I’m back! Got a good tan, but it’s time for football. With scrimmages looming this weekend, today’s installment of 30Q looks at the Diablo Foothill Athletic League.
First, I’ll look backwards. Miramonte took the league title in 2010, beating Alhambra in late-season game to lock it up. As a whole, I would classify 2010 as a down year for the DFAL, with only Miramonte making major noise in the playoffs.
So, that brings us to this year and we’ve got to start with the Matadors. Back for his senior season is Ross Anderson, and just his return gives the Mats a leg up on the competition. Yes, Jack Schram is in as the new coach and we don’t yet know how that will affect things. My sense is not a whole lot. Who will fill the shoes left by talented players like John Coupin, Ross Dolbec and Anthony Piganelli? We shall see.
Las Lomas should be in line for a bounce back year despite the loss of talented RB Marquis Waters. Jackson Miller returns under center with a year under his belt, so I think he gets better. Plus, I’m thinking the Knights are going to be good in the trenches. Jake Villa projects as the new lead running back. If the defense can improve (21 points per game allowed last year) a little, I think Lomas can take a step back up.
The rest of the league is the great unknown. I like Alhambra to continue its recent success, based largely on the return of QB John Miller. They lose three studs in Davis, Leaf and Poyadue, but I really like the coaching staff there and I think Miller gives them some great flexibility to do good things on offense. I like Alhambra to be in it again.
I also like Acalanes to take a step forward this year. They welcome in a new QB, Spencer Henderson, and we already know he’s a gamer from his success on the diamond. Drew Gaylord is a Division I prospect at LB, and another year under Mike Ivankovich only solidifies the system more. I think the Dons are competitive this year.
What impact will John Wade have at Dublin? Tough to say at this point. A junior last year, I would think that Ed Achziger returns at QB for the Gaels. Can Wade turn it around quickly? We’ll see.
Dougherty Valley is a bit of a wild card for me. The Wildcats took a good step forward last year, getting wins over Las Lomas and Acalanes and making the NCS playoffs. The school just keeps getting bigger, and I’m guessing that the pool of football players is expanding as well. If the numbers continue to go up, and the talent continues to come in, I think DV continues to trend upwards.
Campo won its first four games last year and then dropped six of its last seven. The Cougars made the playoffs, and QB Brett Stephens is back to lead the offense, but we’ll be in a wait and see mode with them, I think. They’re always well coached, and they’re not far removed from being title contenders.
Altogether, I think the DFAL is improved from one year ago. I don’t think you can say there’s a slam-dunk favorite. But, that’s almost always the case in this league. Will the coaching transition go well at Miramonte? Will Las Lomas bounce back? Which other teams will get in the mix? All good questions yet to be answered.