Here's a look at some of the top games of the week involving Orange County teams.
No. 7 Bishop Amat (1-0) vs. No. 1 Servite (1-0) at Cerritos College, Friday, 7 p.m.
After scraping past Garfield by the rather humbling score of 14-0—although star quarterback Rio Ruiz didn't play—Bishop Amat faces the two-time defending Pac-5 champion. The Lancers will need to be at full strength to compete with Servite, which shut out the state's No. 11 team last week, 20-0. Servite has gone 27 games since losing to a Southland team: Is this the weekend? Not if the defense, led by Butch Pauu, has anything to say about it.
No. 3 Mission Viejo (1-0) at Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep (0-0), Saturday, 4 p.m. PST
This is a big game, yet means very little as far as the Southern Section is concerned. It's an East vs. West meeting among programs that are national powers. Don Bosco Prep is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, and will be playing at home against a potent offense led by Alex Bridgford and Jahleel Pinner. Bridgford passed for four touchdowns last week in an easy victory over Bakersfield Centennial, but Mission wasn't happy with its overall performance. It can't make mistakes against a team that provides no margin for error. And no matter what, they can't afford to turn the ball over. If there's one advantage that's in the Diablos' favor, it's that they've already got a game in the books. That might be the difference. The game can be viewed on Cox3 in South Orange County.
No. 24 Tesoro (1-0) vs. No. 6 Santa Margarita (1-0) at Saddleback College, Friday, 7 p.m.
If you plan on buying a ticket at the gate, don't bother -- the game is sold out. Billed as the second annual Rumble at the Ranch involving two teams that are under the Rancho Santa Margarita sphere of influence—Tesoro is in the unincorporated area of Las Flores just outside RSM—this game may be a classic. Santa Margarita was on its way to victory last season with a 21-7 third quarter lead, but four turnovers doomed the Eagles in a 32-21 loss in their second game under Coach Harry Welch. With a full year of Welch's influence, Santa Margarita figures to be nails; the Eagles' defense sacked Long Beach Jordan nine times in a 56-0 rout. However, Brian Barnes' Tesoro program hopes to make it two in a row behind quarterback Matt Adam, running back Nate Tago, and a big offensive line that looked good last week against Newhall Hart. Though many juniors comprise the starting lineup, most were starters last season. They beat the Eagles once—can they do it again in this faceoff between public and private schools vying for the same athletes?
Newport Harbor (0-0) at Trabuco Hills (1-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.
The biggest buzz about Newport Harbor this season was the transfer of outstanding running back Buzzy Yokoyama to Mission Viejo. Under the direction of Coach Jeff Brinkley—highly respected among his Orange County peers—the Sailors always seem to come up with someone who can get the job done and find a way behind a strong offensive line. Under normal circumstances, Newport would be the favorite, but this is its season-opener while Trabuco—behind the play of quarterback Jonathan Newsom—got the first game jitters out of the way with a 28-21 victory over Capistrano Valley.
No. 25 Upland (1-0) at Tustin (1-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.
After last season's 42-21 loss to Upland—which took second in the Baseline League—one wonders how Southwest Division runner-up Tustin will fare as it plays up in class. Upland is a good Division II team, and Tustin is a really good Division VI program. Tustin goes into the game as the underdog, but with an offense that promises to be more balanced than the past, might RB Tyler Siudzinski have enough complementary weapons to pull off an upset? It will raise eyebrows—and expectations—if they do.