The Covina Colts received the top seeding Sunday, a mere formality considering that they'd been the division's top-ranked squad for quite some time. Valle Vista League winner Covina (9-1) opened the season with a six-point loss to rival and defending Southeast Division champion West Covina but rolled the rest of the way. Coach Darryl Thomas has his group in good position. Here’s a breakdown of the division:
The seeds: No. 1 Covina, No. 2 Arroyo, No. 3 San Dimas, No. 4 Monrovia.
Best first-round matchup: Pomona (6-4) at Monrovia (7-3) -- Pomona, which lost to the top seed by only two points, could very well leave Monrovia with a victory if the Wildcats don't play inspired.
Toughest road: Monrovia (7-3) -- It appears as if defending Mid-Valley champion Monrovia will have to go through top-seeded Covina in the third round. That's a lofty task.
Potential shocker: Maranatha (8-2) at San Gabriel (6-4), first round -- The possibility for an upset is there any time an elite-level quarterback is involved. The Maranatha Minutemen have that in junior Andrew Elffers.
Darkhorse: Azusa (7-3) -- The Montview League champion Aztecs have won seven straight and have already seen their potential second-round opponent, San Dimas.
Final analysis: It's hard to imagine anyone beating the Colts, especially if quarterback Billy Livingston stays healthy. They will likely have to go through defending champion Monrovia but the Wildcats, despite the presence of top lineman Ellis McCarthy, have been very beatable in 2011. Second-seeded Arroyo, behind record-setting signal caller Steven Rivera, should have no problem advancing out of the lower bracket.
Championship prediction: Arroyo vs. Covina -- The Colts will sneak past Monrovia in one semifinal and ride that momentum. Arroyo's high-powered attack will find difficulty against Covina's tough defensive front. Final score: 31-20, Covina.