1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 13-0
There was yet another state record set by the Spartans when they defeated San Leandro, 42-14, for the CIF North Coast Section Class 4A title last Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum. It was their 11th straight section title and put the Spartans ahead of Bakersfield on the all-time state list. The Drillers won 10 straight section titles from 1920 to 1929.
2. (3) Los Alamitos 12-0-1
The Griffins will go for their first CIF Southern Section Div. I championship on Saturday against Mater Dei. Last week's 31-7 win over Loyola featured two TD passes from Jeff Kline, more dominance at RB-DB from super junior Randy Estes and a solid game from the front seven, which really put the clamps on Loyola's Bo Renaud.
3. (4) Hart (Newhall) 12-0-1
There's never been a large school in the history of the Southern Section to win five straight titles and that's just one of the accomplishments the Indians will be shooting for on Saturday when they take on No. 4 Mission Viejo in the Div. II title game. In last week's 24-17 victory over San Clemente, junior QB Sean Norton completed 24 of 33 passes for 276 yards and one TD. Two of the TDs were scored by RB Eric Lafferty. Hart also will be taking a 33-0-1 unbeaten streak into the game and the winner also will probably be a top 10 team in the final Student Sports FAB 50 national rankings. Other than that, it's not that big of a game.
4. (5) Mission Viejo 13-0
A year ago, coach Bob Johnson's club was 13-0 and was playing a 13-0 opponent in Chino. This year, it's the 13-0 Diablos vs. 12-0-1 Hart, but even more is on the line this time. Mission Viejo has a 27-game winning streak vs. Hart's 33-0-1 unbeaten streak and the game will have a major impact on the state and national rankings. Since Hart's tie was against Los Alamitos, an impressive win by Mission Viejo coupled with a close win by Los Al vs. Mater Dei or even a Mater Dei win would put the Diablos in the position of being No. 2 in the final state rankings and probably among the top 10 nationally. Mission Viejo advanced last week with a 26-7 win over Claremont. The defense had three interceptions and the offense featured TD passes of 48 and 35 yards from Marty Tadman to Clark Hardman and Taylor Holiday, respectively.
5. (2) Poly (Long Beach) 11-2
Yeah, the Jackrabbits' strength of schedule -- or lack thereof -- probably contributed to their upset loss to Mater Dei. But we just can't see putting them any lower than fifth in the state rankings. It was the team's first loss to a Southern California opponent in four years and it's not as if the Monarchs thumped ‘em by three or four touchdowns.
6. (7) Taft (Woodland Hills) 13-0
The only previous CIF L.A. City Section title for the Toreadors came in 1998. We all know they almost got one last year until that last punt was blocked and rolled into the end zone where it was recovered by Dorsey for the most hard-to-believe win anyone has ever seen. This time, Taft will meet fellow San Fernando Valley school Birmingham in the final and it probably won't come down to a last-second play. Taft continued to roll last week with a 31-13 win in the semifinals over Venice. The secondary shined with five interceptions of highly-touted Venice QB Eddie Miller and Ian Bell scored three TDs in the fourth quarter to lead the offense.
7. (9) Monte Vista (Danville) 13-0
There was no repeat of the wild 46-44 win the Mustangs had a few weeks ago over city rival San Ramon Valley in last week's CIF North Coast Section Class 3A East Bay championship. This time, the Monte Vista running game, led by junior Tom Haug, was too strong for the Wolves. Haug wound up with 28 carries for 147 yards and one TD as Monte Vista knocked off San Ramon Valley, 35-14. Coach Craig Bergman's squad capped an unbeaten season and won its second straight section title. All-American Kyle Wright completed only nine passes in 17 throws, but had 179 yards and three TDs, including an 81-yarder to Sam DeSa, who sprinted for about 50 of the yards after making the catch.
8. (13) Jesuit (Carmichael) 12-0
If the Marauders win in this week's CIF Sac Joaquin Section Div. I final over Lincoln of Stockton, they'll have completed a tough playoff path that merits a jump in the final rankings. We figured why wait and jumped Jesuit now. We can always move up the other teams next week should Jesuit lose. The team's previous playoff wins over Grant of Sacramento (a top 10 team from earlier in the season) and Woodland was followed up last week with a 27-16 win over previously unbeaten Nevada Union. The Miners also were No. 8 in last week's state rankings and the two local powerhouses drew 11,451 to Hughes Stadium. It looks like that was more than watched any of the doubleheader games last week in Oakland or Anaheim. Chris Buck led Jesuit vs. NU with 161 rushing yards and three TDs. C.J. Bacher also had a solid game at QB and threw a 19-yard TD pass to Mike Frazer for one of the biggest plays in the second half.
9. (10) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 13-0
Too bad Poly lost to Mater Dei, otherwise we would have had all undefeated teams in this week's CIFSS playoffs in the top three divisions. Mira Costa upheld its part of the deal in the Div. III playoffs with a 31-12 triumph over Antelope Valley of Lancaster. The Mustangs were again led by RB Michael Okwo, who powered for 271 yards on 35 carries. QB Peter Dobush threw a pair of TD passes. Mira Costa is playing 13-0 Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in the fitle game.
10. (11) Helix (La Mesa) 11-1
The Highlanders continued their playoff scoring onslaught with a CIF San Diego Section all-time playoff record-tying 71-point outburst against last week's victim, rival Monte Vista. The 71-32 victory puts Helix back in Div. II title game for the third year in a row. Derral Hutsona led the way with 180 yards on only eight carries with touchdown runs of 18, 86 and 40 yards. Reggie Bush. who joined Hutsona on the bench for the fourth quarter, tallied 144 yards on 13 carries with three TDs himself. After scoring 133 points in the first two playoff games there is nothing left for Helix except the long awaited re-re-re-match with Oceanside for the Div. II title and the claim to San Diego Section football supremacy. Last year the score was 40-35...and both teams are better now than they were then.
