Handing out San Gabriel Valley high school football midseason grades – Whittier Daily News


We’ve reached halftime for several high school football teams in the San Gabriel Valley, Whittier, and Pasadena areas. Some will make it to halftime this weekend, while others have made it and are in a bye week preparing for next week’s league game.

In any case, it’s time to distribute mid-season football notes for the featured teams in the region.

THE A STAGE

It doesn’t get much better than perfect and Charter Oak (4-0), Diamond Bar (5-0), South Pasadena (5-0) and San Gabriel (4-0) were exactly that and did so impressively. There are other undefeated teams that you have to give A grades to like Rio Hondo prep (4-0) and Azusa (4-0)although his friendly schedules have a lot to do with it.

Charter Oak is the crème de la crème and the only team in our SGV Top Ten rankings ranked #4 unbeaten, with impressive wins over Northview and Chino Hills. If you look at the game that gave Chino Hills Ayala before she lost a point, the Chargers’ win over Chino Hills looks even more impressive. Charter Oak added significant transfers to hit the jackpot, most notably QB Richie Munoz who was sensational. But returners like running back Zakkarii Black and all-purpose threat Solomon Davis had a chip on their shoulder after last year’s dismal performance, and they’re on a mission.

The Brahmas were 5-6 last year, but with return winners Maddox Bernardino and Co., it’s not the biggest surprise that they’re undefeated. But the way they do it is impressive, allowing less than 10 points per game with a real chance of a 10-0. South Pasadena also took a giant leap, winning by averaging 26 points, and that included a 12-0 win over Heritage Christian in a game both teams entered with 3-0 records. San Gabriel proved last year’s 9-3 record and a Division 13 second-round run were no joke, and another one that has a chance to go undefeated through to the playoffs.

Camden Jones #11 of Pasadena celebrates after defeating Damien 22-21 during a prep soccer game at Damien High School in La Verne on Thursday September 1, 2022.  (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)
Camden Jones #11 of Pasadena celebrates after defeating Damien 22-21 during a prep soccer game at Damien High School in La Verne on Thursday September 1, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

There are three more A grades up for grabs. La Serna (4-1) battled his way to second place in the SGV standings with a 15-14 win over Pasadena and a 7-0 win over Damien. The D4 semi-finalists from a year ago grab it when it counts. Pasadena (4-1) is another one that deserves a big grade. The Bulldogs have four straight wins against Glendora, Damien, Loyola and Colony after a one-point loss earlier in the season. The Bulldogs are having one of their best seasons in decades and are unlikely to lose again until they make the playoffs. North view (4-1) It wasn’t expected to be the team that won the Division 10 championship last year, but it could be even better. If you were there in the Vikings’ season-opener with a 38-24 loss to Charter Oak, you weren’t sure if they lost to the better team. They rolled just over 400 yards on the floor and have since won four convincingly.

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THE B LEVELS

You can argue Bishop Amat (3-1) deserves an A grade, but in four games it has done exactly what was expected. It earns a B grade for failing to give St. John Bosco a more competitive game in a 42-7 loss. Still, Amat sits 7th in the Calpreps Southern Section rankings and is on a path that could see him into the prestigious Division 1 playoffs.

We haven’t seen how competitive a game is Monrovia (3-1) Ayala as Wildcats quarterback Brian Salazar Jr. suffered a 41-0 first-quarter loss through injury. But Salazar will be back and was great when he was healthy. The Wildcats should finish 9-1 and have a shot at a CIF Championship if they get into the right division.

Bishop Amat's Julian Borrayo #11 catches a pass and runs for a 79 yard touchdown against Valencia in the first half of a preseason soccer game at Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente on Thursday August 18, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham , Pasadena Star News/SCNG)
Bishop Amat’s Julian Borrayo #11 catches a pass and runs for a 79 yard touchdown against Valencia in the first half of a preseason soccer game at Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente on Thursday August 18, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham , Pasadena Star News/SCNG)

Walnut (4-1), Baldwin Park (4-1), Sonora (4-1), Sierra Vista (4-1) and Nogales (4-1) also earned high marks through five games. Walnut was particularly impressive, and with Nogales and Diamond Bar joining them in the Hacienda League, you have three teams with a combined 13-2 record that will be battling for two playoff spots. Sierra Vista was 0-10 last year but first-year coach Jesse Ceniceros got it rolling again and with Sierra Vista back in the Mt. Baldy League with Baldwin Park it will be a showdown everyone will want to see. The Braves were 10-0 last year but lost in the first round of the playoffs. They may have lost to Schurr, but the Braves’ offense is exciting to watch.

