Defending champion West Covina is in prime position for a repeat after receiving the division's top seeding Sunday. The Bulldogs (9-1) didn't go undefeated because, really, they wanted to test themselves against Loyola, a Pac-5 playoff team. Coach Mike Maggiore hopes that loss pays dividends. Here’s a breakdown of the division:
The seeds: No. 1 West Covina, No. 2 Santa Fe, No. 3 Burbank Burroughs, No. 4 La Mirada.
Best first-round matchup: Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2) -- Tailback Cameron Griffin is running the ball well for Bonita. Arcadia has the weapons -- namely Myles Carr and Taylor Lagace to be a scary team.
Toughest road: La Mirada (6-4) -- If the La Mirada Matadores make it past Crescenta Valley -- and that's a big if -- they'll have to fend off either Bonita or Arcadia in the second round. That's the epitome of a grueling draw.
Potential shocker: Muir (6-4) at No. 2 Santa Fe (6-4), first round -- It might not be that big of a shocker, given that Muir has the star power with Kevon Seymour, rated as one of the top athletes in the area, and running back Tairen Owens, a Washington commit.
Darkhorse: Bonita (6-4) -- The Bearcats have won four straight and gave Hacienda League foe West Covina all it could handle in last year's championship game. Griffin is averaging 125 yards rushing over the last four games.
Final analysis: The division breaks down quite simply -- there's West Covina and there's everybody else. Talented teams abound, but no one is as physical as Maggiore's bunch. Tailback/safety Chris Solomon, the reigning division player of the year, could very well take the honor again this season.
Championship prediction: West Covina vs. Burroughs – Solomon isn't the only capable runner in West Covina's backfield. Jimmy Frazier has rushed for over 1,000 yards and Aaron Salgado is also approaching the four-digit mark. Unless Burroughs' running back Zander Anding can pull off another 300-yard game, there's too much power here for the Bulldogs not to make it two straight titles. Final score: West Covina 33, Burroughs 27.