver/Quarterback/Defensive Back

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Week 0 games: Who do you like?

Andrew Campa and I will be picking the area football games each week. Take your best shots.

Friday’s openers:
Servite at St. Paul, 7;30 p.m.; RMurray (Servite), ACampa (Servite)
Gabrielino at Pioneer, 7 p.m.: RMurray (Pioneer), ACampa (Pioneer)
Salesian vs. Cantwell Sacred Heart, at St. Matthias HS, 7 p.m.: RMurray (Cantwell), ACampa (Cantwell)
Norwalk vs. Montebello, at Schurr HS, 7 p.m.: RMurray (Norwalk), ACampa (Norwalk).

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Correspondents needed to cover football games

We are looking for correspondents to cover Friday night football games. It does not require heavy duty writing, just accuracy, some knowledge of the game and the ability to make deadline. In some cases this season, we’ll merely ask that you call in the box score with a recap of the game. A press pass will be provided to enable you to cover games from the sidelines or in the press box, and there will be a small monetary compensation for you time and effort. If you’re a journalism major or thinking about it, this is ideal. If you’re a football junkie who can spell, this would be great. If interested, please send an email with contact information to set up an interview to roger.murray@sgvn.com.

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