Week Zero, Week One, and Week Two have already passed. Here’s a look at the Top 10 Southern California high school football games to watch this week (Sep. 9-11) in Week Three of the California season.
TOP 10 SOCAL FOOTBALL GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK
(All games are on Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise.)
10. Oak Hills @ Citrus Valley
Starting off this week’s list is an intriguing non-league battle between two underrated programs from the underrated football hotbed that is San Bernardino County. Both have nothing but blowout wins so far this season on the heels of good offense and particularly good defense, but only one of them can keep it rolling in Week 3.
9. Poway @ Torrey Pines – 7:15 p.m.
After a solidly competitive loss against Cathedral Catholic, Torrey Pines won 42-20 at Rancho Bernardo last week. The Falcons will face another test this week hosting Poway, which has put together nice wins against Eastlake and Ramona since losing a close one against Granite Hills.
8. Valencia (Valencia) @ Rancho Cucamonga
Here we have the first of numerous potential Southern Section Division 2 playoff previews on this week’s countdown. Valencia finally made its season debut last week, and put up 49 points in a resounding win against Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks). Now, 3-star QB Tyler Voss and the Vikings head east to Rancho Cucamonga to take on another team whose passing game is off to a good start. The Cougars got beaten soundly by Norco last week, but turned heads with a comeback win at Apple Valley in their season debut the week prior.
7. Helix @ Cathedral Catholic
The last time we had a normal season, these two teams were not only in a duopoly atop the section but were ranked well inside the top 50 in the country until both got hit with injuries. Helix, which still went on to win the section in 2019, comes in the major underdog here. After a tough loss the previous week, Cathedral just rattled off a 50-17 statement win against Chaminade. But this matchup is too intriguing not to make the list.
6. Orange Lutheran @ Damien
In a potential playoff preview between two projected CIFSS Division 2 contenders, the Lancers to move to 4-0 under Rod Sherman. They’ll have to pass their fourth major test in four tries to do it though, as Damien is coming off an outstanding 42-17 win against St. Francis that should have a lot of playoff hopefuls on notice. The Spartans nearly beat another Angelus League power, Loyola, the week before that. OLu is the clear favorite in this one, but it could also prove to be Damien’s next eye-opening win.
5. St. Francis @ Inglewood
Speaking of St. Francis, the Golden Knights look to get back on track this week, but have to face another similarly formidable squad in doing so. They already put up 44 points in a season-opening win against Mira Costa, but their defense will be tested by 4-star Cal commit Justyn Martin and the Sentinels’ dangerous offense. Inglewood is off to a 3-0 start, including a win over St. Francis’ league foe Loyola.
4. La Costa Canyon @ Mission Hills – Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The season is young, but conference play is already starting in the ultra-competitive Avocado League. Mission Hills and La Costa Canyon are both underdog contenders to compete for a league title, but one of them will see their quest become out of reach on Friday. The Mavericks would’ve been considered a major long shot in this one a week ago, until they nearly upset San Clemente whereas Mission Hills fell 30-13 against Lincoln. The Grizzlies will still be the favorite here, but we could be in for a great game.
3. East St. Louis (IL) @ St. John Bosco
St. John Bosco vs. the top-ranked team in Illinois. Sounds like a surefire blockbuster, which it very well may prove to be. That said, the last few years have taught us that even some of the most exciting Bosco vs. out-of-state games end up being blowout wins for the Braves. For instance, they played a consensus top-20 team in the country in their season-opener – Miami Central – and the Rockets weren’t ever able to put a scare into them. But the visiting Flyers have so much talent, including 5-star WR Luther Burden, that no one should write them off from making this an epic game.
2. Serra (Gardena) @ Warren
Unless you don’t enjoy watching 5-star gunslingers face off – in which case you’re probably reading the wrong article – this one is for you. Nicholaus Iamaleava and the Bears’ underrated supporting cast are 8-0 in the calendar year 2021. They’ll be an underdog against Texas commit Maalik Murphy and Serra, who already have a win against Long Beach Poly to their name. But the Cavaliers are coming off a lopsided loss against Utah powerhouse American Fork, making this the perfect time for upstart Warren to give them its best shot.
1. Los Alamitos @ Buchanan – Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Great battles between the elites from the Southern and Central Sections are common in the state playoffs, but having a duel like this in September is a rare treat. Buchanan is the reigning Tri-Rivers Athletic Conference champion, and would’ve been the top seed in CIFCS Division 1 had there been a postseason last season. So far, the Bears have beaten Kingsburg, Bullard, and Paso Robles by a combined 108-7. However, they’ll have their hands full hosting Malachi Nelson and the absolutely loaded Griffins, who are off to a great 3-0 start but are still yet to hit peak form. As far as Southern Section vs. Central Section showdowns go in the regular season, this is as good as it gets.
MORE GAMES TO WATCH:
In any given week of California high school football, there are dozens of great games to watch between top programs. Here are some other exciting SoCal matchups happening this week:
Mater Dei @ Liberty (Henderson, NV)
Saugus @ Simi Valley
Yorba Linda @ San Juan Hills
Santa Margarita @ Nolan Catholic
Servite @ Bishop Amat
Corona Centennial @ JSerra
El Camino @ Carlsbad
Cathedral @ Loyola
Lincoln (San Diego) @ Mira Mesa
Roosevelt @ Murrieta Valley
Crespi @ Chaminade
Corona del Mar @ San Clemente
Los Osos @ Ayala
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) @ St. Bonaventure
Apple Valley @ Victor Valley
Upland @ Vista Murrieta
Alemany @ Oaks Christian
Great Oak @ Etiwanda
Edison @ Palos Verdes
Chaparral @ Santiago (Corona)
Lawndale @ Cajon
Banning (Wilmington) @ North (Torrance)
Eastlake @ Granite Hills
Glendora @ Los Altos
La Habra @ Orange
Grossmont @ Rancho Bernardo
California @ Downey
Diamond Ranch @ Temecula Valley
Paraclete @ Mira Costa
El Monte @ Alta Loma
Capistrano Valley @ Newport Harbor
San Marcos @ Oceanside
Pasadena @ Culver City
Charter Oak @ Chino Hills
El Modena @ Segerstrom
Pacifica (Oxnard) @ West Ranch
Aquinas @ Spanish Springs (NV)
Tesoro @ La Serna
St. Genevieve @ Harvard-Westlake
Steele Canyon @ St. Augustine
Scripps Ranch @ Elsinore
Madison @ Ramona
San Dimas @ Bonita
Centennial (Bakersfield) @ St. Joseph (Santa Maria)
Huntington Beach @ El Toro