Scott Kennedy: Top 20 teams in CIF-SS, Week 12

The Top 10 remains unchanged as the top teams typically played low seeds in the opening round. With better teams in the second round and the CIF-SS’s insistence on the best teams hitting the road in the second round, we should see much more movement after this week.

Here’s what we can expect from the Top 10:

No. 1 St. John Bosco earned the right to play arguably the worst team in the Pac-5 in Moore League qualifier Agoura. The Braves wasted little time, dispatching Agoura in a 69-24 victory. Because the CIF-SS doesn’t seed teams past four in the 16-team bracket, Bosco was always going to get the winner of two other bottom quarter teams in the Tesoro/Cabrillo matchup. Tesoro came out on top and should be a tougher opponent than Agoura, but the score might be awfully similar. Bosco won’t be tested until the quarterfinals against the Servite/Alemany winner.

No. 2 Serra isn’t going to get a lot of drama until the Western Division Finals, likely against the Chaminade/Lompoc winner. Serra took it relatively easy on Pacifica in a 48-16 win, and the Cavaliers play another team in Buena that they can name their score against.

No. 3 Mission Viejo played spoiler to Crespi’s Cinderella dream. The Diablos treated the Celts like they do most 4-6 teams, with disdain. Mission Viejo led 35-0 at halftime and eased up considerably in the second half before cruising to a 45-0 win. JSerra likely wouldn’t have beaten Mission Viejo, but it would have been a more interesting game. It definitely gets more interesting for Mission Viejo this week as they get Mater Dei in a battle of two of the Southern Section’s best defenses.

No. 4 Long Beach Poly got the short end of the Pac-5 scheduling quirks by getting Orange Lutheran in the first round. By these rankings, that was a No. 3 and a No. 6 facing off in the first round while we were treated to Tesoro/Cabrillo in the first round as well, but I digress. The Jackrabbits knew they were going to be in a fight with the Lancers, and Orange Lutheran had Poly in a heap of trouble before a botched punt gave the Jackrabbits new life. Poly gets a rejuvenated St. Bonaventure squad, who knocked off Notre Dame last week, and of course, the Moore League Champ, and defending Pac-5 Champion must go on the road to take on 8-3 St. Bonaventure.

No. 5 Vista Murrieta opened with a dangerous Los Osos team in round one. The Grizzlies were 5-5 but had beaten Norco and played Rancho Cucamonga within four. Vista Murrieta made sure Los Osos never thought they were in the game as the Broncos won in a 57-14 blowout. Early in the season, Vista Murrieta looked vulnerable — not so much now. Next up is Sierra League Champion Charter Oak who has some confidence of its own with seven straight wins after an 0-4 start.

No. 6 Corona Centennial had some early struggles in losses to Long Beach Poly and Alemany on consecutive weeks, but its fixed whatever was troubling them. The Huskies hammered Etiwanda 56-23 and this week, Centennial gets Chaparral, which won a terrific game against Chino Hills 31-28. But the Pumas took on one of the Inland’s heavyweights two weeks ago and failed the test to Vista Murrieta to the tune of 41-5. They might not fare much better against the Huskies.

No. 7 Mater Dei found their running game against Oaks Christian, and the defense has been spectacular all year. The Monarchs sent Oaks Christian packing in the first round and now face an even tougher foe in Mission Viejo. The Diablos are better in all phases of the game than Oaks Christian, so Mater Dei will have to step it up a notch. The Monarchs had success running the ball against Oaks, and will need to duplicate the feat to knock off Mission Viejo.

No. 8 Alemany looked like a Top 5 contender for much of the year. The Warriors were upset on consecutive weeks by Loyola and Norco. Good Alemany is capable of beating anyone in the Pac-5. Bad Alemany will get beat by Servite this week. Alemany struggled against power running teams, but Servite uses more of a spread option attack. The Warriors at their best are better than Servite at their best, but which teams show up?

No. 9 Rancho Cucamonga was thoroughly outplayed by Upland two weeks ago, so how would the Cougars respond in the playoffs? Convincingly. Rancho Cucamonga blew out Redlands East Valley 48-7 to earn a date in the second round with a surging Norco squad. Rancho beat Norco early in the season 24-7, but Norco has won eight of the next nine games including Alemany.

No. 10 Chaminade is going to have a similar problem as Serra in that they might lose focus against early round fodder in the Western Division. It didn’t seem to bother Chaminade last week though as the Eagles made mincemeat out of Morningside in a 71-8 game that wasn’t that close. Chaminade will make easy work of Ventura this week setting up a semifinal game with Lompoc who had to have gotten the Eagles’ attention with their 38-7 dismantling of Cathedral.

TOP 20 IN CIF-SS, WEEK 12
1. (1) St. John Bosco (11-0)
2. (2) Serra (11-0)
3. (3) Mission Viejo (11-0)
4. (4) Long Beach Poly (10-1)
5. (5) Vista Murrieta (10-1)
6. (6) Corona Centennial (9-2)
7. (7) Mater Dei (9-2)
8. (8) Alemany (9-2)
9. (9) Rancho Cucamonga (10-1)
10. (10) Chaminade (9-2)
11. (11) Orange Lutheran (7-4)
12. (14) La Habra (10-1)
13. (16) Valencia (9-2)
14. (17) Palos Verdes (9-2)
15. (NR) Servite (6-5)
16. (19) Upland (8-3)
17. (12) Westlake (8-3)
18. (NR) St. Bonaventure (8-3)
19. (20) Hart (9-2)
20 (NR) Lompoc (10-1)
IN: Servite, Lompoc, St. Bonaventure
OUT: JSerra, Notre Dame, Oaks Christian