High school football kicks off in the Southland

Once upon a time, Zero Week was one that few schools elected to play in. Things have changed. There was nearly a full slate of games as high school football kicked off throughout the Southland.

In what has become a strange season for high school football players and fans alike, many teams will have played two games before the month of August wraps up. The start of the season was pushed up to accommodate regional championships that will take place Dec. 7-8.

It wasn’t a performance befitting of the No. 1 team in the nation but at the end of the day, it was the result Santa Margarita was looking for. The Eagles went to Arizona and came back with a 27-14 win over Brophy.

The Eagles (1-0) turned the ball over four times. Two of those were interceptions by quarterback Johnny Stanton. Santa Margarita’s signal caller amassed 307 total yards and three total touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush) in the win.

The outcome heard throughout the PAC-5 was Bishop Amat’s handling of Servite in the opener at Kiefer Stadium. The former Angelus League rivals collided last Friday night with Amat winning 40-23. Servite (0-1) head coach Troy Thomas said “our inexperience showed a lot” following his team’s loss to Bishop Amat.

The Lancers (1-0) appear to have a more speed on the perimeter than previous teams under coach Steve Hagerty. “We can do a lot of things,” said running back Dionza Blue, who’s performance against the Friars was good enough to land a scholarship offer from San Diego State over the weekend.

The Lancers’ speed was nothing new for Thomas. “I know Amat from the 90s, so this is a typical team,” he said. After losing to Servite 49-14 last season, the Lancers’ win snaps Servite’s 25-game regular season winning streak against California schools.

Not in action this week is Amat’s Serra League rival, Crespi. The Celts (2-0) will have a bye week after a 43-7 win over Taft.

The Marmonte League heavyweights, Oaks Christian, St. Bonaventure, and Westlake all came away with wins in their season openers.

The Seraphs (1-0) blanked Garfield 48-0. Westlake (1-0) went up north and defeated Granite Bay 24-6 and used three quarterbacks in the process. Perhaps, neither was more impressive than Oaks Christian (1-0). Under first year head coach Jeff Woodruff, the Lions shutout Del Oro –a state bowl representative from a season ago –40-0, giving Woodruff his first win as a high school coach since the late 1990s.

The Marmonte League has moved up to the PAC-5 this season. St. Bonaventure will host Corona Centennial this Friday night on FOX Sports West.

Defending state champion Sierra Canyon (1-0) started the season with a shutout of Bishop (0-1), 36-0.

It wasn’t exactly the 84 they hung on La Serna to claim their second straight Southeast Division crown last season, but West Covina (1-0) began 2012 with a bang, shutting out rival Covina, 34-0 in a game saw on FOX Sports West.

Buena Park (1-0) dismantled Cerritos (0-1) 74-0.

Zero Week Top Performers:
Last season Conner Manning broke current USC and former Mater Dei quarterback, Matt Barkley’s, Orange County record for passing yards in a season with 4,219 yards. In Thursday’s season opener, he completed 44/66 passes for 454 yards and six touchdowns in the Chargers’ (1-0) 47-24 win over Huntington Beach (0-1).

North Torrance wide receiver Michael Jurado had 17 catches for 220 yards, and two touchdowns in the Saxons’ (0-1) 42-35 loss to Redondo (1-0). It was the debut for Seahawks head coach Matt Ballard who replaced Gene Simon, who was forced to resign after 16 seasons.

Citrus Hill (1-0) running back P.J. Walker rushed for 334 yards and five touchdowns in a 40-15 win over Riverside Poly (0-1).

Not local, but worth mentioning …Folsom sophomore quarterback Jake Browning completed 34 of 51 passes for 686 yards and tied a national record with 10 touchdowns in his debut —a 68-28 win over Woodcreek.

According to MaxPreps, former Palisades quarterback David Koral is one of six players to share the record with 10 touchdown passes in a game. Koral holds the national record with 764 passing yards in a game.