(After games of Saturday, Dec. 1)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Writeups by Mark Tennis, Ronnie Flores, Harold Abend, Paul Muyskens)
1. (1) DE LA SALLE (CONCORD) 13-0
Why This Ranking: Is there anywhere else the Spartans should be than No. 1, and when it comes time for the CIF bowl games, is there anyone else in California the general public wants to see play in Carson or now in Sacramento? The answer is emphatically no. Coach Bob Ladouceur and his Spartans have taken a few lumps from out-of-state powers they’re unafraid to play, but in these parts their run that began in 2009 after back-to-back losses to Don Bosco (New York) and Lakeland (Florida) has seen them win three straight CIF Bowl Game titles and post a 52-1 record with a lone loss to St. Thomas Aquinas last season. How up to this point anyone else could ever have been number one in the state during this stretch is a true head scratcher.
Weekend Result: Many had thought the Spartans would get a tough game from a talented previous No. 19 James Logan, and while the score was 14-7 midway through the second quarter, Lad’s boys did what they seem to do in CIF NCS championship games – they dominate. By the time all was said and done, junior quarterback Chris Williams had thrown four TD passes and the defense recorded four interceptions, including one Cal-bound Victor Egu took to the house. Final score: 52-7. Thus, De La Salle wins its 21st straight NCS championship, 24th in 25 years and 28th in the past 31 years. It also extended their unbeaten streak against Bay Area/Sac-Joaquin Section opponents to 235 games.
Up Next: The game people from the Sacramento area have been waiting for has finally come. Despite De La Salle’s resume, and the fact they submitted two sites to the CIF state office, the NorCal Open Division Bowl Regional game is basically a home game for No. 3 Folsom since Sacramento State is the only suitable facility that bid and has the capacity at 21,195 to handle what should be a big crowd. Even though they would have rather played in the Bay Area, De La Salle defensive coordinator and former Athletic Director Terry Eidson told news sources the Spartans “have no trouble traveling to Sacramento.” If they have to do it every single season, though, the CIF could then easily be accused of going for a payday instead of what would be fair to De La Salle’s players and program.
2. (2) NARBONNE (HARBOR CITY) 14-0
Why This Ranking: The Gauchos inch even closer to De La Salle after blanking previous No. 7 Crenshaw 25-0 in the L.A. City Section Division I final. Simply put, no team in the state has beaten more quality teams than the Gauchos (even including De La Salle).
Weekend Result: The Gauchos faced a Crenshaw team that scored an average of 51.3 points in its previous four wins and came up with perhaps their most impressive defensive performance of the season. Narbonne held Crenshaw out of the end zone, and didn’t let the Cougars run off any big plays in spurts like it did in previous playoff games. When Narbonne had the ball, RB Johnell Jackson controlled the tempo, gaining 159 yards on 26 carries — including a 57-yard run that gave the Gauchos a 17-0 lead in the third period.
Up Next: The Gauchos were a no-brainer choice to be selected for the CIF Southern California Open Division bowl game where they will face 13-1 and No. 4 Centennial of Corona on Saturday night. Both teams run a no-huddle spread offense, but Narbonne’s defensive ability could be the difference in the game.
3. (6) FOLSOM 14-0
Why This Ranking: After finally moving into the No. 2 spot in Northern California last week, the Bulldogs easily kept hold of that spot after defeating Elk Grove 44-18 on Saturday night in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game. On the year, they also have wins over SJS Division I finalist Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills and SJS Division I
quarterfinalist Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove. Since Folsom is unbeaten and is getting a crack to take down No. 1 De La Salle, the team also was elevated past Corona Centennial into the third position in this week’s rankings.
Weekend Result: The Bulldogs were actually held scoreless in the opening quarter and found themselves losing 6-0 in the second quarter in the game against Elk Grove. They led 14-6 at halftime and then took control in the second half. With strong wind and rain throughout the
game and a strong pass rush by the Thundering Herd, sophomore Jake Browning didn’t put up his normal big numbers passing but he did complete 16 of 30 for 205 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for a score. Troy Knox was the leading target as he caught five passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns while Bailey Laolagi rushed for 72 yards and one TD on 13 carries. Browning now has 61 touchdown passes on the season which trails the state record of 63 set in 1999 by Robert De La Cruz of Los Angeles Cathedral.
Up Next: It should be an impressive setting on Saturday night at Sacramento State when the Bulldogs face No. 1 De La Salle of Concord in the CIF NorCal Open Division Bowl game. The weather looks to be much better for weekend and there are hopes that 15,000-20,000 people will show up.
