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SBLive's California Top 25 high school football rankings: Cathedral Catholic, Poly jump up

Three teams from the preseason Top 25 drop openers, but all to other ranked teams.

At first glance, SBLive’s Top 25 in The Golden State took a little hit in Week 0 of the season, with three losses among the 17 that played.

A closer look reveals that all three losses were to other ranked teams, and all were close. So no big. 

Two teams that went down to defeat — Serra Canyon-Chatsworth and Serra-Gardena — remained in the rankings. Previous No. 20 Mater Dei Catholic, edged by San Diego rival Cathedral Catholic, dropped out, edged only by Buchanan-Clovis, which looked fantastic in a 56-3 victory over Bakersfield.

Based on its win over Mater Dei Catholic, Cathedral Catholic made the biggest leap this week — from No. 22 and to 18 — while Long Beach Poly also moved up four spots following a 49-point win 250 miles from home. 

The two teams at the very top — St. John Bosco (Texas) and Mater Dei (Nevada) will go out of state to face national powers while No. 3 Centennial has a tough tussle on the road against another California state ranked team.

SBLive's California Top 25 Football Rankings

1. St. John Bosco-Bellflower (0-0 record, No. 1 last week)
Last week: bye
Next game: Friday at Allen, Texas

Last season, Mater Dei made quite an impression in Texas, whooping up on Duncanville, 45-3. The Braves will have a tough time matching that performance. Coach Jason Negro and squad will just happy with a solid victory. 

2. Mater Dei-Santa Ana (1-0, No. 2)
Last week: Beat West-Salt Lake City, Utah 42-0
Next game: Friday at at Bishop Gorman-Las Vegas

The Monarchs heated up for its national Game of the Week against Gorman with a lopsided home win over West. Elijah Brown was his reliable/effecient/spectacular self completing 19 of 25 for 288 yards and five touchdowns, two to Marcus Brown.

Elijah Brown

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown

3. Centennial-Corona (1-0, No. 3)
Last week: Beat Santiago-Corona 85-0
Next game: Friday at Cathedral Catholic-San Diego

Sort of auspicious debut for Huskies, who led 71-0 at halftime and took the foot off the gas. Four different Centennial quarterbacks threw passes. Big step up in competition against No. 18 and defending state champion Cathedral Catholic, coming off big win over Mater Dei Catholic, another 2021 state champ.

4. Mission Viejo (1-0, No. 4)
Last week:
Next game: Friday vs. Servite

The Diablos have split their last six games with Servite dating back to 2004. They hope to turn around a 44-7 loss to Servite last season which broke a three-game Mission Viejo win streak in the series.

5. Los Alamitos (1-0, No. 6)
Last week: Beat Garces Memorial-Bakersfield 41-0
Next game: Aug. 27 at American Heritage, Plantation, Fla.

USC-bound quarterback Malachi Nelson made an impressive senior season debut, completing 22 of 29 for 418 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half. He completed 16 of his first 17 passes. American Heritage, always one of the top programs in Southern Florida, opened with a 38-20 win over Lowndes (Ga.).

6. Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita (1-0, No. 5)
Last week: Beat San Juan Hills 15-6
Next game: Friday vs. Norco

Linebackers Jacob Bower had 16 tackles and Noah Sulick added 10, four behind the line of scrimmage, in the defensive win over San Juan Hills. Norco, playing in its opener, averaged 40 points per game last season.

7. Serra-San Mateo (0-0, No. 7)
Last week: bye
Next game: Friday at Folsom

The Padres, who represented Northern California in the CIF Open Division game last season, get a major test against Folsom, a team they’ve never faced. Talented junior quarterback Maealiuaki Smith makes his first start.

8. Folsom (1-0, No. 8)
Last week: Beat Monterey Trail-Elk Grove 47-18
Game coverage: Here and here
Next game: Friday vs. Serra-San Mateo

It was a definitely good news, horrible news situation last week as the Bulldogs were big winners against a quality opponent, but lost Stanford-bound tight end Walker Lyons for the season with a leg injury. Austin Mack, a 6-6 senior quarterback, had five touchdown passes and Rico Flores Jr. and Onterrio Smith Jr. each caught two of them.

9. De La Salle-Concord (0-0, No. 9)
Last week: bye
Next game: Friday at Monterey Trail-Elk Grove

Coach Justin Alumbaugh wasn’t terribly pleased with his team’s scrimmage last week versus Pittsburg, El Cerrito and Jesuit-Carmichael, but there were no major injuries. And star running back Charles Green (Fresno State) had only a few carries. The Spartans beat Monterey Trail last season 68-6.

10. Orange Lutheran (1-0, No. 12)
Last week: Beat Serra-Gardena 27-26
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday. at Upland

Jumped two spots after thrilling and unlikely comeback win over Serra after trailing 20-3. Sophomore QB TJ. Lateef overcame some early jitters to throw for 228 yards, including a 6-yard, fourth down TD pass to Rex Barrera for the game-winner late.

Orange Lutheran's JoJo Edwards. Photo: Heston Quan

Orange Lutheran's JoJo Edwards. Photo: Heston Quan

11. Pittsburg (0-0, No. 13)
Last week: bye
Next game: Friday vs. Bethel-Vallejo

The Pirates looked impressive in a four-way scrimmage that included De La Salle on Friday. All eyes this season will be on 5-star quarterback Jaden Rashada as he settles in with his talented core of receivers, that includes Washington-bound Rashid Williams.

