The sixth week of the season in Southern California high school tends to be the calm before the storm. As hundreds of teams begin league play next week, many have bye weeks.
Still, numerous Southern Section heavyweights finished the non-league game strongly this week, while others will already decide the league races in their conference starts. That includes some solid shows that don’t usually get noticed in our weekly roundup.
That said, here’s a preview of the top 10 games to watch in SoCal high school football this week (September 22-24).
SCHEDULES COMPLETE SECTION: SOUTH | THE CITY | SAN DIEGO
TOP 10 SOCIAL FOOTBALL MATCHES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:
(Games are at 7 p.m. on Fridays, unless otherwise noted.)
10. Granite Hills (El Cajon) in Madison
As many expected, Madison has been scary so far in 2022, and may be the team to beat in the San Diego Section. Through four games, all wins, he outscored opponents 158-21, averaging 39.5 points at 5.25 points allowed per game. Last year they beat Granite Hills twice, 34-14 before the league and 28-20 in the Division 1 quarterfinals. Madison could be on the brink of an undefeated season, which means every game throughout the year against a strong opponent could put that to the test.
While the Warhawks are even better this season, so are the Eagles, who are 4-1 with just a 12-point loss to Poway. They’re on a winning streak in which they’ve outscored their opponents 167-22, and they’re a sure bet for revenge. They’ll be the big underdogs again, but it could be a big game.
9. Bishop Amat in Damien
It’s time for the annual SGV Catholic Schools bragging rights battle. Many expected a close match last year before Bishop Amat cruised to a 53-28 win. Damien is still very good this year, but he’s going through some major issues right now, while the Lancers are essentially a better version of last year’s team.
We won’t rule out the Spartans giving Amat a serious run for his money, but the Lancers are big enough as favorites to keep this game low on the countdown.
8. San Clemente in the Murrieta Valley
This game has no league implications or local rivalry components, but it is a game of revenge and should be fun. San Clemente defeated Murrieta Valley 21-20 last year by blocking a field goal in its red zone on the final play of the game. This time the Tritons enter as favorites, although they are away from home. And like last year, no one is ruling out the lightweight underdogs. As always, San Clemente, which allows 10 points per game, plays at a defensive pace, while Murrieta Valley is scoring 53 points per game and wants a penalty shootout.
7. Murrieta View in Rancho Cucamonga
Like the previous game in the countdown, there is no specific angle to this match, but it should be a great game between formidable teams. Vista Murrieta is 4-0 playing average competition, but now it will be much harder to win if he faces Rancho and then the Big West – Upper Gauntlet. The Cougars (3-2), on the other hand, have been tested essentially every week but have lost two of their last three by two scores to Norco and JSerra. Rancho likely has a small lead here, but this should be a draw between two teams hungry to win their non-league finals.
6. Jordan at Millikan
With a core that included many freshmen, Jordan raced to the CIFSS Division 11 finals. And in 2022 he seems to have picked up where he left off, currently off to a 4-0 start with some nice wins. Could this be the year he breaks the top two in the Moore League?
The bad news for the Panthers is that Millikan blew them out 42-0 last year and they’ve gotten even better since then. At 4-1 with just a 1-point loss to Cathedral and averaging 50 points per game, the Rams are also better than they were in 2021. They’re heavy favorites to unofficially claim second place in the league this week. But keep in mind that Jordan finished last season playing much better than the team they blew out of the league, and he should have a renewed sense of confidence playing even better in 2022. It could be another loss, but don’t write this down. far from being one of the best games of the week.
5. Citrus Valley in Ayala
Talk about a couple of wild weeks for these two teams. Citrus Valley entered the season ready to make a leap in 2022 after some very good years, but Oak Hills avenged last season’s 2-point CV victory with a 40-20 victory on September 9. And the Blackhawks responded the following week with the biggest breakthrough win win, a 43-20 loss to Norco.
As for Ayala, all of his wins this season have been lopsided or as close as you can get, with no middle ground. After a hard-fought win against Leuzinger on September 1, they stomped on previously undefeated Monrovia 41-0, then nearly got stunned by rival Chino Hills last week but held on at the last minute for a wild 20-19 win. This game looks like a total mess, and should serve as a marquee win for whoever gets the dub out.
4. Pacifica (Oxnard) in Ventura
2022 should bring the best Channel League run in years, and the Tritons are one of the few teams with a case for becoming favourites. Especially after beating Santa Barbara on September 2. They will certainly be the favorites this week, but don’t count out Ventura, who almost beat Santa Barbara last week and also has a league win over Oxnard.
3. Mesa River in Santa Barbara
Speaking of the Dons, they remain contenders for the league title after beating Ventura last week, though they’ll need someone to beat Pacifica for a shot at first place. They’ll have their hands full again this week as their match against Rio Mesa, who beat them 17-14 last fall, should be a standout.
Both teams are likely to be better than they were a year ago. And the Spartans, who had 47 points over nonleague rival Camarillo after narrowly losing to Saugus in their season opener, are probably aware that this is their best shot at a league title since their 12-year campaign. 1 in 2017.
2. Newbury Park in Thousand Oaks
The Channel League isn’t the only major league in Ventura County poised for an exciting 2022: The new Canyon League is poised for a big conference roster, with numerous teams that have serious shots at winning a league title. It can’t be conclusively argued that one team is the favourite, but Newbury and TO are firmly planted in the mix. Add in the fact that these rivals from across town are undefeated and you have the potential game of the week.
1. West Ranch in Saugus
Another league set for its best title run in years? The Foothill League, where West Ranch and Saugus are off to a brilliant start.
While it has been in competition several times in recent years, West Ranch hasn’t won a league title since joining the Foothill League in 2007. In fact, the Wildcats have had far more finishes in the bottom two than they have in the top three at the time. 2022 could be the year, as they’re off to a tremendous 5-0 start, and we’ll find out this week. They finally broke into the top two last year but were crushed 42-8 by Saugus, who is playing great football once again this fall in search of a hat-trick.
After beating Simi Valley and Valencia in the last two weeks, the Centurions can make more noise and end their run for the league title exceptionally early in the season on Friday. But it won’t be easy against a West Ranch team that outscored opponents 246-48 in five games.
MORE GAMES TO WATCH:
In any given week of California high school football, there are dozens of great games to watch among the top shows. Here are some other exciting SoCal matchups happening this week:
Drawer in Etiwanda
Leuzinger vs. Mission Viejo (at El Camino College)
Napkin in Helix
Dymally in San Pedro
Liberty (Bakersfield) in Carlsbad
Capistrano Valley in Cypress
Culver City in La Serna
Germany in Lawndale
Mount Carmel at Rancho Buena Vista
Loyola at Oaks Christian
Paraclete in Roosevelt (Eastvale)
Brentwood School in the Palisades
Advance in Upland
The Bull in Treasure
Lincoln (San Diego) at Garces Memorial
The Modena in San Juan Hills
Charter Oak in West Covina
Colony in Jurupa Hills
La Jolla at Point Loma
Canyon (Anaheim) at Brea Olinda
Mater Dei Catholic vs. St. Augustine (at Mesa College)
Pomona at Eagle Rock
Bishop at University City
Paloma Valley in Orange Vista
Banning (Wilmington) at Pacifica (Garden Grove)
South Gate at Garfield
Oak Park at Moorpark
Roosevelt (LA) in the Southeast
Venice at Paramount
Cleveland at Carson
Dominguez in Narbonne
Gardena at King/Drew
Crenshaw in Franklin (LA)
Camarillo in Royal