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THE C-STAGE

The C grades are for some teams in the SGV that bordered on B grades but lacked the big win to rank them higher.

La Mirada (2-3) is the first team that comes to mind. They played a brutal schedule, though two of their losses were competitive with the undefeated Yorba Linda and the Trinity League Servite. Sure, the Matadores were crushed by Mater Dei, but they’ve won the games they were meant to win and have as good a chance as anyone in the new Gateway League.

You can argue La Salle (2-3) has the big win over Bonita, and considering the Lancers’ three-year QB Richie Munoz made the move to Charter Oak, it’s really impressive that the Lancers are 2-3 against an above-average schedule. Still, they could have been more competitive on their losses.

Julian Vigil #23 of San Dimas hits for a touchdown in the first half of a prep football game against Schurr at San Dimas High School on Friday, September 16, 2022 in San Dimas.  (Photo by Libby Cline-Birmingham, Contributing Photographer)
Julian Vigil #23 of San Dimas hits for a touchdown in the first half of a prep football game against Schurr at San Dimas High School on Friday, September 16, 2022 in San Dimas. (Photo by Libby Cline-Birmingham, Contributing Photographer)

San Dimas (3-2) and El Rancho (3-2) are probably where you thought they would be. San Dimas lost a few key transfers to other schools and lost a close game to Bonita, but last week’s win over Schurr shows why the Saints are one of the region’s most enduring programs. El Rancho improved their schedule so the losses to Monrovia and Mayfair weren’t shocks, but you’ve got to love how the Dons won their other three games in convincing fashion.

South Hill (2-3) earns a C-grade after recovering from last year’s 0-10 season under first-year coach Jacob Calderon. Good wins over Diamond Ranch and Covina, and really can’t fault one-sided losses to West Covina and Charter Oak.

NOT OVER

Rather than labeling someone a D or F let’s just say they have not lived up to this point and are among the most disappointing around.

Without doubt, Daniel (1-4) is the talk of the town with just one win after going 7-3 last season. The Spartans want to be among the best around and continue to play a super-tough schedule. But winning has largely eluded them. Damien has been in competitive games, losing to Pasadena (22-21), Orange Lutheran (26-20) and La Serna (7-0), but sooner or later they have to find a way to win tight games. You will have a chance during the game in the baseline league, so the season is not lost yet.

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Damien head coach Matt Bechtel looks on after a failed two-point conversion attempt against Pasadena late in the fourth quarter of a preseason soccer game at Damien High School in La Verne Thursday, September 1, 2022. Pasadena won 22-21.  (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
Damien head coach Matt Bechtel looks on after a failed two-point conversion attempt against Pasadena late in the fourth quarter of a preseason soccer game at Damien High School in La Verne Thursday, September 1, 2022. Pasadena won 22-21. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Speaking of not losing the season, though Glendora (1-4), St Paul (1-3), St Francis (2-3) and La Habra (1-4) didn’t get any passing grades, there’s no reason they can’t all change it, especially since the CIF Southern Section places teams in playoff divisions post-season. You saw it last year, more teams won CIF championships and made the playoffs with sub. 500 records or worse than teams with winning records, so who knows what will happen at the end of November.

Glendora started 0-11 last year before losing in the second round of the D3 playoffs. The Tartans have struggled but played against tough teams and will bring back players like the super-talented transfer decker Degraff, who will be activated when the Citrus 4 league begins.

St. Paul and St. Francis are both in the Angelus League and will fight Cathedral for the championship title. But up to this point neither team has looked so good. St. Paul started 2-0, but when faced off against better teams, they were rocked with three straight losses. And even though St. Francis defeated Muir 41-0 last week, you can’t forget that their defense had been allowing an average of 52 points per game before this game, and they were blown off the field in two of those losses.



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