1. (1) DE LA SALLE (CONCORD) 4-0
Why This Ranking: The Spartans didn’t drop last week after a 21-13 win over St. Mary’s of Stockton so they sure don’t this week after an easier victory over a team that was unbeaten. Plus, the St. Mary’s team that DLS beat resembled a top 25 team itself the way it played in the second half of its big win last Friday against Lincoln of Stockton.
Weekend Result: Spartan coaches concentrated on seeing improvement from junior quarterback Chris Williams in the team’s matchup with 3-0 Granada of Livermore and that’s what they got in a 48-14 triumph. Williams rushed for four short touchdowns and completed 12 of 16 passes for 190 yards. Senior back Tiapepe Vitale once again went over 100 yards as well with 15 carries for 123 and one TD.
Up Next: De La Salle’s second East Bay Athletic League opponent will be Livermore at home this Friday. The Spartans will play all seven EBAL teams this year but none will count in league standings and DLS already has been given the league’s automatic playoff berth into the CIF North Coast Section playoffs. The team’s toughest EBAL foe may not come until Nov. 2 against California of San Ramon.
2. (2) SANTA MARGARITA (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA) 5-0
Why This Ranking: The Eagles stay put after their impressive 35-27 victory over previous No. 9 St. Bonaventure. As the three-time defending CIF Open Division champs, De La Salle deserves to be ranked ahead of Santa Margarita until the Spartans lose, but with the weekend news of quarterback Johnny Stanton’s ACL injury, the Eagles are no longer the prohibitive favorites to win the CIFSS Pac-Five title and earn a regional bowl bid.
Weekend Result: With St. Bonnie trailing 28-21 and Santa Margarita in the shadow of its own end zone, Stanton broke a tackle in the end zone and barreled over a St. Bonaventure defender to secure the first down. St. Bonaventure eventually got the ball back, but that play typified the dimension Stanton brought to the Eagles’ offense that will be missed the rest of the season.
Up Next: The bye week comes at the most opportune time for the Eagles as they will use the extra practice time to break in back-up QB Josh Canty. Stanton was noticeably limping in the second half against St. Bonnie and coach Harry Welch stated surgery is pending this week.
3. (3) VISTA MURRIETA (MURRIETA) 4-0
Why This Ranking: The Broncos did their part to make sure the top three spots would remain unchanged but they were tested by a solid Cathedral Catholic of San Diego squad that forced them to rally in the second half. Cathedral Catholic also was coming in after posting a win over Helix of La Mesa, which was the No. 1 ranked team in San Diego at the time and is the defending CIF Division II state bowl champion.
Weekend Result: Trailing 10-7 entering the final quarter of play, senior quarterback Nick Stevens ran for his second score for the game’s winning points while Bryce Smith clinched the win with a 55-yard fumble return in the final minute. Stevens on the night passed for just 64 yards but rushed for 105 yards and the two scores.
Up Next: In their final game before Southwestern League play gets underway, Vista Murrieta will go on the road to take on the CIF L.A. City Section’s Palisades of Pacific Palisades.
4. (5) NARBONNE (HARBOR CITY) 4-0
Why This Ranking: The Gauchos move up one spot this week after their impressive 22-9 victory over previous No. 10 Serra of Gardena – combined with previous No. 4 Oak Christian’s upset loss to Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Narbonne is proving to be the third bonafide CIF bowl game contender from the L.A. City Section following Crenshaw in 2009 and Birmingham of Lake Balboa in 2007.
Weekend Result: One of the biggest regular season games in recent memory involving two teams from L.A.’s South Bay region was defined by turnovers. Serra committed four crucial turnovers while Narbonne didn’t commit any. Midway through the fourth quarter with Serra trailing by nine points, the game turned when Narbonne linebacker Keishawn Bierria came up with a 54-yard fumble recovery touchdown after a big strip by cornerback Kwentin Polk.
