(After games of Saturday, Sept. 20)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 2-0
You don't beat De La Salle when your quarterback and top runningback also play defense as Palma of Salinas had to last week in a 35-0 loss. Whoever finally tips the Spartans will have to have a whole lot of depth, not to mention a superstar or two. St. Francis of Mountain View, off to a 3-0 start with FB-LB Will Taufoou leading the charge, will take a crack at it on Friday on De La Salle's brand new sythetic turf field. Among those who ontributed funds toward the new field's completion was a Mr. Amani Toomer of the New York Giants.
2. (2) Los Alamitos 3-0
It had to be one of those got-to-get-up-and-go-to-school-the-next-day Thursday night games for the Griffins last week as they slugged it out for a 24-14 victory over Brea-Olinda of Brea. Junior quarterback Jimmy Barnes completed 17 of 27 passes for 293 yards and three TDs. It was 14-14, though, in the third quarter until a 57-yard TD from Barnes to Randy Estes. The Griffins have a bye on their schedule this week, with their next game being October 3 vs. La Habra. That was a team that gave them a testy time last year, just like Brea last weekend.
3. (3) Mission Viejo 2-0
It was a good week for the Diablos on the rankings front. Most importantly, their 22-11 victory over Mater Dei was a better showing than the first game against Fountain Valley. That first 14-13 score also doesn't look quite as unimpressive, either, as Fountain Valley clubbed around San Clemente last week, 28-7. Sophomore Chane Moline's 65-yard scoring run in the third quarter against the Monarchs gave Mission Viejo a 22-3 lead. Mark Sanchez also had a solid game with 11 completions in 12 throws for 145 yards and one TD. This week, the Diablos play Marina of Huntington Beach and they'll take the field with a 30-game winning streak.
4. (6) J.W. North (Riverside) 2-0
Here's where the rankings get more jumbled. You could make a case that Mission Viejo should be ahead of Los Alamitos for the No. 2 spot, but it's a no brainer that the top three are indeed the top three. The next four SoCal teams also are pretty clearly J.W. North, Corona Centennial, St. Bonaventure and Westlake. How you put those four in order, though, depends on many factors and which ones you view are most important. We'll continue to stick with the Huskies right in front of Centennial and they certainly deserve to stay there this week after a quality 28-7 triumph last Friday over Kaiser of Fontana. Kaiser was a 13-0-1 club from a year ago, but this time had no answer for the Huskies' big play ability. J.W. North also has another stern test this week with a home game against 0-2 Mater Dei, which was No. 5 in the preseason state rankings.
5. (7) Centennial (Corona) 2-0
If Long Beach Poly can't beat Clovis East, will Centennial be able to beat Clovis West this week in another key intersectional matchup? In last week's game, coach Matt Logan's squad led 49-0 at halftime and went on to a 70-8 win vs. Manual Arts of Los Angeles. Terrell Jackson scored five TDs, all in the first half.
6. (13) St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 2-0
Last Friday's 41-34 victory over Hart of Newhall signals that the Seraphs have arrived as a large school-level statewide football power, although the enrollment is definitely small school. Junior running back Matt Lee carried 39 times for 211 yards, had four catches for 74 yards and scored four TDs. QB Brian Stevens also maintained a very high completion percentage, going 23 of 31 after a 19-of-21 opener, and finished with 285 yards in the air. The win also jumps St. Bonnie to No. 1 in the state in Division II ahead of Westlake, which was No. 2 last week and had a big win over previous No. 1 Notre Dame. The reasoning for this move is as follows: 1. The Seraphs beat a higher ranked team than Westlake did and they beat Westlake in last year's CIFSS Div. IV final; 2. If they both keep on winning right on through to this year's final, the pair will be highly-ranked right next to each other and would decide the order on the field anyway.
7. (12) Westlake (Westlake Village) 2-0
The Warriors scored 24 second-half points after a 7-7 halftime tie in a big 31-7 win over CIF Southern Section Div. III defending champion Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. Turnovers contributed to the lopsided score as Westlake got three of them and converted them all for points. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter hit on a 15-yard scoring pass to Marcus Maddocks and finished 16-of-24 for 202 yards. Carpenter also rushed for 57 yards and one TD. This week, Westlake may have an even bigger challenge going up against Hart of Newhall, which is 0-2 but was No. 4 in the preseason state top 20. If the Warriors get by, they'll be favored to go 10-0 for the regular season.
8. (10) Grant (Sacramento) 2-0
Coach Mike Alberghini's club has a tough game this week against an Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills team that blasted Folsom, 40-0, last week in a game that was expected to be much closer. Grant clubbed Florin of Sacramento last Friday, 49-2, the second straight week the Pacers have hit the 49-point mark.
9. (14) Foothill (Pleasanton) 2-0
After a second easy shutout, this one over Washington of Fremont, 42-0, the Falcons will find out just where they're at with a game against Oakland Skyline this week, followed by De La Salle the week after that. Washington was thrown for losses on 15 plays in last week's game and managed just 75 total yards. Scott Gephart led the Foothill offense with three rushing TDs, including one from 34 yards out.
