Scott Kennedy's CIF-SS Scouting Report (10/29)
No. 1 Vista Murrieta was supposed to be challenged in the last three games of its schedule. Murrieta Valley entered its game with Vista at 7-0 two weeks ago. Murrieta Mesa entered 6-2. The Broncos won those two games by a combined score of 97-17. Chaparral is this week's victim, and while they come into the game at 7-2, odds are they're going to leave 7-3 with their tails between their legs. The Broncos are rolling right now.
No. 2 Mission Viejo can be excused if they lacked focus during their game against an out-matched Trabuco Hills team. The Diablos came off an important win two weeks ago and have undefeated El Toro this week, and Mission Viejo uglied its way to a 7-5 halftime lead over Trabuco Hills before blowing them out in the second half. That win sets up the South Coast de facto Championship Game with El Toro, who also enters the game at 9-0. Both teams only have one win against Top 20 opponents, both having beaten Tesoro. We'll find out more about Mission Viejo, who looks like one of the two best teams in the Pac-5, and the South Coast League in the playoffs as no one played a overly challenging schedule this year.
No. 3 St. Bonaventure's break-neck schedule which looked so daunting at the beginning of the year doesn't quite measure up now that the dust has settled. Westlake isn't very good this year, same goes for Redlands East Valley. The Seraphs lost to Santa Margarita and beat a very good Corona Centennial squad. Just how good is St. Bonaventure? I still think very good. They're going to need to play their best game of the season to beat a hot Oaks Christian team who thrashed Moorpark last week. Sophomore quarterback Ricky Town has shown amazing poise throughout the season, and we'll see if he can keep it up now that the pressure cooker is being turned up to high.
No. 4 St. John Bosco marched towards its first outright Trinity League Championship while wearing down a game Servite team. The Friars fought hard and moved the ball, but they were no match in the long run for the Braves (Prepzone Game). The Braves have one more mountain to climb, and that's against Santa Margarita this week. Bosco is tough along the lines of scrimmage and are capable of going toe to toe with Santa Margarita in the running game.
No. 5 Corona Centennial can't just automatically look to the playoffs as their opponent this week, Santiago, has been playing some very good football. After getting blown out by No. 2 Mission Viejo, Santiago has won five of six, with its only loss a four-point thriller to No. 6 Upland. Centennial quarterback Robert Webber has played well all season, and he'll be needed during the stretch run if the Huskies are going to win the Big VIII and have a chance of knocking off Vista Murrieta in the Inland Playoffs.
No. 6 Upland wasted little time in pouncing on Alta Loma and the Highlanders shouldn't have much trouble with Etiwanda this week. What will be more interesting is if they have done enough to play themselves into the No. 2 spot in the Inland Playoffs, which will put them on the opposite side of the bracket as Vista Murrieta. In theory, all roads to the CIF Championship go through Murrieta anyway. Upland hasn't been tested since its game against Rancho Cucamonga on Oct. 5.
No. 7 Oaks Christian played its most complete game of the season against Moorpark last week. In what looked like a tough game coming in for the Marmonte League West finale, the Lions throttled Moorpark from the opening kickoff before finishing with a 55-7, attention-grabbing win. Oaks Christian goes as its junior quarterback Brandon Dawkins goes, and on Friday, Dawkins was flawless. There was a line of thought that the losing team might have an advantage by sitting out a week before heading into the playoffs, but the last thing Oaks Christian wants to do after a game like that is take a week off. If Oaks plays the rest of the way like they did on Friday, they can beat anyone in the Pac-5.
No. 8 Mater Dei recovered nicely from its loss to St. John Bosco two weeks ago in beating a good Orange Lutheran squad. The Monarchs found themselves in a fight for their lives as a loss could have eliminated them from the playoffs. With its last regular season game of the season against Servite, Mater Dei is in good shape not just to make it back to the playoffs, but to make some noise in the Pac-5 once they get there.
No. 9 Santa Margarita has more than enough talent to win the Pac-5, even with the devastating loss to quarterback Johnny Stanton halfway through the season. But it's taken some time for the Eagles to get over the loss of their leader. With a hard fought win over Orange Lutheran two weeks ago and a blowout of JSerra last week, the Eagles don't look like they're ready to concede anything to St. John Bosco just yet. A win over the Braves would create a three-way tie between Santa Margarita, St. John Bosco and Mater Dei for the Trinity League Championship.
No. 10 Chaminade makes its debut in the Top 10 as the season is coming to a close. Two weeks ago, Terrell Newby's eight rushing touchdowns against Harvard-Westlake was the story. Last week St. Francis stacked the line and dared quarterback Brad Kaaya to beat them. He did, early and often. Kayaa's favorite target was Colorado commitment Elijah Dunston. Newby still got his yards and his touchdowns, but Chaminade showed that their much more than a one-trick pony and should be considered the favorites in the Western Division Playoffs.