For most polls, Mater Dei is sitting in the No. 1 spot, but the the Monarchs didn’t win the last game of the season, St. John Bosco did – so let’s have some respect for the Braves.
Mater Dei sits at No. 2 until further notice, and is likely to make a liar out of this poll when the 2017 season begins. No doubting the talent of USC-bound JT Daniels and his weapons, but Mater Dei will have its chance to manipulate this poll with its play on the field, especially on Oct. 13.
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Note: Click school name to see team preview
1. St. John Bosco (Bellfower)
Defending CIF State Open Division champions, returning dual-threat QB Re-al Mitchell, and loaded with NCAA DI athletes at every position – some don’t even start. The Braves will garner national attention and television time this fall. Along with Mitchell, St. John Bosco boasts RB Demetrious Flowers, WR Josh Delgado, and safety duo Jaiden Woodbey and Stephan Blaylock.
Highlight Game: Mater Dei, Oct. 13
2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
Likely to be St. John Bosco’s biggest contender, even nationally, are the Monarchs who reside in the same backyard as the Braves. Led by junior phenom JT Daniels, who recently committed to USC in late July, Mater Dei returns 10 starters on offense. Be prepared to hear ‘Daniels to St. Brown’ a lot this season. Senior Amon-ra St. Brown is one of the most coveted wideouts in high school football.
Highlight Game: at St. John Bosco, Oct. 13
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3. Corona Centennial (Corona)
Quarterback Tanner McKee is Corona’s best weapon, also one of the best in the country. The Huskies have tallied double-digit wins for 11 consecutive seasons, and will look to continue that streak despite losing a lot of talent to graduation in 2016. Linebacker Camron Pitcher will lead the defense.
Highlight Game: Narbonne, Sept. 15 7:00 p.m.
4. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
The Jackrabbits will show off their new shiny toy, Florida-bound quarterback Matt Corral, who is touted as one of the best physical throwers in the country. Corral’s favorite target will be new transfer Jalen Hall, a wideout from Augustus Hawkins in Los Angeles, who will demand extra attention from secondaries. Coach Antonio Pierce has hard-hitting safety Aashari Crosswell and linebacker Wiley Purry to anchor the defense.
Highlight Game: Mission Viejo, Sept. 15 7:00 p.m.
5. Calabasas (Calabasas)
A talented team with a lot to prove after being bumped from Division 5 to Division 2 this season. The Coyotes have won 28 games in the past two years under coach Casey Clausen who will be working closely with the team’s biggest question mark, sophomore QB Jaden Casey. Nikko Hall, Mycah Pittman, Mykee Irving and Arizona State-bound linebacker Reggie Hughes are the playmakers for Calabasas.
Highlight Game: Valencia, Sept. 28 7:00 p.m.
6. Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo)
St. John Bosco transfer Joey Yellen will be the signal caller for the Diablos, despite not having a ton of snaps at the varsity level, however, Yellen has a talented and experienced receiving group to work with in Austin Osborne and Olaijah Griffin. Mission Viejo’s best football player is probably its most intimidating, too, Christian LaValle, a 6-foot-1 225-pound linebacker who tallied 108 tackles last season in 12 games. Coach Bob Johnson has lost just one game in the past two seasons, this program knows how to win.
Highlight Game: Long Beach Poly, Sept. 15 7:00 p.m.
7. Murrieta Valley (Murrieta)
One thing is for sure, this team can score the ball. The Nighthawks return QB Hank Bachmeier, offensive lineman Anthony Pardue, and Washington-commit wideout Marquis Spiker, which is the core of an offense that scored 704 total points in 2016. The team will compete in Division 1 this year after a championship appearance last season, the first in 26 years.
Highlight Game: Oaks Christian, Sept. 22 7:00 p.m.
8. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village)
Kayvon Thibodeaux. He’s only a junior now, but when the 2018 season comes rolling around, he’ll be all the buzz. The junior defensive end is the No. 1-ranked high school football prospect in the 2019 class by 274 Sports, and he impacts the game in many different ways. On top of Thibodeaux, Oaks Christian boasts linebacker Bo Calvert (USC), too. Athlete Zach Charbonnet is the team’s best offensive weapon, no matter where he lines up.
Highlight Game: at Chaminade, Aug. 25 7:00 p.m.
9. Narbonne (Harbor City)
The favorite to win the L.A. City Section title in 2017, Narbonne will give big time Southern Section programs problems, too. QB Jalen Chatman, a Rutgers commit, threw for almost 4,000 yards last season, while piling up 52 touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Keep an eye out for Redondo transfers Jemar Jefferson and Julian Woodard, and USC signee Raymond Scott on defense.
Highlight Game: at Corona Centennial, Sept. 15 7:00 p.m.
10. Serra (Gardena)
Serra is a team that never really has a week off. The Cavaliers are the defending Mission League champions, which isn’t easy to come by, with teams like Bishop Amat and Chaminade in the mix – even Alemany and Loyola are definitely not easy outs. Merlin Robertson is the team’s key player on the defensive interior, while junior corner Max Williams is one of the most sought out at his position in the country. Talent is there, but with such a rigorous schedule is the stamina?
Highlight Game: Long Beach Poly, Nov. 3 7:00 p.m.