Week 10 continued to bring us compelling action, with statement wins and disappointing defeats among the county’s elite.
With the playoffs now at hand, here is how I voted for the OC top 10.
1. Mission Viejo (10-0; 4-0): The Diablos closed out the regular season with an emphatic 49-7 win over El Toro to claim the South Coast League title. Mission Viejo will host Westlake in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs on Friday.
2. Mater Dei (8-2; 4-1): The Monarchs defeated archrival Servite 36-22 in their Trinity League finale. Mater Dei will tangle with Lakewood in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs on Friday.
3. Edison (9-1; 5-0): The Chargers defense once again spurred them to victory, this one a 34-0 win at Huntington Beach. Edison will begin the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs with a game against Esperanza on Friday.
4. El Toro (9-1; 3-1): The Chargers went down to defeat for the first time this season, losing big to Mission Viejo 49-7. El Toro will take on Santa Margarita in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs on Friday.
5. Santa Margarita (8-2; 3-2): The Eagles were no match for St. John Bosco, falling 42-15 to finish third in the Trinity League. Santa Margarita will tangle with El Toro in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs on Friday.
6. Tustin (10-0; 6-0): The Tillers completed a perfect regular season with a 48-0 win over Kennedy. Tustin will battle El Dorado in the first round of the CIF-SS Southwest playoffs on Friday.
7. Villa Park (9-1; 6-0): The Spartans held off Esperanza 44-34 to close out a perfect run through the Century League. Villa Park will host Yorba Linda in the first round of the CIF-SS Southwest playoffs on Friday.
8. Tesoro (7-3; 1-3): The Titans finished off a tumultuous week with a 56-17 nonleague victory over Chula Vista. Tesoro will be at St. John Bosco Friday for the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs.
9. Foothill (8-2; 5-1): The Knights closed out the regular season with a 49-0 win over Canyon. Foothill will face off against Laguna Hills in the first round of the CIF-SS Southwest playoffs on Thursday. The Knights defeated the Hawks 31-0 in a nonleague game earlier this season.
10. Newport Harbor (6-4; 4-1): The Sailors outlasted Los Alamitos 34-31 in overtime to finish off a 4-1 mark in the Sunset League. Newport Harbor will play against Troy in the first round of the CIF-SS Southwest playoffs on Friday.
My Week 10 Thoughts:
1. So much for the anticipated showdown between Mission Viejo and El Toro. The Diablos made one final, decisive statement as to just how good they are with a 49-7 victory. Mission Viejo’s defense was in top form, holding the Chargers 40 points under their season average of 47 points per game. They sacked Conner Manning three times and picked him off six times. On offense, the Diablos continued its strong play. Ian Fieber threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Alex Suchesk had 129 yards on the ground. In my opinion, Mission Viejo is without a doubt the county’s top team heading into the playoffs and a heavy Pac-5 title favorite.
2. It was certainly a wild week for the Tesoro Titans. Just days after suffering a shocking loss to San Clemente, long-time head coach Brian Barnes was fired as head coach. Tesoro, whose playoff hopes seemed all but dead after losing to the Tritons, defeated Chula Vista in a nonleague game and then found out it had qualified for the Pac-5 playoffs as an at-large team. Losing a head coach at anytime in the season is tough, but just one week before the playoffs couldn’t have been worse. Tesoro will face St. John Bosco in the first round, and though I could see the Titans putting up a good fight, a win would be a surprise. As for Barnes, all of the details surrounding his departure are not yet known (or have not been fully explained), but Barnes was certainly a big factor in building Tesoro into a perennial county powerhouse. I would find it surprising to not see him on a county sideline at some point in the future.
3. The Edison Chargers will take the field Friday against Esperanza as the top CIF-SS Southwest Division title favorite. The Chargers finished the season with a 9-1 record, with its only loss coming by six points to Mater Dei. Edison moved down from the Pac-5 with the rest of the Sunset League, but clearly established itself as one of the county’s elite this season. The Chargers defense is arguably the best in the county. They allowed less than five points a game during the regular season, blanked half of their 10 regular season opponents, and only allowed 17 points in five Sunset League games. There are several other quality teams in the Southwest Division that could conceivably challenge Edison (Villa Park, Tustin, Foothill for starters). But if they play anywhere near the level that they have played at throughout the season, look for coach Dave White and the Chargers to be celebrating a CIF title soon.
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