CIF-SS polls: La Habra still tops short list of locals

Six area football teams rank among the top 10 in their respective divisions in this week’s CIF Southern Section poll.
La Habra tops the list of locals by maintaining the No. 2 spot behind El Dorado in the Southwest Division. Both teams were idle last week.
Schurr and Santa Fe stayed at Nos. 4 and 5 in the Southeast Division, while California slipped a notch to No. 7. All three teams were idle last week.
Whittier Christian won big, rolling over Cochrane, a visitor from Alberta, Canada, 35-9, and jumped from the list of others-receiving-votes in the preseason poll to No. 6 this week in the Mid-Valley Division.
St. Paul, the Western Division’s preseason No. 3, dropped to No. 6 this week after losing, 41-16, to Servite, which is ranked No. 7 in the Pac-5 Division.

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Week 0 picks

Week 0, as in zero, and time to initiate the local pigskin pick’em. Sort of a test run and trying to get out of the box on the right foot.
Same as last season, Andrew Campa and I will make our selections each week and we’ll keep a running total to decide something — I’m not quite sure what — at the end of the season.

Tonight’s games:
El Rancho at West Covina, 7 p.m. — Murray (West Covina); Campa (West Covina)
Tesoro at La Mirada, 7 p.m. — Murray (Tesoro); Campa (Tesoro )
Montebello vs. Norwalk, at Excelsior HS, 7 p.m. — Murray (Norwalk); Campa (Norwalk)
Cochrane, Alberta vs. Whittier Christian, at Whittier College, 7 p.m. — Murray (Cochrane); Campa (Cochrane)
St. Paul vs. Servite, at Cerritos College, 7:30 p.m. — Murray (Servite); Campa (Servite).

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St. Paul Football: Still “A work in progress”

]”A work in progress.”
That’s St. Paul High School football coach Pete Gonzalez’s progress report on the Swordsmen after they played their Blue-White scrimmage Saturday.
“It went OK,” Gonzalez said of the intrasquad scrimmage. “We were playing a (simulated) game, hoping to see where our players stand, and to fix some things. We’re still trying to find the right combinations.”
One of the Gonzalez’s priorities is finding the right equation in the offensive line. The Swordsmen may have taken a step closer to the solution, but he’s still looking.
“It’s a work in progress,” Gonzalez said. “We’re still moving guys around. Nothing is set. The good thing is the players and coaches are working hard to get it settled.”
It appears the offense in general will rely more on execution than surprises, at least for the time being.
“We did OK overall,” Gonzalez said. “We’re a pretty basic team (offensively) right now, at least until we get it down. A work in progress. We’re not going to move forward to the complicated stuff until we get the little things right first.”
Linebacker Michael Demery, a transfer from Mayfair, was impressive.
“He’s a very smart player,” Gonzalez said. “He pays attention and works hard. He knows our stuff already.”
Gonzalez also cited the efforts of Luis Garcia, who is doubling as a running back/defensive back.
“He can do a lot of things,” Gonzalez said. “We’re very fortunate to have someone like him.”
The Swordsmen worked without Darius Bratcher, another transfer from Mayfair, who fractured two ribs in practice and is questionable for Friday’s game.
That means Garcia, junior Jared Morales and returning letterman Deion Williams will get most of the reps against Servite in Friday’s season opener.
Also missing Saturday was linebacker Markus Viramontes, who is recovering from surgery that removed a tumor from his toe.

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Del Rio League: Coaches say, “Should be interesting”

While some Del Rio League football coaches are hesitant to rank the
teams in preseason, the general implication for 2008 is the same as it
has been for more than a half dozen seasons.

1. Santa Fe
2. California
3. La Serna
4. Pioneer
5. Whittier
6. El Rancho

The only one that was pretty much consensus is Santa Fe. And that
isn’t set in stone. Quarterback and receiver positions are being slightly
scrutinized, hence the obvious query concerning the Chiefs ability to
pass successfully, and perhaps exposing their vulnerability.

The Nos. 2 and 3 slots were tilted toward Cal/La Serna, but there
also was support for La Serna/Cal. And add Pioneer anxious to break into the mix.

Whittier and El Rancho can be flip-flopped, too, and both are given
credibility as having potential to finish higher, and certainly the ability to be

The bottom line: it’s basically a toss-up. Perhaps not quite as balanced
as last season, but clearly balanced enought to keep everbody interested
and paying attention.

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How much time available for area’s new FB coaches?

No matter the sport, new coaches require time to get their philosophy
and Xs and Os in place. So how long is it going to take the players at
El Rancho, La Mirada and Schurr to make the necessary adjustments under
Rick Zepeda, the combination of Mike Moschetti/Ollie Lynch, and Ben
Negrete, respectively.

And which of those coaches figures to have the easiest job, or the
hardest, take your pick, in bringing his team up to speed to compete
in Del Rio, Suburban and Almont league play, respectively?

El Rancho returns two solid runners and a quarterback with some
experience from a year ago. La Mirada has a quarterback returning and
the potential for a running game, if consistency can be developed.
Schurr perhaps is in best position with the return of its starting
quarterback and running back, plus the possibility of a second quality
ball carrier via transfer (if his papers are cleared by CIF).

The offensive lines at all three schools have potential but are
suspect at this point. Same for the defenses.

None of the cupboards were left bare by the outgoing regimes, but
from here it looks like Schurr’s is a bit better stocked coming into the

Agree, or agree to disagree?

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