Video: National Top 15 Games of the Week
Two California games featured among nation's elite.
Now it starts to get interesting.
Just about all the mismatches are out of the way in the CIF football playoffs, and most sections are competing in the semifinal round. Only section champions then move on to the CIF State Bowl Game championships.
The Southern Section Division I is one of the toughest in the land, and Friday's semifinals proves it as all four teams are rankings among the nation's Top 30 teams, including No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) and No. 2 St. John Bosco (Bellflower).
Mater Dei, which hasn't had to go down to the wire with any opponent — and the Monarchs have played one of the nation's toughest schedules — travel to 11-0 Mission Viejo, which brings in a rugged defense that has allowed just a touchdown or less in six games.
The bigger marquee matchup that figures to be very close is fourth-ranked Centennial (Corona) at No. 2 St. John Bosco. These teams have played some classic games over the years, including the 2015 Division I final, a 62-52 Centennial win at Angel Stadium.
MaxPreps California Top 5 high school football Games of the Week
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Centennial was the only new team to join the national Top 25 last week
and the Huskies face a big-time test in the CIF Southern Section Division 1
semifinals. The Braves have made it to the section championship six
consecutive years and are one win away from making it seven straight.
This will be the first meeting between the two since 2017 when St. John
Bosco won 62-34 to advance to the section championship game. The Braves
have won three of the previous five including two in a row. Centennial appears to be peaking at the right time, proven by a 56-0 quarterfinal win over JSerra Catholic last week. Expect lots of points.
Friday, 7 p.m.
teams enter the Southern Section Division 1 semifinal at 11-0. Mater Dei is led by Alabama
commit Young, a 5-star quarterback who has accounted for more than 4,000
yards with 56 touchdowns. He's completed 73 percent of
his passes. The Diablos are 2-0 against Trinity League opponents in 2019
but face its biggest test of the year. They escaped with a 38-35 win over Servite (Anaheim) last week.
7 p.m. Friday
The first meeting between the two Southern Section Division 3 powers should be a lot of fun, as both feature high-powered offenses. Corona del Mar is led by Garbers, who has thrown for 3,997 yards — fourth in the state — and 58 touchdowns (tied for second). Stanford-bound Humphreys is having an All-American season with 78 catches for 1,544 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Sea Kings (12-0) average 45 points and 457 yards per game. Alemany (9-2), coached by former Tennessee and NFL Europe quarterback Casey Clausen, averages 459 yards per game, and is led by junior quarterback Moss (2,628 passing yards, 26 touchdowns).
7 p.m. Friday
In a Southern Section D3 semifinal final, this is another first-time meeting between the two teams that should also be a high-scoring affair. Rancho Cucamonga (9-3) is led by senior quarterback Stroud, who has completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,566 yards and 46 touchdowns. Last week in a 21-7 win over Long Beach Poly, the Cougars proved they could still win without a big game from Stroud, who threw for a season-low 108 yards. He's thrown for more than 300 yards five times this season, including a season-high 418 in a 46-14 win over Damien. Sierra Canyon (11-1) is trying to get back to the state-title game — it lost last year in the state D1-A finals — and with the ever-improving Peery (2,571 passing yards, 16 TDs, 1 interception) at QB, the Trailblazers are in good shape. Behind the big rush of Caden Harman
and Zach Thannum
, who have recorded 12 sacks each, Sierra Canyon puts great pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
7 p.m. Friday
Yet another first-time matchup should be tight all the way in this Southern Section Division III semifinals. Phillips is considered one of the top cornerbacks in the country for the 10-2 Highlanders. He's ranked the 32nd top senior in the country by 247Sports, the No. 4 cornerback, and already committed to Ohio State. The Lancers (11-1) don't figure to put the ball much in the air. Zele has thrown just 180 times with 100 completions for just under 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns. Grace Brethren relies heavily on their running game led by Stokes (1,152 yards, 16 touchdowns) and Henderson (1,086 yards, 23 touchdowns). The Lancers average 407 yards per game, 256 of it coming on the ground.