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12. Long Beach Poly (11-4, No. 16)
Last week: Beat Clovis 56-7
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday vs. Serra-Gardena

The Jackrabbits were dominant at the line of scrimmage, especially defensively. They gave up negative rushing yards to Clovis. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Darius Curry was terrific, throwing for 358 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers. Serra will present another gear of competition.

Long Beach Poly QB Darius Curry Friday in win at Clovis. Photo: Bobby Madellin

Long Beach Poly QB Darius Curry Friday in win at Clovis. Photo: Bobby Madellin

13. Bishop Amat-La Puente (1-0, No. 15)
Last week: Beat Valencia 29-6
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday at La Habra

The Lancers gave up just 21 rushing yards on 27 carries in last week’s win. They also got three touchdowns from Delano Franklin — two catches and one on the ground — in the impressive win. La Habra opened with a 21-14 loss to Upland.

14. JSerra Catholic-San Juan Capistrano (1-0, No. 17)
Last week: Beat Sierra Canyon 31-17
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday at Chaminade

It was a signature win for the Lions, who lost to Sierra Canyon 40-14 in last year’s opener. JSerra scored 24 unanswered points to win going away. The Lions now get a Chaminade squad that knocked off Oaks Christian 24-17 last week.

15. Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth (7-5, No. 10)
Last week: Lost to JSerra Catholic 31-17
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Aug. 26 vs. Oaks Christian

The Trailblazers seemed to run out of steam after taking a 17-7 halftime lead against JSerra. They need a big bounce back win against an Oaks Christian team that dropped a 24-17 opener to Chaminade.

16. Serra-Gardena (0-1, No. 11)
Last week: Lost to Orange Lutheran 27-26
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Aug. 26 at Long Beach Poly

The defending state 1-A champions squandered a 20-3 lead and wasted a pick 6 on the first play of the game by Rodrick Pleasant in a stunning opening-night loss. Serra will need to rebound quickly against a loaded Poly team that opened with a lopsided win in the Central Valley.

17. Carlsbad (0-0, No. 18)
Last week: bye
Next game: Friday at Mater Dei Catholic

The season debut of junior quarterback Julian Sayin is highly anticipated. He’ll see a team no doubt stinging from an opening-day defeat.

18. Cathedral Catholic (1-0, No. 22)
Last week: Beat Mater Dei Catholic 28-14
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday vs. Centennial-Corona

As much as the defending state 1-AA champions would love its victory over Mater Dei Catholic, they must now prepare for a big test vs. the No. 13 team in the country. Sean Kagen had 17 tackles and two sacks in the win over Mater Dei Catholic.

19. Norco (0-0, No. 14)
Last week: bye
Next game: Friday at Santa Margarita

First-year starting quarterback Tyler Dudden will have his hands full with a very tough Santa Margarita defense. He has plenty of weapons including UCLA-bound receiver Grant Gray and superb running backs Kalani Kaleiwahea and Asaiah Ayers.

20. Simi Valley (1-0, No. 19)
Last week: Beat Ventura 49-3
Next game: Friday at Knight-Palmdale

Sophomore quarterback Steele Pizzella accounted for four touchdowns and Caleb Alvary caught two TD passes and rushed for another as Simi overcame a slow opening-game start. Knight had a Week 0 bye.

21. Saint Francis-Mountain View (0-0, No. 21)
Last week: bye
Next gamer: Friday vs. Central Catholic-Modesto

The Lancers play an opponent with not even 400 enrollment but constantly beats up on bigger foes. Central Catholic has won four CIF state small-school titles. St. Francis should be in good shape with senior QB Matthew Doughert.

22. Inglewood (1-0, No. 23)
Last week: Beat St. Bonaventure 41-34
Next game: Friday at Foothill (Henderson, Nev.)

The Sentinels gave up four touchdowns passes, 236 rushing yards to Delon Thompson and trailed by 13 points at halftime, yet prevailed thanks largely to sophomore quarterback Husan Longstreet.

23. Edison-Huntington Beach (1-0, No. 24)
Last week: Beat Venice-Los Angeles 48-13
Next game: Friday vs. Leuzinger

Three-star quarterback Parker Awad made quite a senior season debut completing 15 of 17 for 289 yards and four touchdowns in the lopsided win over Venice. Edison gets a Leuzinger squad that had a Week 0 bye.

24. Liberty-Bakersfield (1-0, No. 25)
Last week: Beat Spanish Springs-Spears (Nev.) 58-17
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday vs. Ridgeview

The Patriots struggled early but breezed past Spanish Springs by scoring 27 unanswered points in the second half keyed by two punt returns for touchdowns by Christian Kizzi. Ridgeview lost its opener to Clovis West 42-0.

25. Buchanan-Clovis (1-0, NR)
Last week: Beat Bakersfield 56-3
Game coverage: Here
Next game: Friday vs. Escalon

In Ross Wood’s head coaching debut, Fresno State-bound quarterback Jayden Mandal threw four touchdowns to four different receivers and Michael Runnels rushed for TDs of 42 and 70 yards in an impressive opener. Escalon opened with a 43-29 win over Damonte Ranch-Reno, Nev.

On the bubble: Chaminade (1-0), Corona del Mar (1-0), Mater Dei Catholic (0-1), Warren (1-0), Central-Fresno (1-0)