By Mark Tennis with contributions by Harold Abend, Ronnie Flores, Paul Muyskens. Check here for writeups and in-depth analysis of the first 12 teams in the CalHiSportsFootball Top 25. Narbonne is jumped up to the No. 5 position while St. Bonaventure is now up to No. 9. This week’s new CIF State Bowl Game Rankings will be posted on Tuesday.
1. (1) DE LA SALLE (CONCORD) 3-0
Why This Ranking: If this were a ranking system involving writers or coaches turning in a ballot, the Spartans might be dropping out of the No. 1 position. It’s not so they stay where they are. One sub-par outing is not enough, especially for a team that has won three straight CIF Open Division bowl titles.
Weekend Result: With two lost fumbles and one interception, the offense sputtered for most of the game but the Spartans hung on to beat St. Mary’s of Stockton 21-13. Making the performance more questionable is that St. Mary’s was coming off a 28-21 loss to Central Catholic of Modesto. Running back Tiapepe Vitale continued his strong start to the season with 27 carries for 175 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Chris Williams also scored on runs of 2 and 23 yards.
Up Next: De La Salle opens its streak of seven games against East Bay Athletic League opponents with a Friday road trip to play Granada of Livermore. The game will be officially counted as non-league in an agreement announced before the season. De La Salle already has been granted a berth in the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs. The bigger question for this season’s team is whether key defensive standouts Austin Hooper (had to leave St. Mary’s game with knee injury) and Victor Egu (didn’t play at all vs. St. Mary’s for what Contra Costa Times reported as unspecified reasons) will be available.
2. (2) SANTA MARGARITA (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA) 4-0
Why This Ranking: As we all know, the Eagles are higher than De La Salle in national rankings, which don’t mean anything to us because they are based on different criteria. Still, their recent wins, wins by teams in their league and De La Salle’s struggle with St. Mary’s does give more credence to the argument that they should be higher. If it was a situation between a No. 3 and No. 2, a switch also tends to be easier to make. But for a No. 1 team like De La Salle, switching in our rankings system always takes more than just one bad outing.
Weekend result: The explosive Eagles continue to pile up the offense, and it seems school records are falling each week. This past Friday night two new ones were set in a 72-0 pasting of Carson, and quarterback Johnny Stanton upped his career total offense school record as well, something he’ll do every week. Running back Ryan Wolpin set a record with six rushing touchdowns (five in a 65-0 first half), and finished with 173 yards rushing. Stanton was 17 of 21 for 325 yards and three TDs and also rushed for 89 yards and two more scores.
Up Next: After outscoring their last two opponents 127-0 and riding a 141-0 unanswered run over the last 10 quarters, it would seem things might change a bit when No. 9 St. Bonaventure comes to town this Friday night. This should be an Eagles’ victory but the Seraphs have upset top teams before.
3. (3) VISTA MURRIETA (MURRIETA) 3-0
Why This Ranking: The top four teams in the state held serve over the weekend. Vista Murrieta’s impressive outing against Redlands East Valley, however, does add some shine to the team’s high ranking.
Weekend Result: Finally facing a team from California, the Broncos once again scored more points than the week before as they dominated their way to a 59-14 win over Redlands East Valley of Redlands. With the defense only giving up two first downs, Vista Murrieta led 38-0 at halftime. The lead also was 21-0 after one quarter of play. Senior quarterback Nick Stevens passed for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. The defense also scored for the Broncos on three fumble returns.
Up Next: Coach Coley Candaele’s squad will play host to Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. The Dons are coming off a 16-9 win over Helix of La Mesa, which was No. 1 in the CIF San Diego Section and was No. 11 in the state.
4. (4) OAKS CHRISTIAN (WESTLAKE VILLAGE) 4-0
Why This Ranking: With the top three all winning, there was no wiggle room for the Lions to move up this week. They’re now probably more in danger of slipping down, especially if rapidly rising Narbonne does well in showdown games in the next two weeks.
Weekend Result: Coach Jeff Woodruff’s squad opened up a 36-15 lead in the first half of last Friday’s matchup with previously unbeaten Chaminade, then ended up with a 44-30 triumph. Junior quarterback Brandon Dawkins connected on 20 of 36 passes for 259 yards and three scores but also threw three interceptions. Junior running back Chris Davis had nine catches for 115 yards and one score and also scored on a 10-yard run.
Up Next: A game of big plays will likely be on the docket again on Friday when Crenshaw of Los Angeles (3-1) comes to Westlake Village. The Cougars lost a 44-41 game two weeks ago to Westlake.
5. (9) NARBONNE (HARBOR CITY) 3-0
Why This Ranking: The Gauchos move up four spots for the second consecutive week after routing Lakewood 61-6 in a laugher that was actually shown on national television. After evaluating Bakersfield in person and talking to media scribes that have seen both teams, the consensus was just that Narbonne is more explosive on both sides of the ball.
Weekend Result: Cal-bound A.J. Richardson scored four times, including a pair of punt returns of 50 and 85 yards, against Lakewood. So far, Narbonne has outscored its opponents 158-6 with the only score coming on an interception return for a touchdown by Lakewood’s Eddie Favors.
Up Next: Coach Manuel Douglas’ team takes on 4-0 and No. 10 Serra this week in a game we expect to be a bit closer than Narbonne’s first three contests. It’s one of the biggest games involving two South Bay teams we can recall in many years.
