Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens, Ronnie Flores, Harold Abend
All rankings through games played Saturday night, Sept. 8. These rankings and comments also were posted on our previous page within ESPN.com.
1. (1) DE LA SALLE (CONCORD) 2-0
Why This Ranking: Santa Margarita could win 100-0 and it won’t change the situation of De La Salle needing to lose to a California team in order not to be No. 1 in California. The last time that happened was 2008.
Weekend Result: After a sloppy first-half in which the Spartans fumbled three times and had one of them returned for an 88-yard touchdown, they rolled in the second half for a 30-13 win over Mullen Prep of Denver, annually one of the top teams in Colorado and coming off a huge win over Valor Christian, another top Colorado team. De La Salle actually trailed 13-7 after two quarters, but in the second half held Mullen to just two first downs. Tiapepe Vitale rushed for 129 yards on 22 carries with one score.
Up Next: St. Mary’s of Stockton comes to Concord on Friday after suffering a 28-21 loss at home to Central Catholic of Modesto. Before that loss, the Rams were No. 9 in the CIF Division I North bowl game rankings. De La Salle starts its East Bay Athletic League schedule the following week.
2. (2) SANTA MARGARITA (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA) 3-0
Why this ranking: As long as De La Salle keeps winning, there’s nowhere to go up in these rankings for the soaring Eagles. This past weekend’s whitewash of Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills was more like another day of practice under Coach Harry Welch. The only difference is unlike practice, in this game they hardly broke a sweat.
Weekend result: In fact, it was a 55-0 trouncing of Trabuco Hills in a game in which the Eagles scored on their first eight possessions and set school record with 610 yards of total offense. Nebraska-bound quarterback Johnny Stanton, performing on his 18th birthday and in front of six Nebraska media outlets and around 100 Cornhusker fans in town for the Nebraska-UCLA contest, finished 17 of 21 for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 89 yards and two more scores. According to school stat whiz Adrian Peters, Stanton’s 414 yards of total offense also gave him a new school record of 5,461 yards, breaking Carson Palmer’s mark of 5,260 set from 1995-97.
Up Next: It’s not looking like the Eagles will get much of a test this week with an 0-3 Carson team coming in off a 48-13 loss to Mater Dei. That should change in two weeks, however, when No. 14 St. Bonaventure comes to town.
3. (3) VISTA MURRIETA (MURRIETA) 2-0
Why This Ranking: Once again there is no reason to move the Broncos ahead of De La Salle or Santa Margarita. There’s also no reason to move any other team higher.
Weekend Result: Mr. Football State Player of the Year favorite Su’a Cravens did it all in a 49-8 win over South of Anchorage, Alaska as he caught a touchdown pass, returned an interception for a score and returned a blocked punt for a score. Greg Hoyd also intercepted a pass and returned it for a score.
Up Next: After games against two out-of-state opponents to start the year, the Broncos will finally face a team from California as they host Redlands East Valley on Friday night. REV’s defense played tough in a 18-7 loss to No. 14 St. Bonaventure of Ventura last Friday.
4. (4) OAKS CHRISTIAN (WESTLAKE VILLAGE) 3-0
Why This Ranking: Coach Jeff Woodruff’s club didn’t put away Venice perhaps as easily as expected, but there isn’t strong enough evidence yet to switch the Lions with fast-rising Alemany. There might be next week, but not yet.
Weekend Result: Given the concussion problems of his older brother Chris (the former Stanford receiver), it’s great to see Francis Owusu making such an impact this season. Francis, who is headed to Stanford himself, scored four touchdowns in the 35-17 victory over Venice. He hit paydirt once on a 95-yard interception return and also scored on three touchdown catches from junior quarterback Brandon Dawkins. Fellow defensive back Terry Johnson also scored for Oaks Christian on a long pick six, his from 85 yards out.
Up Next: The Lions travel to 3-0 Chaminade of West Hills on Friday for what could be a very tough opponent. The Eagles have already played and defeated a high-powered offense this year when they topped Pulaski Academy of Arkansas.
5. (6) ALEMANY (MISSION HILLS) 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Warriors are now in the top five after their 40-point win over a J.W. North of Riverside squad that they lost to last season. Previous No. 5 Bakersfield also only won by 10 points over Garces of Bakersfield. Plus, Alemany also is higher-ranked than Oaks Christian by some local writers.
Weekend Result: It was over quickly in the 54-14 triumph against J.W. North. Devin Ross led the way by going 99 yards on a kickoff return and by scoring on a 74-yard pass reception. Steven Mitchell also scored on a long kick return and Devin Dunn completed 14 of 25 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns.
