Scott Kennedy: Top 20 teams in CIF-SS, Week 7
OCT 14, 2013 8:41a ET
That seems to be the case more than ever this season in the CIF Southern Section.
Head-to-head records and common opponents can be incredibly misleading as young teams improve throughout the season. We've seen a couple of those young teams yo-yo up and down the rankings as they beat squads that maybe they shouldn't have, only to get upset later.
Here is a look at the top teams in the CIF Southern Section as we enter the second week of league play across much of the Southland:
No. 1 St. John Bosco has had the pole position from the onset this season despite some key injuries and some lackluster play at times early in the schedule. But one couldn't help but wonder what this Braves team would look like if they finally began to click on all cylinders with the vast array of talent they have at virtually every position. Unfortunately for Santa Margarita, the Eagles found out just how good Bosco can be. The Braves dominated every phase of the game in an impressive 56-12 win over No. 19 Santa Margarita in a game that wasn't even that close. One of the only questions Bosco had coming into the season was at running back, and even that question was answered emphatically by sophomore Sean McGrew who ran over, around, and by the Eagles most of the night. Bosco gets undefeated Orange Lutheran on Friday on Prep Zone in what should be a good game as the Lancers triple option has been giving teams fits all season.
No. 2 Mater Dei jumped on a weary Servite team early and often, building up a 21-0 lead before winning 28-21. Servite came off a loss to the state's No. 1 team De La Salle before having a short turnaround to get ready for rival Mater Dei. The Monarchs' senior quarterback Chase Forrest hooked up receiver Jonathan Lockett for a pair of touchdowns, and Mater Dei's defense did the rest. The Monarchs travel to JSerra on Friday to take on a previously undefeated Lions squad that was humbled by Orange Lutheran on Friday.
No. 3 Serra followed a similar path that Bosco had to this point, only the Cavaliers walked an even finer line nearly getting beat in all three of its first games. Serra put it all together on Friday though, just like Bosco, as the Cavaliers blew out Harvard-Westlake 63-7. Serra was up by a whopping 56-0 at halftime before calling off the dogs. It was a good tune up for this week's big match up with Chaminade on Prime Ticket in what will likely be the first of two meetings between the Cavaliers and the Eagles. Of course, each team wants to win, but in the big picture, Chaminade was rewarded for its win over Serra and subsequent Mission League Championship by having to travel to Serra for the Western Division Championship. Something really needs to be done about punishing No. 1 seeds in the playoffs.
No. 4 Mission Viejo was idle last week in preparation for league play, but the Diablos can start looking ahead to the Pac-5 playoffs, because no one in the South Coast League is going to challenge them. I'll be mildly surprised if anyone plays the Diablos within 21 points the rest of the way. The Diablos have a balance on offense and defense that they've lacked the last several years, and they're going to be an awfully tough out this year after getting bounced in the second round last year.
No. 5 Servite holds onto this spot for one more week despite dropping two games in a row. It's got to be unheard of for a team to not drop after consecutive losses, but the Friars' losses have been competitive defeats to two of the nation's Top 50 teams, No. 6 De La Salle, and No. 21 Mater Dei. Servite's win over Long Beach Poly on Sept. 6 is still the difference between holding steady and dropping. Servite plays the hardest schedule in the country, and it should tell us something about how tough it's been when this week's game against Santa Margarita is considered a breather. Servite needs to win this week to hold on to the No. 5 position or that victory over Poly isn't going to save them from dropping again.
No. 6 Long Beach Poly is well into the part of the season where it is prepping for the playoffs. The Jackrabbits have pitched three consecutive shutouts and have reeled off five straight wins after their loss to Servite. This time last year Poly was still trying to establish an identity after three non-league losses, and the Jackrabbits came through in a big way, turning their season around and knocking off heavyweights Mission Viejo, St. John Bosco, and Mater Dei en route to a Pac-5 Championship. Complacency might be a bigger enemy this year as Poly won't be challenged until the playoffs.
No. 7 Hart got off to a relatively slow start against West Ranch before getting it in gear in the second half and beating the Wildcats 38-24. Hart holds on to this spot by virtue of a head to head overtime win over Chaminade early in the season, but this is one of those cases where head to head may not tell the whole story. Chaminade is improving as the season has progressed, but Hart has looked uninspired in its last two wins over Santa Monica and West Ranch.
No. 8 Chaminade is a team holding steady at No. 8, but it definitely feels like a team on the rise. It will be considered a major upset nationally if the Eagles knock off Serra this week, but anyone who knows anything about the Southern Section and this series knows this game should come down to the wire. Brad Kaaya has solidified the quarterback position after taking over midway through last year, and Donovan Lee has been doing an excellent Terrell Newby impersonation at running back. Chaminade crushed a previously undefeated Cathedral team last week, and this should be a barnburner at Serra on Friday Night on Prime Ticket.
No. 9 Notre Dame is a missed field goal away from overtime against No. 9 Chaminade and a tackle away from a win against No. 3 Serra. So it wasn't a big surprise to see the Knights pull off a double-digit win over a very good No. 15 Bishop Amat. The Serra League was probably the most entertaining league in the Southern Section. Notre Dame faces a desperate Alemany squad this week, which was upset by Loyola last Friday. Notre Dame can grab a commanding lead in the Serra League with a win.
No. 10 Rancho Cucamonga moved to 6-0 with a solid win over Etiwanda last Thursday. The Wildcats get Glendora this week, a new entry to the Top 20 after the Tartans moved to 6-0 with a win over Upland. Rancho Cucamonga had a terrific defense last year, and is fielding another strong unit despite the losses to graduation to several of their key players; four Wildcats moved on to the college ranks, including safety Tahaan Goodman to UCLA. Rancho is balanced on offense including two quarterbacks, senior Gage Pucci and sophomore Angel Matute, who have both been effective this season.
CIF-SS: Top 20, Week 7
1. (1) St. John Bosco (6-0)
2. (2) Mater Dei (6-0)
3. (3) Serra (6-0)
4. (4) Mission Viejo (6-0)
5. (5) Servite (3-3)
6. (6) Long Beach Poly (6-1)
7. (7) Hart (6-0)
8. (8) Chaminade (5-1)
9. (9) Notre Dame (5-2)
10. (10) Rancho Cucamonga (6-0)
11. (12) Vista Murrieta (5-1)
12. (13) Oaks Christian (6-1)
13. (14) Corona Centennial (4-2)
14. (17) Orange Lutheran (6-0)
15. (15) Bishop Amat (5-2)
16. (18) Chino Hills (5-1)
17. (NR) La Habra (5-1)
18. (NR) Glendora (6-0)
19. (16) JSerra (5-1)
20. (NR) Canyon (5-1)
In: Glendora, La Habra, Canyon
Out: Santa Margarita, Alemany, Murrieta Valley