Preseason State Rankings (Divisions)

Players from last year's team at Grace Brethren of Simi Valley smile after finishing up 10-0 regular season. Photo: @jameson_25/

Players from last year’s team at Grace Brethren of Simi Valley smile after finishing up 10-0 regular season. Photo: @jameson_25/

With the CIF bowl games now in 13 divisions and with it basically impossible to place teams into those divisions in a weekly format, we are resurrecting our traditional five-division state rankings first done in 1975. No. 1 teams to start are De La Salle (D1), Grant of Sacramento (D2), Cathedral Catholic of San Diego (D3), Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton (D4) and Grace Brethren of Simi Valley (D5).

To check out our final five-division state football rankings from last season as well as all of them back to 1975, CLICK HERE.

Note: We hope you enjoy this free look at our preseason state football rankings by division. Next week’s first update after Week 0 games, however, will be for Gold Club members only. It’s a great time to sign up as well since yearly rate is going up in the next two weeks. For details, CLICK HERE.

(All teams listed with win-loss records from last season)

Anthony Sweeney hopes for an injury free season as De La Salle's No. 1 quarterback. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Anthony Sweeney hopes for an injury free season as De La Salle’s No. 1 quarterback. Photo: Mark Tennis.

1. De La Salle (Concord) 14-0
2. Centennial (Corona) 12-3
3. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 13-1
4. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 9-4
5. Folsom 16-0
6. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 11-2
7. Serra (Gardena) 8-3
8. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 9-3
9. Narbonne (Harbor City) 10-4
10. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 6-5
11. Mission Viejo 12-2
12. Liberty (Bakersfield) 10-3
13. Crespi (Encino) 9-2
14. Bellarmine (San Jose) 10-3
15. Mission Hills (San Marcos) 9-3
Teams On The Bubble: Alemany (Mission Hills) 7-3, Clovis 8-5, JSerra (SJ Capistrano) 10-2, Lutheran (Orange) 4-6, Norco 6-6, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 5-5, Pittsburg 10-3, Rancho Cucamonga 7-5, Serra (San Mateo) 8-4*, Westlake (Westlake Village) 8-3.
*Indicates forfeit loss not included; team currently ineligible for post-season.
Comments/Highlights: Long Beach Poly and Mission Viejo have already begun the season with victories from last weekend. The Jackrabbits went to Arizona and downed Centennial of Peoria, 13-12. That team went 12-2 last season and was in a state final. Mission had it easier in its trip to Hawaii. The Diablos clobbered Baldwin of Maui, 63-7. De La Salle, of course, opens out of state on Saturday vs. Trinity of Euless, Texas, in a game to played in Mansfield, Texas, and shown at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The biggest Friday opener is at the Santa Ana Bowl where Mater Dei hosts Bishop Amat. We’ll be in Folsom to see the debut of the new crop of Bulldogs when they host Clayton Valley of Concord.
Brett Virgil quarterbacked Heritage of Menifee to a CIFSS title when he was a sophomore. Photo:

Brett Virgil quarterbacked Heritage of Menifee to a CIFSS title when he was a sophomore. Photo:

1. Grant (Sacramento) 14-1
2. Helix (La Mesa) 10-3
3. Del Oro (Loomis) 6-6
4. Oceanside 14-1
5. Redlands East Valley (Redlands) 15-1
6. Clayton Valley (Concord) 15-1
7. Elk Grove 10-3
8. Rocklin 9-3
9. Heritage (Menifee) 12-1
10. Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 12-2
11. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 12-2
12. Buena Park 11-2
13. San Clemente 12-2
14. Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) 14-0
15. Downey 10-4
Teams On The Bubble: Carter (Rialto) 9-3, Citrus Hill (Perris) 11-2, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 10-2, El Capitan (Lakeside) 14-1, La Habra 7-4, Los Gatos 10-3, Norte Vista (Riverside) 10-2, Palm Springs 11-3, Paramount 7-5, Pleasant Valley (Chico) 10-3, Poly (Riverside) 13-1, Serrano (Phelan) 12-2, Trabuco Hills (Mission Viejo) 10-4, Tulare 7-5, Vacaville 10-3, Wood (Vacaville) 7-5.
Comments/Highlights: There’s a probability that Grant will be D1 for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section due to a new rule in that section that requires a league champion from a Division I league to play D1 for the playoffs. The beauty of doing our own divisional state rankings, however, is that we can place teams where we think they belong (looking at the state as a whole and looking at recent competitive factors) and don’t have to switch them all over the place. If Grant ends up D1, we don’t care. If Helix wins the San Diego Open Division title, we don’t care. Those teams are staying D2 in our rankings regardless.
For the CIF Southern Section schools, all of the Inland Division is going to be D2 for these rankings along with all of the Southwest Division and the Eastern Division. Some of the Southeast Division schools will be D2 as well.
Currie Thomason had an outstanding game for Cathedral Catholic in win last year vs. Oaks Christian. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Currie Thomason had an outstanding game for Cathedral Catholic in win last year vs. Oaks Christian. Photo: Mark Tennis.

1. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 10-2
2. Calabasas 6-6
3. St. Augustine (San Diego) 8-5
4. Arroyo Grande 10-3
5. Palma (Salinas) 10-3*
6. Central Catholic (Modesto) 11-3
7. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 7-4
8. Colony (Ontario) 12-2
9. Campolindo (Moraga) 16-0
10. Hanford 12-1
Teams On The Bubble: Aptos 12-1, Brea Olinda (Brea) 6-6, Cathedral (Los Angeles) 10-2, Charter Oak (Covina) 8-5, Garden Grove 13-1, Glendora 9-3, Lompoc 11-1, McClymonds (Oakland) 12-0*, Northview (Covina) 10-2, Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 11-3, Paso Robles 13-2, Pomona 11-4, Sierra (Manteca) 10-2, Summit (Fontana) 6-4-1, Thousand Oaks 7-4, Ventura 12-2.
Comments/Highlights: For other CIF sports with state divisions and no Open Divisions, Cathedral Catholic and St. Augustine (the two San Diego arch-rivals) have been in D3 for many years. That’s why we’re putting them at D3 for our divisional football rankings even though both probably will be in the section Open Division this season. For the CIFSS schools, all of the Northern Division plus all of the Southern and Western divisions is going to be D3 for these rankings. Some of the Central Division, some of the Mid-Valley and some of the Northwest also will be D3.
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1. Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 13-0
2. Paraclete (Lancaster) 10-4
3. Christian (El Cajon) 13-1
4. Sonora 11-2
5. Monrovia 10-2
6. Bear River (Lake of the Pines) 11-2
7. Sutter 13-1
8. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-2
9. Piedmont 12-1
10. Escalon 8-4
Teams On The Bubble: Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara) 10-2, Chavez (Delano) 10-2, Hughson 8-4, Justin-Siena (Napa) 11-3, Liberty (Madera Ranchos) 14-0, Nipomo 10-4, St. Helena 12-2, Viewpoint (Calabasas) 8-2.
Comments/Highlights: Just because Sacred Heart Prep had such a great team last season and won the CCS Open Division title, we’re going to go by the school’s usual designation in the CCS and for the state and keep them in D4 for these divisional rankings. There are a lot of graduation losses, but no other team in this group was in our Top 50 overall rankings, either. This No. 1 had to go to the Gators just for that reason alone. For the CIFSS schools, those that will be D4 for these rankings will come from the Central, Mid-Valley and Northwest divisions. One of those teams is Paraclete from the Mid-Valley, which also includes defending champion Pomona (D3 for our rankings).
Ben Sukut of Capistrano Valley Christian intercepted six passes in one game when he was a freshman. Photo:

Ben Sukut of Capistrano Valley Christian had four interception return touchdowns in one game when he was a freshman. Photo:

