In recent years, the Pacific League has been a two-team race between Muir and Pasadena. Now another team has entered the title picture. Hoover of Glendale was regarded as the pre-season favorite by many coaches, but the Tornadoes will have to beat perennial powerhouse Muir in their game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pasadena City College to have a chance. That doesn't figure to be easy. Not if Muir plays as well as it has in winning its first two league games. The Mustangs, who have beaten Arcadia (42-22) and Glendale (28-0) in league play, have a 6-1 overall record. Hoover also has a 6-1 overall record after being upset by Arcadia (22-19) last week.
The problem for Hoover figures to be containing Muir's junior tailback, Ricky Ervins, who is among the San Gabriel Valley rushing leaders with 1,060 yards and 16 touchdowns. Ervins rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns and added a 94-yard kickoff return for another touchdown in Muir's win over Glendale last week. Other leaders for Muir on offense are wide receivers John Hardy and Cary Grant and quarterback James Dunn. Hoover has a strong rushing attack led by quarterback John Alaimo and running back Al Roberson.
Claremont vs. Damien
After his team lost all three of its non-league games, Damien Coach Dick Larson cautioned against writing off his team as a Baseline League contender. Larson was right. The Spartans have won their first four league games going into a key match-up against Claremont at 7 p.m. tonight at Citrus College. Claremont is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in league play, one game behind Damien.
The Spartans pulled off their biggest win of the season last week, beating highly regarded Don Lugo, 22-20. A win this week would be even bigger. The reason for the improvement of the Spartans may be linked to the play of junior tailback Eric Henley, who rushed for a career high of 183 yards two weeks ago against Glendora. Two other standouts for Damien are flanker Kenny Korn and quarterback Bob Fresques. Claremont will counter with one of the top offensive teams in the valley. The team is led by 6-8 All-American quarterback Dan McGwire and wide receiver Travis Watkins. The Wolfpack, which blasted Pomona 44-21 last week, also has a solid rushing attack that features 6-1, 235-pound fullback Dean Lambo and halfback Lamont Nash.
Los Altos vs. Rowland
It could be a milestone for Los Altos Coach Dwayne DeSpain when his team faces Rowland in a Sierra League game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rowland High. A victory will give DeSpain, who has the most wins among active coaches in the CIF, the 150th of his high school coaching career. DeSpain has a record of 149-47-5. Six of those wins have come this season as the Conquerors have a 6-1 overall mark and are 2-0 in league play.
Rowland is 5-2 overall and 1-1 in league play and needs a victory to stay in league title contention. To beat Los Altos, the Raiders will have to penetrate the Los Altos defense, which has not allowed a point in league play. Los Altos blanked Walnut (14-0) and Wilson (7-0) in its first two league games. The offensive leader for the pass-oriented Conquerors has been senior quarterback Mark Smith. Rowland, which was defeated by Nogales, 28-7, last week, has a ground-oriented offense that features running backs Russ Goo and Tom Choi and quarterback Dave Hansen.
Arroyo vs. Duarte
With mostly juniors and sophomores starting, Arroyo figured to be in for a rebuilding year. Little did Knights Coach Don MacKinnon know that the Knights would be 7-0 at this point of the season. Arroyo's last major hurdle in its quest for an undefeated regular season could come when it hosts Duarte in a Mission Valley League game at 7:30 p.m. Friday in El Monte.
It could be the toughest game of the year for Arroyo; Duarte was the preseason league title favorite and has played well recently. The Falcons stumbled to a 1-4 non-league mark but have bounced back to win their first two league games behind the combination of quarterback Henry Milton and tight end Geoff Cook. Milton has passed for 678 yards and 8 touchdowns and Cook has 18 receptions for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. Arroyo has succeeded behind a strong backfield that includes sophomore quarterback Marc Chavarria, sophomore running back Jason MacLellan and senior running back Jeff Noelte. MacLellan had his best game of the season last week, rushing for 116 yards in 26 carries, in a 10-0 win over Rosemead. San Gabriel Valley's Top Ten Prep Teams
BB Rank, School, League Record Opponent 1 Bishop Amat (Angelus.) 7-0-0 Pius X 2 Diamond Bar (Hacienda) 7-0-0 Bonita 3 Muir (Pacific) 6-1-0 Hoover 4 Claremont (Baseline) 6-1-0 Damien 5 Los Altos (Sierra) 6-1-0 Rowland 6 West Covina (Sierra) 6-0-0 HH Wilson 7 Charter Oak (Montview) 7-0-0 Azusa 8 Pasadena (Pacific) 5-2-0 Arcadia 9 Nogales (Sierra) 5-2-0 Walnut 10 Arroyo (Mission Valley) 7-0-0 Duarte EB
OTHERS: Damien (4-3-0), Ganesha (4-3-0), Pomona (5-2-0), San Dimas (5-1-0), Rowland (5-2-0), South Hills (4-1-1).