DRL still dominates Southeast Division poll (but how long can they last?)

A trio of La Habra defenders close on a South Hills ball carrier earlier this season.
The Highlanders are ranked No. 1 in this week’s CIF-SS, Southeast Division poll.

Six area schools, including five of the six Del Rio League programs, are ranked among the top 10 teams in this weeks CIF Southern Section, Southeast Division football poll.
The DRL has a 23-7 preleague record, and thats nice for the locals, but their acknowledgment in the polls may be short-lived.
The DRLs dominance of the division, in terms of the polls, is bound to suffer now that league play begins Friday.
During preseason interviews the DRL coaches invariably speak of the league balance, and how difficult it will be, but in recent seasons, their comments were based more on optimism than reality, as Santa Fe took the inside post and two, sometimes three others settled into a battle for second and third places.
This season, it is a bonafide, wide-open race for top honors. That means the intraleague schedule will result in DRL teams eventually knocking each other out of the rankings.
Hopefully, the pollsters will recognize that come playoff time.
I cant remember this kind of balance among the teams, Santa Fes Jack Mahlstede said. Every team in the league has improved over last year except us.
Perhaps true, but the leagues most veteran coach could have added the Chiefs are getting better each week.
Many observers of the areas football agree that in most instances, a down year for the six-time defending league champion Chiefs is at least as good as many teams good years.
La Habra (5-0), ranked No. 2 in the Southeast Division the past two weeks, moves into the No. 1 slot by virtue of a 49-31 victory over Villa Park, combined with former No. 1 Troys stunning 43-42 loss to Garden Grove Pacifica.
California (5-0) moved up a spot to second place and La Serna (4-1), No. 5 last week, jumps to No. 3.
Troy (4-1)hangs on at No. 4, and Santa Fe (3-2), a 13-11 winner over Downey, moves up three spots to No. 5.
Whittier (5-0) and Pioneer (4-1), among those receiving votes but unranked last week, jumped to Nos. 8 and 9, respectively, this week.
Three other local programs are among the top 10 teams in their respective divisions.
St. Paul (4-1) is stuck at No. 5 in the Western Division for the third consective week after defeating El Rancho, 35-0.
Cantwell Sacred Heart (4-2), dropped three spots to No. 8 in the Mid-Valley division after losing a non-league game to Don Bosco Tech, 35-21.
Whittier Christian (2-3), continued to slide with its third consecutive loss, 43-21 to Whittier, to No. 10 in the Northeast Division. All of the Heralds losses have been to unbeaten teams that are ranked No. 8 or better in higher divisions.

Just thinking: Which of the DRL teams figures best to retain a spot in the final Top 10? And why?

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Week 5: DRL regroups, wins four of five

Whittier QB Alec Campos picks up yardage in Cardinals 43-21 win

First La Serna, and then Whittier, California and Santa Fe. Five weeks
into the football season (six if Week 0 is counted), the Del Rio League
is alive and kicking (23-7 overall). Making a strong turnaround from the week before
when the league went 2-4, La Serna won Thursday and the Condors,
Cardinals and Chiefs followed suit Friday, to make it four wins in five
games. El Rancho was the team that struggled, and Pioneer had a bye.

Whittier’s Wblester Gama (27), who had four catches for for 75 yards, lunges for extra yardage

Friday’s results:

Whittier 43, Whittier Christian 21
Like last year’s meeting between these teams (WCHS 41, WHS 13), one team
was dominant. Just a different team this year. Nothing more, nothing

California 51, Buena Park 7
To show they can contend in the Del Rio League race, the Condors needed
to win big. Were 44 points big enough?

Santa Fe 13, Downey 11
The host Vikings were 1-3 but came in averaging nearly 30 points a game.
The Chiefs’ defense came in pumped for the game.

St. Paul 35, El Rancho 0
Running back Aubrey Haynes (ankle injury) watched as RB Luis Gracia ran
for 90 yards, QB Paul Lopez threw three TD passes and the defense held
the Dons to 60 yards total offense.

La Habra 56, Brea Olinda 13
Highlanders tune up for monster Freeway League meeting Friday against
visiting Troy. Yes, it’s early in the schedule, but many believe the
league title could be on the line.

Mayfair 33, La Mirada 7
Tough for a team to compete when both offense and defense are
struggling, but in a seven-team league, there’s still time for Matadores
to regroup. The question is can they do it?

