Scott Kennedy: Top 20 teams in CIF-SS, Week 10

No. 1 St. John Bosco has taken its game to another level. Sure, Mater Dei is struggling on offense, as shown by the 16-7 loss to Santa Margarita two weeks ago, but Bosco was going to get Mater Dei’s best shot, and it was nowhere near good enough as the only points the Braves gave up was a self-inflicted wound on a punt that led to a safety. St. John Bosco is peaking at the right time and will enter the Pac-5 playoffs as the favorite.

No. 2 Serra got their ‘Rocky’ moment from St. Francis last week. Getting knocked down early to trail 21-7, the Cavaliers remained composed and reeled off 28-straight points to outdistance the previously undefeated Knights. St. Francis showed it is not to be dismissed in the Western playoffs, and should pose a challenge to Chaminade on Friday. Serra gets the equivalent of a week off to keep tuned up as the Cavs will dispatch St. Paul rather easily on Friday.

No. 3 Mission Viejo is making a mockery of the South Coast. Last week’s victim was Trabuco Hills. The Diablos were complete in their 35-0 shutout victory. Three weeks ago, we posed the question, would anyone from the South Coast play Mission Viejo within three touchdowns? It looks like we were being too conservative. Will anyone play the Diablos within five? No one has so far and El Toro gets its last shot on Friday.

No. 4 Long Beach Poly knew it wasn’t going to get much of a challenge from its league — the Jackrabbits rarely do. But in a 46-6 win against Millikan, Poly saw its consecutive shutout streak end at five. The 2012 Poly team won the Pac-5, and the 2013 version may be better in every aspect but running back. Bosco, Mission Viejo, and Poly are the three heavyweights who will be considered the favorites heading into the playoffs next week.

No. 5 Rancho Cucamonga had little trouble moving to 9-0 with a convincing 44-7 win at Alta Loma. This week the Cougars must beat Upland to claim the Baseline League Championship. Upland has won the last two years after Rancho Cucamonga won the title in 2010. Upland has won six of seven after getting off to an 0-2 start.

No. 6 Vista Murrieta’s fate in the Southwestern is refreshingly simple. Both the Broncos and their Friday foe, Chaparral, enter Friday 4-0, and the winner takes the Southwestern Crown. Simple. It’s going to be a tall task for Chaparral to slow down a Vista Murrieta team that has hit stride and has been rolling over their Southwestern League foes, including a 43-3 win over third place Great Oak earlier this year.

No. 7 Corona Centennial has righted the ship during its league schedule after dropping two early games to Long Beach Poly and Alemany. The Huskies defense held the high powered Santiago Sharks to just 24 while breaking the 50-point mark on offense for the sixth time this season. Centennial will get a chance to put another big number on the board in the season finale on Thursday against Corona.

No. 8 Orange Lutheran was paying attention to Santa Margarita’s upset win over Mater Dei two weeks ago, and the Lancers were having none of it. Orange Lutheran bludgeoned the Eagles 54-14.  OLu is one of those teams that helps epitomize the ups and downs of the season this year as everyone keeps beating everyone else. The Lancers lose to Servite, who lost to JSerra, who got beat by Lutheran, who defeated Santa Margarita, who took down Mater Dei, who beat Servite. We call the Trinity League a gauntlet for a reason, and it helps show just how strong St. John Bosco has been this year.

No. 9 Mater’s Dei’s spot in the Top 10 all of a sudden looks precarious after holding the Top 5 for much of the year. The Monarchs defense has been solid all season, but all of a sudden, the offense is stuck in neutral. Mater Dei has managed seven offensive points the last two weeks against Santa Margarita and St. John Bosco. It doesn’t get much easier this week with a trip to Orange Lutheran, who just hung 54 on the same Santa Margarita team that Mater Dei could only muster seven against two weeks ago.

No. 10 Alemany can look like a real player in the Pac-5 when it’s beating Corona Centennial, Notre Dame and Bishop Amat. Then Alemany can look like a first-round out when it loses to Norco and Loyola. A focused Alemany squad is a dangerous team, and there’s no excuse for a lack of focus this week. With Crespi’s upset win over Bishop Amat a week ago, Alemany needs to beat the 4-5 Celts to guarantee a playoff spot.

Top 20 in CIF-SS, Week 10
1. (1) St. John Bosco (9-0)
2. (2) Serra (9-0)
3. (3) Mission Viejo (9-0)
4. (6) Long Beach Poly (8-1)
5. (7) Rancho Cucamonga (9-0)
6. (8) Vista Murrieta (8-1)
7. (13) Corona Centennial (7-2)
8. (15) Orange Lutheran (7-2)
9. (4) Mater Dei (7-2)
10. (12) Alemany (7-2)
11. (10) Chaminade (7-2)
12. (11) Oaks Christian (8-1)
13. (14) Notre Dame (7-3)
14. (5) Servite (5-4)
15. (9) Hart (8-1)
16. (17) La Habra (8-1)
17. (18) Westlake (7-2)
18. (NR) Valencia (7-2)
19. (19) St. Francis (8-1)
20. (20) Palos Verdes (7-2)
In: Valencia
Out: Bishop Amat