What a difference four weeks makes in a football season.
A month ago, La Serna High School was 0-3 and facing a difficult seven-game league schedule.
But Friday night at 7:30, the resurgent Lancers (now 4-3) can claim first place in the Whitmont League with a victory at El Rancho.
Perhaps easier said than done, though. In addition to the home-field advantage, El Rancho is also 4-0 in league play (6-1 overall) and has a five-game winning streak.
While just about everyone was conceding another league title to Bell Gardens before the year began, these teams have quietly ground out their successes.
"I always thought we'd be the best in the league," said El Rancho Coach Don Peterson. "We have played up to what I thought we'd be. I knew they (La Serna) would be good too."
Both teams utilize the running game, eating up the clock with "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" offenses. La Serna has averaged just six pass attempts a game, while relying on sophomore running back Robbie Watkins, who has gained 767 yards in 120 carries and scored eight touchdowns..
El Rancho will counter with a trio of running backs: Robert Garcia (86-609, 7 TDs), Francisco Barillas (51-752, 5 TDs) and Adrian Ortega (66-387, 3 TDs).
"It all comes down to our quickness vs. their size," said Peterson.