Less than two weeks and counting…this Friday night there will be numerous scrimmages through out the area and then the following Thursday (September 1), the high school football season kicks off.
The Smudgepot pitting San Dimas and Bonita will highlight the Thursday games. This year the game will be played at Citrus College due to the remodel at San Dimas High. Everybody loves Friday nights but a Thursday night game could actually enhance the intensity of the rivalry. It separates itself from the rest of the weekend contests.
If the Smudgepot isn’t your thing there are a couple of other Thursday night games to keep your eye on. Colony visits South Hills at Covina District Field and Henry Omana and Diamond Bar travel to Ayala.
There are some intriguing games Friday night; El Monte at Baldwin Park, Glendora at Charter Oak, Mt. View at Alhambra, Muir at San Gabriel, and Arroyo at Ontario in Montclair.
But the Labor Day weekend won’t be over yet. The main feature is always the best and that’s exactly how it will be on Saturday night when defending Southeast Division champ West Covina and Mid-Valley powerhouse Covina hook up at Covina District Field.
Last year West Covina was in control before West Co. mistakes and Covina’s Billy Livingston turned it around for Covina in a 27-21 comeback victory.
What a way to kick off the 2011 season.
Speaking of Livingston he is a just one of a number of elite quarterbacks in the Mid-Valley Division. I can’t recall a season, at least in the last decade, that there are this many quality quarterbacks.
Livingston has been attending quarterback camps the last couple of years including the Manning Camp that he attended this summer. He threw for over 2800 yards and 28 touchdowns a year ago while leading Covina into the second round of the playoffs.
Steven Rivera at Arroyo, who some feel is the best quarterback in the division, is a four year starter who has thrown for over 5000 yards in his three years under center.
Shawn Kennedy missed nearly the entire 2010 season for San Dimas but is back and healthy in 2011 for his senior year. Kennedy already has a championship under his belt leading the Saints to the CIF title over Monrovia in ’09 as a sophomore.
Monrovia doesn’t have a returning quarterback, Nick Bueno has moved on to college, but the two that they do have are top notch. George Frazier (G-5) has been penciled in as the 2011 starter since the Wildcats won the title in December, and has performed well during the summer. But Blake Heyworth transferred in from St. Francis and is now in a battle with Frazier for the starting job.
Andrew Elffers at Maranatha is already getting D-1 looks. Elfers, who has the size of a prototypical QB, is coming off a season in which he threw for 37 touchdowns and 3300 yards. The new West Coast offense that the Minutemen have installed will only make him more dangerous.
Josh Mendoza is set for his second year under center at Alhambra. Only a junior, Mendoza is looking to improve on respectable numbers a year ago (1330 yards, 8 TD). Mendoza has had a great summer for the Moors.
San Gabriel returns two guys with experience in Andy Guerrero and Eric Alvarez. The two combined for nearly 2000 yards passing last year.
Jake Martinez at Azusa split time last year at quarterback and showed at the SGV Shootout in July that he is ready to lead the Aztecs full time.
Brandon Schreiman has moved from Wilson to Pomona and should have a solid season for the Red Devils. Word is he has been throwing darts all summer.
In La Puente, junior Ivan Vasquez has impressed Warrior Coach Brandon Roher. The Warriors have their sights on knocking Azusa off of the Montview pedestal.
Temple City? Mikal Quintanilla returns.
Year of the Mid-Valley quarterback? Only time will tell, but it definitely looks promising.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org