No. 17 Orange Lutheran (5-1, 0-1) vs. No. 6 Santa Margarita (5-1, 0-1) at Saddleback College, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
With five viable playoff teams in the Trinity League, but only three that will advance to the Pac-5 playoffs, this game has become super important following Santa Margarita's stunning upset at the hands of Mater Dei last week. Basically, the storyline is this: One of these teams, both of which were in the ESPNLA top 10 a week ago, is going to have two league losses when the night is over -- and three losses will probably be a death blow to any playoff hopes. Santa Margarita was flat last week, and Orange Lutheran couldn't mount a consistent offense against Servite. Expect both teams to bring their best effort for this one: it's a playoff game, and both teams know it. Two outstanding dual-threat QBs will be featured, OLu's Conner Sullivan and Santa Margarita's Johnny Stanton.
No. 25 Mater Dei (3-3) at No. 19 St. John Bosco (5-1, 1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
After losing at the wire to Carson, No. 4 Corona Centennial and No. 10 San Clemente, Mater Dei has won three in a row and enters this game with a chance to make a statement. In last week's 21-14 victory over Santa Margarita, junior QB Ryan McMahon looked like he belonged, and the defense led by Ricky Ortiz had five sacks. Although the general consensus is that Bosco has more talent -- USC-bound receiver Bryce Treggs being one of its dominant weapons -- Mater Dei can contend for the victory if it matches last week's performance. Bosco still has to prove to itself that it can beat these perennial powers; that might be the Braves' biggest foe of all.
Trabuco Hills (5-2, 0-1) at Tesoro (4-2, 0-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
With San Clemente and Mission Viejo looking like the favorites in the South Coast League, this game appears to be for third place and the final playoff berth. Trabuco is led by RB Mitchell Simonsen and QB Jonathan Newsom, while Tesoro counters with Nate Tago and Matt Adam. It's an attractive matchup; the outcome could depend on who's more physical.
Newport Harbor (3-3, 1-0) at Huntington Beach (5-1, 1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
With Newport having already beaten Fountain Valley, the smart money says that this game will determine third place in the Sunset League, and that means one of the three playoff berths not taken by frontrunners Edison and Los Alamitos. It's a big game for Huntington Beach because this is supposed to be the Oilers' year; they have a lot of returners from last season and if they're ever going to make a splash, this is the time. Newport Harbor beat Corona del Mar, the only team to beat Huntington Beach, though both games were close.
Villa Park (6-0, 2-0) vs. Foothill (5-2, 3-0) at Tustin HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
Villa Park is ranked No. 1 in the Southwest Division (ahead of La Habra) and is averaging 50 points per game behind RB Nick Privitelli and QB Blair Boyce. However, Foothill is going to be the best opponent Villa Park has faced this season; five of VP's victories have come against teams with losing records. Foothill has won four in a row, including three Century League games, rotating quarterbacks Jake Dupre and Jack Gilcrest. No matter what happens, we'll definitely know a little bit more about Villa Park when this one's over. Brea Olinda is the other undefeated team in league, and it plays Esperanza -- the winning team team that is a common opponent between Villa Park and Foothill.