4. (5) CENTENNIAL (CORONA) 13-1
Why This Ranking: Knocking off previous No. 3 Vista Murrieta in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division championship gets the Huskies closer to the top. They were hopped by undefeated Folsom, but another reason for that is that Folsom is getting a chance to take out No. 1 De La Salle. Bottom line is that Centennial can win the CIF Open Division state title and can be State Team of the Year for the second time by winning its next two games.
Weekend Result: Despite being outgained 576-418 in yards, the Centennial defense came through in the red zone by turning back Vista Murrieta four times (all on turnovers). The Huskies’ Gavin Andrews also broke up a pass on a two-point conversion attempt with 1:18 left that would have tied the score. Robert Webber completed 15 of 23 passes for 246 yards, including a 60-yard TD to talented junior Barry Ware in the third quarter that overcame a 16-14 deficit. Rigo Luna’s 47-yard field goal with 3:33 left also was huge, given the wet conditions and that it forced Vista Murrieta to have to score a touchdown, then get a two-point conversion just to tie.
Up Next: Coach Matt Logan’s team plays No. 2 Narbonne on Saturday night at Cerritos College in the CIF Southern California Open Division regional final. It will be a matchup of spread offenses with Narbonne’s defense considered to be one of the best in L.A. City Section history. If the Huskies win, they’d then play either De La Salle or Folsom in two weeks for the CIF Open Division state championship.
5. (3) VISTA MURRIETA (MURRIETA) 13-1
Why This Ranking: With such a close loss to Corona Centennial, it only makes sense to drop the Broncos to a position directly behind the Huskies. The result ended Vista’s 27-game on-the-field win streak (which was the longest in the state). If Centennial were to get rocked by Narbonne this week, the final ranking could be lower but it also could come up if Centennial were to win.
Weekend Result: Kishawn Holmes dashed for 190 yards on 25 carries and scored twice to lead the Broncos in the loss to Centennial. With 1:18 left, Su’a Cravens broke up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 30-28, but on the two-point conversion attempt a pass to Cravens was broken up. Vista Murrieta was more hurt by four turnovers, all that prevented points on the board and deep in Centennial territory. Cravens also caught a big pass during the team’s last drive, but otherwise wasn’t a huge factor in his last game for the Broncos.
Up Next: Season complete, but not for all Broncos. All-star football appearances for Su’a Cravens will commence over the holiday break.
6. (11) SERRA (GARDENA) 12-2
Why This Ranking: After a big jump of seven spots last week to just outside the top 10, the Cavaliers move into the top 10 and nearly into the top five after a 30-28 win over No. 13 Chaminade of West Hills to capture the CIFSS Western Division championship and avenge an earlier loss. Also helping Serra move as high as it has is that Long Beach Poly continues to win. Serra has a win over Poly and Poly has now won the CIFSS Pac-Five Division crown. Their only other loss was to No. 2 Narbonne of Harbor City.
Weekend Result: Trailing 21-17 with five minutes to go in the third quarter against Chaminade, the Cavaliers got two touchdowns from sophomore Malik Roberson to take a 30-21 lead before holding on for the narrow win. Their lead was cut to just two points with 58 seconds remaining and it seemed as though they were unable to recover an onside kick. However, the ball was awarded to the Cavaliers after the officials ruled that the Eagles had touched the ball before it went 10 yards. Junior Dwight Williams had two interceptions on the night, including one that he returned 46 yards for a score.
Up Next: After back-to-back state bowl game appearances in 2009 and 2010, the Cavaliers will have a chance to get back to Carson with one more win as they will face Edison of Huntington Beach in the CIF SoCal Division II Bowl Game this Saturday night at Orange Coast College.
7. (12) LONG BEACH POLY (LONG BEACH) 11-3
Why This Ranking: Despite its three losses, there is no way to keep Poly from skyrocketing up in the rankings this week after yet another impressive win against a state-ranked foe. This time it was previous No. 4 Mater Dei in the CIFSS Pac-Five Division final. In fact, the Jackrabbits have defeated a team ranked No. 4 in the state for three consecutive weeks to somewhat offset the earlier losses.
Weekend Result: The Jackrabbits made life difficult for the Monarchs by sacking mobile QB Chase Forrest five times and causing a big fumble that led to a 16-yard fumble recovery touchdown by LB Jayon Brown. It put Poly up 28-10 in the third quarter as Mater Dei was forced to pass (53 attempts) much more than it wanted to after the Jackrabbits took a quick 14-0 lead. With its 35-17 victory, Poly won its 19th Southern Section title, the third most section titles of any team in state history behind Bakersfield and De La Salle of Concord.
Up Next: The Jackrabbits will play No. 15 Clovis North, the Central Section Division I champs, in the SoCal Division I bowl game on Friday night. Poly will be playing at its normal home field and for Central Section fans that make the trek down the I-5 to Long Beach, it may be hard to fathom the Poly team they see is the same one that got drilled by Bakersfield 29-6. Poly is much-improved since then, but Clovis North is a tough group of kids that won’t be intimidated and have little to lose.
