As part of our running feature, here are five of this week’s must-see games involving teams from south Los Angeles County:
No. 18 St. John Bosco at La Habra, Thursday, 7 p.m. — Players usually want to forget recent failures, so the humbled St. John Bosco Braves (3-1) could benefit from their short rest following last week's loss to Loyola at L.A. Valley College. A likely bullet point in Braves coach Jason Negro's motivational speech: La Habra (2-2) has already given a pair of Trinity League teams -- Servite and Orange Lutheran -- all they could handle.
No. 3 Mission Viejo at No. 22 Carson, Friday, 7:30 p.m. — For those not keeping tally, the Carson Colts (1-2) meet a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive week. Nationally-ranked Mission Viejo promises to be the toughest test yet. Sure, Carson is in danger of losing its third straight, but how could other City Section teams not admire the ambition? Quarterback Kevin McMahon has to find USC-bound receiver Darreus Rogers often.
No. 15 Loyola at No. 21 Upland, Friday, 7 p.m. — Until last Friday, the Loyola Cubs (4-0) were solid candidates for most improved. But, after what coach Mike Christensen's bunch did to St. John Bosco, consider that an understatement. Boise State-bound Chaz Anderson, a difference maker on both sides of the ball, has the Cubs believing in Serra League glory following a poor 3-7 mark in 2010. They can accumulate more believers by winning at Upland (4-0).
Serra at Narbonne, Friday, 7 p.m. — As the games go by, Serra sophomore Jalen Greene's passing numbers keep getting better -- from 91 yards to 175 to 180 -- despite the absence of top playmaker Raymond Ford (ankle). The progression at key positions is important for Serra (3-1). The Narbonne Gauchos (1-2) will be plenty motivated after coming up just short the last two weeks at Long Beach Poly and Tesoro.
Arcadia at Muir, 7 p.m. — Clearly, schedule makers had no intention of saving the best for last. This Pacific League opener promises to have the intensity of a title game. The Muir Mustangs (2-1) look to bounce back after being overwhelmed by Rancho Cucamonga last week; the Arcadia Apaches (2-1) hope to capitalize on another opportunity after knocking off rival and defending Mid-Valley Division champ Monrovia two weeks ago.
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.