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SBLive's Southern Section Top 25 Football Rankings: Oak Hills and Citrus Valley debut

Scorebook Live logo Scorebook Live 9/20/2022 Lance Smith, SBLive

With most of SoCal high school football one week away from starting league play, we'll soon be more than halfway through the regular season. Here are SBLive's Southern Section rankings heading into the sixth week (Sep. 22-24) of the 2022 campaign. The rankings are released every week throughout the season.


1. St. John Bosco (4-0 – 1st)

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The Braves battled Kahuku (HI), which has one of the better defenses in the country, and pulled out a 34-7 victory. What might've stolen the show the most was a special moment the teams shared after the game.


2. Mater Dei (5-0 – 2nd)

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Mater Dei enters Trinity League play 5-0. What else is new. This week is a bye.

3. Corona Centennial (4-1 – 3rd)

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Speaking of things we've seen before, Corona Centennial enters league play where it will almost certainly enter the postseason – the unquestionable No. 3 team in the Southern Section.

4. Long Beach Poly (5-0 – 4th)

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Poly kicked off Moore League play with a 42-6 rout of Lakewood, and now has a bye week. 

5. Los Alamitos (3-2 – 5th)

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It took a few tries because of their elite competition, but Los Al was able to register a monumental non-league win before attempting to three-peat in the Sunset League. Last week's barn-burner of a win, 69-49 over Santa Margarita, avenged an emphatic 42-21 loss to the Eagles last fall.

6. Mission Viejo (4-1 – 6th)

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The Diablos picked up another outstanding win last week, defeating Alemany 45-8. This week they'll be heavily favored against Leuzinger.

7. Santa Margarita (4-1 – 7th)

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Because it was competitive for most of the game, SM doesn't fall for its loss to Los Al, but giving up 69 points should be alarming for a defensive juggernaut. Still, the Eagles had a strong non-league campaign, and have a bye week before starting Trinity League play.

8. Edison (5-0 – 8th)

While the Chargers would've liked to beat San Clemente a little more emphatically last week, any win against SC is a good win. The final score was 21-16. Before attempting to win a Sunset League title, Edison has – you guessed it – a bye week.

9. Chaminade (5-0 – 9th)

The Eagles get a well-deserved bye week after a tremendous 5-0 start.

10. Bishop Amat (3-1 – 10th)

After beating Leuzinger handily, Amat finishes non-league play with a battle against Damien for SGV bragging rights.

11. Inglewood (5-0 – 11th)

Surprisingly, the Sentinels had bit of trouble scoring on Lawndale last week while playing a defensive gem in a 21-0 win. Lawndale is a solid defensive team year after year, but Mission Hills and Cathedral were both able to put up more points and win by more against the Cardinals. With that said, Inglewood didn't leave much to be desired or convinced in its tremendous 5-0 start. This week may bring another test in Alemany.

12. Orange Lutheran (4-1 – 12th)

OLu rolled to a 37-14 win over Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) to complete a strong non-league slate. Now it has a week off to prepare for the Trinity League.

13. Serra Gardena (3-2 – 13th)

The Cavs passed another major test last week, defeating Oaks Christian 20-14. Bye week.

14. JSerra (3-2 – 14th)

For the second straight year, the Lions picked up a marquee non-league win against Rancho Cucamonga. With JSerra retaining its spot, there was no movement in our entire top 14 from last week.

15. Ayala (5-0 – 16th)

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The Bulldogs have proven this year that they can beat good teams in both explosions and nail-biters. Last week they held on to beat rival Chino Hills in the Battle for the Bone. To our knowledge, their top-15 ranking in the Southern Section right now is their highest since the 1990's, maybe even ever.


16. San Clemente (4-1 – 17th)

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With Norco going down, San Clemente actually gains a spot in the rankings despite picking up its first loss of the season last week. In our book, if you give Edison a run for its money, you're a Division 2 championship threat. There might not be a bigger riser in the section – maybe even state – during non-league play than the Tritons.

17. Warren (3-1 – 19th)

With non-league play over, the Bears look like the strong team they were expected to be this year. They play some good teams in the Gateway League but will likely roll to a title.

18. Oak Hills (5-0 – 26th)

Like most of the top teams in northeast San Bernardino County/Inland Empire, Oak Hills goes way under the radar, and you might've heard us say that before. A 5-0 start with comfortable wins over Highland (Palmdale), Citrus Valley, and St. Bonaventure speaks for itself. Citrus Valley's eye-opening 23-point win over Norco transitively vaulted Oak Hills up eight spots. Speaking of Citrus Valley...

19. Citrus Valley (3-1 – Unranked)

Last week, the Blackhawks were the second team left out of our top 30, so technically we had them ranked 32nd. As for the 13-spot jump, beating Norco in a near-rout will do that. Still, don't expect too many people to catch on with Oak Hills and Citrus Valley just yet, because again, northwest IE teams get underrated for no good reason. If CV can beat Ayala in a minor upset this week, that should speed up the hype level.

20. Norco (2-2 – 15th)

This preseason has not gone how the Cougars wanted, to say the least, but they did register a great win against Rancho. They will blow Santiago (Corona) out this week before entering the Big West - Upper gauntlet for the first time ever.

21. Rancho Cucamonga (3-2 – 18th)

This week brings a great opportunity for Rancho to pick up a big win before league play as Vista Murrieta comes to town.

22. Apple Valley (4-1 – 20th)

It's time for the Sun Devils to attempt to retake the Mojave Desert League throne, starting with a battle against Serrano – after this bye week.

23. Yorba Linda (5-0 – 23rd)

The Mustangs just keep going. Last week they trekked to Simi Valley to hand a formidable foe a 33-14 defeat. This week could be a trap game against an underrated non-league foe in El Dorado (Placentia). But if YL has proven one thing in recent years, it's that it always takes care of business against even slightly less talented teams.

24. Corona del Mar (4-1 – 21st)

CdM has not been healthy all season, and still had a strong 4-1 non-league run. Last week they almost gave San Juan Hills its first win of the season but avoided being upset. With Los Al two weeks away, the Sea Kings have almost no time left to reach peak form to contend for a league title. But their yearly duel with Edison, which is usually for second place in league, isn't until the last game of the regular season.

25. Cajon (3-1 – 22nd)

Five weeks into the season, it's still a little tough to gauge the Cowboys. They've only played four games, their only loss was by one point to a good out-of-state team in Williams Field, AZ, and two of their wins were sure to be blowouts from the start. With that said, their close win over Aquinas speaks volumes. This week brings a great opportunity for a statement win before league play facing Etiwanda.


Murrieta Valley, Vista Murrieta, La Serna, Upland, Alemany


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