No. 1 Vista Murrieta left little doubt as to who was the top team in the Southwestern League. The Broncos and foe Murrieta Valley entered the game with identical 7-0 records, but that’s about where the similarities ended. When the dust had settled, Vista Murrieta had lain waste to Murrieta Valley, 45-17 at the home of the Nighthawks. This one was never in doubt as the Broncos jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead before pulling away 31-7 at halftime. This week’s matchup with Murrieta Mesa (6-2) is no gimmee, but they’re a similar team to Murrieta Valley. Vista Murrieta then closes with a strong Chaparral team before heading to the Inland playoffs.
No. 2 Mission Viejo took Tesoro’s best shot as the Titans took a 21-14 lead into halftime against the favored Diablos. But Tesoro didn’t have the depth or necessarily the talent to finish the job as Mission Viejo erupted for 28 points in the third quarter before running away with a 55-32 victory that didn’t feel as close as the final score. QB Ian Fieber keyed the come-from-behind win with an 80-yard strike to USC commitment Max Redfield to open the third quarter. It was all Diablos after that. Trabuco Hills (4-4) will serve as a good final tune up before facing off with undefeated El Toro to close the regular season.
No. 3 St. Bonaventure finished with the toughest part of its schedule on Sept. 21 against a full strength Santa Margarita squad in a hard-fought loss. The rest of the season is simply about getting ready for the newest challenge of the Pac-5 playoffs. Newbury Park offered little resistance as the Seraphs won handily, 35-7. This week’s game against Royal is likely to offer up a similar result. Now is a good time for St. Bonaventure to build some depth and rest some key players like Arizona commitment Zachary Green at running back. No. 4 St. John Bosco won its key Trinity League game with Mater Dei last week in a 27-19 battle. This win puts a vice grip on the Trinity League for the Braves who still have to face a scrappy Santa Margarita squad and a less-than-stellar Servite team to sew up the League Championship. St. John Bosco will be heavy favorites in its remaining games and already learned a lesson from JSerra about looking past an opponent as the Lions erased a big deficit to take Bosco to overtime two weeks ago.
No. 5 Corona Centennial continues to hone its game for the Inland Playoffs with a 49-17 win over King. King proved that they weren’t there to just lay down for the Huskies as they took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter, but Centennial’s big offensive line and powerful rushing attack wore down the underdogs. Centennial hosts Roosevelt this week, and the Huskies are likely to win by 40+.
No. 6 Upland continues its rise up the charts with a solid 47-7 win at Los Osos on Friday. The game wasn’t quite as lopsided as the score might have indicated, but San Diego State commitment Delvin Batiste had a pair of defensive scores to turn a convincing win into a rout for the Highlanders. A trip to Alta Loma (4-4) this week shouldn’t be much of a challenge for Upland who pretty much sewed up the Baseline League with a win over Rancho Cucamonga on Oct. 5.
No. 7 Bishop Alemany is the class of arguably the Pac-5’s toughest league, the Serra, and the Warriors had the week off to prepare for its final two games while they remain the Serra’s only unbeaten team (2-0 league). Alemany must go on the road against a dangerous Crespi team who will be fighting for its playoff life this week after dropping its first two league games to Notre Dame and Bishop Amat. Crespi has as good a defense as anyone the Warriors have faced this year, but Crespi hasn’t faced an offense the likes of Alemany’s yet. No. 8 Mater Dei dropped its second game of the season and likely lost the Trinity League to St. John Bosco last week. They can take heart in knowing that Santa Margarita lost a heartbreaker to Servite last year before running the table in the Pac-5. A win against a good Orange Lutheran (6-2) team this week is a must though, so the Monarchs can’t afford to dwell on last week’s loss to Bosco. No. 9 Oaks Christian’s only challenge in the Marmonte League Western Division will come this week from Moorpark (7-1). The Lions beat the rest of its division foes, including Calabasas this week by a combined 108-27 score. Moorpark has run roughshod over the West as well with a combined score of 140-33. The winner will win the division and face off with St. Bonaventure for the League Championship. The loser will get to rest up for the Pac-5 playoffs. There’s an upside to both outcomes for the two teams.
No. 10 Santa Margarita had one of the gutsiest wins of the season. We’ve talked and written plenty about QB Johnny Stanton going down last month, but then the Eagles had to face Orange Lutheran without star running back Ryan Wolpin this week against Orange Lutheran. This win all but assures the Eagles a spot in the Pac-5 playoffs as the Eagles will be favored against JSerra this week to move to 8-1. Even a loss wouldn’t knock the Eagles out of the playoffs as the win over Orange Lutheran likely earned the Eagles at worst the No. 3 spot in the Trinity League which is an automatic qualifier for the Pac-5.