6. (6) BAKERSFIELD 4-0
Why This Ranking: Although the Drillers took care of business and showed outstanding big-play capability in their win against Long Beach Poly, comparing the score with what Narbonne did to the same team does give the edge – for now – to the Gauchos. As noted in the Week 3 CIF State Bowl Game Rankings, Bakersfield needs to simply keep winning and a bowl bid – probably for D1 South but possibly for South Open — will almost surely be headed its way.
Weekend Result: A 77-yard run by Derrick Vickers on the first play from scrimmage, then a 73-yard touchdown by Jeremiah Reddick in the third quarter helped Bakersfield drop Long Beach Poly 29-6 in a road contest between the two winningest programs in state history. Junior quarterback Asuani Rufus added a touchdown pass and ran for 86 yards on 21 carries. Rufus and 6-foot-5, 220-pound defensive end Javon Ruffus are cousins and yes they do spell their last names differently.
Up Next: Bakersfield travels to play 2-1 Buchanan of Clovis on Friday in the team’s final outing before competition begins in the Southwest Yosemite League.
7. (7) TESORO (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA) 4-0
Why This Ranking: As expected, the Titans cruised to a lopsided win over Colony of Ontario to improve to 4-0 this season. With previous No. 5 Alemany losing, there was room for Tesoro to move up one spot, but we decided to move Narbonne ahead of them and others.
Weekend Result: Nate Tago continued to run for big gains as he rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of the team’s 56-7 romp past Colony. Matt Adam also passed for 104 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 47 yards and a score.
Up Next: In their final game before South Coast League play gets underway, the Titans will host undefeated and state-ranked (No. 19) Chaparral of Temecula on Friday night. Chaparral posted a 40-30 win in its previous outing two weeks ago over an Oceanside team that was ranked No. 12 in the state at the time.
8. (8) MISSION VIEJO 4-0
Why This Ranking: With Alemany losing and Narbonne moving up and jumping higher, the Diablos hold tight in the No. 8 position after a successful 240-mile round trip out to the Palm Springs area that saw Coach Bob Johnson’s charges put a 63-14 shellacking on host La Quinta.
Weekend Result: It was pretty much over from the start as the Diablos scored on all seven first-half possessions. Quarterback Ian Fieber only completed seven passes, but three of them went for touchdowns, plus he still had 206 yards passing for a nearly 30-yards per catch average. Marcus Collins rushed for 115 yards and two TDs and Alex Suchesk also ran for two scores and 85 yards.
Up Next: Johnson’s boys could possibly get a good game from visiting and neighboring Aliso Niguel, but the Wolverines’ 4-0 record is against a weak schedule.
9. (14) ST BONAVENTURE (VENTURA) 4-0
Why This Ranking: That 40-35 win by the Seraphs earlier in the season over Corona Centennial became a lot more important due to Centennial winning last weekend over previous No. 5 Alemany of Mission Hills. The Seraphs also have the opportunity to really screw things up this week with their game against No. 2 Santa Margarita.
Weekend Result: The 56-22 final margin of victory on the road in Atascadero is actually not as close as the game actually was since two of the hosts’ three touchdowns were on kickoff returns and the final score came late in the fourth quarter. Senior running back Zachary Green had two rushing TDs and one receiving. Senior wide receiver Montre Lee scored on an electric punt return and a 24-yard pass reception.
Up Next: Being on the road hasn’t bothered the Seraphs so far this season, but they haven’t played a team from Orange County since the 2008 season when they beat Santa Margarita 35-14 at home. That Santa Margarita team went 3-7 and Harry Welch wasn’t the coach.
10. (10) SERRA (GARDENA) 4-0
Why This Ranking: The Cavs stay put after beating another team they were highly favored to defeat — in this case Banning of Wilmington. This week will offer a step up in competition — and an opportunity to move up in the rankings — against No. 5 Narbonne.
Weekend Result: Banning — once one of the state’s most feared programs — didn’t offer much competition for the Cavs in a 43-0 matchup, as the Pilots were not able to penetrate inside Serra’s 30-yard line until the final drive of the game. Serra’s defense scored twice in the first quarter and its second string was in a majority of the second half.
Up Next: Serra will have the home field advantage against No. 5 Narbonne, but will have to cut down on the penalties and show it can slow down one of the state’s most explosive offenses.
11. (11) ELK GROVE 4-0
Why This Ranking: A loss by previous No. 11 Helix of La Mesa allowed the Thundering Herd to move up a spot after their fourth road win to start the season. Elk Grove also continues to be the No. 1 ranked team by the Sacramento Bee.
Weekend Result: Robert Frazier ran for 87 yards and two scores while also returning an interception for six points as Elk Grove picked up its fourth road win of the season, this one 54-6 over Sheldon of Sacramento. Also starring on both sides of the ball, Wadus Parker ran for two scores while Nate Rondez also found the end zone twice on running plays.
Up Next: Elk Grove plays its first home game of the season and it should be a good one against Nevada Union of Grass Valley. The 3-1 Miners’ only blemish this season was a one-point loss to Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove.
12. (16) CENTENNIAL (CORONA) 2-1
Why This Ranking: Not only did the Huskies knock off previous No. 5 Alemany of Mission Hills 36-32 in last week’s game, but their lone loss of the season was by just five points to St. Bonaventure of Ventura, which is currently in the No. 9 spot.
Weekend Result: Trailing 32-22, the Huskies scored the game’s final two touchdowns for the win as Tre Watson scored the game winning points on a four-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Austin Renken rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns while Watson finished with 111 yards and three touchdowns.
Up Next: Centennial will go on the road to take on a Carson squad that has yet to win a game this season and just lost 72-0 to Santa Margarita.
Note: See Part 2 of post for similar writeups on teams No. 13 to No. 25 plus list of teams on the bubble.
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