Projected order of finish:
1. Maranatha – Coach Pete Karavedas
2. Village Christian – Coach Jay Shroeder
3. Whittier Christian – Coach Sergio Gradilla
4. Valley Christian – Coach Erick Streelman
5. LA Baptist – Coach Terrance Johnson
Coach Pete Karavedas picked a good year to come to Maranatha. The Minutemen have a returning roster that has the envy of coaches everywhere. Junior Andrew Elffers, who threw for over 3300 yards and 37 touchdowns last year, is arguably the best quarterback in the Mid-Valley Division. He was ranked the number one QB in the Southland by the LA Times.
Darrien McGee and Cliff Martin will be on the receiving end of Elffer’s passes and Omar Younger keeps defenses honest with his ground game.
Don’t try to tell Karavedas that he can’t stop anybody. Maranatha has a couple of run stoppers up front in Robert Flewelling and Blake Simon. Flewelling will line up at tight end as well and Younger and McGee will go both ways at line backer and defensive back respectively.
Maranatha could slip along the way but if things go as scripted the Minutemen are league champs.
At Village Christian former NFL quarterback Jay Schroeder has taken over as Head Coach. Shroeder is installing a new offense but regardless of what type it is it should revolve around Amjed Aboul-hosn, who ran for over 2000 yards last year. First year quarterback Cayden Boyd has a couple of targets to throw to in Josh Rolls and Chapin Yoder.
Misha Gordon is a fixture up front and Tyler McGinniss is looking to have a solid year at linebacker.
Whittier Christian lost some guys, yes. But look at these names and you’ll realize the Heralds will be just fine. Daniel Abernethy is healthy and returns at linebacker. Grant Escobar at running back and Cody Bronkar at wide receiver are explosive weapons offensively. Joel Rhone will get some carries as well.
Defensively Grady Smith and Paul O’laughlin return to establish a lock down secondary. Will they advance to the CIF Finals? Probably not. But the Heralds will be right in the mix.
Valley Christian needs to knock off one of the top three to sneak into the playoffs. The Crusaders finished 5-5 a year ago and lost several key players to graduation including quarterback Ryan Fronke. Valley will need a lot of the youth to step up to break through and into the post season.
LA Baptist went 2-8 a year ago and is breaking in a new coach in Johnson. LAB would need at least four more wins to crack the top three and sneak into the post season. That’s a huge mountain to climb.