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Scott Kennedy's CIF-SS Scouting Report (9/25)

Santa Margarita drops this week as they lose arguably the Southland's most valuable player.

The teams that looked so invincible at the top of the rankings displayed an unfortunate amount of vulnerability including a season-ending injury to arguably the Southland's most valuable player in Santa Margarita's Johnny Stanton.


No. 1 Vista Murrieta claims the top spot by default. The Broncos were on the ropes against Cathedral Catholic on Friday night before getting two late touchdowns to prevail, 21-10. Cathedral helped provide a wakeup call for Vista Murrieta who may have been believing some of its press clippings after its 59-14 demolition of Redlands East Valley two weeks ago. There should be no such challenge from Palisades this Friday as the Broncos should roll.


No. 2 Mission Viejo hung 84 on Aliso Niguel as the Diablos have yet to face a team ranked in the Top 20. Redlands East Valley has had two weeks to think about what kind of team they want to be after being demolished by Vista Murrieta. Redlands East Valley played St. Bonaventure close before  they're trip to Murrieta. The Wildcats should provide a tougher test for Mission Viejo, but the Diablos should prevail.


No. 3 Mater Dei got a tough game as expected from No. 19 Edison. The Monarchs jumped to a 20-0 lead before hanging on to beat the Chargers, 20-14. TE Thomas Duarte continues his good work for Mater Dei as he hauled in a touchdown pass from Ryan McMahon. Mater Dei gets its toughest test of the season as they travel to City-Section power Narbonne who would be ranked No. 2 in this week's poll if they were in the Southern Section. Narbonne is coming off of a convincing win over No. 8 Serra on the Prep Zone and has one of the toughest defenses in Southern California.


No. 4 Santa Margarita won the battle with St. Bonaventure on the Prep Zone last week, but they may have lost the war. Quarterback Johnny Stanton hurt his knee in the first half and continued to play. It turned out Stanton played the second half on a torn ACL, an injury that will end his season. Santa Margarita is still a very good team and could make a run at the Pac-5, but these are rankings - not standings - and without Stanton, Santa Margarita doesn't look like the best team in California any more. The Eagles get a well-earned rest before opening Trinity League play against Servite in two weeks. The schedule is a blessing in that the Eagles will have a full two weeks to try and accomplish the impossible, replace Stanton.


No. 5 St. John Bosco had the week off after posting one of the most impressive scores of the year in a 45-0 rout of a good Loyola team. The danger, like Vista Murrieta could be complacency with the layoff. St. John Bosco takes on Jordan (Sandy, Utah) this week. Jordan is one of the top programs in Utah. If the Braves aren't on top of their game this week, they could come home from Utah with a loss.


No. 6 St. Bonaventure gave Santa Margarita all it wanted on Friday night. The Seraphs held a 21-14 lead at halftime, but the Eagle defense made adjustments at halftime and kept St. Bonaventure off the board for most of the second half before pulling out a 35-27 win. RB Zachary Green is a wrecking ball for St. Bonaventure, on one 1st down run in the fourth quarter, it looked like Green broke a tackle against every player on the Eagle defense, and some of them more than once. QB Ricky Town is just a sophomore but plays with poise beyond his years. St. Bonaventure plays a reeling Westlake team this week. While the Seraphs got the loss on Friday night, they have to like their chances in the Pac-5.


No. 7 Corona Centennial knows a little something about battles with St. Bonaventure having lost a shootout in their first game of the season. As they are wont to do though, the Huskies keep improving as the year goes on and are in an easier part of their schedule. Centennial dispatched Carson, 45-24, and takes on Etiwanda on Friday. The Huskies only real challenge on paper looks to be a Oct. 12 trip to Norco.


No. 8 Oaks Christian got upended at home by a top City-Section in Crenshaw. With wins over Fresno Edison and Norco, maybe we shouldn't have been as surprised by Crenshaw's win as we were, but the Lions only scoring two points? Yes, that's shocking. In what had to be the sloppiest game of the season, Crenshaw, who had averaged more than 40 points per game, beat Oaks Christian, 13-2. Oaks Christian QB Brandon Dawkins had a miserable night throwing five interceptions giving the junior QB flashbacks to an equally miserable performance against Westlake to end the season. Oaks should rebound as it begins its Marmonte league schedule that doesn't include St. Bonaventure.


No. 9 Tesoro pulled out another close win against a good Chaparral team. The Titans pulled out a 17-14 win over the Pumas with a fourth quarter drive to put the go-ahead score on the board with less than two minutes to go. This was Tesoro's second last minute win as they pulled off a similar win against Hart in Week 1. The Titans should get another test against Trabuco Hills. The Mustangs are 4-1, but their one loss was a 55-0 blowout against a full strength Santa Margarita squad.


No. 10 Lompoc opened league play with a convincing 49-14 win over Morro Bay. Most noteworthy in this game was that Washington Husky commit Lavon Coleman missed his second straight game. The dynamic running back might not be needed for the regular season, but if the Braves are going to win the Northern Division in the CIF Playoffs, they'll need Coleman at full strength. Coleman is scheduled to return this week against Templeton, but expect his touches to be limited in order to keep him healthy.