Week 4 Prep Preview
Three new faces made their way into Scott Kennedy’s CIF Southern Section Top 20 this week, trading places with three usual suspects. Here’s who’s in and who’s out and what’s next for week four.
No. 18 Bishop Amat (3-0-1)
Bishop Amat left everyone shaking their heads and wondering just how good the Lancers actually are after a week zero win over Servite. It was a statement-making 40-23 win over a team that was considered a Southern Section favorite coming into the season. Quarterback Koa Haynes has been a consistent leader this season. Last season, Haynes was thrown into the fire after as a sophomore when starter Rio Ruiz was suspended and later injured. Haynes’ youth and inexperience showed and he was determined to turn things around this season. An offseason of hard workouts clearly made a difference, as he came out and threw for 157 yards and three touchdowns against Servite in the season-opener. Bishop Amat’s defense has struggled at times to contain speed, but last week it had little issues holding Charter Oak to just 14 points. It was a hotly-contested match up that saw penalty after penalty and two players ejected after an altercation in the end zone, but a fast start led by Haynes helped the Lancers to a 30-14 win that established their presence in the Top 20. The Lancers still face a tough schedule the rest of the season, with games against No. 12 Alemany, No. 15 Crespi and No. 17 Notre Dame.
No. 19 Edison (3-0)
Huntington Beach Edison has given up exactly seven points this season. Last week against a plummeting Servite team, Edison handed the Friars their first shutout loss since 2004. While the result was only a 6-0 win, it was the second time the Chargers have shutout an opponent this season and they have yet to allow a touchdown, showing that they are the defense to beat in the Sunset League. The offensive line is also strong, allowing for a stronger running game, which is a departure from Edison teams past. A young team in a new division, the Chargers weren’t pegged as a favorite this season. But Servite had two weeks to prepare and came out flat, giving Edison momentum to take into its next two weeks against more former Pac-5 opponents No. 5 Mater Dei and No. 16 San Clemente. Injuries to key offensive players may slow the Chargers down but if the defense continues to hold, the Chargers could see themselves making more upward moves.
No. 20 La Serna (4-0)
After two weeks of narrow wins, La Serna got the breakthrough win the program had been looking for last Friday when they toppled then No. 11 Westlake, 39-8. The Warriors were knocked out of the rankings after the Lancers made several big plays to push through a defense that had allowed just 20 points per game coming into the contest. Last year, the Lancers suffered an 84-21 loss to West Covina in the Southeast Division championship game. The magnitude of both the loss and the score was not lost on the Lancers, who now have a photo of the score hanging inside of the locker room as motivation. La Serna has found a way to win in close situations and a way to widen the gap other times. A hard-nosed, physical Norco team awaits the Lancers next providing as one last test before beginning Del Rio League play.
Who’s out: Westlake (2-1), Servite (1-2), Redlands East Valley (1-2)
Westlake was on the brink of its first loss two weeks ago facing a strong City Section team in Crenshaw, but the Warriors pulled through with a 44-41 win. La Serna may have just been a blip on the radar but Westlake will need wins in their next two games to get back on track which won’t be easy. No. 15 Crespi and No. 6 St. Bonaventure are on tap next for Westlake, both of which are still unbeaten. The Warriors will have an advantage of being at home for both games.
Servite, one of the traditional area powers, aggressively scheduled much like a team in its position should. But while they have struggled against two of the Southern Section’s rising teams, it does still have one big win: a 24-23 week two victory at No. 14 Rancho Cucamonga. Getting past the Cucamonga secondary is no easy feat and the win shows that Friars do have some firepower. But that firepower will need to re-emerge and re-emerge quickly as Servite is scheduled to face a Bishop Gorman (Nev.) team that is ranked No. 18 in the country on FOX Sports Next’s Top 50.
Redlands East Valley is another team that put together an ambitious schedule that features games against three Top 20 teams, two of which are in the FOX Sports Next’s Top 50. Offensive struggles have plagued the Wildcats in losses to No. 7 St. Bonaventure and No. 2 Vista Murrieta. This week gets no easier, as the Wildcats will travel to face No. 4 Mission Viejo next week, a team that has dismantled all four opponents it has faced.