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Battle Lines

Loyola Is Right on Schedule as League Play Gets Underway

October 12, 2000|GARY KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The slight chill and rain this week finally provided Southland football teams with some traditional fall weather and playing conditions.

It could not have come at a better time as league play in the majority of the Southern Section's 13 divisions gets underway tonight and Friday.

There are 32 undefeated and untied teams, including four in divisions I and VI.

Here is a brief midseason look at each division:

DIVISION I

Loyola High Coach Steve Grady thought prep football prognosticators overrated his team at the start of the season.

But there is no argument now that the Cubs (5-0), who play in the Del Rey League, are a legitimate challenger for the Southern Section Division I title that has been won or shared the last five years by Moore League favorite Long Beach Poly (5-0) and Serra League favorite Santa Ana Mater Dei (4-1).

The Citrus Belt League features four teams--Rialto Eisenhower, Fontana, Redlands and Rialto--that begin league play with 4-1 records.

Los Alamitos (5-0) plays Huntington Beach Marina (5-0) tonight in a Sunset League opener. Anaheim Esperanza (4-1), Huntington Beach Edison (4-1) and Fountain Valley (3-2) will also contend.

DIVISION II

Downey (5-0) of the San Gabriel Valley League is the top-ranked team in the Southern Section division poll.

Chino (5-0) is also unbeaten, but the Cowboys play in a league with 1999 runner-up Upland (4-1) and Chino Don Lugo (4-1).

Defending champion Diamond Bar (4-1) might not be as formidable as last year, but the Brahmas and fellow Sierra League member Chino Hills Ayala (3-1-1) are title contenders.

DIVISION III

Defending champion Newhall Hart (3-2) lost to Westlake and Loyola, but the Indians are still regarded as the team to beat in a division that includes Bay League rivals Palos Verdes Peninsula (5-0) and Redondo Union (5-0).

Crescenta Valley (5-0), Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (4-0-1), La Canada St. Francis (4-1), Valencia (4-1) and Antelope Valley (4-1) are other contenders.

DIVISION IV

Ventura (5-0) and Lompoc (5-0) are unbeaten, but Westlake (4-1) defeated Hart and lost only a close game to Clovis West.

Hueneme (4-1) and Santa Maria Righetti (4-1) are among the other contenders.

DIVISION V

Elsinore (5-0) of the Southwestern League has attracted statewide attention. Corona Centennial (4-1) is one of several teams that will challenge for the title.

DIVISION VI

Top-ranked La Mirada of the Suburban League is joined by Orange County schools Villa Park, Cypress, Irvine at 5-0.

Irvine and Newport Harbor (4-1) play Friday in a rematch of last year's division championship game.

DIVISION VII

Defending champion Hacienda Heights Los Altos and Miramonte League rival Hacienda Heights Wilson are 5-0. So is Pico Rivera El Rancho in the Del Rio League.

Covina Charter Oak (4-1), also of the Miramonte League, and Montebello (4-1) of the Almont League could also contend.

DIVISION VIII

Riverside Norte Vista (5-0), the only unbeaten team in the division, is ranked second in the Southern Section poll behind La Quinta (4-1).

Ridgecrest Burroughs (4-1), Barstow (3-2) and Rubidoux (3-2) are other teams to watch.

DIVISION IX

West Covina South Hills (4-1), 2-0 in the Valle Vista League, is probably Los Angeles County's best hope in the only division that lacks an unbeaten team.

DIVISION X

Inglewood (5-0) and Santa Monica (5-0) finished 1-8-1 and 2-8, respectively, last season as members of the then-Division II Bay League. After moving down, the schools will battle for the Ocean League title.

DIVISION XI

Defending champion Ventura St. Bonaventure (5-0), Cerritos Valley Christian (5-0) and Cathedral (5-0) are the teams to beat with Santa Paula (4-1), Verbum Dei (3-1-1) and Oak Park (4-1) also in the mix.

DIVISION XII

Top-ranked Van Nuys Montclair Prep (5-0) competes as a freelance team. The Mounties will be challenged by defending champion Lancaster Paraclete (4-1) and fellow Alpha League member L.A. Baptist (4-1) as well as Mojave (3-1-1) and Desert (4-1).

DIVISION XIII

Arrowhead Christian (5-0), Trona (5-0) and Pasadena Poly (4-0) begin league play unbeaten.

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