(After games of Saturday, Sept. 27)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 3-0
The nation's No. 1 team gave up its first points of the season in a 39-8 victory over St. Francis of Mountain View. Terrance Kelly, one of the leaders of the defense at linebacker, starred on offense as well against St. Francis with a 65-yard scoring run and a nine-yard TD catch from junior QB Kevin Lopina. Last year, St. Francis lost by just 14-0 to the Spartans, but it was a more focused effort for them this season. De La Salle will next put its national-record win streak (now at 141 games) on the line this week at home against 3-0 Foothill of Pleasanton.
2. (2) Los Alamitos 3-0
Coach John Barnes and his team had the week off in preparation for Division III state-ranked La Habra. Last year, La Habra lost its only game in a 13-1 season to Los Al.
3. (3) Mission Viejo 3-0
The Diablos pounded Marina of Huntington Beach, 48-22, for their 31st consecutive win. Three different quarterbacks -- junior starter Mark Sanchez along with Sonny McCracken and Bryan Foell -- combined to complete 15 of 21 passes for 229 yards and four TDs. Mission Viejo will host nationally-renowned Long Beach Poly in this week's game.
4. (4) J.W. North (Riverside) 3-0
Following wins over Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley and Kaiser of Fontana, the Huskies cemented their status as the No. 4 team with their impressive 28-10 victory over Mater Dei of Santa Ana, sending the preseason nationally-ranked Monarchs to their third straight loss. Josh Barnett rushed for 121 yards and three TDs on 11 carries. He also had a 95-yard TD run called back. Unfortunately for the Monarchs, a 60-yard TD pass from Dion Morton to Damon Morton on North's first play had no infractions. The Huskies will look to continue their roll in a Thursday game this week vs. Eisenhower of Rialto.
5. (6) St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 3-0
Alemany of Mission Hills was the Seraphs' third victim of this season, 49-20, in a game that was 35-0 at halftime. Andy Morales caught four TD passes from Brian Stevens, who was 14 of 20 for 168 yards and five scores overall. Junior Matt Lee had another strong game rushing with 17 carries for 209 yards and one score. This week's opponent is Saugus in the team's second straight road game.
6. (7) Westlake (Westlake Village) 3-0
The Warriors came from behind to defeat No. 15 Hart of Newhall, 25-24, on a two-point conversion pass from Rudy Carpenter to Tahj Mowry with 17 seconds left. Carpenter passed for 240 yards and two TDs. Westlake now will turn its attention to the Marmonte League, where it is favored but testy teams like Agoura, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark could all rise up and came through for an upset. The first of those games is this week vs. Thousand Oaks.
7. (9) Foothill (Pleasanton) 3-0
Garrett Tuggle's 100-yard interception return was the difference for the Falcons in their 28-21 victory on the road last Friday against Skyline of Oakland. Unless they were holding something back in preparation for De La Salle this week, Foothill's outing -- it was outgained significantly by the Titans -- shows it would need perhaps two 100-yard interception returns for touchdowns to pull off the historic upset of the Spartans.
8. (10) Valley Christian (San Jose) 4-0
The Warriors blanked McClymonds of Oakland, 26-0, and are now eyeing perhaps the most difficult part of their schedule -- games in the West Catholic Athletic League. Sophomore Dominique Hunsacker led Valley Christian with 119 yards rushing and one TD on just nine carries. WCAL rivals Serra, St. Francis, Bellarmine and St. Ignatius have all posted significant nonleague wins so far this season and it should be another dogfight for the top prize. Valley Christian hosts St. Francis on Saturday this weekend in the first of those key matchups.
9. (11) Lutheran (Orange) 3-0
Junior quarterback Seth Blackamore completed 5 of 5 passes for 171 yards and five TDs as the Lancers crushed Santa Paula, 56-7. The score was 35-0 at the end of the first quarter and head coach Jim Kunau put in mostly reserves for the rest of the game. Kunau won his 100th game and things look good for that number to keep going up. Orange Lutheran meets Marina of Huntington Beach in this week's game.
10. (15) Clovis East (Clovis) 3-0
At first, it might seem that the Huskies had a let down as they only won by 21-14 last week over Sanger, one week after they knocked off nationally-ranked Long Beach Poly. But Sanger was a team that beat Clovis East, 17-0, a year ago and had a number of key players back. Clovis East's state ranking, as well as Clovis West's and Fresno Edison's, gets a boost from the Central Section's strong showing so far this year in games vs. other sections. This week, coach Tim Murphy's team hosts Tulare Western.
