Monday, December 19, 2011
ESPNLA prep football final Top 25
By Blair Angulo
Santa Margarita moves into the top spot after winning the CIF State Division I bowl in thrilling fashion. Westlake's stay atop the rankings was short-lived as the Warriors were overwhelmed by a superior Northern California power. The final ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings:
1. Santa Margarita (13-2) If we learned anything about junior quarterback Johnny Stanton it's that he thrives when the lights shine the brightest. Stanton's go-ahead score with 16 seconds remaining secured the CIF State Division I bowl championship, and it'll be remembered for a long time. Coach Harry Welch won his third bowl game with the third different school. Last week: Beat San Jose Bellarmine, 42-37.
2. Vista Murrieta (9-5)* The Broncos were a perfect 14-0 on the field but weren't selected for a state bowl game. They could reach the spotlight next year with the dynamic Su'a Cravens returning for the Inland Division champs.
3. Westlake (14-1) Not exactly how coach Jim Benkert envisioned the CIF State Open Division bowl game, but consolation lies in the fact that it wasn't the first time De La Salle embarrassed a team, and it won't be the last. The Warriors figure to be in the mix again next year, with top playmakers Dashon Hunt and Justin Moore returning. Last week: Lost to De La Salle, 35-0.
4. Narbonne (11-3) The City Section Division I champions are favored to repeat in 2012, if only because they've got the section's leading passer in Troy Williams (3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns).
5. Corona Centennial (12-2) Quarterback Hayden Gavett exceeded expectations in his first year as starter following Michael Eubank's graduation. Running back Romello Goodman finished seventh in rushing in the section.
6. San Clemente (12-2) The Tritons reached the Pac-5 Division championship game but must replace Utah-bound quarterback Travis Wilson next season.
7. Mission Viejo (10-3) Safety Max Redfield, one of the top defensive backs in the 2013 class, has already bagged an offer from USC. He'll draw plenty of interest next season.
8. Upland (12-1) No matter what you call them -- the Highlanders or Scots -- Baseline League champion Upland has a good group returning, led by quarterback Nate Romine.
9. Oaks Christian (11-3) The Lions could take the next step if quarterback Brandon Dawkins, only a sophomore, develops the way many expect him to.
10. St. Bonaventure (10-3) The Seraphs finished in third place in the Marmonte League and will have to find replacements for leading offensive standouts Shaun Wick and Marc Evans.
11. Servite (10-2) A rather anticlimactic season for the Trinity League champs. Expect coach Troy Thomas to have one of the area's best squads next fall.
12. Arroyo Grande (13-1) A stellar finish for the Eagles, who captured the fifth sectional title in program history.
13. Rancho Cucamonga (11-2) No shame in finishing second to one-loss Upland in the Baseline League, but the Cougars will be out for revenge next year.
14. Rancho Verde (14-0) No bowl berth for the undefeated Mustangs, but they did get the school's first section championship.
15. San Pedro (12-1) Winning the Marine League was nice but you can bet the Pirates weren't too thrilled to see league foes Narbonne and Carson dueling for the Division I crown at East L.A. College.
16. West Covina (13-1) Coach Mike Maggiore will have to replace tailbacks Chris Solomon and Jimmy Frazier if the run-oriented Bulldogs hope to make it three straight Southeast Division titles.
17. Redlands East Valley (11-1) REV won the Citrus Belt and earned respect in the Inland Empire.
18. Lompoc (14-0) The undefeated Northwest Division champions didn't get a bowl bid, but they had a worthy argument.
19. Carson (8-6) The Colts lost in the City Section Division I title game for the second straight year. And, according to reports, they'll have to replace energetic coach Elijah Asante.
20. Summit (13-1) The SkyHawks made up for last year’s loss in the Eastern Division final, winning the school’s first football championship.
21. Dorsey (11-2) The Dons will have bragging rights in the Coliseum League, and coach Paul Knox hopes quarterback Reginald Bell takes the next step.
22. Long Beach Poly (10-2) The Jackrabbits got their second straight Moore League championship but will have a lot of offensive talent to replace.
23. Sierra Canyon (15-0) Sierra Canyon was the only team in the City or Southern Section to finish with a 15-0 record. Last week: Beat Le Grand, 34-13.
24. South East (13-1) Explosive tailback Robert Lewis finished third in the City Section rushing charts with 2,023 and 30 touchdowns.
25. Corona del Mar (12-2) The Sea Kings got their first title since 1989 thanks to a defensive stand on a potential go-ahead two-point attempt.
* Vista Murrieta was 14-0 on the field
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.