Up Next: Coach Dean Herrington’s squad has a much tougher Inland Empire foe on the docket this week with a Friday trip to face state-ranked Corona Centennial. Although Centennial dropped its first game at St. Bonaventure, the Huskies often improve greatly after opening games, especially with new skill players like they have this season.
6. (5) BAKERSFIELD 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Drillers drop a spot after coming from behind and also giving up quite a few points to crosstown Garces. Combined with Alemany’s blowout of J.W. North, a switch had to be made. Keep in mind, though, that four of the five teams now in front of Bakersfield are all from the CIF Southern Section Pac-Five Division and that only one of those teams is going to end up eligible for a CIF regional bowl game.
Weekend Result: In the first meeting between the two teams since 2008, it was a home-field 34-24 win over Garces after trailing 7-0 after one quarter and 24-21 in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Asauni Rufus twice hit Lamishio Hall on play-action passes for touchdowns in the final five minutes.
Up Next: The much anticipated showdown on the road at Long Beach Poly would seem to lack some luster after Poly lost 56-0 to No. 9 Narbonne. The question now is can the Drillers add to Poly’s misery and are they really the elite team the folks in Bakersfield are hoping they are?
7. (7) TESORO (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA) 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Titans remained undefeated while knocking off a Chino Hills squad on the road that was coming off of a 48-48 tie with Bishop Amat. Mission Viejo and Narbonne perhaps should be higher, but this isn’t a good week to change that.
Weekend Result: Nate Tago rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns as the Titans handed the Huskies their first loss of the season 24-14.
Up Next: After two close wins the last two weeks over quality opponents Hart of Newhall and Chino Hills, the Titans should have an easier time picking up a win on Friday when they host 0-3 Colony of Ontario. Inland Empire power Chaparral looms in two weeks.
8. (8) MISSION VIEJO 3-0
Why This Ranking: It’s tempting to move the Diablos ahead of other teams that won as they have looked impressive and are higher than Tesoro in the Orange County Register rankings. They still have yet to play a difficult opponent, however, so for now we will hold them steady and wait for what should be a terrific series of battles in the South Coast League.
Weekend Result: After back-to-back 35-point performances, the Diablos did even better as they picked up a 42-17 road win over Santiago of Corona. Ian Fieber passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns while completing 19 of his 25 pass attempts. Max Redfield was the Diablos’ leading receiver as he gained 101 yards with a score while Marcus Collins rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Up Next: Coach Bob Johnson’s team will again be on the road this week and should continue to light up the scoreboard and remain undefeated facing a La Quinta squad that has yet to win a game.
9. (13) NARBONNE (HARBOR CITY) 2-0
Why This Ranking: The Gauchos move up four spots this week after a complete rout of previous No. 19 Long Beach Poly. No. 10 Serra defeated the Jackrabbits 20-12 two weeks ago, but Narbonne completely dismantled Poly 56-0, handing the Jackrabbits their worst loss since a 62-0 defeat to San Diego High in 1916.
Weekend Result: Narbonne’s core group of seniors was determined to defeat Poly after close losses the last two years and they dominated the game in every fashion. So dominant was Narbonne that it shut out the Jackrabbits for the first time since 1994 when Ortege Jenkins-led Long Beach Jordan beat the Jackrabbits 28-0. Narbonne QB Troy Williams (a Jenkins clone) completed 11 of 14 passes for 151 yards and rushed for three scores in limited action as a running clock was used.
Up Next: Coach Manuel Douglas? team will look to defeat its second consecutive Moore League foe when its takes on 2-1 Lakewood. A South Bay showdown with Serra will take place on Sept. 21.
10. (10) SERRA (GARDENA) 3-0
Why This Ranking: After moving up seven spots last week, the Cavs stay put after pulling out a hard-fought victory over Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. All the other teams in front of Serra in the rankings were victorious, but its eight-point win over Long Beach Poly doesn’t compare well to what new No. 9 Narbonne just did to the same squad.
Weekend Result: Serra came up with a defensive stand at the end of the game to defeat Mira Costa, 27-20. The Mustangs drove down to Serra’s 14-yard line, but on third down Serra’s Inoke Raikadroka sacked quarterback Khalil McClain and Mira Costa turned the ball over on downs on the next play.
Up Next: Serra takes on 1-2 Banning of Wilmington in this week’s game.The Cavs have to do a better job of stopping the run and can’t get caught looking ahead to its showdown with Narbonne in two weeks.