11. (18) Clovis West (Fresno) 2-0-1
This is the same spot in the top 20 where the Golden Eagles were before they were tied, 7-7, by Fresno Edison two weeks ago. Beating previous No. 5 Corona Centennial in what was picked as the State Game of the Week beforehand and would be the State Game of the Week afterward as well will do that for you. Jose Rojas scored his third touchdown of the game on a 11-yard run to give Clovis West a 41-34 lead. A 36-yard field goal with two minutes left by Kevin Trippel also was crucial as that forced Centennial to have to drive for a touchdown on its last series instead of just moving into field goal range. The Golden Eagles travel to Southern California this week for a matchup against L.A. City Section power Carson.
12. (5) Centennial (Corona) 2-1
There are no good losses, but losing to Clovis West by just 44-40 on the road wasn't a bad one, so the drop in the rankings wasn't that severe. Terrell Jackson continued to sizzle for the Huskies with 247 rushing yards and two TDs. Coach Matt Logan's team hosts San Clemente in this week's game.
13. (13) Venice 3-0
There may have been a power outage for the real Venice gondoliers in Italy, but that wasn't the case for the Venice High Gondoliers of Southern California. After tough wins over Carson and Loyola to start the season, the Gondoliers were in cruise control in a 50-7 trouncing last Thursday of Santa Monica. Venice hosts Granada Hills on Friday night in this week's game.
14. (nr) Poly (Long Beach) 2-1
The Jackrabbits took out their frustrations after losing to Clovis East on St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs. Quarterback Cruz Parsons and the rest of the Poly offense clicked more frequently than it has all season and keyed an impressive 47-14 victory. Parsons threw for five TDs on just six completions. This week, Poly can take an even bigger step back up toward the top five if it can beat Mission Viejo and snap the Diablos' win streak at 31 games.
15. (12) Hart (Newhall) 0-3
How can you drop out the Indians even with this record? They've lost to three of the top six teams in the state by a combined total of 11 points. In last week's game, Sean Norton passed for 232 yards and one TD in a 25-24 loss to Westlake of Westlake Village. Hart also lost its final game of 2002, so there should be some venting in this week's matchup against Birmingham of Lake Balboa. The Braves are the defending L.A. City Section champs, but so far this year don't appear to be as strong.
16. (17) St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 3-0
The Braves had a bye last week, and get two more fairly easy non-league games, first beginning on Friday against Downey, before starting their tough Serra League schedule, in order, against Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and Loyola.
17. (18) Lincoln (Stockton) 3-0
Bear Creek of Stockton was the latest to fall to the Trojans, 38-6, in a game in which Lincoln's offense was balanced and potent. Quarterback Brian Korinek passed for 154 yards and one TD and scored himself on a seven-yard run. Alex Trujillo added 124 yards rushing and one TD. Lincoln hosts West of Tracy in this week's game and the result should be similar.
18. (20) Loyola (Los Angeles) 2-1
Scott Deke completed 11 of 18 passes for 150 yards and two TDs in a 45-0 victory over Muir of Pasadena. This week's game vs. Antelope Valley of Lancaster (3-0) will be more difficult and Newhall Hart looms the week after that.
19. (nr) Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 3-0
There are those in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section who insist that the Trojans were the best team overall last season, not 13-0 Jesuit of Carmichael. Oak Ridge probably will get into that debate again this year, especially with the way it took apart previous Sacramento area No. 1 Grant, 24-6, last Friday on its home field. The next step for head coach Chris Jones' program, particularly since quarterback-kicker Chandler Clemens is going to be around for awhile, is to look for a quality opponent from outside the section. The Trojans host Roseville in this week's game.
20. (nr) Edison (Fresno) 2-0-1
Congratulations to former NFL player Tim McDonald. In his first year, he's now put his alma-mater into the state top 20. The Tigers won last week, 24-14, over Buchanan of Clovis after tying Clovis West, 7-7, in a game they had a clear edge statistically. How long Edison stays ranked high depends on how it does, but also on how Clovis West does. If Clovis West loses and the Tigers struggle, they could drop down even if they keep on winning. Edison travels to Madera for this week's game.