Wednesday, August 31, 2011
LA South: Preseason Top 10
By Blair Angulo
We catapult into the high school football season and bring you a preseason look at the top 10 teams in south Los Angeles County. Eight of the 10 were ranked in our final regional rankings last year -- St. John Bosco and Narbonne are the only newcomers. And although teams such as Lakewood, Serra, Crenshaw and West Covina graduated a ton of talent, they'll need to falter before they're bumped from the list. We'll release new rankings every Tuesday. (Notes: Last season's records are in parentheses; this top 10 is independent of ESPNLA.com's prep football top 25 rankings).
1. Long Beach Poly (8-3) Expectations are always high at Poly, but they're up near the moon this year. The Jackrabbits return a plethora of talent, including five players that are committed to Arizona State. Poly will go as far as senior quarterback Chaiyse Hales takes them. Up next: at Sacramento Grant, Friday.
2. Bishop Amat (9-2) There might not be a team in the Southland more antsy to get on the field than Amat. The Lancers were a perfect 9-0 to start 2010 but faltered late, losing to Alemany in what amounted to a Serra League title game and stumbling against Tesoro in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs. Up next: vs. Garfield, Friday.
3. St. John Bosco (5-5) We present the best team that didn't make the postseason last season, an award coach Jason Negro would probably not be too happy with. On the bright side, the Braves are now a year wiser. The rest of the Trinity League should be on its toes. Up next: vs. Mission Hills, Friday.
4. Carson (11-3) Someone might want to check Elijah Asante's sanity level. The second-year coach has lined up the area's most difficult nonleague schedule, undoubtedly trying to play the best to become the best. The Colts aren't shying away from anyone, that's for sure. Up next: vs. Mater Dei, Friday.
5. Dominguez (10-2) A defense littered with college prospects, including cornerback Brandon Beaver and lineman Damion Turpin, promises to be this team's strength. The offense, meanwhile, will most likely run through top blocker Lacy Westbrook. Up next: vs. Crespi, Friday.
6. Lakewood (10-2) New coach Vince Lobendahn takes over for the popular Thadd MacNeal with one clear objective: getting the ball to Darius Powe, the area's top uncommitted wideout. Big Red is rebuilding but Lobendahn thinks a Moore League title is within grasp. Up next: vs. Locke, Friday.
7. Serra (14-1) The Cavaliers aren't as loaded as they have been recently, but they're still considered a contender in the Western Division. UCLA commit Raymond Ford has the tough task of filling George Farmer and Marqise Lee's big shoes. Up next: vs. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Friday.
8. Narbonne (6-6) With junior Troy Williams, perhaps the top signal caller in the City Section, under center, the Gauchos have set their sights on making a trip to the Memorial Coliseum in December. The defense will be key. Up next: vs. Palos Verdes, Sept. 9.
9. Crenshaw (12-2) Stud De'Anthony Thomas is now in Eugene, so the pizzazz might not be as high as it has been for the defending back-to-back City Section champs. Still, coach Robert Garrett figures to have his Cougars ready every week. Up next: vs. Alta (Utah) at Mission Viejo High, Saturday.
10. West Covina (13-1) The Bulldogs are led by one of the better players you've never heard of, tailback/safety Chris Solomon. West Covina captured the Southeast Division crown last year and look like the early favorites again this fall. Up next: vs. Covina at Covina District Stadium, Saturday.
Five more to watch, in alphabetic order: Charter Oak, Mira Costa, Monrovia, St. Paul, Venice.
Agree or disagree with the "L.A. South" preseason top 10? Did your favorite school get snubbed? Leave a comment on this post or contact ESPNLosAngeles.com preps writer Blair Angulo directly on his Twitter page.