Projected order of finish:
1. Covina – Coach Darryl Thomas
2. San Dimas – Coach Bill Zernickow
3. Baldwin Park – Coach James Heggins
4. Pomona – Coach Anthony Rice
5. Wilson – Coach Bob Burt
6. Northview – Coach Marcel Perez
7. Nogales – Coach Sebastian Hernandez
Covina and San Dimas are the class of the league. Most people like either one to finish one or two. Covina was very impressive in a scrimmage against South Hills last week. We already knew about the skill position players like Billy Livingston, Vinny Venegas, Gevontray and Peter De la Cruz but it was the size up front that raised eyebrows.
The Colts have several bubbas led by Nick Hynes, Phil Romano and Chris Flores.
Ainsworth will go both ways for the Colts and Johnny Padilla should have an impact at linebacker. The Colts should be just as good defensively as they are on offense.
San Dimas will need to go through Covina to win the title. That won’t be easy but returning quarterback Shawn Kennedy is a big reason why it could happen. Kennedy led the Saints to the CIF title in 2009 but missed nearly all of last season with an injury. This year he’s back and completely.
Dillon Corona, another guy with a championship ring, will be the feature back but in Coach Bill Zernickow’s offense he could catch passes as well. Corona is also one of the best kickers in the valley.
DeVante Brown is a playmaker and should be one of Kennedy’s favorite targets. Up front Alec Zenner anchors a solid line that includes Erik Montoya and Lucas Darling. Nathan Torres had 66 tackles last year from his linebacker position.
Depending on who you talk to Baldwin Park is either the worst team in the league or a championship contender. The Braves should be somewhere in between. Sure BP lost some key players but the cupboard is anything but bare. Senior Eric Robles will take over the quarterback duties and Bruno Haro and Eduardo Gutirrez will be catching his tosses. Anthony Moran is a force on both sides playing both linebacker and running back.
Giovanni Resendez supplies the lightning to Moran’s thunder – he could be the quickest back in the league.
Pomona is the wildcard. The Red Devils always have athlete and they also have a solid coach in second year guy Anthony Rice. Brandon Schreiman transferred over from Wilson and will take over at quarterback. Tavea Cobb is also a threat offensively and figures to get touches. Of course we won’t know for sure how good the Devils are until the season starts. The Red Devils get Covina September 30.
Wilson responded to last years disappointing season by replacing Brian Zavala with long time Cal State Northridge Coach Bob Burt. Burt has also had several high school stops along the way. The Wildcats aren’t lacking in talent – WR J.R. Nelson, QB Josh Morales, WR Keith Hawk and receiver George Czarnack are all back.
The question is can Burt put make the players forget last year’s troubles and bring it all together to make the Wildcats a winner? They should finish somewhere in the middle of the pack but beating Covina, San Dimas or even BP might be too much to ask.
Northview lost running back Marquise Thomas, probably the team’s best player. For second year Coach Marcel Perez those are big shoes to fill. Quarterback Victor Garcia has had a good summer for the Vikings and should provide stability there. Northview could bite somebody but the Vikings don’t have the weapons to match up with the Covinas and the San Dimases of the world.
Nogales has Keith Bolden but not much else. Bolden’s great. In fact you put him at West Covina and he’s getting a ton of ink. He’ll have a great year but unfortunately for Bolden and the Nogales faithful, Nogales won’t.