What can you expect from the MVAL this season?
Circle Nov. 6 on your calendars. That’s when the Mission Valley Athletic League title will likely be decided. Defending champion Washington will host James Logan and both will probably be undefeated in league play at that point.
An inexperienced Newark Memorial squad and experienced Kennedy team might have something to say about that, but I don’t see a hiccup happening for Washington or Logan.
The Huskies finally got over the hump last season, beating Logan for the first time since 1998. It was also the first league crown for the Huskies since that same year. But do the Huskies have enough to repeat this season? Perhaps.
For starters, starting QB and team leader David Ross returns. The league’s top QB enjoyed a tremendous year throwing the ball last season (2,147 yards, 25 TDs and 65-percent completion rate). Ross showed how calm and cool he is under pressure last year, throwing the game-clinching TD with 1:48 left in a 14-7 win over the Colts.
The problem for Ross this season is none of his starting receivers are back, including one of the best the MVAL has ever seen in Rahsaan Vaughn. That could force Ross to use his feet a little more often this season, which isn’t a bad thing since Ross has the agility and speed to be a threat on the ground.
The good news for Ross is his whole offensive line except the center returns and he has a solid target in Division I college prospect Cedric Lousi. The tight end and first-team defensive end should play a huge role on both sides of the ball in his senior season. Lousi is getting looks from BYU and San Jose State. The Huskies have to hope newcomer WR Daryl Walker and backup WR a season ago DeAndre Carter can carry the receiving corps. Washington will need to replace its entire secondary on defense.
James Logan will also have experience at QB with Jonathan Willis returning. The senior ran for 750 yards and threw for another 650 with 10 TDs and only three interceptions last season. Willis will also have a nice target at tight end in Toni Pole. Pole, also a defensive lineman, is getting looks from Division I schools. WR Joseph Castro should also be a solid target for Willis.
But we all know Logan likes to run the football. Brandon Arnold and Kyle Lopez both graduated so senior T.J. Matsumoto will carry the bulk of the load at RB this season. Newcomer Victor Johnson could also see some time at RB. Logan always has the target on its back, but there should be plenty of motivation for the Colts to go out and give it their best against Washington. The Huskies not only won the MVAL crown last year, but they also ended Logan’s 16-game MVAL winning streak.
The Colts defense should be strong with Pole on the defensive line and junior linebacker Albert Bell (6-0, 190 pounds) roaming the field. Willis will also play defensive back and anchor the secondary.
You can never count out Newark Memorial. The Cougars will be young and inexperienced this year after losing defensive leaders Anthony Sao and Eric Banford, but coach Rich Swift said the offseason and summer workouts have been very promising and the staff is optimistic.
The team might be young but it doesn’t lack talent or speed. Senior WR/RB/DB Michael Tobin should get most of the action on offense. The wingback is dangerous in open space and is a potential home run hitter. He should be the go-to guy in the running game and passing game.
WRs Andrew Alvarez (6-0, 175) and Kyle Arce could also become huge factors in the offense. QB Nick Pohndorf should have plenty of time to throw the ball with senior offensive lineman Bryan Jones and Richard Massie controlling the trenches. This offense has the potential to be very scary for any secondary, but we will have to see how much the lack of experience will come into play.
Kennedy won’t be too far behind the top contenders. After a 4-2 showing in the MVAL and its first playoff win in the history of the school last season, the Titans are expected to do well again. The team did lose standout RB Jerrell Walker and RB/DB Dane Dismuke, but should still be able to contend with returning QB Trevor Damewood running the offense.
Returning WR’s Alex Almadova and Chris Hoerz should help provide plenty of offense for the Titans. I am not sure what the RB situation is right now, but newcomer Jas Singh has been spoken highly of by Michaletos.
American, Irvington and Mission San Jose are likely to be the bottom three in the MVAL. I have not heard anything from any of these coaches yet, but as soon as I do I will update this post with information. I do know Irvington has the lone new coach in the league, Casey Kester. I don’t have a phone number for Nick Amato so if anyone does, please e-mail it to me at email@example.com.
- James Logan – When it’s close, I have to go with the Colts.
- Washington – Could easily be labeled the favorite and are by many.
- Newark Memorial – If the young group catches on quick, watch out!
- Kennedy – Should finish at least fourth and maybe higher.
- Mission San Jose – 22 straight losses in the MVAL