Here are our Top 10 Southern Section high school football games to watch in Week 8:
10. Rancho Cucamonga at Damien, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Damien is easy to overlook at 3-4. They’ve had some extremely close losses, including St. Francis in overtime and last week by three points to Chino Hills, and have played great teams like Glendora and Upland.
Rancho Cucamonga has been on a roll for a month now, and played arguably their best game of the season last year in a bad blowout of Etiwanda. If they stay hot, they should beat Damien with room to spare. But if they’re due for an off night, Damien could put their league title aspirations to rest in a hurry.
9. St. John Bosco at Orange Lutheran (at Orange Coast College), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Orange Lutheran has picked up nice wins in two of their last three games against Vista Murrieta and Santa Margarita. This season, they’ve already gotten beaten badly by Mater Dei, Corona Centennial, and Narbonne–three of the best teams in the country–so they will be sure to leave it all out there against Bosco. And against everyone else they’ve played, they’ve taken care of business. Right now they’re fighting for good D-2 positioning.
St. John Bosco was good but not perfect two weeks ago when they nearly lost to Servite. They had one of their best wins all year last week against JSerra. They’re likely to win and perhaps in lopsided fashion, but they can’t sleep on the Lancers.
8. San Pedro vs. Sierra Canyon (at Pierce College), Friday @ 7 p.m.
If Narbonne is actually disqualified for the City Section playoffs, San Pedro might be the favorite to win it all. The Pirates have been phenomenal all year, blowing out all six foes they’ve faced other than of course Bonne.
Sierra Canyon is 6-1 as well, with their only loss coming to Oaks Christian back when Oaks was still close to top form. Their resume includes even better wins, such as Lawndale, Westlake, Valencia, and St. Paul. But an upset isn’t out of the question, and if San Pedro knocks off Sierra Canyon, the entire City Section will be in even more trouble.
7. Bishop Amat at Serra (Gardena), Friday @ 7 p.m.
It’s been rough for Serra since both quarterbacks, Doug Brumfield and Maalik Murphy, got injured – especially since their best player, LV Bunkley, is a wide receiver. They had very legitimate aspirations to win the Mission League coming into the regular season, and this isn’t their first season in recent history that was devastated by key injuries at the worst times.
That said, they’re still an outstanding team, and have no reason to roll over to Bishop Amat. The Lancers quickly made themselves the heavy favorites to repeat as Mission League champs through two weeks. A win at Serra will nearly seal it, but it won’t come easy. If Serra gets healthy, they can beat nearly anyone out there.
6. St. Bonaventure at Oaks Christian, Saturday @ 4 p.m.
The Seraphs have played two 34-7 games in a row–a win against Newbury Park, and a loss to Westlake. QB Gavin Beerup and St. Bonaventure will hope that Oaks Christian, who also beat Newbur Park last week, doesn’t bring their A-game. This season hasn’t gone as planned for the Lions, but a lot of that has to do with injuries to two of their best players in QB Jameson Wang and LB Mister Williams.
If Oaks Christian puts together four great quarters of football, they will win. But they’ve lacked consistency all season, and are at risk of falling to 3-5.
5. Loyola at Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Both of these teams have beaten Serra in similar fashion since Mission League play started, and Loyola is peaking at the right time. Notre Dame started off league play with a puzzling 35-14 loss to Chaminade after outstanding preseason. If momentum stays with Loyola and they pull off the upset, they could be on track for a Cinderella season in league play. Notre Dame can still win league, but has to be perfect from here on out with Bishop Amat and Alemany looming.
4. Temecula Valley at Vista Murrieta, Friday @ 7 p.m.
While they lost to Murrieta Valley last week, Temecula Valley did so in impressive enough fashion to throw itself out there as a contender in the strong, messy Southwestern League.
They couldn’t pull out the win, but they only lost 51-49 against one of the best teams in the league. Murrieta Valley narrowly lost to Chaparral Chaparral who lost to Vista Murrieta. So if Temecula Valley can upset Vista Murrieta, which isn’t likely but is far from impossible, the Golden Bears could potentially sneak off with a league title. Either way, this has the makings of a great game.
3. Alemany at Chaminade, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Alemany and Chaminade have both been defeated in well-contested games by Bishop Amat. Chaminade had a rough preseason, but has peaked at the perfect time and opened league play with a statement victory over Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks). Alemany is still one of the strongest teams in the Mission League despite their devastating loss against Amat by one point to open the season.
2. Norco at Corona Centennial, Friday @ 7 p.m.
The Inland Empire game of the year has arrived. If not for a disappointing loss to Rancho Verde a couple weeks ago, Norco would be looked at as a major upset threat to knock Centennial off. They certainly have the offensive firepower to do so, with QB Shane Illingworth, RB Fernando Chairez, Jaden Navarrette and Marquis Ashley at receiver, and an excellent offensive line. But their defense hasn’t been quite as good as hoped this year. When they defend as well as they can, they can beat just about anybody.
And everyone knows what Centennial can do year in and year out. If they win this game, they have a solid shot at getting the third seed in the D-1 playoffs.
1. JSerra at Servite (at Orange Coast College), Thursday @ 7:30 p.m.
The Trinity League has been getting a lot of love in these countdowns lately for good reason, and this won’t be the last week of Trinity League games at number one. Servite put everyone on notice after nearly knocking off St. John Bosco two weeks ago, but didn’t put up nearly as strong of an effort last week against Mater Dei.
These two teams are running against each other for status as third dog in the league, and also for Division 1 playoff positioning. JSerra was flat last week as well against St. John Bosco, but this is one of the heavyweight matchups of the year. It’s anybody’s game.
Redondo Union at Palos Verdes, Friday @ 3 p.m.
Newbury Park at Calabasas, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Capistrano Valley at San Clemente, Friday @ 7 p.m.
La Habra at Sunny Park (at Buena Park), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Etiwanda at Upland, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Camarillo vs. Moorpark (at Moorpark College), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Murrieta Mesa at Chaparral, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Paramount at Warren, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Paraclete vs. Bishop Diego (at Santa Barbara City College), Friday @ 7:30 p.m.
Ventura at Pacifica, Friday @ 7 p.m.
Summit vs. Kaiser (at A.B. Miller), Friday @ 7 p.m.
Carter at Citrus Valley, Friday @ 7 p.m.