Let’s continue our run through through our East Bay leagues by taking a glance at the wide-open Mission Valley Athletic League.
So who’s going to win the MVAL? For the first time in recent memory, I have no idea. James Logan is out of the league, now officially playing this season as an independent. The Colts will play four games against MVAL teams, but that’s just to fill out the schedule. They won’t be in contention for the league title. That makes this a completely wide open league.
Newark Memorial and American tied for second in the league last year, followed by usual contender Washington in fourth. Irvington was a team that showed flashes at times as well. Coming in to this year, you’d have to figure just about anybody in the league is in contention.
It could even be the league’s newcomer Moreau Catholic, a team that has shown steady improvement over the last few years and made a significant addition to the staff with the hiring of Rob Gatrell as an assistant. Gatrell, a former high school teammate of head coach Andrew Cotter, was Windsor’s head coach last year when it beat Concord for the NCS Division II title. He’ll be the offensive coordinator for the Mariners. I’ve liked what Moreau’s been doing for several years now and I think the Mariners are well positioned to succeed in the new MVAL.
Obviously, steady programs like Newark Memorial and Washington should be expected to be in the mix. Washington had what it would consider to be a down year last year, going 3-8. Despite the success it’s had in the past decade, the Huskies have struggled with numbers. They still tend to have a few outstanding athletes. Newark also tends to always have a few standouts that ensure the team is competitive.
Who’s the favorite? At this point, I’m not sure. But I can guarantee the league should be fun to watch this year. With Logan, which would’ve been a very heavy favorite, not factored in, most of the league can enter the season feeling like it can be a contender.