Thursday September 1
Smudgepot: Bonita at San Dimas (Citrus College)
Last Year: Bonita 41 San Dimas 20
All-Time: San Dimas 21-18-1 (overall, includes 1999 CIF)
Bonita has a first year quarterback in Tanner Diebold and lost a key running back in Giomanni Johnson. Also several key defensive players have graduated as well. Shawn Kennedy, who led San Dimas to the CIF title in 2009, is back, healthy and ready for a full season under center.
Dillon Corona will be a key factor for the Saints as well. Bonita, despite being ranked number two in the Southeast by CIF, lost a little too much. San Dimas holds the Bearcats off.
San Dimas 21 Bonita 14
Friday September 2
Big Bear at Maranatha
Last Year: Big Bear 27 Maranatha 17
When asked how he would motivate his team for the opening game against Big Bear Maranatha Coach Pete Karavedas said simply “27-17.” That was the score when Big Bear knocked off the Minutemen last year.
This year Maranatha gets Big Bear at home and is itching for some payback. Everybody knows about quarterback Andrew Elffers but the Minutemen also have Darrien McGee, Omar Younger, Cliff Martin, Robert Flewelling…etc. I don’t see them losing two in a row to Big Bear.
Maranatha 28 Big Bear 10
El Monte at Baldwin Park
Last Meeting: 10/3/08: Baldwin Park 10 El Monte 0
After a two year hiatus, the Braves are back on El Monte’s schedule. Last year there was plenty of hype coming out of Baldwin Park but this year it’s been noticeably quiet. Coach James Heggins doesn’t mind at all.
Baldwin Park has a new quarterback in Eric Robles and a scat back in Giovanni Resendez. They’ll make a few adjustments along the way.
Brandon Martinez has replaced Manual Santa Cruz as the starting quarterback at El Monte. He has shown a big arm through out the summer. Receiver Memo Silva could do some damage to the Lions secondary. El Monte has a big front line led by Jesse Gaytan (6-3, 263.)
The Lions won’t run away but they should have enough. The Lions close.
El Monte 20 Baldwin Park 17
Keppel at Bassett
Last Year: Bassett 34 Keppel 0
Keppel will be trying to erase memories of last year’s debacle. Basset won three games last year and will be trying to take that next step. Both teams appear to still be a few years away.
I like the Olympians at home.
Bassett 24 Keppel 6
Mt. View at Alhambra (Moor Field)
Interesting meeting- Alhambra is coming off a year in which it missed the playoffs and finished 4-6, unusual in Moor country, while Mt. View had somewhat of a break through going 5-5 and missing the playoffs by possibly just one victory.
Head Coaches Lou Torres and James Wilson both run versions of the wing offense that are confusing to opponents. The Moors have a quarterback in Josh Mendoza who can also throw out of the offense and that could present problems for the Viking D.
Mt. View is close. We’ll know a lot more after this game. Keep an eye on junior running back Jose Zamora. The Vikes will give the Moors a run but Alhambra escapes. With ground game offenses, this one could be over in an hour and a half.
Alhambra 24 Mt. View 21
Muir at San Gabriel
Last Year: Muir 46 San Gabriel 12
We know San Gabriel has an offense. But the question is will they be able to make it work against all the athletes at Muir.
The Mustangs are loaded with talent again led by D-1 prospects Kevon Seymour and Tairen Owens. Seymour and Owens both will play receiver and in the secondary and I imagine anywhere else they’re needed.
The Mustangs did lose a lot on the offensive lines.
San Gabriel has matured and should avoid the lopsided loss of a year ago, but have they improved enough to get over the hump and beat the Stangs? Coach Jude Oliva just named Andy Guerrero as the starting quarterback. Eric Alvarez is waiting in the wings.
Muir 31 San Gabriel 24
Arroyo at Ontario (Montclair)
Last Year: Arroyo 35 Ontario 14
Arroyo returns a majority of its players on offense from a team that went 9-1 in the regular season last year. Quarterback Steven Rivera gets the headlines but Hunter Duran, and Andre Kerkoff can also make plays. Peter Aholoka looks like he can fill the shoes of the graduated Mike Vasquez at running back.
Ontario went 4-6 a year ago finishing 2-4 in the Mt. Baldy. Arroyo will prevail.
Arroyo 31 Ontario 13
Village Christian at La Salle
The real question is how is La Salle ranked number 5 in the Northwest by CIF and picked to win the Del Rey League? An improvement from a winless season a year ago is expected but a jump to league champion is a stretch. Running back Israel Lacy is a gem.
Village Christian returns arguably the best running back in the Mid-Valley Division in Amjed Aboul-hosn and a solid lineman in Misha Gordon. Former UCLA and NFL quarterback Jay Schroeder has taken over as coach.
We’ll know a lot more about La Salle after this one. I don’t think they’ll still be fifth.
Village Christian 28 La Salle 14
Esperanza at Whittier Christian (Whittier College)
The Heralds replaced Ontario Christian with Esperanza for this season. Esperanza has been a power over the years but is coming off a year in which it went 3-7 overall and 1-5 in the Century League.
Whittier Christian doesn’t like to focus on the players it lost (Stephen Anderson, Jeff Worthy, Rudy Robles, George Flynn,) but instead on the players it has coming back (Grant Escobar, Grady Smith, Paul O’Laughlin, Ryan Wallace.) The Heralds aren’t expected to make a return visit to the CIF Finals but they’ll be a factor in the Olympic.
However, they’ll be a little short in this one. Esperanza wins it in the final quarter.
Esperanza 27 Whittier Christian 21
Saturday September 3
West Covina at Covina (Covina District Field)
Last Year: Covina 27 West Covina 21
Let’s not kid around. Both teams are loaded. West Covina will pound it with Chris Solomon and Aaron Salgado while Covina will throw it around with Billy Livingston, Peter De la Cruz and Vinny (The Dude) Venegas.
It comes down to which defense plays better. Who makes the stops? Covina is pretty big up front (offense and defense) while West Co still has some question marks. Justin Meaders is a huge factor for the Bulldogs but transfer Justin Hornsby won’t be eligible until next year.
It could be a game similar to last year but I don’t see the Colts falling behind by three scores and having to rally. This year they’ll come out firing right after the anthem. We couldn’t get a prediction out of either Darryl Thomas or Mike Maggiore on the Mid Valley Sports Show last Monday night so I’ll have to make one.
Covina 20 West Covina 16
Friday September 2
Bosco Tech at Wilson – Wilson 27-13
Cerritos at Gabrielino – Gabrielino 21-7
Pomona at Garey (Ganesha) – Pomona 24-7
Marshall at Duarte – Marshall 20-7
Sierra Vista at Salesian – Salesian 21-10
Franklin at Northview (Covina District Field) – Northview 23-14
Montebello at Roosevelt – Roosevelt 21-17