The last two weeks have been stacked with countless exciting gridiron matchups between elite teams. Last week’s action was capped off with arguably the most hyped game of the year in the country, in which Mater Dei defeated St. Frances Academy (Maryland) 34-18.
This week has another slate of great action as many teams are seeing their final tests before league play begins. Here’s our countdown of the top 10 Southern Section and City Section games of the week.
10. Palos Verdes (3-1) at Culver City (3-0), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Culver City is the reigning Division 7 champion, and is a favorite to win Division 5 this year. And Palos Verdes might be the frontrunner to win Division 4. Both teams might have some playoff seeding on the line.
Palos Verdes played Corona del Mar the week before last and made a game out of it, only losing by ten points. That makes them the favorites over Culver City, who is currently unbeaten against far inferior competition. But the Centaurs certainly have a shot.
9. Rancho Cucamonga (2-2) at Westlake (1-3), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Before their recent win over St. Francis, Westlake was 0-3 against great competition. This season they’ve seen Sierra Canyon, Mission Hills, and Oxnard.
Rancho Cucamonga has losses against even better teams in Calabasas and Norco. They’re likely to win, but Westlake is better than they’ve showed so far this year.
8. Bishop Amat (3-1) at Cathedral (3-1), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Bishop Amat will get one more test in Cathedral before beginning Mission League play. Cathedral is off to an excellent start this season with wins over Banning, Carson, and Loyola. Bishop Amat should win if they take care of business, but Cathedral could push them, especially at home.
7. San Juan Hills (2-2) at Tesoro (4-0), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Unlike San Juan Hills, Tesoro hasn’t faced a team close to their own caliber yet. That said, they have handily taken care of business in every game they’ve played. San Juan Hills has already seen great competition in Orange Lutheran and Edison, both of whom they narrowly lost to.
San Juan Hills has a small edge because they almost beat two teams that might be better than Tesoro, while Tesoro hasn’t played a team nearly on San Juan Hills’ level. But especially given that this matchup is at Tesoro, it’s anybody’s game.
6. Villa Park (1-2) at Servite (2-1), Friday @ 7 p.m.
With strong aspirations of winning Division 4, Villa Park loaded up their preseason against mind-numbing competition–Mater Dei, Mission Viejo, and now Servite. Mater Dei and Mission Viejo both blew them out badly, while Servite is coming off a nice win over Cajon. Servite is the favorite here, especially at home, but Villa Park is better than their record indicates.
5. Edison (3-1) at San Clemente (4-0), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Other than Edison’s narrow loss against Orange Lutheran the week before last, these teams are unbeaten. San Clemente has wins over numerous San Diego Section playoff contenders, and Edison is coming off a win over San Juan Hills. San Clemente has a small edge, but expect a close one that could go either way.
4. Orange Lutheran (2-2) at Vista Murrieta (2-1), Friday @ 7 p.m.
This is a matchup between two evenly matched D1 squads coming off tough losses to elite competition. Orange Lutheran got stung 38-0 on Friday by Narbonne in what was by far the Gauchos’ best game yet. And Vista Murrieta was 2-0 before going up against Norco. Both teams should be hungry to bounce back in what could be a close game.
3. St. John Bosco (4-0) at Mililani, Saturday @ 6:30 p.m.
Unless their opponent is Mater Dei, St. John Bosco is the favorite in any game they could play in, period. They defeated Our Lady of Good Counsel (Maryland), one of the best teams on the East Coast, 31-8, and coach Jason Negro’s first reaction was that it was sloppy. That said, they’ll have their hands full in the Aloha State against Mililani.
The Hawaii superpowers rarely get much national attention, but Mililani might be the best team the Braves face so far this season. They’re already 6-0 and are likely one of the top 50 teams in the country. Bosco is the overwhelming favorite, but Mililani is a legitimate threat to upset them.
2. Calabasas (3-1) at JSerra (3-1), Friday @ 7:30 p.m.
Calabasas and JSerra are both off to strong starts to the season with their only losses coming in close games against great teams. JSerra lost two weeks ago to New Jersey powerhouse St. Joseph Regional, and Calabasas lost last week in double-overtime to Serra (Gardena). They should be right in the same elite echelon, and this has the makings of a memorable game.
1. Serra (3-0) at Narbonne (3-1), Friday @ 7 p.m.
After a demoralizing loss two weeks ago against Lone Peak (Utah), Narbonne is officially in midseason form. They defeated St. Paul 56-19 a week ago, and on Friday they dominated Orange Lutheran 38-0 in a statement victory.
Gardena Serra is undefeated this season with victories over Garfield, Calabasas, and Long Beach Poly. Narbonne is on a shortlist of best teams in the country when they bring their A-game. But Calabasas is better than any team Narbonne has defeated so far this year.
Narbonne gets a small edge because of how dominant they were against OLu, and because they’re hosting. But this matchup between two elite teams is completely up for grabs.