11. (11) HELIX (LA MESA) 2-0
Why This Ranking: The way the Highlanders handled Vista in a huge blowout over last year’s CIF San Diego Section Division I runner-up would seem to indicate the defending CIF Division II Bowl Game champions may very well have a huge say again in this year’s race to Carson. Plus, with Oceanside losing, there are no questions at all that the Highlanders should be considered the top team from the CIFSDS until they lose.
Weekend Result: Helix wasn’t very hospitable to the boys from north San Diego County in a 43-7 win over the Panthers. Quarterback Josh Harris completed 15 of 22 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns, running back Michael Adkins rushed for three first-half touchdowns and finished with 137 yards on 21 carries, and D1-level wide receiver Kendal Keys had 152 yards receiving. Plus, the defense recorded five turnovers.
Up Next: Coach Troy Starr and the boys travel to Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) to meet the defending CIFSDS Division III champions. Helix won this game last year 48-14 but Cathedral Catholic was 2-0 with the same two opponents as this year. This season, the Dons are 1-1 coming in after losing last week to San Diego Torrey Pines.
12. (9) ELK GROVE 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Thundering Herd are still the top team in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and No. 2 in Northern California, but we had drop them a few spots after needing a late score to remain undefeated against Del Campo of Fair Oaks. They fell into the same spot that Oceanside had last week and had to make room for Narbonne at No. 9.
Weekend Result: On the road in Fair Oaks, Elk Grove trailed with just two minutes remaining but put together a quick scoring drive that saw Robert Frazier reach the end zone on a five-yard touchdown run. Del Campo couldn’t recover as the Herd won 20-16.
Up Next: Coach Chris Nixon and team will travel just up the road a few miles on Friday to take on 2-1 Sheldon of Sacramento. It will be the final game of a four-game road trip to start the season.
13. (14) WESTLAKE (WESTLAKE VILLAGE) 3-0
Why This Ranking: It’s a natural one-spot bump for the Warriors due to the loss of previous No. 12 Oceanside to Chaparral of Temecula. No other teams in front of them from last week’s rankings lost.
Weekend Result: In a wild, back-and-forth game between the 2009 CIF Open Division bowl game representative from the south against the 2011 representative, it was Westlake topping Crenshaw of Los Angeles 44-41. Kevin Robledo’s 33-yard field goal with no time showing on the clock resulted in the game-winning points. Earlier, Robledo nailed field goals of 43 and 41 yards. Senior Neil Uksali completed 14 of 29 passes for 258 yards and three scores but also suffered three interceptions.
Up Next: The Warriors host La Serna of Whittier on Friday in a matchup in which they are heavy favorites. The next two games, though, could define the regular season against Crespi of Encino and state-ranked St. Bonaventure.
14. (15) ST. BONAVENTURE (VENTURA) 3-0
Why This Ranking: Just like Westlake, it’s a natural one-spot upward move for the Seraphs. It could be argued that St. Bonaventure has played a stronger schedule so far than Westlake, but recent history is more of a factor in our rankings so we’ll just wait until the two teams play each other in two weeks.
Weekend Result: In a defensive slugfest, the Seraphs escaped an upset bid with an 18-7 road win at Redlands East Valley. Facing a team that beat Mission Viejo last year at this point of the season when the Diablos were ranked nationally, St. Bonnie’s actually came back from a 7-0 deficit. Zach Green had another solid outing with 20 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Up Next: The team’s eastward trek to the Inland Empire will be followed by a trek up the coast to play Atascadero in this week’s game. A matchup against No. 2 Santa Margarita looms after that.
15. (16) UPLAND 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Highlanders keep on rolling after putting a big number on the board for the third straight week in their win over Long Beach Jordan. The victory earns them a one spot bump with the demise of previous No. 12 Oceanside. They also are considered the No. 2 team in the CIFSS Inland Division behind Vista Murrieta but just in front of Corona Centennial.
Weekend Result: Despite leading 21-6 at the half, it wasn’t a walk in the park in the second half of a 57-28 victory over visiting Jordan. The powerful running game of Upland was the difference. Five different players rushed for touchdowns led by the three scores of reserve running back Ronnie Esther. Quarterback Nate Romine passed for a TD and ran for another.
Up Next: After playing its first three games at home, Upland travels to Victorville to play a 1-2 Silverado team coming off a 24-7 loss at Palm Springs.
16. (18) CENTENNIAL (CORONA) 1-1
Why This Ranking: Losses by two teams that were ahead of the Huskies in last week’s rankings made room for them to move up after picking up their first win of the season. Centennial started the season at No. 9 but dropped nine spots after the season-opening 40-35 loss to current No. 14 St. Bonaventure.
