Preseason State Top 20

Compiled by

1. De La Salle (Concord) 13-0  
Spartans have never played in the Fresno area before so a big crowd is expected to jam into Buchanan Stadium on Sept. 8 for the first game.

2. Poly (Long Beach) 14-0
Jackrabbits should cruise by Westchester of Los Angeles in their opener, but Banning has a club that could give them a challenge in week two.

3. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 8-3
Coach Jim Hartigan's program could be on the verge of some major accomplishments, but first must get deep into the CIFSS Div. I playoffs.

4. Loyola (Los Angeles) 12-2
Front seven for the Cubs looks awesome and the offense might not drop off as much as some think even though Matt Ware and Rafael Rice have departed.

5. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 9-3
When was the last time a Bruce Rollinson-coached team was an afterthought? All the focus this year is on DLS vs. Poly. Rollo and his boys would like nothing better than to spoil that showdown on Sept. 22 in Stockton.

6. Eisenhower (Rialto) 11-2
Eleven starters return for the Eagles, who will be in their last season under longtime coach Tom Hoak.

7. Clovis 6-6
Cougars will be underdogs on Aug. 31 even though they're playing national power Union of Tulsa, Okla., at home. Union, and its main rival, Jenks, are part of the nation's top rivalry these days.

8. Hart (Newhall) 12-2
If Tim Gregory successfully returns from knee surgery at running back, the Indians are a good bet to go undefeated - provided they beat small school power St. Bonaventure.

9. Bakersfield 12-1
Drillers return as many starters as any of the top teams, but last year's unimpressive showing in the CIF Central Section final vs. Buchanan keeps them from being too high.

10. Mission Viejo 10-3
Mater Dei better not think too much about DLS because the week before the Monarchs have to play the Diablos and Bob Johnson has this program ready to roll against CIFSS Div. II competition.

11. Los Alamitos 8-3
LB Shay Murphy and DB Joey Garcia are two quality returnees. Combined with transfers and great coaching, Griffins may be team to beat in Sunset League, arguably the state's best.

12. Lincoln (Stockton) 12-1-1
It'll be interesting to see how the Trojans respond to being a favorite. Their young team last year (10 starters are back including QB Ryan Schreppel) stunned Elk Grove in CIF Sac-Joaqin Div. I final.

13. Grant (Sacramento) 10-2
Eight starters are back on defense for the Pacers, including massive NG Spencer Noa, and coach Mike Alberghini has some great young talent on offense.

14. Banning (Wilmington) 8-6
There are signs the Pilots and nearby rival Carson are back as statewide powers. Banning gets nod to start due to winning L.A. City title last year and key early-season matchup against Long Beach Poly.

15. Helix (La Mesa) 13-0
All four sprinters who teamed up to win the 4x100 relay crown at the state meet last June were underclassmen and all four play football, including super junior RB Reggie Bush.

16. Logan (Union City) 10-2
Colts had a terrific contingent of players at the Nike camps last spring and could be unbeaten heading into CIF North Coast Section playoffs.

17. Buchanan (Clovis) 13-1
Most of last year's team is gone, but two All-State candidates are WR Antwuan Smith and LB Kyle Goodman and the first game is at home against De La Salle.

18. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 14-0
If Seraphs beat Dos Palos and Hart and stretch win streak to 42 with a player like Lorenzo Booker, start calling them the state's best small school team ever.

19. Edison (Huntington Beach) 9-3
Junior QB Tom Grady (who looked good at Elite 11 camp) should fit in well with a lineup that already includes super DBs Marcus McCutcheon and A.J. Martinez.

20. Carson 9-4
Matt Malele already is one of the nation's top d-lineman as a junior. Nine other defensive starters are back and an unbeaten J.V. is on the way up.

Golden State Preps Top Stories