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Sports Notebook: Williams, Washington State football earn top-10 ranking

Burbank High graduate James Williams and the Washington State football are ranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press Poll.
(AP Photo / Young Kwak)

Bits and pieces from the local sports scene:


It’s been a wildly productive season for Burbank High graduate James Williams and the Washington State University football team.

When the latest Associated Press rankings were released Sunday, the Cougars held down the No. 10 spot. The move up the rankings came after Washington State recorded a 19-13 victory over California on Saturday .


In the rankings, Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame hold down the top three sports, as the trio is undefeated at 9-0. They are followed by Michigan (fourth; 8-1), Georgia (fifth; 8-1), Oklahoma (sixth; 8-1), West Virginia (seventh; 7-1), Ohio State (eighth; 8-1), LSU (ninth; 7-2) and Washington State (10th; 8-1).

The Cougars’ only loss of the season came Sept. 21 in a 39-36 PAC-12 Conference setback against USC on the road. Washington State has notched wins against Wyoming, San Jose State, Eastern Washington, Utah, Oregon State, Stanford and California.

The Cougars improved to 8-1 for the first time since 2002 and recorded their 12th straight win at home, the third-longest home winning streak in program history.

With a 5-1 conference record, Washington State currently sits in first place in the PAC-12 North Division, ahead of rival Washington (7-3, 5-2 in conference).


In the victory against California, Williams, a junior running back, recorded 10 receptions for 53 yards, his second game this season with 10 catches. On the season, Williams has carried the ball 86 times for 387 yards and eight touchdowns (tops among running backs) and has caught 58 passes for 463 yards and three touchdowns.

Washington State returns to action Saturday with a conference game at Colorado.


The landscape for Pacific League football experienced a big change this season.

And the 2018 campaign might reflect changes that have been brewing in the league for a few years.

Just a few seasons ago, Burroughs High was winning league titles, was a constant postseason mainstay and Crescenta Valley captured a league championship and even earned a CIF Southern Section title.

However, this season the Indians failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third straight year and the Falcons finished third in league and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive campaign after winning a CIF crown in 2014.

Winning the league in 2017, Burbank, which advanced to a CIF championship game in 2016 and surged to the semifinals a year later, fell in the opening round of this season’s playoffs.


Muir, which was once a perennial playoff participant, advancing to a CIF semifinal in 2013, failed to make the postseason for the second consecutive year.

Other changes during the 2018 campaign included Arcadia winning the Pacific League championship and Pasadena qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in seven years and winning its opening-round game.

However, there is something that did remain constant in the league this season: struggles for Hoover and Glendale.

Both the Tornadoes and Nitros won one game each and were winless in league play. Hoover forfeited three games after fallout from a fight on campus that involved football players. The rivalry game with Glendale, a contest that dates back to 1930, was also called off.

When realignment of the Pacific League happens in the future, it might be time for Hoover and Glendale to depart and play in a league with more suitable competition. The league would be just fine with six teams.


All three city schools that participate in cross-country will be represented Saturday in the CIF Southern Section preliminaries at the Riverside City Championship Cross-Country Course.

Heading the list of local hopefuls will be the Burbank High girls’ team, which is fresh off a Pacific League championship, its first in four seasons. The Bulldogs will take off in a Division I race at 9:05 a.m.


Burbank has enjoyed a wealth of success this season under the direction of coaches Kathryn Nelson and Robert Hammel. The Bulldogs could be poised for a possible lengthy CIF run.

The Burbank boys’ team will also be in action, taking part in a Division I race at 8:35, as will the Burroughs girls’ squad, which will race in a Division I heat at 9:15.

Although Providence didn’t advance any teams to the prelims, the Pioneers will be represented in the meet. Nick Montijo, who transferred from Bellarmine-Jefferson High after the school closed last spring, will be competing as an individual. The senior will tale part in a Division V race at 11:18.

Teams and runners will be looking to advance to the CIF finals Nov. 17 in Riverside.

Twitter: @jefftsports