Sunday, October 23, 2011
ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 8
By Blair Angulo
Orange Lutheran took another hard fall in our weekly top 25 rankings after its loss to Santa Margarita, further complicating its bid for a Pac-5 Division playoff spot. Upland gained control of the Baseline League with its clutch victory over Rancho Cucamonga, and Bishop Amat rejoined the Serra League race by beating Crespi on the road. The rankings heading into Week 8:
1. Servite (6-1) No issues against the league bottom-dwellers as the Friars earned their 16th consecutive Trinity League victory. Senior quarterback Cody Pittman was effective on the ground and through the air. Last week: Beat JSerra, 42-14. Next: at St. John Bosco, Friday.
2. Westlake (7-0) A slow start Friday was just a minor glitch for Warriors quarterback Justin Moore, who passed for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Dashon Hunt added 118 yards rushing in 14 carries. Last week: Beat Moorpark, 34-13. Next: vs. Newbury Park, Friday.
3. St. Bonaventure (6-1) It's becoming a weekly thing for the powerful tandem of Shaun Wick and Zack Green, who combined to score six of the team's eight touchdowns Friday. The Seraphs gave up only 12 yards rushing. Last week: Beat Agoura, 56-0. Next: vs. Thousand Oaks, Friday.
4. Corona Centennial (6-1) The defense bent but didn't break, forcing four turnovers despite surrendering 438 yards of total offense Friday. The high-powered Huskies capitalized behind Hayden Gavett's 248 total yards and four scores. Last week: Beat Norco, 45-18. Next: at Corona, Friday.
5. Long Beach Poly (6-1) A bye week might have come at the wrong time for a Jackrabbits offense that seemed to be finding its groove recently. Players, meanwhile, probably weren't complaining about the extra rest heading into the final Moore League games. Last week: Idle. Next: at Millikan, Friday.
6. Santa Margarita (6-1) A solid bounce-back win Friday for the Eagles, who were coming off an upset loss in the Trinity League opener. Johnny Stanton had 235 total yards and scored twice in the final five minutes. Last week: Beat Orange Lutheran, 31-10. Next: vs. JSerra at Saddleback College, Friday.
7. Redlands East Valley (7-0) The Wildcats needed overtime to survive their crosstown rivals' upset bid Friday. They raised the Smudge Pot trophy after quarterback Austin Decoud scored the game-winner on a 16-yard run. Last week: Beat Redlands, 21-14. Next: at Eisenhower, Friday.
8. Mission Viejo (5-2) You can argue that the schedule worked out well for the battle-tested Diablos. They are well rested heading into Friday's crucial matchup, which will likely decide the South Coast League champion. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. San Clemente, Friday.
9. San Clemente (8-0) The Tritons erased an early deficit against rival Dana Hills on Friday, relying on running back Mike Elespuru and Utah-bound quarterback Travis Wilson. Elespuru rushed for 146 yards and Wilson passed for 205. Last week: Beat Dana Hills, 35-10. Next: at Mission Viejo, Friday.
10. Vista Murrieta (7-0) The dominant defense forced nine punts Friday, holding Temecula Valley to just 64 total yards. On the other side, Aaron Piecukonis was effective running the ball. Last week: Beat Temecula Valley, 41-3. Next: at Great Oak, Friday.
11. Upland (7-0) Difficult scheduling appears to have paid off for the Highlanders. They secured the important win Friday on a creative play-action pass from Nate Romine to Anthony Romero. Last week: Beat Rancho Cucamonga, 31-17. Next: vs. Glendora at Citrus College, Friday.
12. Oaks Christian (5-2) The Lions held on thanks to safety Jordan Payton, who broke up a pair of passes in the final minute Friday. They did it without tailback Ishmael Adams, who sat out because of a sprained ankle. Last week: Beat Thousand Oaks, 24-17. Next: vs. Simi Valley, Friday.
13. Alemany (5-2) The defending league champion Warriors can gain control of the unpredictable Serra League with a victory Friday. They'll have to do it against an explosive offense that is coming off a loss. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Crespi, Friday.
14. Bishop Amat (6-2) It was quarterback Rio Ruiz's turn to play the role of hero for the Lancers. The senior completed 19 of 25 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns on the road Friday. They're back in the league race. Last week: Beat Crespi, 28-14. Next: vs. Loyola, Friday.
15. Loyola (6-1) Three interceptions for the talented Cubs secondary on Friday, including a 70-yard touchdown return by highly recruited Kodi Whitfield. Quarterback Nicolas Cotton did enough on offense. Last week: Beat S.O. Notre Dame, 27-14. Next: at Bishop Amat, Friday.
16. St. John Bosco (6-1) If there were any questions about the Braves' validity still lingering, they were answered Friday. They're real Trinity League contenders this year, thanks in large part to a defense that is sneaky good. Last week: Beat Mater Dei, 24-3. Next: vs. Servite, Friday.
17. Rancho Cucamonga (6-1) A botched handoff near the goal line hurt Rancho Cucamonga and, ultimately, led to its first loss of the season. The Cougars must now avoid a letdown in league play. Last week: Lost to Upland, 31-17. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Los Osos High, Friday.
18. Crespi (6-2) Friday's defeat at the hands of Bishop Amat was surprising, if only because the Celts' potent offense managed only 14 points against a defense that had been struggling. Perhaps the pregame Senior Night festivities were a distraction. Last week: Lost to Bishop Amat, 28-14. Next: at Alemany, Friday.
19. Chaminade (6-1) Think the Eagles like their new blue turf? They're averaging more than 35 points at home. They play host for the fourth straight week Friday looking to retain control of the Mission League. Last week: Beat Harvard-Westlake, 55-0. Next: vs. St. Francis, Friday.
20. Narbonne (5-2) The Gauchos eked out an important Marine League win against rival Carson thanks to a botched snap on a last-minute extra-point attempt that would have tied it. Coach Manual Douglas will take it. Last week: Beat Carson, 38-37. Next: vs. Banning, Friday.
21. Dorsey (6-1) The Dons lowered their points against average to under 11 with yet another strong defensive showing Friday. They'll have to be careful not to look past this week with the ever-important Crenshaw matchup looming. Last week: Beat Manual Arts, 46-6. Next: at Fremont, Friday.
22. San Pedro (7-0) The undefeated Pirates hit the road looking to remain perfect. It won't be an easy task against a motivated Carson squad that lost on a late-game special-teams blunder. Last week: Beat Gardena, 35-7. Next: at Carson, Friday.
23. Orange Lutheran (5-2) Back-to-back losses have the Lancers on the outside looking in as far as the Pac-5 Division playoffs go. They can't afford another defeat in the Trinity League, that's for sure. Last week: Lost to Santa Margarita, 31-10. Next: vs. Mater Dei at Orange Coast College, Friday.
24. Charter Oak (6-1) The Chargers don't get the publicity of other noted Inland Division teams like Corona Centennial, Redlands East Valley, Vista Murrieta and Upland, but they're good. Quarterback Travis Santiago is impressive. Last week: Beat Ayala, 62-34. Next: at Claremont, Friday.
25. Lakewood (6-2) Credit the Lancers for putting their loss to Long Beach Poly behind them. They shut down a strong offensive attack on Friday, led by super sophomore Jaleel Wadood's two interceptions. Last week: Beat Cabrillo, 31-6. Next: vs. Long Beach Jordan, Friday.
Dropped out: Canyon Country Canyon (20), Mater Dei (25)
Newcomers: Charter Oak, Lakewood
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter. Make sure to follow @ESPNLAPreps for live in-game updates, final scores and news.