We’re already down to the last three weeks of the California regular season if you can believe it. And the ninth week of games has no shortage of high-powered league battles, including rivalry matches and conference championship contests.
Since the first week of games each season is known as “Week Zero”, we are now onto Week Eight. Here’s a look at the Top 10 Southern California high school football games to watch this week (Oct. 14-16).
TOP 10 SOCAL FOOTBALL GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK
(All games are on Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise.)
10. Liberty (Bakersfield) @ Frontier – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
With so much parity in the Southwest Yosemite League, any number of championship scenarios could play out over the next three weeks. But there’s a good chance that this battle will prove to be the title match. The Patriots (5-2) come in the favorite with big wins including Garces Memorial and Bakersfield Centennial, and they also played both Clayton Valley Charter and Bishop Diego down to the wire. But Frontier also has five solid wins, and has only lost narrowly against Tulare Western. The Titans have their work cut out for them, especially on the road, but aren’t the underdogs by that much.
9. Villa Park @ El Modena
It’s time for conference play in what should be the most exciting Crestview League race in at least a few years. El Modena is 2-7 in league play since joining the league in 2018, and also lost against Foothill in 2019 when Foothill was in the North Hills League. But this could be the Vanguards’ year. While they’re still the clear underdog of the group, El Modena has been so impressive in its 6-1 start that no one should count them out from pulling off a cinderella run. The bad news for the Vanguards: the other three teams are a combined 20-1, and VP (6-1) has wins including Orange, Upland, Valencia (Valencia), and Jurupa Hills, with a sole loss coming against Vista Murrieta. Villa Park did what it did in non-league play to be prepared for this part of the season, and is arguably the frontrunner to pull it out. Still, if they don’t bring their A-game on Friday, El Modena could be in for its biggest win in years.
8. Beaumont @ Cajon
Coming off wins against Citrus Valley and Yucaipa, Cajon certainly must be able to see the finish line ahead in terms of pulling off an undefeated regular season. The Cowboys can already effectively claim a league title if they beat Beaumont this week, and have other impressive wins including Lawndale and Rancho Cucamonga. Beaumont is 6-1 in its own right though, with only a close loss to San Jacinto against them. The Cougars are a major underdog to rain on Cajon’s parade this week, but not by so much that it’s not a huge game. And should they pull it off, a Citrus Belt League title is theirs.
7. Mission Hills @ Torrey Pines – Friday at 7:15 p.m.
As both of these teams have already lost narrowly against Carlsbad, first place in the Avocado League has already been claimed, but its silver medal is still quite attractive. Both squads are clearly Division 1 contenders on the borderline of the Open Division in the San Diego Section, and there’s really nothing to split between them. While that’s not as exciting as a title match, it’s still a case of two equally strong squads going for second place in what should be a great game.
6. Alta Loma @ Ayala
Before the season, it looked like Ayala might coast through the Mountain West League as it did in the spring. But the other three teams in the conference – Alta Loma, Bonita, and Charter Oak – have all had outstanding starts to the season. Throw in the fact that the Bulldogs just took their first loss since 2019, and it appears that they can’t count on pulling out the title without getting tested. Alta Loma is the biggest underdog of those three teams, and there’s a solid chance that Ayala will give the Braves a decisive beating. But especially with Ayala potentially vulnerable, Alta Loma is good enough to make this one very interesting.
5. Yorba Linda @ Foothill
Returning to the Crestview League, you already heard the rundown in No. 9. Yorba Linda and Foothill are hardly behind Villa Park at all in the projected pecking order, and both could very well sweep the conference if they continue playing great ball. That’s what the Knights did in 2019 to complete an undefeated regular season, and they’re unbeaten again this time. Yorba Linda is too though, and seems to get better every time out there. Get your popcorn for what could very well end up being the best game of the week in SoCal.
4. Sierra Canyon @ Saguaro (AZ)
Having leapt well into Arizona’s statewide top 10, Saguaro is 4-1 with only a one-point loss against Chaparral (Scottsdale) as a knock against them. That makes the Sabercats a perfect opponent for a Sierra Canyon team that is unquestionably among California’s elites, but likely a little frustrated with its 4-3 start. Despite being a road team against a formidable foe from another state, expect a sense of urgency for the Trailblazers. Losing to Servite, Corona Centennial, and Mission Viejo isn’t damning, but their lofty goals coming into the season make this something of a must-win game.
3. Corona del Mar @ Edison
Since both of these squads have lost against Los Al in the first two weeks of Sunset League play, this is another game on the countdown that tops out as a silver medal match. But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the top game of the week in California, as their battle last season – which was also for second, not first – was probably the spring season’s game of the year. Edison pulled that one out in five overtimes, and is favored to beat CdM this time around a little more convincingly. Still, Corona del Mar has all sorts of recent pedigree to point to, and knows what an undertaking it would be to knock off the Chargers. Even as a slight dark horse, the Sea Kings are surely looking at this as an opportunity for their best win of the year – and sweet revenge.
2. Bishop Amat @ Alemany
As is often the case, the Mission League championship picture won’t become too clear until the last week or two of the season. This game may or may not eventually prove to be the title match. Last season, first place was split into thirds thanks to some drama in the last week of the season. Alemany was one of the teams with a slice of the pie, but the Lancers were not, and Bishop Amat looks to retake the throne it claimed in 2018 and 2019 on the heels of a great 5-2 start. This season has had years in the making for the Warriors though, to be the one where they stand atop the Mission League en-route to a division title. While winning or losing this game doesn’t guarantee any particular finish, we’ll find out on Friday which one of these teams will have to settle.
1. Corona Centennial @ Norco – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
You’ve probably already heard, but Norco snapped Cen10’s 57-game winning streak in the Big VIII League this past spring, a run that dated back to 2009. And Norco came into that match as a bigger underdog than it has in a good few of their recent battles. The Cougars, once again an underdog despite being formidable themselves, know that Centennial is about to come in as hungrier as one will ever see them in the regular season. And as usual, the Huskies are ranked well inside the top 50 in the country, and can lock up a home game in the first round of the CIFSS Division 1 playoffs with a win against Norco. SBLive will be with you live at the battle for the Inland Empire, and one of California’s top rivalry games all year.
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:
Santa Margarita @ Mater Dei
Bakersfield @ Garces Memorial
Bakersfield Centennial @ Stockdale
St. Joseph (Santa Maria) @ Nipomo
Scripps Ranch @ El Cajon Christian
Rancho Bernardo @ Mt. Carmel
St. Augustine @ Cathedral Catholic
Rancho Cucamonga @ Upland
JSerra @ Servite
St. John Bosco @ Orange Lutheran
San Pasqual @ Ramona
Mission Viejo @ Tesoro
San Juan Hills @ San Clemente
Serra (Gardena) @ Cathedral
Carlsbad @ Oceanside
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) @ Chaminade
Point Loma @ Mira Mesa
Loyola @ Crespi
Yucaipa @ Citrus Valley
Chino Hills @ Etiwanda
Dominguez @ Downey
Saugus @ Golden Valley (Santa Clarita)
Steele Canyon @ Helix
Damien @ Aquinas
Cypress @ Pacifica (Garden Grove)
St. Francis @ St. Paul
Oaks Christian @ Westlake
San Marcos @ El Camino (Oceanside)
Charter Oak @ Bonita
Chaparral @ Temecula Valley
Eastlake @ Mater Dei Catholic
Aliso Niguel @ Trabuco Hills
El Toro @ Capistrano Valley
Madison @ La Jolla
Sante Fe Christian @ La Jolla Country Day
Granite Hills @ Grossmont