Up Next: Coach Manuel Douglas’ team takes on 4-0 and state-ranked Mater Dei of Santa Ana this week in another game with state bowl game implications.
5. (6) BAKERSFIELD 5-0
Why this ranking: After losing the fifth spot last week, the Drillers regain it again with the demise of Oaks Christian combined with their blowout win over Buchanan of Clovis. It would appear Bakersfield has its fate in its own hands with respect to a CIF D1 South regional bowl bid going into Southwest Yosemite League action this week.
Weekend Result: Junior standout Kevin Hayes, an all state selection last year as a sophomore, had three interceptions, and the defense also had a fumble recovery while only allowing 44 yards rushing in a 59-18 shellacking of host Buchanan. Offensively, against a much improved Buchanan team from last year, coach Paul Golla’s boys racked up 545 yards of total offense in a game that ended with a running clock. Triple option quarterback Asauni Rufus completed 7 of 10 passes for 199 yards and two TDs, and Marcus Bruce was the leading rusher with 122 yards and one touchdown. Jeremiah Reddick also ran for 95 yards and four scores.
Up Next: Bakersfield continues its quest for a second straight CIF Central Section Division I title with a Southwest Yosemite League opener at home against 3-2 Liberty of Bakersfield. One of Liberty’s losses is by one point to No. 20 Central of Fresno, so it could be a good matchup.
6. (8) MISSION VIEJO 5-0
Why This Ranking: This seemed like the week to match the Orange County Register rankings and move the Diablos ahead of Tesoro. Plus, the boys set a school scoring record in a easy win against visiting Aliso Niguel of Aliso Viejo.
Weekend Result: The 84-22 win over previously undefeated Aliso Niguel broke the school’s single-game scoring record of 70 points set against the same team the last time the two met in 2009. The Diablos scored 21 in the first quarter and 42 in the second quarter to lead 63-14 at halftime. Quarterback Ian Fieber tossed three TD passes, Alex Suchesk rushed for a game-high 79 yards and three touchdowns, Max Redfield and Steve Macke had interception returns for TDs, and Carlos Rodriguez returned a fumble for a score.
Up Next: Redlands East Valley (Redlands) comes into Mission Viejo after back-to-back losses to state-ranked St. Bonaventure and Vista Murrieta. The Diablos might not score 84 points again but if Vista Murrieta can put 59 on the board against REV look for a big win for coach Bob Johnson’s boys. This also is a team that beat Mission last season.
7. (7) TESORO (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA) 5-0
Why This Ranking: We had room to move up the Titans one spot this week, but went ahead and hopped Mission Viejo ahead of them to match local rankings, mostly in Orange County. Those teams will play eventually in the South Coast League.
Weekend Result: A late score was needed for Tesoro to defeat previous No. 19 Chaparral of Temecula. Matt Adam scored on a one-yard run with less than two minutes remaining for the winning score. Nate Tago had 121 yards on 23 carries as the Titans rallied from a 14-7 deficit for the 17-14 victory.
Up Next: South Coast League play kicks off with a road game against Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo. Tesoro then goes on the road for a game against high-flying El Toro before returning home for a big game against Mission Viejo in a potential matchup between two undefeated, top 10 state-ranked teams.
8. (11) ELK GROVE 5-0
Why This Ranking: On a week-to-week basis, the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section has been a bit difficult to rank with many top teams seemingly able to beat another on any given night. The Thundering Herd, however, has more than earned their way into the top spot of the section and also gets to go into the top 10 for the state this week.
Weekend Result: After four road games to start the season, the Thundering Herd played their season opener and it was the Robert Frazier show as he rushed for 303 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-19 win over Nevada Union of Grass Valley. Wadus Parker also rushed over the century mark as he ran for 108 yards and a touchdown while also returning a fumble 75 yards for six points.