10. (15) Valley Christian (San Jose) 3-0
The Warriors rolled over North Salinas in the second half after trailing 14-7 at halftime for a 35-14 triumph. Matt Castelo scored Valley Christian's last two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal the win and led the defense with 14 tackles, including 2 1/2 sacks. This week, the defending CIF Central Coast Section Div. I champs as well as the No. 1 team in the San Jose Mercury-News ratings meets McClymonds of Oakland.
11. (16) Lutheran (Orange) 2-0
Coach Jim Kunau's club kayoed Millikan of Long Beach, 51-6. The rest of the Lancers' regular season should also consist of fairly easy tests, but in the CIFSS Div. VI playoffs that won't be the case, especially if they run into Los Altos of Hacienda Heights. Junior quarterback Seth Blackamore had a big game against Millikan as he hit on 18 of 26 passes for 295 yards and two TDs and also ran 10 times for 50 yards and a score. This week's opponent is Santa Paula, a school more on the level the Lancers played at just a couple of seasons ago.
12. (5) Hart (Newhall) 0-2
With losses to Los Alamitos and St. Bonaventure plus a track record of success, the question isn't if the Indians should still be in the state ratings at 0-2, but where do they fall after the second of those losses? The defense that played so well in the season-opener against the Griffins was torched by the Seraphs. The offense, though, came on strong in the second half behind QB Sean Norton. According to the L.A. Times, he finished 21 of 39 for 389 yards and five TDs. Next week, Hart could be 0-3 and still be ranked because this week's opponent is No. 7 Westlake.
13. (nr) Venice 2-0
Quarterback Beau Davis, wide receiver Ryan Graves and running back Byron Ellis keyed the offense to the biggest football win in school history, 17-13, over Loyola of Los Angeles. Davis directed a balanced offense to a 17-0 lead in the third quarter and finished with 200 yards passing. Graves caught four passes for 125 yards while Ellis had 21 carries for 104 yards rushing and two TDs. After opening with wins over Carson, which was viewed as a toss-up, and Loyola, which was viewed with the Cubs as favorites, the Gondoliers will be in the role of heavy favorite for this week's game against Santa Monica.
14. (nr) St. Francis (Mountain View) 3-0
The Lancers ended the Los Gatos unbeaten streak at 39-0-1 last week with a 17-7 triumph. This week, though, they face a team with a 140-0-0 streak. We've always thought St. Francis kids play with the confidence to beat anyone in any sport, including De La Salle in football, but the Lancers still will need a lot of luck to pull this one off.
15. (nr) Clovis East (Clovis) 3-0
The thinking here is that while Long Beach Poly may turn out to be in the midst of a down year, you still have to hand it to coach Tim Murphy's team for actually beating the Jackrabbits, 17-13, and at Veterans Stadium. It was erroneously reported that it was Poly's first loss at home since 1986 -- De La Salle beat the Jackrabbits at the same place two years ago -- but it's still hard to travel a long distance like the Timberwolves did and get a win like this. Poly was held to just 82 yards rushing and was hurt by Clovis East's ball-control offense. Clovis East moved to No. 1 in the CIF Central Section rankings this week and will get a chance to prove it belongs with a difficult remaining schedule, including games against Clovis West, Clovis and Buchanan. This week, the Timberwolves travel to play Sanger.
16. (19) Carlsbad 2-0
The Lancers trimmed Temecula Valley of Temecula, 28-21, after trailing by 15 points in the fourth quarter. They didn't take the lead until just four seconds were left. If they had done it a little easier, this would have been a good week to make a major move upward in the rankings. Now, though, you've got Helix and Rancho Bernardo who might look just as good at the top of the section rankings.
17. (nr) St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 2-0
Okay, at the beginning of the season, raise your hand if you thought the Braves would be No. 2 in the CIFSS Division I ratings after the third week of the season. If your hand is up, you're probably one of the most enthusiastic Braves' fans ever. That's what has happened, though, as Bosco has come out fairly strong while others, like Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly and Loyola, have faltered. St. John Bosco's three wins to start the year have been 49-12 vs. Westchester of Los Angeles, 24-18 vs. Jordan of Long Beach and 40-22 last week vs. Cerritos. The Braves have a bye this week, then play Downey the week after. Of course, many tough games in the Serra League are on the horizon as well.
18. (20) Lincoln (Stockton) 2-0
The defense allowed just 136 total yards and forced four turnovers in a 42-0 rout of Lodi Tokay. Quarterback Brian Korinek led the offense to a 28-point second half output with two TD passes and one TD run. Lincoln already will be playing its second San Joaquin Athletic Association contest this week against Bear Creek of Lodi.
19. (11) Clovis West (Fresno) 2-0-1
Statistically speaking, Edison had the better team in last week's 7-7 tie with the Golden Eagles. But we're leaving Clovis West in the top 20 because it is going up against probably an even bigger challenge this week against Corona Centennial. Plus, Clovis West will get to play in the much tougher large schools bracket of the Yosemite Division playoffs while Edison will be in the small schools.
20. (9) Loyola (Los Angeles) 1-1
The Cubs came on in the fourth quarter in their game against Venice and nearly pulled it out. Trason Bragg's TD cut it to 17-13 in the fourth quarter, but a fumble with four minutes left prevented a possible go-ahead score. This week's game should be easier against Muir of Pasadena, but the next two after that are against Antelope Valley of Lancaster and Hart of Newhall.