2001 Pre-Season California Top 25 Rankings

Here are our rankings heading into Summer vacation, based on the Spring report from the 70 teams in California. Some of the rankings will be obvious. Some may surprise. Regardless, here is our take on how the teams shape up heading into 2001!


2001 JCFootball.com Pre-Season California Rankings


Ranking Team Logo 2000 Record


City College of
San Francisco


The Rams haven't lost a regular season game since 1996, and 2001 should be no different.  The Rams return a number of starters from the 2000 National Championship and will be the team to beat this season.  Expect big things from their receiving corps, who return four starters from a year ago.

2 Palomar 7-4

The Comets return the majority of their starters from a strong 2000 team and add a group of newcomers that will only make the team better.  Watch for the Comets' potent passing attack to put up some impressive numbers with the return of Mission Conference Central Division offensive Co-MVP Andy Goodenough at quarterback.  




The Renegades welcome back many of their starters from the 2000 Southern California championship team, including three stellar DBs.  BC will also shift their offensive philosophy with the retirement of long time O-Coordinator Duane Damron.  Expect the Gades to open things up a little bit behind Canadian slinger John Hooten at quarterback.


Fresno City


With 11 returning starters from the 2000 team that ended their regular season with a 10-0 mark and a recruiting class that could be among the best in the state, watch for the Rams to have a great 2001 season.  The squad is led by a great balance experience and youth, primarily from the Fresno area.  Watch for the Rams to air it out behind the arm of a big local freshman quarterback.  




They say the game is won in the trenches.  If this is true, Cerritos should be a power in 2001.  The Falcons have loads of talent, size, and depth on the O-line.  Watch for this group to protect big transfer QB Mike Harrison.  Defense returns a ton of starters as well, including a talented group of linebackers.


El Camino


Although the Warriors graduated a number of starters from the 2000 squad, Coach John Featherstone has the cupboard filled again for 2001.  The Warrior's flex defense features great team speed and talent.  A new QB will have to fill some big shoes following Robert Hodge.




The Panthers have established themselves as one of the top programs in Southern California over the past several seasons.  The Panthers have the talent to be the top team in the Foothill Conference.  Speed and size on both sides of the ball will help the Panthers to remain among SoCal's top teams.


Allan Hancock


After winning games with defense in 2000, the 2001 season could belong to the Bulldogs' offense, which returns seven starters from a year ago, including a strong corps of receivers..  Not to be outdone, the Bulldogs' "bear" defense will be strong again with six starters who saw a lot of playing time in 2000.  




Although the Roadrunners graduated most of their starters from 2000, Coach Craig Rigsbee is well on his way to putting together another strong squad in 2001.  Expect the Roadrunners to have a good blend of experience and youth on the field, starting a number of newcomers.




Like many of their fellow Mission-North teams, the Mounties graduated a number of players from their 2000 team.  However, a number of transfer students in addition to some strong returning players will have the Mounties ready to play in 2001.  Watch for Mt. SAC's receiving corps, who boasts a number of Division I prospects. 


Sacramento City


The Panthers have a load of talent returning from the 2000 team, including a number of starters on defense.  Watch for a strong defensive line and linebackers, with some young DBs stepping up.  Who will be the heir apparent to Seneca Wallace at quarterback?  This could determine the Panthers' offensive success in 2001.




In just their fourth season since reinstating football at COC, the Cougars have established themselves among Southern California's elite.  A strong group of returners on offense and defense should keep the Cougars going strong in 2001.  Whoever starts at quarterback will inherit a strong group of receivers and a great tailback in Major Caldwell.  The D-Line will be solid with three returners who played a lot in 2000.




Although the Jaguars graduated a number of starters from 2000, they appear ready to keep pace with SoCal's top teams in 2001.  All-state linebacker Fai Leomiti returns to lead a strong defense, which helped lead SWC in 2000.  The offense, too, will be strong with an athletic O-Line and some great speed at the skill positions.  


L.A. Valley


The word on the street is that L.A. Valley is loaded with talent heading into 2001.  However, this was the case a year ago, and the Monarchs struggled through a 2-8 season.  Why should 2001 be any different?  One word:  Continuity.  After changing coaches mid-season in 2000, this is now coach Ron Ponciano's show, and he knows how to win.  Watch for the Monarchs to be loaded on both sides of the ball with a good group of returners and a number of transfers, including most of L.A. Pierce's sophomores.


