There are 31 days until the football season. Have you figured out who’s going to win the Hacienda League yet?
We’ve talked extensively about the Mid-Valley and the five leagues that comprise that division but have you looked at the Southeast? There’s La Serna and Santa Fe in the Del Rio (can Cal compete) and Downey in the San Gabriel Valley and after all we’ve been hearing out of La Mirada is it possible to think that anybody else other than the the Matadores will win the Suburban?
The Pacific is interesting because we know Burroughs is better and Crescenta Valley has been making a lot of noise in summer passing leagues. Muir is always a factor, Arcadia has quarterback Joey Harmon for a full year and Burbank and James “Boobie” Williams look like a league title contender.
But I’m intrigued by the Hacienda. A few years ago it was a league that you could just pencil in West Covina and if the Bulldogs didn’t in it than Bonita would. In fact in 2010 they met in the Southeast CIF title game. It’s not quite that way anymore.
Last year four teams finished tied for first at 4-2 in league and all four made the playoffs. Two of the teams that didn’t get in, Diamond Bar and Los Altos, could be favorites to win the league this year. Diamond Bar, Antonio “Noodles” Hull or no, has enough athletes to stay with anybody. Junior quarterback Tyler Peterson has a couple of explosive targets in Kanya Bell and Snoop Dog’s son Cordell Broadus. Peterson has had a big summer and led Diamond Bar to the SGV Shootout championship game.
Los Altos has Christian Hacegaba back to run the show at quarterback and running back Marcos Estuardo who rushed for over 800 yards last year while scoring 15 touchdowns. Head coach Dale Ziola loves his offensive line led by senior Brandon Hayashi, senior Jake Loera and junior David Tolmachoff. All three weigh in at 240-250 pounds and figure to play a key role in the Conquerors success.
And these are the two teams that finished out of the playoffs.
Who did get in? Well, Bonita has quarterback Tanner Diebold and Angel Verdugo, West Covina doesn’t have Hull but the Bulldogs do have Sidney Jones, DeShon Love, Josh Best and David Ford. Avery Duffus, one of the most talented backs in the Southeast, returns for Rowland. Duffus rushed for close to 1500 yards for the Raiders last season. Walnut always has the ability to surprise and oh year there’s Diamond Ranch.
We had Xavier Beltran, three year starter at quarterback, and safety Daniel Garcia on the Mid Valley Sports Show and they told me the Panthers are primed for a big year. I believed them.
Also Diamond Ranch will be playing at the new on campus digs this season and Coach Roddy Layton wants nothing better than to make the debut season a championship one.
At this point I’m not making any predictions. I think it’s safe to say Walnut won’t win the Hacienda but after that it’s anybody’s ballgame. I polled six different coaches in the last couple of weeks and got six different answers. I’ll let you know who I like…in November.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.