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Around the Divisions: Top teams take a step back

Posted: September 2, 2014 10:03 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2014 10:03 p.m.

This is The Signal’s first look at the top 10 teams in the brand new CIF-Southern Section West Valley Division.

And boy did a lot change after just one week of play.

Two teams which were ranked top three in the preseason division rankings lost last week. One of those teams was Hart (previously No. 3) and the other was previous No. 1 Mission Viejo.

There were also intriguing changes, like Rancho Cucamonga moving down a spot to No. 9 despite winning its game 17-0.

The bottom line is there’s a lot we don’t know early on. But here’s what we do know about the top 10.

No. 1 Vista Murrieta (0-0); Last Week: Did not play; Last Week’s Ranking: No. 2

Vista Murrieta moves up to the top spot in the division for now despite not playing a game. The defending Southwestern League champions are coming off a 12-2 season in which it reached the CIF-Southern Section Inland Division championship game. This team is picked as a top contender in the division, according to most prep football rankings. Vista Murrieta opens its season at Downey on Friday night.

No. 2 Upland (1-0); Last Week: Beat Knights 71-0; LWR: No. 4

Senior quarterback and Washington State commit Tyler Hilinski led a razor sharp offensive performance for Upland, which dispatched Knight High of Palmdale on Friday. Hilinski finished 8-of-12 passing for 198 yards and five touchdowns while Upland sophomore running back Nathan Tilford added 129 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Upland, the defending Baseline League champions, plays at Redondo Union this Friday.

3. Mission Viejo (0-1); Last Week: Lost to Liberty 18-7; LWR: No. 1

The most shocking result of the week was the loss of the powerful Mission Viejo, which came into the season on a 24-game regular season win streak and ranked atop the division. Mission was also ranked 12th in the state, according to But Liberty High of Bakersfield, ranked 56th in the state, stopped Mission Viejo cold and forced four turnovers. One of them was a fumble that Liberty’s Stavros Katsantonis returned 90 yards late in the game to seal the win. Mission Viejo can try to bounce back with an away game at Oceanside on Friday.

4. Chino Hills (1-0); Last Week: Beat Hart 63-48; LWR: Not ranked

Another big surprise this week was Chino Hills, which pulled off the upset against No. 9-ranked Hart Indians. Chino Hills rallied back from an early 21-point deficit in the game behind the arm of quarterback Zac Sturdivant and his 271 yards and five touchdown passes and running back Jeremiah Yee. Chino Hills leapt up to fourth in the poll after not being ranked preseason.

5. Hart (0-1); Last Week: Lost to Chino Hills 63-48; LWR: No. 3

Hart was the second of two top three teams in the division this past week to lose in an upset following Mission Viejo. Despite a record-breaking performance from Hart quarterback Brady White with 537 pass yards and six touchdowns, Hart’s defense couldn’t hold onto the lead. A late White interception helped Chino Hills ice the game away. Hart gets an even tougher test on Friday on the road against Chaminade, the No. 10 team in the state.

6. Valencia (0-0); Last Week: Did not play; LWR: No. 5

The defending Foothill League champions Valencia Vikings were the only Foothill team not to play last week. Valencia begins its season against the defending Golden League champion Palmdale Falcons on Friday at Valencia High.

7. Chaparral (1-0); Last Week: Beat Victor Valley 64-0; LWR: No. 6

The season got off to a roaring start for Chaparral of the Southwestern League, which shut out Victor Valley of Victorville on Friday. Chaparral led 50-0 by halftime. This week, Chaparral takes on fellow West Valley Division team Tesoro of Rancho Santa Margarita on Friday.

8. Tesoro (0-1); Last Week: Lost to La Mirada 26-23; LWR: No. 7

Yet another top 10 team in this division lost a game in which it led late. Tesoro led 15-12 late in the third quarter before La Mirada mounted a comeback led by quarterback Christian Lara. Tesoro quarterback Brandon Bannigan also had a solid game, going 19-for-33 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Tesoro hosts Chaparral on Friday.

9. Rancho Cucamonga (1-0); Last Week: Beat Trabuco Hills 17-0; LWR: No. 8

Rancho Cucamonga handily won the battle of two highly ranked teams. The Cougars shut out a Trabuco Hills team that came in ranked 56th in the state. Rancho moved up to 38th in the state, though it moved down to ninth in the division. Next up for Rancho is a game against Norco on Friday at Los Osos High.

10. Los Alamitos (0-0); Last Week: Did not play; LWR: No. 10

Los Alamitos, which is expected to be a strong contender in the Sunset League this year, opens its season at Paramount High on Friday.

Some information for this story was gathered from,, The Press Enterprise, The Bakersfield Californian and The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.


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