1. Grace Brethren (Simi Valley) 13-1
2. Modesto Christian 11-2
3. Salesian (Richmond) 12-1
4. La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 7-6
5. St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) 15-1
6. Arrowhead Christian (Redlands) 12-2
7. Capital Christian (Sacramento) 13-1
8. St. Anthony (Long Beach) 11-2
9. Capistrano Valley Christian (SJ Capistrano) 7-4
10. Immanuel (Reedley) 9-4
Teams On The Bubble: Avenal 9-4, Fall River (McArthur) 10-1, King’s Academy (Sunnyvale) 9-2, Linfield (Temecula) 7-5, Maranatha (Sierra Madre) 11-1, Poly (Pasadena) 12-1, Stellar Prep (Oakland) 9-4, Stone Ridge Christian (Merced) 11-2, Williams 11-1.
Comments/Highlights: For the CIFSS schools, all of the East Valley Division and some schools from the Northwest Division are going to be D5 for these rankings. Grace Brethren lost in the East Valley final last year to St. Margaret’s, but in our view just has too much returning firepower compared to St. Margaret’s this season. And to repeat, it doesn’t matter in these divisions if a section moves up a team for its playoffs. Both Modesto Christian and Capital Christian are going to stay D5 for us whether they’re both in higher CIF Sac-Joaquin Section divisions or not. We could, in fact, rank a team No. 1 in one of our divisions that doesn’t win a CIF state bowl game.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. osde
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Not really understanding how the divisions are being determined…. is it enrollment?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted August 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I’d say combination of enrollment and what divisions teams are in on section level.
      San Diego teams could say enrollment pretty big factor.

  2. Blackbeard
    Posted August 27, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    In my opinion, O’side is in the right division. Putting them in D1 last year was a huge mistake. D2 is where they belong.

    • osde
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      @blackbeard…The SBG was clearly not a competitive game… not sure it would have been competitive with any team going up against Folsom last year (except DLS and maybe CC/SJB)… but Oceanside has won a D1 sbg and did beat the Central Section champion handily, as well as the SS DII team… They were in the right spot but Folsom was a historically good team (that liked to run the score up)

      @Mr. Tennis… I asked because about the divisions because Mission Hills was in D1. They only spent a year or two in SD division 1 and that was primarily strategic as they opted “up” into the weaker division 1 to avoid Oceanside and Helix come playoff time. Keep up the good work, I really enjoy the articles on Calhi…. I wish they were all free I’m a cheapskate!

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted August 29, 2015 at 2:28 am | Permalink

        Mission Hills was D1 in basketball as well last year I believe. No matter what divisions we put teams from CCS and San Diego, it can go in several ways.

  3. TinyTim
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    SDS used to place teams into its playoff divisions based almost entirely by school enrollment, like the NorCal sections still do (SJS has some modifications, though).
    Since over 50% of the SDS public schools’ enrollments were over 2000, the bottom enrollment limit for SDS D1 was quite high (around 2600) which meant Helix, Oside, La Costa Canyon, Madison, as well as all the privates were in lower SDS divisions.
    Starting in the 2013-14 school year, the SDS divisions were determined by a formula based mostly on the team’s recent years’ performance. With that, the teams just mentioned were all put in SDS D1. (Actually for the ’13 season, SDS put their 8 highest rated teams into their Open Division preseason which turned out to be a bit of an embarrassment. In ’14 and now, SDS takes the 8 highest rated teams from their D1 after the regular season and places them in the Open for the SDS playoffs.)
    Given this, it seems the teams I mentioned, along with Grant Union from SJS, ought to be in your Division 1.

    PS: Wish the NorCal (CCS, NCS, and even SJS) sections would organize their playoff divisions primarily on teams’ recent years performance like they do in SoCal and CS. NS, OS, and SFS are probably too small to change their way of having their playoffs.

  4. NorCalSportsFan
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Would think Valley Christian San Jose in CCS should be in D2 or D3 and at least bubble with 5 D1 prospects. If QB steps up, they will be very tough.

    St Francis – Mountain View in CCS should at least be a bubble team in D2 if Los Gatos is ranked. Los Gatos losses most of its offense and while returning most of a very good defense lose their best two way player. St Francis will be young but have very good QB and lots of speed at skill positions. They have been playing good defense so should be in the mix in the always tough WCAL.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted August 29, 2015 at 2:31 am | Permalink

      For our divisional rankings, the WCAL teams have always been together and have always been in D1. We’re not going to split them into more enrollment-based divisions. If we did, then why wouldn’t we do the same for Bishop Amat, Alemany, Crespi, and on and on and on. We all know those schools are D1 for tradition, coaching, competition, schedule. St. John Bosco isn’t even D1 by enrollment. Los Gatos can be D2 because its league (other than Milpitas) is pretty much all D2.

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