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Division Vii

September 12, 2002|Peter Yoon

2001 champion: Covina Charter Oak (has moved to Division VI).

League favorites: Montebello (Almont), Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe (Del Rio), Westminster (Golden West), El Monte Arroyo (Mission Valley), West Covina South Hills (San Antonio).

Contenders: Alhambra, Bell Gardens, Montebello Schurr (Almont), Pico Rivera El Rancho (Del Rio), Costa Mesa (Golden West), Rosemead (Mission Valley), West Covina (San Antonio).

Key dates: Sept. 20, Montebello at Santa Fe, Rosemead at South Hills; Oct. 4, Santa Fe at Bell Gardens; Oct. 18, Alhambra at Bell Gardens; Nov. 1, Bell Gardens at Montebello, Costa Mesa at Westminster; Nov. 8, South Hills at West Covina; Nov. 15, Montebello at Schurr.

The scoop: The departure of the Miramonte League to Division VI opens the playoff door. Charter Oak and Los Altos, both from the Miramonte League, played in the division final for three consecutive seasons. Santa Fe was a Division VII semifinalist last year and with the return of running back Adam Sandoval, appears primed for a title run. Arroyo, a longtime Mission Valley League power that finished second in the league last season, returns 17 starters, including all-league running back Anthony Olivas. Montebello, Bell Gardens, Alhambra and Schurr will battle for the Almont League title and whichever team emerges should challenge in the playoffs.

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