Orange Coast


The Pirates pulled themselves out of the Mission Conference cellar in 2000 on their way to a 7-3 regular season, including a win over Mission power Mt. SAC and a bowl bid following the season.  From the sounds of it, OCC will be able to continue their new found success into 2001.  Quarterback Nick Higgs returns to lead a talented offense that returns some key players and welcomes some talented newcomers.  It will be tough for the Pirates to replace their corp of linebackers.  However, they have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball as well.  




The Owls have remained among Northern California's top teams from a number of years, and based on their returning talent, 2001 should be no different.  All-state linebacker Joey Barnes returns to spearhead the Owls' defense.  The late departure of quarterback Ryan Soarahan for Arkansas leaves a void for the Owls to fill, but they have some great skill players on offense to support whoever inherits Sorahan's position.




Tailback Marcus Guzman ran wild on the Mission Conference in 2000 as a freshman.  Now, with a year under his belt, expect Guzman to lead a strong Tiger offense from game 1.  The defense will also be strong for the Tigers with the return of a number of starters from 2000.  Can the Tigers fight for the top spot in arguably junior college's toughest conference, the Mission-North?  Time will tell.


Santa Rosa


Like Cerritos in the South, Santa Rosa is a team who can be among Northern California's elite based on their talent in the trenches.  The Bear Cubs welcome the return of an o-line and d-line who are not only huge, but also athletic and strong.  The line should set the stage for a number of new skill players on the offensive side of the ball.  


Santa Ana


After struggling through 2000 with a freshman dominated team, the Dons should be considerably improved in 2001 as they return most of their starters from last season.  The Dons' defense will be loaded with talent in every area, including big D-tackle Ronald Tauala, linebacker Chad Kalikimoku, and safety Peter Sekona.  The Dons will have to find a new quarterback to work with some great skill players including one of the best receivers in the conference in 5-foot-6 speedster Blake Harrano.




The Tartars seem to have more players transfer to their program between their freshman and sophomore seasons that anyone else in California.  Their good fortune will have the Tartars even more competitive in 2001 after sending a number of sophomores on to universities in 2000.  Expect the Tarters to be big up front and fast at the skill positions, especially at tailback with L.A. Harbor transfer Courtland Florence carrying the load.  The defense will be solid as well.  The Tartars could climb the Rankings very quickly. 




The Corsairs were a great success story in 2001, turning around their 1-9 record of 1999 and going 9-1 before losing to Sacramento City in their bowl game.  The Corsairs showed off a good group of talented athletes at the NorCal combine and appear ready to continue their recent success.  Watch for a strong interior d-line with the return of David King and Ryan Atoe.  COR returns a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and will be strong in 2001.




Although the Griffins graduated a majority of their starters from the 2000 SoCal runner-up team, the Griffins have a good returning nucleus of starters and players that played some in 2000 that will start this season.  In addition, a good recruiting class is likely from a talent-rich San Diego area.


San Mateo


The Bulldogs make the move from the Golden Gate Conference to the Coast Conference in 2001, and what a year to make the move.  Many believe that even if the Bulldogs had remained in the Golden Gate, they would have been very competitive.  Quarterback Jason Douglas and defensive lineman Ryan Boschetti will be two of the top offensive and defensive players in the conference.  




The Knights have established themselves as a very competitive program in Northern California.  With a strong group of returners and a good recruiting class made up of top local players and some players from out of the area, coach Craig Thompson's Knights should remain among the NorCal Conference's top teams.  




In their first year under head coach Jeff Tisdel, a young Wolverine team was able to put together a 5-5 record in 2000, their best record in years.  With the majority of the team returning in 2001, the Wolverines should rise to the top of their conference.  Watch for a great defense and an outstanding running game behind Malfred Shaw and Troy Marks.

On the Bubble

Pasadena Great talent, but have had trouble getting over the hump in the Mission-North.
West Hills The Falcons went 4-5 in 2000 with a freshman dominated team.  With a lot of experience, 2001 may see the Falcons rise in the Valley Conf.
San Bernardino The team is loaded with talent, but has struggles in recent years.  Maybe 2001 will see the team get back on track.
Santa Monica The Corsairs should continue to be very competitive.  Tackle Brandon Lockheart is among the state's best.
Hartnell The Panthers were sharp in 2000.  Expect them to continue their upward movement in 2001.
Moorpark The Raiders will be solid in 2001 with a good group of returners and a strong local recruiting class.
Reedley The Tigers will continue to be strong but must replace a number of strong starters from 2000.
Chabot The team was down in 2000, but expect Steve DaPrato to get the team back on track in 2001.



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