13. (13) ELK GROVE 12-1
Why This Ranking: You might think that with several higher-ranked teams losing last weekend that the Thundering Herd would move up. The problem is that previous No. 8 Franklin of Elk Grove (which earlier in the season handed Elk Grove its only loss) suffered a big loss to Granite Bay and is now no longer in the Top 25. Elk Grove does get to take a crack at No. 6 Folsom this week, though, and has looked good so far in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.
Weekend Result: We assume most of you saw the amazing 4th down run by the Baltimore Ravens’ Rey Rice on Sunday. Elk Grove’s Wadus Parker had the prep version of it when he took a short pass as the clock was heading toward 0:00 on the final play of the second quarter just after Del Oro of Loomis had cut the lead to 20-17 in the CIF SJS D2 semifinals. If Parker had been tackled before the goal line, no points would have gone on the board. Instead, he showed his speed, moves and determination to get into the end zone. After a two-point conversion, Elk Grove had a 28-17 lead at the break and went on to beat Del Oro 35-32.
Up Next: One year ago, the Herd stood at 12-0 coming into a matchup with Folsom and lost 42-28 in the CIF SJS D2 semifinals. This year, they get Folsom in the final with the Bulldogs sitting at 13-0. To win, you have to assume that Elk Grove will have to get at least a few stops and score at least six times. With Parker and fellow running back Robert Frazier, it’s possible.
14. (15) EDISON (HUNTINGTON BEACH) 13-1
Why This Ranking: With a close win in the CIFSS Southwest Division semifinals, the Chargers get a one-spot bump, but it’s a huge one because it will vault them past Oceanside in the CIF SoCal Division II Bowl rankings. With a lone loss to Pac 5 finalist Mater Dei, a loss that has continued to gain in significance in recent weeks, their resume leaves no choice but to make the switch and to make it now, one week before section championships are decided.
Weekend Result: Despite being surprisingly dominated by Foothill a good portion of the game, coach Dave White’s boys got it done when it counted in a 22-16 victory over Santa Ana Foothill. Trailing 16-14 with less than two minutes remaining and getting the ball at Foothill’s 41-yard-line, the Chargers went to work and utilized their big line to pound the ball into the end zone with their running game. Edison called four straight running plays. The first two runs were by Elijah Herrera (14 and 23 yards), followed by Donald Rice’s 4-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion.
Up Next: With Edison and Mater Dei advancing to section title games, it would appear the Chargers control their own destiny with respect to getting a D2 SoCal regional berth. The team standing in their way of a Southwest title and bowl game dreams is 12-1 Villa Park, a team they defeated 27-7 earlier this season. The rematch is Friday night at Angel Stadium.
15. (14) OCEANSIDE 11-1
Why This Ranking: The closeness of a CIF San Diego Section Division II semifinal win over El Cajon Valhalla has nothing to do with the Pirates being dropped behind Edison both here and in this week’s upcoming CIF SoCal Division II Bowl rankings. The reason is the loss early on to a Temecula Chaparral team that has four losses and was ousted from the CIFSS Inland Division playoffs in the first round. There are those that will say Oceanside had players out of the Chaparral game, but injuries are not a factor in the commissioners’ selection process. The worst thing we can do in a situation like this is give players and fans false hope that we think they’ll be chosen for a bowl game. At this point, the way the results have played out in recent weeks, we just don’t think that will happen for the Pirates.
Weekend Result: The Pirates got all they could handle in a 31-28 win over Valhalla. Oceanside led 10-0 and 17-7 early but the guests closed it to 17-14 at halftime. Valhalla actually had the lead entering the fourth quarter before the Pirates’ ground game sealed the deal with William Gulley’s TD run early in the fourth quarter proving to be the game winner. Gulley rushed for 110 yards and one TD but the big star was diminutive Thai Cottrell. The 5-foot-6 slotback scored two touchdowns and rushed for 114 yards in the second half, including a 54-yard romp in the fourth quarter to finish with 155 yards rushing. He also caught seven passes for 51 yards receiving.
Up Next: With a 23-13 road victory early in the season, Oceanside would appear to have the upper hand in a rematch with Poway for the CIFSDS D2 title, but anything can happen, and although the school has dropped in enrollment, Poway won the 2011 Division I section championship so the Titans are used to playing in big games. The rematch is Saturday night at Escondido High.
16. (4) ST. JOHN BOSCO (BELLFLOWER) 12-1*
Why This Ranking: The Braves have to drop 12 spots this week after losing 13-10 to previous No. 19 Long Beach Poly in the CIFSS Pac-Five semifinals. It’s a big drop, but the Braves lost to a team with three losses and we cannot drop teams still playing too far such as Elk Grove, Edison and Oceanside. No matter which team wins between Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly, Bosco will come up quite a bit in next week’s rankings. *Indicates losses by forfeit not included.
