Fryer on football: New rankings spark lively debate
The Orange County media poll is just that, a poll of 10 county media members who closely cover football here. Servite, at 2-4, got enough votes to be No. 9 this week. This voter, who had Servite at No. 9 on the ballot, discovered that no team ranked below No. 9 has beaten Servite or any of the teams Servite has played. Villa Park, at No. 10, lost to Edison by 20 points and Servite lost to Edison by six. As pointed out in a lively discussion at ocvarsity.com, Mary Hardin-Baylor is 5-0. Cal is 2-4. The guess here is that Cal would beat Mary Hardin-Baylor.
El Toro passes test
With Conner Manning at quarterback, "passes" is the correct verb. For Manning and the Chargers, the more-challenging exams are coming. They beat San Clemente, 49-37, Friday in their first South Coast League game since being elevated into that league from the Sea View League. That's a jump from a league in the Southwest Division, which used to be called Division 6, to a league in the Pac-5 Division, which used to be Division 1. El Toro's next three league games are against Tesoro, which is 6-0, Trabuco Hills (4-3) and Mission Viejo (6-0).
Orange County's best defense?
Maybe it's Santa Margarita's. Santa Margarita shut out Carson, which scored 13 points against another team with a splendid defense: Mater Dei. Santa Margarita is allowing 8 points a game to Mater Dei's 11 points allowed a game. Edison is giving up only five points a game. Mater Dei beat Edison, 20-14. The Mater Dei and Santa Margarita defenses will be on display together Friday when the teams play at Saddleback College in a game to be televised live on Fox Sports West.
Big arms at small schools
It used to be that the county's small-school programs mostly produced run-oriented teams. Not so, this season. Whittier Christian's Ryan Esslinger has completed 72 percent of his passes for 1,612 yards, the fourth-most in the county, with 18 touchdowns against only two interceptions. Jack McInally of Brethren Christian is averaging 240 passing yards a game, and has 25 touchdown passes. Calvary Chapel's Colin Kearon's passing-yards-a-game average is 197. Riley Babick of Capistrano Valley Christian is averaging 193 passing yards a game, and has completed 68 percent of his passes.
Los Amigos 38, Rancho Alamitos 0
Rancho Alamitos was picked to win the Garden Grove League championship in a preseason poll of league coaches. Los Amigos was picked to finish third, behind Garden Grove. In that 38-0 exclamation point of a victory Friday, Los Amigos' Jerry Saldivar rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns, and the Lobos defense limited Rancho to 48 yards of total offense. Los Amigos has another crucial league game when it plays Garden Grove at Grove on Thursday. After that one, the Lobos play, in order, Bolsa Grande, Santiago and La Quinta, which are a combined 6-12.
Top games this week
Besides the aforementioned Mater Dei-Santa Margarita, Tesoro-El Toro and Los Amigos-Garden Grove games, other excellent matchups are: Sunset League, Edison (5-1, 1-0) vs. Los Alamitos (5-1, 1-0) at Veterans Stadium, Friday; Orange Coast League, Laguna Beach (5-0-1, 1-0) at Estancia (4-2, 1-0), Friday; Sea View League, Laguna Hills (4-2, 1-0) at Aliso Niguel (5-2, 0-1), Friday; and Trinity League, Servite (2-4, 0-1) vs. Orange Lutheran (5-1, 0-1) at Orange Coast College, Friday.