If there was ever a time you needed a body double, it's this week. Three highly ranked teams hit the road and two others seek upsets, making for a juicy slate of games that could shake up the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings. Long Beach Poly needs to keep the score close at Mission Viejo, for morale's sake; a Carson win against Santa Margarita would send shock waves across the Southland; St. John Bosco plays Loyola in preparation for the grueling Trinity League. If only there was some sort of body-double machine.
As part of our running feature, here are this week's five must-see games involving teams from south Los Angeles County, in no particular order:
No. 2 Long Beach Poly at No. 4 Mission Viejo, Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- The Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits (3-0) have revenge on their minds after a 30-point home loss to Mission Viejo last year. It's a great opportunity for them to prove the doubters wrong. A win would suggest that Poly is an elite team once again, a serious Pac-5 Division contender and worthy of such a high ranking. A loss, at least on the surface, would temper expectations. 'Rabbits senior quarterback Chaiyse Hales has already thrown five interceptions this season. He will have to make smart decisions with the football for them to have a good chance.
No. 11 Bishop Amat at Damien, Friday, 7 p.m. -- With Bishop Amat senior Zachary Shay (concussion) sidelined, human demolition ball Jalen Moore carried a heavier load and exploded for 303 yards rushing and five touchdowns. It was a great sign for the Lancers (2-1), particularly because the senior didn't have his finest performance a week prior against Servite's physical defense. The Damien Spartans (2-0) are inspired and could present several challenges behind a Jalen of their own, running back Jalen Castille (101 rushing yards and two TDs last week).
No. 3 Santa Margarita at No. 12 Carson, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Before the season, Carson Colts coach Elijah Asante wanted his team to be noticed for the right reasons, not for scheduling difficult teams (as Asante did) but for being a tough test for other teams. "People are giving the teams we'll play more credit than they're giving us," Asante said then. This week's matchup might be the prime example of what he was talking about. The Colts (1-1) are the underdogs but coming off an extra week of rest, preparation and motivation. Buckle your seat belts, folks.
No. 9 St. John Bosco vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Cal-bound receiver Bryce Treggs curiously tweeted, "I wonder what it says about me in loyola's scouting report." Well, the Loyola Cubs' report most likely reads: "Contain No. 3!!!" But with that being said, St. John Bosco's spread offense puts Loyola in a tough predicament. Focusing entirely on Treggs could backfire, with Rene Medina and Royce Moore leading a potent, balanced attack that has averaged nearly 38 points per game. One team will improve to 4-0, the other will drop to 3-1. If the Braves emerge victorious, you can be sure Treggs will tweet on the bus ride back to Bellflower.
No. 14 Rancho Cucamonga at Charter Oak, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Bring your best oohs and aahs because there promises to be fireworks in Covina. Two dual-threat quarterbacks will try to outdo each other -- Dimitri Morales (561 passing yards, 137 rushing, seven total touchdowns) leads the Rancho Cucamonga Cougars (3-0), who have allowed only six points in three games; Travis Santiago (798 passing yards, 228 rushing, 11 total touchdowns) has the undefeated Charter Oak Chargers (3-0) seeking respect and thinking upset.
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.