The Race For #1

Kaiser, Carpinteria are one win away from taking it all in Div. III and Div. IV state football rankings. De La Salle, Monte Vista of Danville and Central Catholic of Modesto take care of business for Div. I, Div. II and Div. V.

There are no state championships in California, so perhaps the closest thing to it are the five divisional rankings champs as determined by Cal-Hi Sports.

We could use some computer system to come up with our order, but we've never seen one for high school football that makes sense. The teams just don't play enough games against enough common opponents for any program to work very well. Our own system involves league strength, strengh of schedule, common opponents, tradition of program, talent of personnel on the roster, local consensus and other factors.

This year's state rankings races have entered the final week not settled in only two of the five divisions. There are no No. 1 rankings on the line in any of the three San Diego Section finals or in any of the finals in the L.A. City and Sac-Joaquin sections. The Southern Section has two No. 1 teams playing their final games, although none of them will be at Edison International Field.

In Division I, or the highest division, De La Salle of Concord will be No. 1 for the ninth straight season. Since the team's current 138-game win streak began in 1992, the only season the Spartans were not No. 1 was in 1993 when Eisenhower of Rialto went 14-0.

In Division II, another North Coast Section team, Monte Vista of Danville, completed a 13-0 season last week with an impressive 35-14 win over San Ramon Valley in its title game. But the Mustangs, in part, can thank Vista High of the San Diego Section for the No. 1 ranking in this division. If the Panthers had not upended Helix of La Mesa, 26-14, back on Sept. 20 it would still be Helix in the No. 1 position and not Monte Vista.

In Division III, Kaiser of Fontana edged one step closer to a final No. 1 ranking with a 21-7 victory over Victor Valley of Victorville in the CIFSS Div. XIII semifinals. The Cats, who were led by Allen Wade's 24 carries for 189 yds and two TDs, will meet 12-0 Serrano of Phelan in this week's title game. If Kaiser were to lose, the No. 1 ranking would then go to either Garces of Bakersfield, Marian Catholic of San Diego (which still has a game to play) or Lassen of Susanville.

In Division IV, Escalon coach Mark Louriero said on Tuesday he was probably going to drive down to Southern California on Saturday for the CIFSS Div. XI final between Carpinteria and Valley Christian of Cerritos. Louriero's team capped a 12-0-1 season last Saturday with a 33-0 win over Calaveras of San Andreas in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV final. We're not sure what Loureiro should be rooting for. A big win by No. 3 Valley Christian over No. 1 Carp might actually jump the Crusaders over No. 2 Escalon into the top ranking. A Carp win, no matter how close, would give it the crown. Perhaps the best thing for Loureiro to hope for is some kind of fluke win by Valley Christian. Carpinteria won last week 41-17 over Paraclete of Lancaster and ended Paraclete's 22-game playoff win streak. Quarterback Aaron Gonzales led the Warriors with 200 yds rushing on 17 carries and scored three times. The standout option operator, though, suffered a knee injury in that game and was listed as questionable for this week's game.

In Division V, just about the entire town of Gustine turned out to watch Gustine High's team battle it out with heavily favored Central Catholic of Modesto in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. V final. The force was not with the Redskins. Central Catholic had too much polish and polished off Gustine, 49-21, and will be the No. 1 team in this division. Justin Moye did it all for Central Catholic with 10 carries for 138 yards and three TDs as well as 150 yards passing and one more score. Gustine stayed close early on a 38-yard scoring pass from Brian Fabela to Sean Carr. The team was only 3-7 a year ago, so it was still a terrific turnaround job by Gustine coach Jeremy Plaa.

Golden State Preps Top Stories