Week 9 Prep Notebook
While some in the Southland might not always acknowledge it, there is, in fact, football played outside of the Pac-5 Division. Here’s a look at a few other division races heading into the home stretch of the 2012 season.
The Mid-Valley Division still features two unbeatens in Sierra Canyon and San Marino, the later of which will face one of the favorites of the division this Friday.
Sitting at 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the Rio Hondo League, San Marino is set to face another 3-0 team Friday night when they hit the road to face defending Rio Hondo champion Monrovia.
The Titans have transformed under second-year head coach Mike Hobbie. After going 3-7 two seasons ago, Hobbie guided the team to a 7-4 record in the 2011 season. But one of those losses was to Monrovia – a 43-7 throttling that snapped the team’s three-game winning streak. Hobbie voiced his opposition to Monrovia even being in the league, saying that it was too large for a small school like San Marino to be playing.
This time around, the Titans are going in with the edge. Needing just one win to clinch a playoff spot, the aggressive defense hasn’t allowed more than 21 points all season and has recorded four shutouts.
Last week, San Marino faced a hungry Temple City team still in the running for a playoff spot. The Titans dismantled the Rams, 58-0, getting a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter to secure yet another shutout.
But Monrovia also recorded a shutout of its own, this one an 84-0 stomping of Pasadena Blair. The Wildcats have relied on more of an offensive attack that may be the biggest test the San Marino defense will face all season.
Other close league races in the Mid-Valley Division:
Alpha League: Both Sierra Canyon (8-0, 4-0), the defending state champs, and Paraclete (7-1, 4-0) are both perfect in the league. The two will play one another the final week of the season in what is likely to determine the Alpha League champion.
Valle Vista Leauge: San Dimas (7-1, 4-0) is looking like the top dog but both Covina Northview (6-2, 4-0) and Covina (6-3, 3-2) are right behind. Covina has a bye this week but will finish the season next Friday facing a Pomona team that the Colts should easily handle. Should San Dimas or Northview fall in the final two weeks, Covina may be right back in the mix.
Tustin (8-0, 4-0 Empire League) continues to dominate the Southwestern Division with their double wing offense. The Tillers shouldn’t face much of a challenge the rest of the season, facing two teams with losing schedules to close out the season. A senior-laden team looks primed to defend its Empire League title but one key player will be missing: star quarterback and defensive back a sprained knee may cause him to miss the rest of the season.
San Juan Hills (7-1, 2-1 Sea View League) is right behind the tillers but it’s Villa Park and new Southwestern Division member Edison that continue to turn heads.
Villa Park (7-1, 4-0 Century League) made its way into the Orange County Register’s Top 10 earlier this month after a win over Santa Ana Foothill and never looked back. Foothill, a trendy favorite earlier in the season, has lost just twice this season, but both losses have come to Tustin and Villa Park.
Edison (7-1, 3-0 Sunset League) moved from the Pac-5 but took the defensive prowess it needed to contain offenses like those from the Trinity League. After opening with big wins over Villa Park and shutting out Servite, some wondered if Edison, a team with more sophomores than seniors on its roster, could sustain. The Chargers were handed their first loss in week four but it was to Mater Dei, who is currently the No. 8 team in the Southern Section. The 20-14 score didn’t exactly indicate blowout and the 20 points the Monarchs scored are still the most any team has managed against Edison this season. Los Alamitos was the Sunset League team that posed the biggest threat for the Chargers and the result was a 24-14 Edison win.
Other close league races in the Southwest Division:
Freeway League: While La Habra (5-3, 3-0) still sits atop the Freeway League standings, the League was shaken up last week when Fullerton Troy (5-3, 2-1) topped La Habra Sonora 27-20 to tie for second place. Troy’s will finish the season against struggling Fullerton and Fullerton Sunny Hills teams and their chances of making a run at the Freeway League title are likely if they continue to run the ball well.
Seaview League: Dana Hills is currently the leader in this race with a 2-0 league record, but a 3-5 overall record shows they are vulnerable. A very good Capistrano Valley (7-2, 1-1 Sea View) team will need to win out and faces a big game this weekend against San Juan Hills.