Take a look at Thursday’s featured high school football games in the San Gabriel Valley area.
GAMES ON THURSDAY
Northview (5-1) vs. Bonita (4-2) at Covina District Field, 7 p.m.: This is one of the most fascinating games of the week. The Vikings have been on a four-game winning streak since their loss to Charter Oak. They did it with two running backs — Keanu Tauveo and Angel Barraza — who averaged over 100 yards in a game. As a team, Northview averages 250 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback James Arrelanes is beginning to balance offense, averaging 143 yards per game on nine touchdowns this season. Bonita has had some tough losses against Monrovia and La Salle, but it’s on a three-game win streak, including last week’s 31-28 win over Claremont. Sophomore Noah Mikhail, one of the area’s top recruits for his class, leads the Bearcats in all-purpose yards and leads them in tackles and sacks. Senior QB Daniel Andrade is already over 1,000 yards this season, but the key to Thursday’s game rests on whether the Bearcats can handle the Vikings’ vaunted running game. Northview rushed nearly 500 yards in their loss to Charter Oak and have continued to improve. The Vikings might be too physical for the Bearcats.
The selection: North view
Monrovia (3-2) at South Pasadena (5-0), 7 p.m: The winner of this Rio Hondo League opener is likely to take the league crown as these two appear to be the best teams in the league. Tigers quarterback Jackson Freking averages 160 passing yards per game, but the Tigers’ defense has been even more impressive. They are averaging just five points per game and had a 12-0 win over Heritage Christian, which is Heritage Christian’s only loss. The Tigers pull off a solid 29-14 win over Alhambra. Still, the Wildcats, who defeated the Tigers 56-7 last year, are the favorites, at least on paper. There’s a big question mark. The Wildcats have been without senior quarterback Brian Salazar Jr. since he injured his ankle in the first quarter of a 41-0 loss to Ayala. Salazar missed the game against San Dimas last week, resulting in a 48-28 loss to the Saints. The Wildcats don’t have a reliable backup, and if Salazar doesn’t play Thursday, the advantage goes to South Pas. But we bet the Wildcats will rest Salazar for this game and he will make all the difference.
The selection: Monrovia
La Mirada (2-3) at Dominguez (3-2), 7 p.m.: Why did the Matadores play teams like Yorba Linda, Mater Dei and Servite? (These were all losses for the Matadores.) To prepare for the new Gateway League, which begins with its away game against the Dons. The matadores’ defense was solid for the most part. La Mirada lost 10-7 to Servite and should be rested after a bye last week after a 27-13 win over Sunny Hills. Xavier Hicks was a real receiver for QB Neuhel Garcia, with 22 receptions for 271 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 140 yards per game. The Dons’ best win was their last as they beat Narbonne 16-13. But Narbonne’s losses to Salesian and Peninsula suggest this is a good opportunity for the Matadores to secure a win away from home.
The selection: La Mirada
San Gabriel (4-0) at Schurr (2-3), 7 p.m.: The Matadors impressed with their 49-12 win over Temple City last week. They scored 28 points in the first quarter. Robert Lucero leads the team’s ground-and-pound attack. He carried the ball 12 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns to win. The Mats have a much tougher test in their Almont League opener against Schurr, who has been playing a tougher schedule. Schurr gave Baldwin Park its only loss, winning 45-28, and it gave San Dimas all it could take before losing 28-19. You can argue that these are the top two teams at the Almont, but with San Gabriel winning by averaging 32 points, it appears to have the edge.
The selection: san gabriel
Glendora (2-4) at Ayala (5-1), 7pm: The Tartans can finally unleash their full arsenal after transfer decker DeGraff comes into play. DeGraff, a junior, is one of SGV’s best two-way threats. He dominated his two seasons at San Dimas before joining Glendora. DeGraff is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end with bids from Cal, Arizona, Washington, Oregon State, Arizona State and more. He makes his debut after the CIF-SS tenure. Two other transfers will also make their debuts on Thursday. Kyle Ferm, a transfer from Claremont, is a linebacker and receiver who was a Division 9 first-team pick last year, and Travon Troupe is a WR and DB. The additions come at just the right time as Ayala are one of the best teams in the Inland Empire despite suffering their first loss, a 28-7 win over Citrus Valley. The Bulldogs were playing without their standout quarterback Bryan Wilson and center Joseph Lopez, and that made a difference. While the Tartans get a big boost on an offense that’s been struggling, the Tartans will still fall short when Wilson returns for Ayala.
The selection: ajala
THE OTHER GAMES OF THURSDAY
Montebello in Keppel, 7 p.m
Del Rey LeagueSt. Pius X-St. Matthias at La Salle, 7 p.m
Burbank in Pasadena, 7 p.m
Los Altos at Charter Oak, 7 p.m
Colony at Diamond Ranch, 7 p.m