Some key matchups happen all over the state, with major impact games happening in Fresno and Encino. While next week also boasts some marquee matchups, few will have the impact that this weekend's games will have around the state.
Corona Centennial and its loaded backfield, led by quarterback Matt Scott and running back Ryan Bass visit Encino Crespi to take on the Celts, who despite losing Kevin Prince for the year, still boast serious talent, headlined by tight end Joseph Fauria and running back/safety E.J. Woods. The Celts have other key contributors who could have an impact in the game, like receiver Kevin Cummings, safety L.J. Jones, linemen Buddy Fishman, Julian Field and Karim Williams. The Huskies, on the other hand, boast arguably the top linebacker corps outside of Dominguez, led by Brandon Magee, Shelly Lyons and Jerry Hardeman. With Prince, Crespi may have been the team to beat, but without him, the Huskies, even going on the road, have the advantage.
Central California is set for a dandy when Clovis West, ranked #5 by GoldenStatePreps.com, takes on Fresno Edison, ranked #13 in a key matchup. The winner could have an edge when it comes down to the SoCal D-I spot in the state championship game, especially if Clovis West can beat Centennial down the road. Clovis West is 2-0, having beaten Bakersfield Liberty in the opener and Visalia El Diamante last weekend. Beau Sweeney leads the Eagles offense and Travis Brown paces the defense. Edison has looked spectacular thus far, averaging a 44-13 win in their first three games. They pasted Modesto last weekend and feature the top secondary in California, led by Robert Golden, Cliff Harris, T.J. McDonald and Brandon Leslie. And quite possibly the best player on the Tigers, always known for their defense, is Rolando Jefferson, who rested a sore ankle last week, but has five touchdowns already in 2007.
The top game in San Diego features Carlsbad (ranked #9 by GSP) at #16 La Mesa Helix. Carlsbad is led by quarterback Justin Morales, linebacker Joey Searson and safety Vince Ewing. Helix counters with cornerback Jamar Taylor and elite 2009 tight end Levine Toilolo.
NorCal's top contest features #3 Loomis Del Oro, fresh off a 21-7 road win at Burien (Wash.) Kennedy against #15 Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman, the D-III runner up a season ago. Cardinal Newman rallied to tie #16 Modesto Central Catholic last week, 35-35, but gets no rest when they host the Eagles. Del Oro is led by Cole Saunders, who was brilliant in the win last weekend and Hunter Pahl, the Eagles two-way running back/linebacker. The boys in the trenches for the Eagles, Jason Heath, Jack Reynoso and Ryan Otten, could be the difference in this one.
Another NorCal game worth the price of admission is Mountain View St. Francis at Los Gatos. St. Francis has good talent, Je'Marcus Williams and Mailu Penitani specifically but Los Gatos will counter with linebacker Kiko Alonso, running back Nick Kalpin and tight end Karl Winkelman. Los Gatos comes in ranked #7 in NorCal by GSP and St. Francis checks in at #19.
De La Salle had no issue with San Mateo Serra last weekend and will play their second intersectional game this weekend when they host perennial Southland power Los Angeles Loyola. Serra looks to bounce back when they host Reno (Nev.) McQueen. The Padres are led by linebacker J.P. Hurrell and defensive backs Tiuke Tuipulotu and Deleon Eskridge. The latter figure to face a challenge when they matchup against elite 2009 receiver Kyle Van Noy. Sacramento Grant will travel to the Beehive State to take on Sandy (Utah) Alta in a showdown of two stellar running backs, Marsellius Grant for the Pacers and Sausan Shakerin for Alta.
Defending D-I champion Canyon visits Larabee Stadium in Ventura to face #3 St. Bonaventure in a big non-league game that features the past two CIF-Northern Division champs. The Cowboys dropped their opener 17-7 to Notre Dame, but Sean Gavin is hoping to look sharper in his second game at quarterback for the Cowboys. The Seraphs had a much easier time with Atascadero last week then they did with Santa Margarita. The nation's top running back Darrell Scott went for over 200 yards last week and he'll be the featured prospect for the Seraphs. This is the Seraphs final tuneup before their game against Oaks Christian next week.
Speed will be on display in Compton when Dominguez hosts Los Angeles Crenshaw. Aaron Hester patrols the secondary for the Dons while the Simmons brothers, Marquis and Maurice, lead the linebacking corps. Hester also plays receiver. On the other side of the field is Kemonte Bateman, who will likely match up against Hester, and the versatile Clint Floyd. Floyd plays receiver, safety and also quarterback for the Cougars and figures to be the sparkplug for Crenshaw in this rematch of a game the Dons won a year ago. The Hester-Bateman match up features the #3 CB in the West against the #3 WR in the West.
One of the better intersectional games takes place in the O.C., when La Costa Canyon, coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oceanside visits Mission Viejo. The Diablos are led by a pair of juniors, defensive back Alex Masceranas and quarterback Allan Bridgford, and two seniors, receiver Warren Reuland and Jeff Baca on the offensive line.
Another intersectional game featuring an O.C. team sees Santa Margarita visiting Los Angeles Dorsey. Dorsey is led by Rahim Moore, who also plays receiver and Johnathan Franklin, who also is the running back for the Dons. Franklin has gone for over 100 yards in both of Dorsey's first two contests and Moore has been as much a part of the offense as he has on defense. Santa Margarita bounced back from their heartbreaking loss to St. Bonaventure in the opener to pound Paloma Valley. The Eagles are paced by junior linebacker John Michael Davis, one of the top prospects in the state in 2009, and defensive lineman Logan Harrell.