FB: Preseason No. 1s since 1985

We’re continuing our preseason football coverage for the 2013 season with a look back at the Cal-Hi Sports preseason overall No. 1 ranked teams and how they fared dating back to 1985.

Obviously, it was easy to pencil in De La Salle of Concord as the preseason No. 1 team during the second half of its national record 151-game winning streak. In fact, in the last few years of The Streak it wasn’t hard to pencil them in at No. 1 in the nation, either. From 1998-2003, the Spartans were that good.

Here are some other tidbits about the preseason No. 1 ranked teams of the past 28 years.

*Long Beach Poly’s 1985 team, which had 22 D1 signers on its roster, gave up the No. 1 ranking under still hard-to-believe circumstances during a league game against Long Beach Millikan. The Jackrabbits attempted a pass, while leading 13-9 with 20 seconds remaining, and it was promptly picked off and returned for a touchdown.

*Most high school football fans are led to believe ESPN’s broadcast of the De La Salle-Evangel Christian of Louisiana game in October of 2003 was the first live national broadcast of a high school football game.

Technically, that’s not true.

In 1987, Crespi of Encino had a junior tailback named Russell White that was being touted as the best high school running back in the country and perhaps the best in many years. He certainly was one of the most publicized ever from California and his No. 1 ranked in the state — and nation — Celts opened on the road at Redlands. Parts of the game were shown live on a ABC special and the game was also aired on ESPN.

Crespi settled for a 17-17 tie after White left the game with a hip pointer in the second quarter. Crespi eventually lost in the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals to the the team that did finish No. 1 in the state — and the nation — Fontana.

*Only two teams have finished outside the top 10 and only one completely fell flat on its face. That would be Carson, which had a high talent level in 1992 similar to some of the powerhouse teams it had in the 1970s and 1980s under the late Gene Vollnogle. Unfortunately, Vollnogle retired after the 1990 season and the Colts were quite undisciplined in 1991 and 1992. Carson tied Mt. Carmel of San Diego 7-7 in its opener and never really recovered.

Cal-Hi Sports Preseason No. 1 Ranked Teams
(Listed with final overall record and final ranking)

1985 : Long Beach Poly (11-1-1) No. 4
1986 : Carson (11-1) No. 5
1987 : Crespi of Encino (10-2-1) No. 5
1988 : Loyola of Los Angeles (12-1) No. 5
1989 : De La Salle of Concord (11-2) No. 8
1990 : Fontana (10-2) No. 13
1991 : Eisenhower of Rialto (13-1) No. 2
1992 : Carson (9-4-1) NR
1993 : Bishop Amat of La Puente (11-1) No. 8
1994 : Bishop Amat of La Puente (13-1) No. 3
1995 : Los Alamitos (11-2) No. 8
1996 : De La Salle of Concord (12-0) No. 1
1997 : De La Salle of Concord (12-0) No. 1
1998 : De La Salle of Concord (12-0) No. 1
1999 : De La Salle of Concord (12-0) No. 1
2000 : De La Salle of Concord (13-0) No. 1
2001 : De La Salle of Concord (12-0) No. 1
2002 : De La Salle of Concord (13-0) No. 1
2003 : De La Salle of Concord (13-0) No. 1
2004 : De La Salle of Concord (8-3-2) No. 7
2005 : Mission Viejo (12-1) No. 5
2006 : De La Salle of Concord (13-1) No. 4
2007 : St. Bonaventure of Ventura (14-1) No. 7
2008 : De La Salle of Concord (12-2) No. 5
2009 : Oaks Christian of Westlake Village (13-1) No. 7
2010 : Grant of Sacramento (13-1) No. 4
2011 : De La Salle of Concord (13-1) No. 1
2012 : De La Salle of Concord (15-0) No. 1

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