11. (14) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 10-3
There were 30,321 in 1994 the last time the Monarchs met Los Al in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs at the big stadium in Anaheim. But both were unbeaten that year, so a similar crowd isn't expected this time, unless you're counting both the Div. I and Div. II final. In the two schools' last playoff meeting, the Monarchs won 33-6 on their way to the crown in 1998. With three losses, Mater Dei will need to go ahead and beat Los Al in the final in order to make an even bigger jump in next week's rankings.
12. (12) Skyline (Oakland) 11-0-1
Yonus Davis tore up the turf at the Oakland Coliseum with 271 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns as the Titans won the Oakland Section Silver Bowl trophy with a 47-0 romp past McClymonds, the team that dethroned them a year ago. For Skyline, it was the school's 10th section title. That total only includes years in which there were actual Oakland Section playoffs. Before that, the Oakland Section title was considered a league title only. Two of Davis' TDs came on runs of 63 and 68 yards.
13. (6) San Leandro 12-1
The Pirates are 36-0 over the last four seasons when they aren't playing De La Salle. It's now 0-4 vs. the Spartans over the same time span. The only good thing you can say about Saturday night's 42-14 loss was a nice-looking 19-play, 88-yard scoring drive that ate up much of the third quarter. Of course, when you're down by 35-0 that's almost a good thing for De La Salle, too. Still, in that drive anyway, the Pirates resembled one of the state's top teams.
14. (8) Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 12-1
Ouch, the Miners must still be pounding their heads into the wall for all the mistakes they made in their 27-16 loss to Jesuit in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I semifinals. Despite outgaining the Marauders by 430-310, three second-half fumbles doomed NU. One was deep in NU territory and set up a Jesuit score. Another came just as an NU player was about to cross the plane of the end zone for a touchdown.
15. (17) Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 13-0
Coach Kevin Rooney's squad was balanced offensively as usual in a 35-16 win over Palmdale in the CIFSS Div. III semifinals. Because the Golden Knights are playing 13-0 Mira Costa in this week's titanic final, we've jumped them an extra two spots in the rankings. If it wins that game, Notre Dame will no longer have a chance to be No. 1 in the state for Div. II and may not be No. 2, either, thanks to Monte Vista and Skyline, but it would be the sweetest night in school history since the 1994 Div. III title game win over Ayala. Notre Dame has not won a title since, but did make it to the finals twice and lost.
16. (16) Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 12-1
Granite Bay has had the Trojans' number in recent years with a 4-0 record in playoff games, but this time it was Oak Ridge's turn to shine. Coach Chris Smith's team recorded a 20-17 win over the Grizzlies last Saturday at Hughes Stadium in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II title game. Shane Steichen completed 11 of 20 for 154 yards and two TDs for Oak Ridge, but it was DB Kent Tuttle that sealed the win with a pick late in the fourth quarter to stop a potential game-winning drive by Granite Bay. For Oak Ridge to be much higher in the state rankings, though, the Trojans needed to have Grant of Sacramento (the team they lost to by one point) do much better than losing in the first round of the Div. I playoffs.
17. (17) Oceanside 10-2
The Pirates will get their chance against Helix in match-up number three. As it was in last year's championship game, it will be for all the marbles at Qualcomm Stadium. Last week, the Pirates outlasted a very game Castle Park squad 29-19 to earn the rematch in the Div II section final. San Diego State bound wide receiver Jose Perez, hard nosed running back Tyler Lavea and quarterback Rick Coppack were more than Castle Park could handle down the stretch as they helped Oceanside overcome 13-7 halftime and 19-14 early fourth quarter deficits.
18. (20) St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 12-1
Last week's zany 46-40 win by the Seraphs over Moorpark in the CIFSS Div. IV semis might be repeated in this week's title game against 10-2 Westlake of Westlake Village. After all, Westlake and QB Erik Vose come from the same league as Moorpark and shootouts in the Marmonte League are the norm. Whitney Lewis added to his stats with three catches for 49 yards and one TD plus 74 yards rushing and three TDs, but it was wideout Nick Pierson who really got it going. Pierson had six catches for 170 yards and two TDs. Pierson also had a key interception on defense with just 1:43 left.
19. (nr) Lincoln (Stockton) 12-1
Louis Rankin sped for five touchdowns and rushed for 166 yards as the Trojans crushed Turlock, 41-0, in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I semifinals. It also was Lincoln's 12th straight win since a 41-40 loss in its opener to Granite Bay. Lincoln will go for its second section title in three years on Friday night vs. 12-0 Jesuit of Carmichael. If you look at Jesuit's 9-0 win over St. Mary's of Stockton and compare it to Lincoln's 62-6 romp over the same team, the Trojans would be the favorite. But Jesuit's wins over Grant and Nevada Union might make the Marauders the favorite. Either way, the game will be played in Stockton at The University of the Pacific, so that's an advantage for Lincoln.
20. (nr) Centennial (Corona) 12-1*
After the first three weeks of the season, it looked like the Huskies might be a top 10 team for the entire year. Then came an upset loss to Redlands and they fell out of the spotlight. That remains their only loss (other than one by forfeit) and last week's 53-22 romp past Canyon Springs in the CIFSS Div. V semis was particularly impressive. Terrell Jackson dashed for 205 yards and scored five TDs to lead Centennial. QB Shaun Lewis added strong numbers, too. He went 13 of 17 for 221 yards and one TD and also scored twice himself on short runs. They'll play defending champ J.W. North of Riverside in this week's final. *Loss by forfeit not included.