Weekend Result: Bosco took a 10-6 lead late in the third quarter on a 64-yard interception return by junior DB Naijiel Hale, but the Braves’ defense couldn’t stop Poly’s running game on the subsequent game-winning 14-play, 76-yard drive. Poly’s John “Ju Ju” Smith intercepted a pass with 1:13 left to seal the game after Poly gave Bosco one more chance to win after turning the ball over on downs near midfield.
Up Next: Season complete. The Braves will likely finish close to the state top 10 because of their overall body of work. St. John Bosco also has a regular season win over No. 4 Mater Dei.
17. (20) MISSION VIEJO 11-1
Why This Ranking: The Diablos’ placement is readjusted upward three spots this week to fall in behind the St. John Bosco team that lost in the CIFSS Pac-Five semifinals to Long Beach Poly. This is based on strength of schedule and comparative records of the remaining teams, and the fact that the Poly team they lost to two weeks ago is now into the title game. Weekend Result: Did not play. Season complete.
Up Next: Another team Mission Viejo fans can follow that could help raise the final ranking is Mission Hills of San Marcos, a team the Diablos beat in September. Mission Hills is playing Eastlake of Chula Vista in this week’s CIF San Diego Section Division I final.
18. (25) OAK RIDGE (EL DORADO HILLS) 12-1
Why This Ranking: The Trojans have to get some credit for taking down previously unbeaten Luther Burbank of Sacramento 24-6 in the CIF SJS D1 semifinals. Burbank also was No. 22 in last week’s rankings. They also have lost their only game to No. 6 Folsom and have a win over Del Oro of Loomis, which is why they are in front of James Logan of Union City (which has a loss to Del Oro).
Weekend Result: The defense came up big for Oak Ridge against Burbank as it held the Titans to just one score, far below its 46.6 per game average coming in. Senior quarterback Jason Samuels got the offense going with a pair of second-quarter scoring passes, one to stellar tight end Ross Dwelley and the other to wideout Byron Spain. Blake Martin then scored on a five-yard run in the third quarter.
Up Next: Even though we have Oak Ridge ranked this high, it looks like most scribes in the Sacramento area will be going with Granite Bay to win in the title game. That’s because the Grizzlies are the defending champ and won in their semifinal game 37-7 over previously unbeaten Franklin of Elk Grove. Granite Bay, however, has bad losses on its log to both Westlake of Westlake Village and to Oaks Christian. Oak Ridge just has the one loss to Folsom.
19. (NR) JAMES LOGAN (UNION CITY) 12-1
Why This Ranking: There are some who will question this jump for the Colts because they still have that loss to Del Oro on their record compared to Granite Bay, which has a win over Del Oro. The other way to look at it, though, is that Granite Bay also has a one-point loss to Pittsburg of the NCS, and while Logan didn’t beat Pitt last week it has reached the CIF NCS D1 final opposite De La Salle with a very impressive win over California of San Ramon.
Weekend Result: After giving up a score on California’s first series, the Colts answered quickly and kept on scoring in an eventual 40-7 triumph. Warren Miles-Long, a 200-pound senior who also shines as a linebacker, led the way with 16 carries for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jeffrey Prothro dazzled on a 65-yard scoring run while senior Damond Beasley also had his moments breaking free for big gains.
Up Next: It’s been 15 years since the Colts took a crack at mighty De La Salle in the NCS D1 final and they’ll get their chance in Friday’s title game at Dublin. The players seem to have the confidence to get the upset partly because of how they’ve played the last two weeks and partly from having already gone up against the Spartans in a preseason scrimmage.
20. (21) SANTA MARGARITA (RANCHO SM) 9-3
Why This Ranking: The Eagles move up one spot this week to land behind new No. 19 James Logan. Look for the Eagles to move up again should the probable happen and Logan loses to De La Salle this week. Also, Oak Ridge is no cinch to beat Granite Bay in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I title game so Santa Margarita could move past that team as well. Weekend Result: Did not play. Season complete.
Up Next: A Mater Dei win over Long Beach Poly in the CIFSS Pac-Five final also would help Santa Margarita since the Monarchs are from the same league and handed the Eagles one of their other losses.
21. (10) UPLAND 12-1
Why This Ranking: The Highlanders will likely end the season inside the top 20, but with their season coming to an end with a 46-36 loss to No. 5 Centennial of Corona they drop just outside the top 20. Last season, their 12-0 undefeated season also came to an end in the CIFSS Inland Division semifinals but that defeat was to Vista Murrieta.
Weekend Result: Trailing 22-7 after the first quarter, the Highlanders rallied to take a 28-25 lead heading into the fourth, but they were unable to hold on to get revenge for a season-ending loss to the Huskies two years ago in the quarterfinals. Nate Romine passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns in the loss, but he also had four interceptions. Trevor Wright caught all three of Romine’s touchdown passes as his 55-yard touchdown catch gave the Highlanders the lead in the third quarter. Wright’s 78-yard catch and score also cut the lead to just a single score in the final minutes.
