Biggest Upset Openers Since 2000

QB Ryan Zanelli (left) accounted for all three of La Habra’s TDs in its win on the opening week of last season vs. preseason state No. 10 Upland. At right is running back Dion Willis of Carson, part of a team in 2010 that opened the season with a win over Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Photos: &

This was supposed to have been the opening weekend of the 2020 high school football season in California (at least in those areas of the state not greatly impacted by poor air quality from the many fires). With that in mind, here’s a year-by-year look going back to the 2000 season of the most surprising opening week scores from across the state. Numerous mentions of Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, De La Salle plus a magical moment in a loss by a preseason state No. 2 team turned in by a future MVP of the National League.

This is a post for Gold Club members only on All of our annual preseason all-section, all-county and all-region football teams are being delayed in getting done until late November at the earliest. All of those posts will be for Gold Club members only, but we’ll have plenty more Gold Club coverage in football and boys basketball until then. Not to mention, we’ve just put all of our boys and girls basketball state records onto the site for Gold Club members. You can now join for one-month rate of just $3.99. For subscription info, CLICK HERE.

La Habra 21, Upland 14

With players returning like All-American linebacker Justin Flowe, the losing Highlanders were No. 10 preseason in the state. La Habra was projected to be a tough first-game opponent and that proven to be more than correct. Ryan Zanelli threw for three touchdowns and Clark Phillips came up with a pair of interceptions to lead the winners.

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