Up Next: Coach Chris Nixon’s team will host Laguna Creek of Elk Grove on Friday in its Delta Valley League opener. After this week, Elk Grove then goes on the road to face Grant of Sacramento before hosting Franklin of Elk Grove in a potential matchup of undefeated state-ranked teams.
9. (9) ST. BONAVENTURE (VENTURA) 4-1
Why This Ranking: The Seraphs don’t drop after their 35-27 loss to state No. 2 Santa Margarita on the road. St. Bonaventure also must remain ahead of No. 10 Centennial of Corona because of the Seraphs’ 40-35 head-to-head victory.
Weekend Result: The game was nearly a case of déjà vu for St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien. In the first game of his head coaching career in 2007, all-state running back Darrell Scott scored on a two-point conversion to give St. Bonaventure a victory at Santa Margarita. With 2:50 remaining in the game and St. Bonnie trailing 28-27, Seraphs’ running back Zack Green was stopped just short of the goal line on a gutsy two-point conversion attempt.
Up Next: Therrien’s team will look to rebound from the loss against 3-2 Westlake of Westlake Village in a Marmonte East League opener. St. Bonaventure will play just nine regular season games this year.
10. (12) CENTENNIAL (CORONA) 3-1
Why This Ranking: It wasn’t as big of a win as the one over Alemany of Mission Hills that got the Huskies a four-spot jump in the rankings last week, but they did keep on winning and have moved up due to losses by two teams ranked higher.
Weekend Result: Robert Webber did it with his arm and legs as he completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts for 371 yards and two scores while also rushing for 47 yards and a touchdown in Centennial’s 45-24 win over Carson. Austin Renken led the rushing attack with 84 yards and two touchdowns while Tre Watson rushed for 39 yards and found the end zone for a score.
Up Next: In their final game before Big VIII play starts, the Huskies will host Etiwanda. The Eagles are 2-2 on the season after a one-point win last week over Roosevelt of Eastvale.
11. (14) MATER DEI (SANTA ANA) 4-0
Why This Ranking: With teams above them losing, the Monarchs get a three-spot bump and almost make it back into the top 10 heading into a showdown this weekend with No. 4 Narbonne. The No. 4 team from Orange County also gets the boost despite being tested last week by Edison of Huntington Beach because Edison was unbeaten as well as was No. 23 in the state.
Weekend Result: After three wins with the smallest margin of victory being 25 points, coach Bruce Rollinson’s boys took a 20-14 decision from Edison in a game they led 20-7 at halftime but were blanked in the second half. The defense took advantage of three turnovers that led to three first-half TDs, and then had to come up big after Edison had a chance to score the winning TD in the game’s final moments. After a 60-yard punt by Tim Strader gave Edison the ball at its own five with 2:06 left, the Monarch defense finally sealed the deal after getting the ball back on downs near midfield.
Up Next: Mater Dei has now started the season 4-0 for the first time since 2007, when it was led by now-USC quarterback Matt Barkley and started the season 7-0. The Monarchs now get a chance to go to 5-0 against Narbonne but they’ll be the underdog on Friday night in Harbor City.
12. (16) ALEMANY (MISSION HILLS) 4-1
Why This Ranking: The Warriors get a lift after an easy win over L.A. Dorsey plus the fact that No. 13 Upland didn’t impress in its game and that previous No. 15 St. John Bosco did not play.
Weekend Result: Senior quarterback Devon Dunn connected on 9 of 17 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns to lead Alemany past Dorsey of Los Angeles 45-0. Both touchdown passes went to USC-bound Steven Mitchell. Quentin Tartabull shined on defense by going 30 yards for a score on an interception return.
Up Next: Two weeks ago, coach Dean Herrington’s team headed to the Inland Empire to play No. 10 Corona Centennial. This week, the Inland Empire’s Norco comes to the San Fernando Valley. Norco has won three straight after losing its first game to Crenshaw of Los Angeles, including a win last weekend over La Serna of Whittier, the team that shocked Westlake of Westlake Village the previous week.
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