After all of the celebrating is done, the final award has been passed out and the last chapter has been written on El Monte’s remarkable 2019 season, the question on everybody’s mind will be who’s next?
Who’s next in line in one of the lower divisions to make a state run? isn’t every other team in the area now thinking ‘Hey if El Monte can do this why cant we?’ Of course it helps to have a coach like Jesse Ceniceros and a double wing offense that when running efficiently is nearly impossible to stop, but the Lions hadn’t won anything since 1930. Just the words “El Monte Lions, 2019 State Champions” still sounds strange as it rolls off the tongue.
Not only has this historical run given hope and pride to El Monte, it has given hope to every other local team in the area. Now it’s possible that who’s next? might be El Monte. The Lions won one so why not another? And by all reports Ceniceros isn’t going anywhere. Also with all of this success the Lions wont have a shortage of players that want to don the Lion blue.
While other teams watched the Lions magical run they no doubt had visions of championships dancing in their heads. Who’s next? Is it Sierra Vista which on the playing field went 10-0 last year and has a co head coach in Matt Villasenor who has a way of attracting talent? The Dons have already been talking about who’s on the clock for 2020. They seem poised to make a deep run. By the way you got to love Sierra Vista’s Zero Week game for next year. It’s…wait for it…Sierra Vista of Las Vegas. Who’s the best Sierra Vista?
Is it Pioneer which currently has close to 50 applications for its head coach position and has facilities that are some of the best in the area? The buzz is that the Titans are tired of mediocrity and want to be in a position to win a CIF title – not in 2 or 3 years but right now. There are several good eligible coaches in the area that would seem to be a fit to make that happen. Last I checked Anthony White is still available.
What about Nogales? The Nobles are another program that has a great stadium and a nice facilities. One local head coach told me “That’s a great job. That school looks like it’s brand new.” Also the Nobles are just two years removed from a team that went 10-2 overall advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Nogales is looking for a new coach as well with the resignation of Oscar Robles. With El Monte’s season fresh in their minds, you don’t think the Nobles faithful are excited and thinking they can bring home the hardware?
Alhambra? Why not? The Moors were undefeated before falling in the semi finals last month. Add a player and bingo, they’re right there. South El Monte? The Eagles are in the same league as El Monte, don’t tell them that with a tweak here or there they can’t do what the Lions did.
Things could change with possible new CIF rules for Divisions on the horizon but that won’t dim the light that El Monte’s success has sparked.
The truth is El Monte has given everybody a confidence boost. “Why not us?” will now be the moniker for everybody in the area who strives to raise a banner.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tspeterson40