Scott Kennedy: Top 20 teams in CIF-SS, Week 6
OCT 07, 2013 8:44a ET
No. 2 Mater Dei's non-league schedule wasn't as tough as it first appeared with Upland being in transition mode and Edison taking a step back from last season, but that doesn't take away from what the Monarchs have accomplished to this point. Mater Dei has been dominating those teams. The Monarchs haven't given up a point on defense since a garbage-time touchdown in a 56-7 win over St. Paul in the season's second week. Mater Dei will get its toughest test of the season in Servite on Friday.
No. 3 Serra will say all the right things about not looking past Harvard-Westlake on Friday. There will be some merit to their words considering Harvard-Westlake's 4-1 record, but in reality, we're all looking past this week to next week's showdown with Chaminade. Serra and Chaminade played two classic games last year, and this will be the first of two games again this season. Serra went to overtime with Notre Dame, and Chaminade was a missed field goal away from needing overtime to beat Notre Dame. Serra started the season a bit slowly, but they survived some tough early tests took last week off to get ready for its league opener this week.
No. 4 Mission Viejo is one of the most complete teams in the Southern Section. The Diablos play a swarming style of defense that disrupts their opponents. They have a terrific passing game led by quarterback Ian Fieber. They have two Division I running backs in speedy Alex Suchesk and powerful Daniel Marx, and last week special teams got into the act with a punt return for a touchdown by receiver Sean Modster. Unfortunately for us, the South Coast league is down to the point that it's hard to picture anyone staying within 21 points of Mission Viejo during league play, let alone beating them. Mission Viejo will get a lot more interesting come Pac-5 playoff time.
No. 5 Servite loses a game and moves up a spot? Well, yes. There's no shame in getting beat handily by De La Salle, the nation's No. 6 team and the No. 1 squad in California, and perennial Southern Section bully. Servite doesn't just have the toughest schedule in the Southern Section, the Friars have the toughest slate in the nation. It doesn't get any easier against Mater Dei this week. Servite holds onto this spot by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Long Beach Poly just three weeks ago, but Servite's season is in the balance. A loss to Mater Dei isn't crushing, but if the Friars are to stay in the Top 10, they'll need to take care of business against Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran and JSerra in consecutive weeks before meeting St. John Bosco to close out the regular season.
No. 6 Long Beach Poly had its offensive challenges two weeks ago against Cabrillo in a 13-0 win. The Jackrabbits had no such difficulties last week against Compton piling up a whopping 47-0 halftime score before easing off the throttle and coasting to an easy 54-0 win. Long Beach Poly is in the same boat as Mission Viejo in that it won't be challenged during league play, and the Jackrabbits put the extra practice time to good use last year working out all of their early season kinks before running roughshod over the rest of the Pac-5 en route to a CIF Championship. While Poly may not win it this year, no one is going to dismiss the Jackrabbits as anything but one of the favorites once the playoffs start.
No. 7 Hart moves up a spot after a less than stellar 26-14 win against Santa Monica, but if Servite is going to stay ahead of Long Beach Poly by virtue of its head-to-head win, then Hart is going to stay ahead of Chaminade for the same reason while it remains undefeated. Expect Hart to get back on track offensively this week and put up a big number against an overmatched West Ranch team on Friday.
No. 8 Chaminade has been a regular on FOX this year playing two of the most compelling games of the year. The first was an overtime loss to Hart in the season's second week, and last week the back and forth action in a win against Notre Dame was an instant classic. Chaminade had trouble stopping the wildcat option quarterback play against Notre Dame, but quarterback Brad Kaaya and running back Donovan Lee have grabbed hold of their leadership roles as seniors and carried the team to a big win over the Knights. Like Serra, Chaminade will have a tough time not looking past this week's opponent to next week's showdown, but Cathedral brings a sparkling 5-0 record into this week's game with Chaminade.
No. 9 Notre Dame and Servite both lose games and move up in the Top 10? One team has never done that in the three years I've been doing these rankings, let alone two teams in one week, but it's been that kind of year. Notre Dame is two plays away from being undefeated, but instead, it has two losses to No. 3 Serra and No. 7 Hart. Notre Dame's best win was against a good Canyon team, and the Knights will have ample opportunity to prove they belong in the Top 10 with league play games coming up against Bishop Amat and Alemany in the next two weeks.
No. 10 Rancho Cucamonga's two best wins over Bishop Amat and at Norco are starting to look even better as Norco knocked off No. 5 Alemany last week and Bishop Amat has remained unbeaten since the loss to the Cougars. The Baseline League schedule should be interesting with Upland and Los Osos coming up, but in reality, Rancho Cucamonga has already beaten the best two teams on their schedule and should finish the season 10-0 if it stays on track.
CIF-SS Top 20, Week 6
1. (1) St. John Bosco (5-0)
2. (2) Mater Dei (5-0)
3. (3) Serra (5-0)
4. (4) Mission Viejo (6-0)
5. (6) Servite (3-2)
6. (7) Long Beach Poly (5-1)
7. (8) Hart (5-0)
8. (9) Chaminade (4-1)
9. (10) Notre Dame (4-2)
10. (14) Rancho Cucamonga (5-0)
11. (5) Alemany (5-1)
12. (11) Vista Murrieta (4-1)
13. (12) Oaks Christian (5-1)
14. (13) Corona Centennial (3-2)
15. (16) Bishop Amat (5-1)
16. (17) JSerra (5-0)
17. (18) Orange Lutheran (5-0)
18. (19) Chino Hills (4-1)
19. (20) Santa Margarita (3-2)
20. (NR) Murrieta Valley (4-1)