Surprise! Bonita, Diamond Bar, Rosemead make our list of football teams poised for a big 2017
By Aram Tolegian, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
POSTED: 08/14/17, 11:57 AM PDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
Anyone can tell you that the Arroyo or Charter Oak high school football teams are going to be good this season. They’re so consistent that you can set your watch to them. We won’t waste our time with the obvious.
At this point in August, it’s also time to talk about potential surprise teams. Top 10 rankings are nice, but the order is the only drama there. What about who you don’t see coming?
That brings us to these three teams which will be discussed below. In order for it to truly be a surprise, we had just two qualifications that seemed to take care of all the other qualifications in one swoop. Also, in order to truly be considered a surprise, the team had to finish with a losing record last season AND miss the playoffs. Here are three that stood out.
So many things went wrong for the Bearcats last season. Their 3-7 record did not reflect the true talent level of the team. But, it was the first year of a new head coach and injuries derailed what might have been a big season otherwise.
Consider this, at the midway point of last season, Bonita was 3-2 and had posted wins over playoff teams Diamond Ranch, Santa Fe and South Pasadena. The Bearcats then lost all five Palomares League games and that was that.
Heading into 2017 there’s lots to like. First and foremost, the second year of a head coach is typically much better. The systems are more familiar and the cohesion is better. Plus, if you saw what Ibis Aguilar did at South El Monte, you know he’s very cagey.
Perhaps the biggest thing, though, is that Bonita’s junior class was a very successful group as freshmen. Aguilar had to replace 28 seniors last season and many of the talented sophomores got time. This year’s team should be right in the thick of the Palomares League race.
The positive energy of new head coach Matt Castaneda is contagious. And let’s be honest, by all accounts, the final month or so of last season were a train wreck in terms of coaching.
Simply because of a more stable coaching staff, Rosemead should be better. We also like to point out that beside Arroyo, no team in the Mission Valley League ever really out-talents anyone else. The players pretty much are all the same kids.
Rosemead actually gave Arroyo a decent tussle, losing “only” 16-0. On the other hand, the Panthers lost to Marshall by 15! However, we think the truth is better found in the Panthers’ close losses to El Monte and South El Monte. If those turn into wins this season, then this is a playoff team.
Castaneda definitely has a swagger. He’s going to try and open up the offense while also keeping the hard-nosed approach that worked so well in the past. Should be interesting. Rosemead went 2-8 last season. We’re expecting a major reversal.
Simply on the basis of the coaching staff turning this into Los Altos East, the Brahmas should see a nice pop in excitement.
New head coach Kevin Argumosa was formerly at Los Altos under then head coach Dale Ziola. Somehow, Argumosa was able to lure Ziola into being an assistant on his staff at Diamond Bar. These guys know what they’re doing. Not that former head coach Marcus Hughes didn’t.
The Palomares League looks a tall order for the Brahmas even though it isn’t outrageously talented to the point that Diamond Bar can’t compete. They can, but injuries must be avoided.
Diamond Bar won four games last year. One of the wins was a forfeit and another was a one-point win over Bonita in the season finale. There’s lots of work to do, but Ziola had a immediate turnaround at Los Altos and Argumosa could do the same here.