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Fryer: Top teams need rallies to stay unbeaten
Somebody involved with making national rankings might look at Santa Margarita 35, St. Bonaventure of Ventura 27 and conclude that Santa Margarita might be overrated if it won by only eight points.
That somebody might not understand how hard it is to beat a highly-ranked Pac-5 Division football team.
The Eagles, No. 1 in ESPN’s national rankings and No. 1 in the CIF-Southern Section’s elite Pac-5 Division, had to rally to beat St. Bonaventure, the No. 4 team in the Pac-5 poll of area coaches, at Saddleback College.
A few miles south, Tesoro had to hit the comeback trail, too, to beat Chaparral of Temecula, 17-14. Titans quarterback Matt Adam’s 41-yard heave was caught by Forrest Dunivin at the Chaparral 1. Adams carried it in on the next play.
The quarterback who had the biggest night of the season and the biggest night in county history was El Toro senior Conner Manning. He passed for an Orange County-record 600 yards, completing 44 of his 58 passes, seven of them for touchdowns.
Newport Harbor’s 28-7 victory over previously undefeated San Clemente, No. 8 in Orange County and the Pac-5 Division, looks like an upset on the surface. But San Clemente was down to its third-string quarterback. Still, in order to win, Harbor had to score against a good San Clemente defense and did so.
Mission Viejo finally played an Orange County team, after going 4-0 against non-county opponents. Maybe the Diablos were saving something for their neighbors. They crushed Aliso Niguel, 84-22.
Is Mission’s Max Redfield the county’s best football player? He sure put on a show Friday, returning an interception 37 for a TD and catching a 26-yard scoring pass.
Mater Dei is 4-0, and looking strong. The Monarchs beat a typically persistent Edison team, 20-14. Mater Dei had a 20-7 lead at halftime. The Monarchs get another challenge next week. They play at Narbonne of Harbor City, which is 5-0 and ranked fifth in the state.
The quarterback situation is kind of interesting at Mater Dei. Starting quarterback Ryan McMahon threw an interception, an overthrown ball right into the gut of an Edison safety, and was replaced for a series by Chase Forrest, who also replaced McMahon last week in the Monarchs’ victory over Carson.
Edison did lose, but they gained stature in the CIF-SS Southwest Division. The Chargers are ranked No. 1 in the division and they sure look like the best team in the group.
Tustin is very good, too, and the Tillers, No. 2 in the division, are going to be a factor in the Southwest Division playoffs.
But Tustin’s defense could not give Mater Dei the challenge Edison’s gave the Monarchs on Friday night. Tustin beat Yorba Linda, 40-7. The Tillers (5-0) might have clinched the Empire League in doing so.
Yorba Linda looked like Tustin’s top challenger in the league, but obviously is a couple of laps behind the Tillers.
Tustin is 5-0, with five league games remaining. We could see Tustin go 10-0 this regular season.
Orange Lutheran is 5-0 after a 55-21 victory over Redondo Union. It is difficult to assess just how good the Lancers truly are, since the teams they have beaten are a combined 6-14. We will find out in two weeks when, after a bye, Lutheran plays St. John Bosco of Bellflower in a Trinity League opener.
Segerstrom went into this week as the top-ranked team in the CIF-SS Southern Division and played like it, scoring a 47-28 victory over Woodbridge, the division’s No. 3-ranked team.
San Juan Hills is 5-0 for the first time after beating Fullerton, 27-21. How good are the Stallions? They are a lot better than they were in 2011 when they went 0-10.
But they are not as good as one particular 1-3 team that is struggling mightily.
Servite was shut out by Edison last week, 6-0, for their first shutout loss since 2004 and the first during Troy Thomas’ tenure as their coach.
On Friday, the misery continued. Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, No. 22 in ESPN’s national rankings, blanked Servite, 42-0.
The Friars will score next week, when they play at St. Paul in their final nonleague game. Then it’s the Trinity League opener, against … Santa Margarita.
Yes, it’s tough stuff in that Pac-5 Division, for one and all.