8. (16) ST. JOHN BOSCO (BELLFLOWER) 12-1*
Why This Ranking: The Braves dropped 12 spots last week after losing 13-10 to Long Beach Poly in the Pac-Five semifinals, but move back up eight spots this week since Poly went on to win the CIFSS Pac-Five title. Regardless of which team won in Saturday night’s title contest, Bosco was bound to move right back on up this week because they also own a win over Mater Dei and went unbeaten during the regular season.
Weekend Result: Did not play. Season complete.
Up Next: Season complete. The Braves will be rooting for Poly to win two more games to ensure a final top 10 rating.
9. (4) MATER DEI (SANTA ANA) 11-3
Why This Ranking: Coach Bruce Rollinson’s team can’t fall just right behind Long Beach Poly in the rankings because the Monarchs also have a head-to-head loss to St. John Bosco in a Trinity League contest. The team had two earlier playoff wins, though, over St. Bonaventure and Alemany. The league win over Santa Margarita when it was sitting at No. 2 overall in the state also will likely keep the Monarchs in the top 10.
Weekend Result: With the running game shut down and Long Beach Poly unleashing a strong pass rush, the Monarchs couldn’t finish many of their drives in last Saturday’s 35-17 loss to the Jackrabbits in the CIFSS Pac-Five final. Sophomore Chase Forrest led the offense by completing 28 of 53 passes for 308 yards. He had one interception and one TD. Thomas Duarte also did well with eight catches for 108 yards.
Up Next: Season complete. One player that could be in line for major postseason honors is Thomas Duarte due to his prowess on both sides of the ball. He’s likely a candidate to be Orange County Player of the Year and could be in the mix for the L.A. Times’ top honor.
10. (8) ST. BONAVENTURE (VENTURA) 11-2
Why This Ranking: The Seraphs have to drop two spots due to Mater Dei’s loss to Long Beach Poly in combination with their own 21-0 loss to the Monarchs from the previous week. Still, they made it to the CIFSS Pac-Five semis and still have a chance to say they were the only team to get a win over the CIF Open Division state champion (if Corona Centennial were to actually do that).
Weekend Result: Season complete. Did not play.
Up Next: Season complete. Running back Zach Green may be the Seraphs’ best bet to land a spot on this year’s Cal-Hi Sports All-State Team.
11. (14) EDISON (HUNTINGTON BEACH) 13-1
Why This Ranking: The Chargers move up three spots this week after capturing the CIFSS Southwest Division championship. Edison will be playing its toughest foe so far in No. 6 Serra, but hasn’t done quite yet enough to be in front of St. Bonaventure, which owns a victory over No. 4 Centennial.
Weekend Result: The Chargers’ defense came up big, recording two safeties and limiting Villa Park’s running game to 52 net yards in a 28-10 win that sent Edison to a CIF bowl game for the first time. It was Edison’s second victory over Villa Park this season and the Chargers were the only team to defeat the Spartans. It was the first section title for veteran coach Dave White, who recorded his 200th career win in the section quarterfinals.
Up Next: Edison will battle Serra at familiar Orange Coast College for the right to play in the CIF Division II state bowl game Dec. 15 at the Home Depot Center. Edison edged out Oceanside for the final SoCal Division II bowl bid and will need a complete performance from its offense (especially QB Aleksander Torgersen) to defeat a Serra team with more offensive weapons.
12. (15) OCEANSIDE 12-1
Why This Ranking: Oceanside was edged by No. 11 Edison for a berth in the SoCal Division II bowl game and naturally falls in line one spot behind Edison. The Pirates are up three spots overall after defeating Poway 32-10 in the San Diego Section Division II finals. After seeing Edison and Oceanside in person within 24 hours of each other, it’s safe to say the Pirates are the more talented offensive team and the defenses are pretty close to even. The breakdown of the players, who may have been injured or not, and mundane factors doesn’t change the fact Oceanside had what turned out to be a stinker loss to Chaparral of Temecula and ultimately that is what cost them a bowl berth.
Weekend Result: The Pirates got a monster game from FB-LB William Gulley in its second win of the season over Poway, as he powered his way to four touchdowns in Oceanside’s 22-point victory. Gulley also had nine tackles on defense and a sack. Coach John Carroll also received a stellar performance from three-year starting QB Israel Paopao, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 266 yards.
Up Next: Season complete. Oceanside would love nothing more than for bubble club Oakdale to win the CIF Division II state title. Oceanside beat Oakdale to begin the season, but even if that doesn’t happen Carroll’s boys have nothing to hang their head about because they did their part to continue the Pirates’ dynasty.
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