With a 5-1 season record and a perfect league mark, No. 4 El Rancho High School has a chance in the next four weeks to prove it deserves to be ranked among the best in the Eastern Conference.
The opportunity begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday when the Dons meet Bell Gardens High (4-2 overall, 2-1 league) in a game crucial to the host Lancers' Whitmont League hopes.
In successive weeks, El Rancho will face what coaches in the Whitmont League call "the meat" of the league. After Friday the Dons host co-frontrunner, La Serna, in a possible title showdown, travel to Whittier and then conclude the regular season at home against Montebello.
In a league as even as Whitmont, the Dons' final four opponents also are considered title contenders. That still includes pre-season favorite Bell Gardens, which was shocked by La Serna last week, 28-25, as El Rancho was knocking off Pioneer, 30-3.