Area teams: Beware of pitfalls

Joshua Quezada returns to key La Habra’s always potent ground game

The majority of area high school football teams begin their seasons Sept. 12 in Week 1, but five local schools open play a week earlier, Sept. 5, in Week 0.
Getting the quick jump on the season are El Rancho (at West Covina), La Mirada (against visiting Tesoro), Montebello (which travels to face Norwalk), St. Paul (with a crucial opener against Servite at Cerritos College), and Whittier Christian (playing host to Alberta Canada’s Cochrane High School).
Four of those games begin at 7 p.m., with St. Paul playing at 7:30.
In putting together the schedules that will run in this newspaper’s annual football editiion that will be published later this month, some interesting points came to light.
— Defending Del Rio League champion California plays four Thursday night games, giving coach Jim Arnold and his staff an opportunity for first-hand scouting future opponets, while providing those opponets equal opportunity to check out the Condors.
Cantwell Sacred Heart plays four of five non-Camino Real League games on the road, including a major test against St. Paul Sept. 26.
El Rancho might prefer to have its bye week (Oct. 03) after facing St. Francis rather than meeting the Black Knights (Oct. 10) just before opening league play.
La Habra faces a huge challenge in Week 2 against host South Hills, gets a ‘breather’ against Westminster, then takes on visitiing Los Alamitos before traveling to San Clemente.
La Mirada begins against Tesoro, which has become a perennial Orange County contender.
La Serna opens with four games at home, then is on the road for four before facing biggest arch California in Week 9.
Montebello’s biggest challenge is whether the Oilers can rebound from a two-win season, but their schedule appears better suited to make it easier than more difficult.
Pioneer has four road games among five nonleague games, and the fifth is against playoff contender Cypress. No break there.
Santa Fe has four road games in league play, although the one with Pioneer is on their common field which is like a home game for both.
Schurr’s six road games include three in Almont League, one of them against co-preseason favorite Alhambra, against crosstown rival Montebello, and then always-scary Bell Gardens.
St. Paul, nothing new here: With Servite, St. John Bosco, Loyola and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame leading up to the Mission League opener with visiting St. Francis, the Swordmen’s road is the area’s most treacherous.
Whittier’s schedule takes on added import with the replacement of Firebaugh by San Gabriel Valley member Paramount, which should help prepare the Cardinals for a league stretch that finishes with three road games.
Whittier Christian opened last season with an eight-hour trip to play Mammoth. This year, the Heralds will prep on the road against division champion St. Margaret’s and San Luis Obispo’s Mission Prep before making the jump from the Alpha League to the more difficult Olympic League, where they’ll face Cerritos Valley Christian, LA Baptist and Village Christian.

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