Up Next: Season complete.
22. (23) ALEMANY (MISSION HILLS) 9-3
Why This Ranking: The team’s CIFSS Pac-Five playoff loss was to Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Since the Monarchs continued to win last week against St. Bonaventure, the Warriors get to move up slightly this week as well. Plus, Alemany needs to stay in front of both Notre Dame and Oaks Christian.
Weekend Result: Did not play. Season is complete.
Up Next: The team’s final ranking will still be somewhat directly linked to what Mater Dei does for the rest of the season. Indirectly, it could be what Serra of Gardena and/or Chaminade accomplishes.
23. (NR) CLOVIS NORTH (CLOVIS) 11-1
Why This Ranking: The Broncos gallop back into the rankings as the new top team from the CIF Central Section after an exciting Division I semifinal win over cross-town Edison. Their lone loss to Clovis is tempered because of a 50-7 win over Central of Fresno, which is a team that beat Bakersfield in the playoffs, and Bakersfield has a win over Pac 5 finalist Long Beach Poly.
Weekend Result: Despite holding 30-14 halftime and 37-14 early third quarter leads, the Broncos had to hold on for a 37-34 victory over a no quit Edison squad that scored 20 straight points. Edison looked like it would take the lead in the final minutes but an interception by Michael Mechikoff at the 15 that he returned to midfield ended that threat. Edison still wasn’t done. When 6-foot-3, 220-pound Clovis North senior quarterback Christian Rossi fumbled with under a minute remaining, Edison got a second chance to win. This time, a sack that forced a fumble that the Broncos gobbled up sealed the deal.
Up Next: Clovis North faces the Central team it walloped in a rematch for the CIF Central Section D1 title on Friday night at Buchanan High in Clovis. Since the loss to the Broncos, the previously state-ranked Grizzlies have averaged 44.2 points per game and have won five straight, besting Bakersfield Liberty 35-14 to advance to the title game. At this point, it appears that with Long Beach Poly advancing so far, especially should it win the Pac-Five crown, the Broncos would have the edge for securing the final SoCal D1 bowl berth over CIFSDS D1 favorite Mission Hills of San Marcos.
24. (NR) NOTRE DAME (SHERMAN OAKS) 8-4
Why This Ranking: We know that the Knights had their season two weekends ago, but their grid log is too strong for them not to move up in favor of other teams still playing. Their four losses are to No. 10 Chaminade, No. 11 Gardena Serra, No. 16 St. John Bosco (in the playoffs) and No. 22 Alemany. They also have wins over Oaks Christian, Crespi and Bishop Amat.
Weekend Result: Did not play. Season is complete.
Up Next: Senior running back Khalfani Muhammad is no doubt already preparing for his senior season as the top returning track sprinter in the state. He was the CIF state meet champ last June in both the 100 and 200.
25. (NR) OAKS CHRISTIAN (WESTLAKE VILLAGE) 8-3
Why This Ranking: Instead of putting in either Granite Bay of the Sac-Joaquin Section or Mission Hills of the San Diego Section, we just have to have Oaks Christian higher. The Lions lost in their CIFSS Pac-Five playoff game to No. 24 Notre Dame by one point and they have a win over No. 10 Chaminade. Neither Granite Bay or Mission Hills has a win of that strength and besides the Lions beat Granite Bay, too. Plus, Oaks Christian’s other two losses are to higher-ranked Crenshaw and St. Bonaventure.
Weekend Result: Did not play. Season is complete.
Up Next: It looks like the best case scenario for the Lions to keep climbing for the final rankings would be for Chaminade to win a D2 state title and for Granite Bay to win the Sac-Joaquin D1 title, then perhaps even make it into the D1 state bowl game.
TEAMS THAT DROPPED OUT:
Previous No. 8 Franklin (Elk Grove); No. 17 Lompoc; No. 22 Burbank (Sacramento); No. 24 Tustin.
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 7-3-1*
California (San Ramon) 9-3*
Charter Oak (Covina) 10-2*
Central (Fresno) 11-2
Citrus Hill (Perris) 13-0
Clayton Valley (Concord) 11-1
Crespi (Encino) 8-2*
Del Oro (Loomis) 7-6*
El Cerrito 13-0
El Toro (Lake Forest) 9-2*
Granite Bay 10-3
La Serna (Whittier) 12-1
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 11-1
Mission Hills (San Marcos) 10-2
Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 10-2*
Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 10-3
Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 12-0
Rancho Cucamonga 10-3*
Serra (San Mateo) 9-3*
Serrano (Phelan) 13-0
St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 9-3
Villa Park 12-1
*Indicates season complete.