Don Bosco Tech 35, Cantwell Sacred Heart 21
Host Cardinals won the first half, 21-7, but then lost the second half,
28-0, and and with it, the game. Missed opportunities have been a
problem. That’s not good with league play beginning Friday.

Leuzinger 16, Schurr 13
Like a lot of teams during early season play, the Spartans may not
understand it requires four quarters of effort to get a victory. This
time, the Spartans were 1 minute, 40 seconds short, during which the
Olympians scored twice.

Thursday’s result:

La Serna 45, El Monte 14
It looks like the Lancers have settled on a starting QB: Ben Burke, 15
for 25 for 292 yards, four touchdowns, plus running for two more.

Del Rio League readers poll
For the first time in at least six seasons, there is no clear cut
favorite for the Del Rio League championship. Rank the league’s teams
Nos. 1 through 6.

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La Serna sends DRL mates a message: Anybody listening?

La Serna defenders Louie Lozano (32) and Zeid Nesheiwat (49) close in on
El Monte’s Luke Ayala during the Lancers’ 45-14 nonleague win. (Photo/Chris Burt)

La Serna 45, El Monte 14.

So much for a post from blogger ‘once a Chief, always a Chief,’ who wrote, “Rudy Jordon, the real deal every DRL team is looking at film to find a way to stop him, stop him you stop LS.”
Case in point No. 1: El Monte held Jordan to 14 yards on nine carries.
The problem is that in stopping really good individual players, no matter the position, a team must commit a portion of its defense to that task. In doing so, they often expose other areas of weakness and provide other players with opportunities.
Case in point No. 2: La Serna quarterback Ben Burke completes 15 of 25 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns, and runs for two more.
Some observers feel the best way to control an opponent, be it an individual and/or team, often becomes the responsibility of the (surprise …) offense.
Keep the ball to sustain possession and control the clock. And don’t give the ball away.
Case in point No. 3: El Monte committed five turnovers –three interceptions, two fumbles.

In its victory over El MonteThursday, La Serna demonstrated it has more weapons than just one, and in the long run, with what appears to be the most balanced Del Rio League football schedule in years dead ahead, the Lancers’ performance definitely should make their league mates take notice.

Anybody paying attention??

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It’s Time for Week 5 Picks

Last week was brutal in the pick department as there were several upsets. Of course, Mr. Murray came away with more wins last week than I as he has all year long.

Roger Murray: Last week: 7-4; Season 42-9
Andrew Campa: Last week: 6-5; Season 35-16

Today’s game
El Monte v. La Serna, @ Cal, 7 pm Murray (La Serna), Campa (La Serna)
Friday’s games
Bosco Tech at Cantwell, 7 p.m. Murray (Cantwell), Campa (Cantwell)
Brea Olinda at La Habra, 7 p.m. Murray (La Habra), Campa (La Habra)
Buena Park at Cal-Hi, 7 p.m. Murray (Cal-Hi), Campa (Cal-Hi)
La Mirada v. Mayfair @ BHS, 7 pm Murray (Mayfair), Campa (Mayfair)
Santa Fe at Downey, 7 p.m. Murray (Santa Fe), Campa (Downey)
Schurr at Leuzinger, 7 p.m. Murray (Leuzinger), Campa (Schurr)
Whittier v. W. Christian @ W. College, 7, Murray (Whit),Campa (Whit)
El Rancho at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m. Murray (St. Paul), Campa (St. Paul)

Bye Weeks:
Montebello, Pioneer

I think La Serna is going to plow through lowly El Monte tonight while Murray believes the games will be close for a half. With the exception of Rosemead, the Mission Valley League has been very disappointing this year.

Roger’s upset pick of the week is Santa Fe. My pick is Schurr on the road.

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Girls Volleyball Midseason Survey

As league play kicks off today, which local girls volleyball team will take the reigns in league play and also establish itself as the best in the area?

Is Cal-Hi the best squad in the Del Rio League and in the area? Can/will Santa Fe, El Rancho or anyone else challenge?

What about St. Paul (Camino Real), Whittier Christian (Olympic), La Habra (Suburban) and La Mirada (Freeway)?

Is there any interest in the races or in volleyball in general? How would you rank the area teams? Speak now.

Here are the thoughts of Cal-Hi’s Marissa Rangel-

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