As running backs go, 2008 was a tough year to follow, what with nearly every team in the area having at least one bonafide ball carrier and many of the locals boasting of having two .
This season, the numbers have thinned a bit but not necessarily the quality.
Again, without statistics, here is a look at a potential Top 5 list:.
1. Joshua Quezada, La Habra, 6-0, 209, senior. A dozen or so of the country’s top colleges want him, and that says it all. The complete package. Can run inside, outside and/or over people. Can catch the ball. Could also be one the area’s best defensive backs if the Highlanders needed him.
2. Terris Jones, California, 5-8, 165, senior. Outstanding speed and soft hands for catching passes. Another of the area’s outstanding two-way players and also ranks among the area’s most dangerous special teams guys.
3. Alex Gonzalez, Whittier, 5-11, 190, senior. Was matching Cardinals’ all-area selection Daniel Enriquez yard-for-yard last season before suffering a knee injury early on. People tend to forget about him when remembering Enriquez, but Gonzalez is special in his own right. Speed, size and attitude, all good stuff.
4. Jonathan Pinedo, Santa Fe, 6-2, 205, junior. Appears ready for a break-out season. Shouldered the load when all-area pick Aaron Turner was sidelined with an injury late in the season. Has added some weight without losing any speed. Will help make Chiefs’ efficient passing game more effective.
5. Joseph Marron, Montebello, 5-9, 185, senior. A legitimate big-play guy, the speedy tailback’s versatility provides first-year coach Pete Gonzalez additional options and will key a ground game that will be critical in giving the Oilers’ passing game time to develop.
Among others deserving of close attention are California’s Dudley Gamino and Schurr’s Nick Castillo.