Weekend Result: As expected, the Huskies had little trouble in their 61-6 win over Cabrillo of Long Beach as Robert Webber passed for 188 yards and two scores while Austin Renken ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Centennial led 47-0 at halftime.
Up Next: Coach Matt Logan’s team will have a chance to move up in the rankings with a win this week since they host No. 5-ranked Alemany of Mission Hills on Friday night. It could be another 40-35 matchup or more.
17. (21) NOTRE DAME (SHERMAN OAKS) 2-1
Why This Ranking: Losses by teams previously ranked ahead of the Knights along with a dominant performance allowed them to jump four spots in this week’s rankings. A key game for Notre Dame’s ranking could be the one in two weeks between No. 10 Serra of Gardena and No. 9 Narbonne. A Serra win in that game would definitely help Notre Dame’s ranking since its loss was to the Cavs 26-23 in the season-opener.
Weekend Result: The Knights jumped out to a 49-0 lead by halftime on the way to a 56-0 road win over Taft of Woodland Hills. Both Hilinski brothers tossed touchdown passes in the win. Kelly completed eight passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns while Tyler passed for 45 yards and a score.
Up Next: Notre Dame should be tested much more this week as it hosts Birmingham of Lake Balboa. Birmingham is 3-0 on the season after a 54-6 win over Grant of Van Nuys.
18. (22) MATER DEI (SANTA ANA) 2-0
Why This Ranking: For the first time since 2008, the Monarchs are at 2-0 and have a good chance to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2007. The tough part of their pre-league schedule – games against Edison of Huntington Beach and Narbonne – is still to come and also gives the team the opportunity to make major strides.
Weekend Result: Coach Bruce Rollinson’s club also defeated Carson for the first time since 2008 and did it easily with a 48-13 home win. Ryan McMahon passed for 220 yards and three touchdowns while the Monarch defense recorded four interceptions against the Colts.
Up Next: In a rare Thursday game this week, the Monarchs will host undefeated Santa Monica. The Vikings are coming off of a 53-12 road win against Palisades of Pacific Palisades.
19. (20) VACAVILLE 3-0
Why This Ranking: A loss to Marin Catholic would have knocked the Bulldogs out of the rankings, and the Bulldogs came about as close to dropping the contest as you can, pulling it out with a 44-yard drive in the final 1:24 of the contest. With the win, Vacaville also moves up in the NorCal pecking order due to previous No. 17 Nevada Union’s loss to Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove.
Weekend Result: In a bizarre fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands three times, it was a 6-yard pass from Nic Ardave to David Mewborn with five seconds left that sealed a 28-24 comeback win in a game Vacaville trailed 17-7 midway through the third quarter. Ardave finished 9 of 15 for 159 yards and two touchdowns. His first TD pass was a 26-yarder to Curtis Goins with 7:20 remaining on a play in which Goins catapulted the last 5-yards into the end zone.
Up Next: The 0-2 record of visiting Granite Bay for this week’s game is a bit deceiving since the losses are to No. 13 Westlake and No. 4 Oaks Christian.
20. (NR) CHAPARRAL (TEMECULA) 3-0
Why This Ranking: A big-time 40-30 triumph over previous No. 12 Oceanside gives the Pumas the highest ranking among this week’s three newcomers. They also are logically the next team in line from the CIFSS Inland Division after Vista Murrieta, Upland and Corona Centennial and are playing another state-ranked opponent – No. 7 Tesoro – in their next game in two weeks.
Weekend Result: Coach Ryan Tukua seems to be getting a lot from his boys in his second season since taking over in a tumultuous off-season before 2011. The win over Oceanside featured 160 yards and two touchdowns rushing from Justin Harris. Quarterback Kellen Mataafa also had two scoring passes and a TD run.
Up Next: Chaparral, which is taking a bye this week, doesn’t face No. 3 Vista Murrieta until Nov. 2. If it can beat a second straight state-ranked foe in two weeks at Tesoro, that game could end up being 9-0 vs. 9-0.
21. (25) LINCOLN (STOCKTON) 2-1
Why This Ranking: The Trojans’ win over Berkeley isn’t what gives them a bump. It’s more because Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove bounced back from a loss to Lincoln to beat previous No. 17 Nevada Union of Grass Valley. Lincoln’s lone loss was to No. 12 Elk Grove.
Weekend Result: Zack Greenlee passed for 177 yards and two touchdowns while Justin Davis ran for 149 yards and a score in the team’s 34-16 win against Berkeley. Junior Deshawn Campbell also had 81 yards and two scores on just five carries.
