It appears the contenders and pretenders will separate themselves from the pack in Friday’s spate of high school football contests (Sept. 21). Heading into the fourth week of play, four South County teams remain in the unbeaten column, including three from the rugged Metro-Mesa League.
How many will still be undefeated after Friday?
Chula Vista, Otay Ranch and Olympian are the three front-runners in Metro-Mesa play while Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy appears poised to make a grab at its the best-ever finish in program history. All four teams currently sport perfect 3-0 records.
Five more South County teams are 2-1: Eastlake from the Metro-Mesa, Mater Dei Catholic from the Metro-Pacific, both Southwest and San Ysidro from the Metro-South Bay and Ocean View Christian Academy in 8-man play from the Sunset League.
The single setbacks by Eastlake and Mater Dei Catholic are tempered somewhat by losses to longtime mega-powers Helix and St. Augustine.
Of the 16 high schools that are fielding football teams in South County this season, seven of their teams have winning records so far. Three more have at least one victory (Bonita Vista, Castle Park and Mar Vista are all 1-2). Four teams remain winless at 0-3: Sweetwater, Montgomery, Hilltop and Lutheran.
The question is reduced to this: Which teams will step forward?
Chula Vista, Otay Ranch, Olympian, Eastlake and Calvary Christian Academy all face key match-ups this Friday that will go a long way in helping determine seeding positions for the playoffs, which are still two months away.
Chula Vista will put its unbeaten record on the line against the visiting Mira Mesa Marauders, a traditional Division I power. A win will greatly add fuel to the Spartans’ 3-0 start, as all three of Chula Vista’s victories have come against teams that have yet to pick up a win in 2012.
Mira Mesa advanced to the Division I finals in 2010.
Olympian’s start keeps on getting more impressive each week. If the Eagles can sting the visiting Lincoln Hornets, they have to be given strong consideration to repeat as Metro-Mesa champions.
Otay Ranch has beaten three “name” opponents thus far and will face its biggest test of the season against St. Augustine this Friday at Mesa College. The Saints are also 3-0 and ranked seventh among section teams.
Calvary Christian has bulldozed its opening three opponents by a combined score of 130-25. The Royal Knights will face their first team with a winning record this season as they travel to play against a Mountain Empire team off to a 2-1 start.
Both Calvary and Mountain Empire are Division V schools, making the outcome critical for seeding position.
After absorbing a 28-6 season opening loss to defending State Bowl champion Helix, Eastlake has stomped its next two opponents by a combined score of 97-27. The Titans appear to be rolling at the right time and one wonders if they will duplicate what Helix did last year: lose its first game and then go undefeated the rest of the season.
Eastlake hosts Steele Canyon in a match-up of perennial playoff teams.
Mater Dei Catholic fell from the unbeaten ranks following last Friday’s 35-10 loss to visiting St. Augustine. The Crusaders travel to play at Imperial this Friday in another early season test. The Tigers are coming off a 46-0 non-league victory against Santana.
Meanwhile, Ocean View Christian, Southwest and San Ysidro will be out to build on promising starts.
Ocean View hosts Faith Baptist Academy (1-0) in a small schools match-up.
San Ysidro hosts a resurgent El Cajon Valley squad while Southwest will be out to further its cause for respect when it travels to play a Montgomery team hungry to record its first victory of the season.
Mar Vista’s early season schedule keeps getting tougher. After losses to Point Loma and Otay Ranch, the Mariners will next tackle the host Grossmont Foothillers — 48-25 winners over Bonita Vista last week.
Castle Park will attempt to regroup with a non-league game at undfeated Hoover in a key Division III rankings match-up
Hilltop will be looking to collect its first win of the season when it plays at El Capitan, a team looking to avenge its last-second loss to the Lancers last season.
Lutheran will also be out to get into the victory column when it meets Calvary Chapel from Moreno Valley in a game scheduled at Hilltop High School.
Read about all the highlights from last week's games in Friday's print edition of The Star News.
San Diego Section
Prep Football Playoff Ticker
Chula Vista 3-0, Otay Ranch 3-0, Eastlake 2-1
San Ysidro 2-1, Bonita Vista 1-2, Hilltop 0-3, , Sweetwater 0-3
Olympian 3-0, Southwest 2-1, Castle Park 1-2, Montgomery 0-3
Mater Dei Catholic 2-1, Mar Vista 1-2
Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy 3-0
Ocean View Christian Academy 2-1, Lutheran 0-3
Prep Football Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 13
Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy 46, San Diego Jewish Academy 3
Friday, Sept. 14
Julian 34, Lutheran 10
Ocean View Christian Academy 30, Borrego Springs 6
Chula Vista 42, Hilltop 20
Grossmont 48, Bonita Vista 25
Olympian 40, El Camino 20
Otay Ranch 35, Mar Vista 13
San Diego 24, Castle Park 7
St. Augustine 35, Mater Dei Catholic 10
San Ysidro 40, Foothills Christian 16
Monte Vista 17, Sweetwater 0
San Marcos 41, Montgomery 14
Southwest 41, Rock Academy 10
Friday, Sept. 21
Castle Park at Hoover, 6:30 p.m.
Steele Canyon at Eastlake, 7 p.m.
Mira Mesa at Chula Vista, 7 p.m.
Lincoln at Olympian, 7 p.m.
Southwest at Montgomery, 7 p.m.
El Cajon Valley at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
Bonita Vista vs. Scripps Ranch at Otay Ranch High School, 7 p.m.
Lutheran vs. Calvary Chapel (Moreno Valley), 7 p.m. at Hilltop High School
Faith Baptist Academy (Wildomar) at Ocean View Christian Academy, 7 p.m.
Otay Ranch vs. St. Augustine at Mesa College, 7 p.m.
Hilltop at El Capitan, 7 p.m.
Mar Vista at Grossmont, 7 p.m.
Mater Dei Catholic at Imperial, 7 p.m.
Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy at Mountain Empire, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 22
Sweetwater at Whittier, 7 p.m.