Projected order of finish:
1. San Gabriel – Coach Jude Oliva
2. Schurr – Coach Ben Negrete
3. Alhambra – Coach Lou Torres
4. Bell Gardens – Coach David Ramos
5. Montebello – Coach Pete Gonzalez
6. Keppel – Coach Bobby Madrid
Don’t hold me to these predictions…or I guess you can hold me to them and take a shot at me if they don’t pan out but please don’t bet the farm. The Almont is the most wide open league in the Mid-Valley.
If quarterback Andy Guerrero, who was just named the starter at San Gabriel last week, has a great year and Alex Villalobos catches everything in sight, and LB Melvin Purser is unstoppable and the Mats beat Muir in the opener to gain some momentum…then the Mats can win the Almont.
But if Edgar Jimenez picks up right where Aaron Cantu left off and Bradley Powell does the same replacing Abraham Gonzalez, and the line can play up to line coach Phil Jimenez’ expectations, then Schurr could end up on top.
Alhambra? Of course the Moors are right in the hunt. Junior QB Josh Mendoza is a year older and has a full year under his belt, and is now a leader on the field as well. Demetrius Russell, Essien Frank and Oscar Gaytan are other options for Coach Lou Torres on offense.
Defensively, Chris Caraveo, two way starter Ezra Broadus, Luis Herrera, and Justin Luu are all returning for the Moors. And as we found out last week on the Mid Valley Sports Show from Torres and DC Jacob Ochoa, Alhambra is hungry.
Bell Gardens lost QB Josh Adame and back Steven Ibarra, but running back Alex Orozco is a good one. The Lancers liked to air it out with Adame but with Orozco and a new quarterback, expect BG to pound it on offense. With a break here or there and a win over one of the top three Bell Gardens could get back to the post season.
Montebello had a ton of players out in the summer so the Oilers shouldn’t have a problem with depth. They did however graduate quarterback Fernando Hoffens and running backs Lashawn Howard and Johnny Salinas. Matthew Saenz will take over the QB duties and Jorge Rangel will get a bulk of the work at running back. Last season Montebello went 3-2 in league and still missed the playoffs. The Oilers will need to do that again and improve their record in the non league games to advance.
Keep an eye on Keppel quarterback Tyler Takeshita. Takeshita, a junior, has been working with former Florida State quarterback Chris Rix in the off season. It could be a long year for the Aztecs but if Takeshita continues to improve and they can add a few skill players, it will bode well for next year.