Up Next: Without a game on their schedule this week, the Trojans will have two weeks to prepare for their in-town rivals from St. Mary’s. Last year, after Lincoln posted wins over Pleasant Grove and Grant of Sacramento, it was St. Mary’s that knocked the team out of the state top 25 with a 28-21 triumph.
22. (23) CENTRAL (FRESNO) 3-0
Why this ranking: The 41-0 loss Palos Verdes took two weeks ago at the hands of No. 9 Narbonne was a distant memory after the Sea Kings gave the Grizzlies all they could handle in a back-and-forth come-from-behind Central victory. If not for a late score, the hosts would have dropped from the rankings.
Weekend Result: After Palos Verdes took a 22-18 lead with 6:10 left in the fourth quarter on an interception return for a touchdown, Central answered with a drive that resulted in the winning TD with 3:02 remaining. From there, the Grizzlies’ defense did the rest by holding the visitors and taking over on downs to end the game.
Up Next: Central will host a 2-1 Visalia El Diamante whose loss was a respectable 35-21 to another one of the CIF Central Section’s top teams, Clovis North.
23. (24) LOMPOC 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Braves move up one spot after recording their 23rd consecutive win with a 42-3 victory over Pioneer Valley of Santa Maria. Lompoc is still smarting over last year’s CIF Bowl Game snub and is eager to show it is even better this year.
Weekend Result: Taylor Cornejo missed his second game in a row and star tailback Lavon Coleman had a pedestrian game (63 yards, 15 carries), but third-string back A.J. Florez stepped up and gained 105 yards on 16 carries. For a school its size, Lompoc has tremendous depth at the skill positions, including new quarterback Tyler Ornelas (115 yards, 2 TDs), who took over for Luciano Lopez, now starting at linebacker.
Up Next: Lompoc will look to extend its winning streak against 3-0 Dos Pueblos of Goleta. First-year DP coach Nathan Mendoza was the best man at the wedding of Lompoc coach Andrew Jones.
24. (NR) JAMES LOGAN (UNION CITY) 3-0
Why This Ranking: The No. 2 team from the Bay Area is looking like the heir apparent to be the top challenger to No. 1 De La Salle in the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs. So far, the Colts have played three solid opponents, and shut out the last two to have a combined 104-24 scoring advantage on the season.
Weekend Result: Most of the Bay Area prep pundits expected Logan to beat preseason state-ranked Danville San Ramon Valley but no one expected a 35-0 shellacking, and the Colts weren’t even in their own pasture. The defense starred after only giving up 117 total yards and coming up with three scores. Warren Miles-Long ran for a touchdown and returned an interception for a score.
Up Next: Heritage (Brentwood) is 0-3 after back-to-back losses to the Redwood Empire’s Casa Grande (Petaluma) and Windsor. If the host Colts could romp on the road in Danville, the home meadow could produce even bigger numbers.
25. (NR) ST. JOHN BOSCO (BELLFLOWER) 3-0
Why This Ranking: Coach Jason Negro’s squad has been bolstered by a few key transfers, especially 2011 all-state sophomores Jaleel Wadood (DB) and Chandler Leniu (LB) from Lakewood, and has blasted its first three opponents by a combined score of 177-22. This ranking also will get tested quickly with a matchup at home this week against 3-0 Loyola of Los Angeles.
Weekend Result: Younger players growing up quickly is another early theme of the season for St. John Bosco. Sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen set a school record in a 61-8 victory over Santa Fe of Santa Fe Springs by throwing for seven touchdowns. Rosen also finished 18 of 26 for 312 yards. A.J. Holman caught four touchdown passes to set another school record.
Up Next: The matchup against Loyola will be difficult, but the Braves can’t and shouldn’t get too caught up in it and instead should just continue to focus on getting ready for Trinity League contests against the likes of Santa Margarita, Servite and Mater Dei.
Previous No. 12 Oceanside; No. 17 Nevada Union (Grass Valley); No. 19 Long Beach Poly (Long Beach).
Teams on the Bubble:
Bellarmine (San Jose) 1-1
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 2-0-1
Canyon (Canyon Country) 3-0
Central Catholic (Modesto) 2-1
Chaminade (West Hills) 3-0
Chaparral (Temecula) 3-0
Clovis North (Clovis) 3-0
Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 2-1
El Toro (Lake Forest) 3-0
Hart (Newhall) 1-1
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 2-0
Loyola (Los Angeles) 3-0
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 2-1
Monte Vista (Danville) 3-0
Palma (Salinas) 1-0
Palo Alto 1-0
Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 2-1
Placer (Auburn) 2-0
Rancho Cucamonga 2-1
San Clemente 3-0
Servite (Anaheim) 1-1
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