By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
Looking at a high school football season is a little like tasting your father-in-law’s gazpacho. Until you taste it, what do you really know? And then, of course, it’s too late.
But for right now, every local high school football team in the Garden Grove-Stanton-Westminster area is unbeaten, especially Western, which opened its season early and defeated Costa Mesa 10-0 last week.
There will be plenty of surprises, of course (there always are) but right now, the 2012 football outlook resembles that of 2011. Some of the same teams appear to be on top, and some of the same guys who have struggled may have another year of character-building.
Two of the toughest teams in the area have the toughest road to hoe. Pacifica and Western used to routinely win championships when they played in the Garden Grove and Orange leagues, but now in the super-tough Empire League, they’ll be hard-pressed to land a CIF playoff spot.
In the Garden Grove League, Mike Enright’s Rancho Alamitos (with 11 returning starters and a strong defense) team will again be the favorite, but arch-rival Garden Grove (nine returnees) could bounce back after an off-year, and Los Amigos also looks strong. Bolsa Grande is a team on the rise as well.
Westminster could be battling for the Golden West League title against defending champion Segerstrom. A tough pre-season schedule for them could toughen, or tire out the Lions by the time they reach league play.
Orange could break through as a playoff possibility. In the Orange League, Magnolia will battle for a playoff spot.
THE TOP PLAYERS
Of course, new unheralded stars will emerge through the season, but right now, the big names will include:
• Myron Aiava, Westminster High, a 6-5, 270-lb. defensive end who also doubles as a wide receiver. He’s already bound for Utah next season.
• Keanu Duquet, Rancho Alamitos, was all-CIF in 2012 and the defensive most valuable player in the Garden Grove League. He will try his hand at running back for the Vaqs this year.
• Josh Huff, Garden Grove, is a 6-3, 235-lb; senior who plays both tight end and defensive end.
• Nick Howard, Pacifica, is a junior stepping into the quarterback spot for the Mariners. PHS has a habit of turning out very good QBs, so a lot of eyes (and hopes) will be on Nick.
• Westminster at Garden Grove, Aug. 31. This has become a traditional opening game, and will feature two of the area’s top players in Aiava and Huff.
• Western at Pacifica, Oct. 10. The winner has a shot at a playoff spot in the Empire League in this contest at Bolsa Grande Stadium.
• Rancho Alamitos at Garden Grove, Oct. 26. These two schools have won most of the league titles for a decade. They may decide it again here.
• Westminster at Segerstrom, Nov. 2. The Jags are the ones who have replaced the Lions as top cat in the Golden West League, and Westminster would love to knock them off that perch for the first time since 2008.