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?