Head coach: Bob Ladoucer
The Spartans were not as invincible over the past five seasons as they were during their epic win streak, but every time it appeared that they may be on a downslide, they rebounded greatly. De La Salle lost two games in both 2008 and 2009, but still earned Open Division Bowl Game bids in both seasons. The peak of De La Salle’s dominance came in December, when the Spartans overwhelmed a tough Servite team 48-8 in yet another Open Division Bowl Game.2. Centennial (Corona, Calif.)
Head coach: Matt Logan
Centennial has seemingly overtaken Long Beach Poly as the preeminent public school powerhouse in Southern California. With the likes of Matt Scott, Taylor Martinez, and Michael Eubank behind center, the Huskies have been blessed with tremendous skill players. However, credit Matt Logan for developing the high-octane offense that has allowed them to thrive. Centennial’s prodigious offense produced 758 points in the regular season last year, but the Huskies fell short, losing to Palo Alto 15-13 in the Division II Bowl Game.
3. Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
Head coach: Troy Thomas
The top program in the Trinity League over the last five seasons, Servite has endured a brutal schedule each season over the last five years and has only gotten better. The Friars have lost just twice in the past two seasons. They’ve also beaten Mater Dei in each of the past two seasons, which, as any Servite fan would tell you, is not an insignificant achievement. An intriguing interstate matchup with Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman awaits the Friars in 2011.
4. Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
Head coach: Raul Lara
Poly started the decade with a bang, playing a widely publicized two-game series with De La Salle in 2001 and 2002. They’ve maintained elite status over the last five seasons as well, though the Jackrabbitts have shown a few chinks in the armor, losing eight games in the past two seasons. Entering the 2011 season, Poly is flying a tad under the radar after not winning a playoff game last season for the first time in recent memory. This is still one of the state’s proudest programs, and expectations will remain high for Raul Lara and staff.
5. Oceanside (Calif.)
Head coach: John Carroll
Oceanside’s run of seven consecutive San Diego Section Division II titles is nothing short of remarkable. John Carroll performed perhaps his most impressive coaching job last season, leading an extremely young Pirates squad to 47-10 triumph over Mission Hills for the Division II title. Prior to 2010, Oceanside enjoyed back-to-back undefeated seasons. Heading into 2011, the Pirates, who return a number key contributors, could be one of Southern California’s top teams.
6. Mission Viejo (Calif.)
Head coach: Bob Johnson
Hailing from the same division at Servite, Mission Viejo is one of the reasons that the Pac-5 is such a gauntlet. Bob Johnson and the Diablos have been particularly dominant the past three seasons, posting a combined record of 35-4. With quarterback Alex Bridgford and running back Jahleel Pinner both returning behind a talented offensive line, Mission Viejo is poised for another fine season in 2011. However, the team will be tested, as an already difficult schedule was made even more grueling with the addition of New Jersey’s Don Bosco Prep.
7. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.)
Head coach: Bill Redell
Oaks Christian moved into the Marmonte League last fall but continued its high level of play. After flirting with retirement, Redell led the Lions to a 12-2 season, including victories over St. Bonaventure and Westlake. Oaks Christian has had more than its share of talent in its recent run, and that should be no different in 2011. Ishmael Adams and Jordan Payton continue the young program’s tradition of outstanding athletes, while Luke Falk, a junior transfer from Utah who already has an offer from Florida State, could be the heir apparent at quarterback.
8. St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.)
Head Coach: Todd Therrien
St. Bonaventure’s 49-19 record is misleading, as 11 of those losses were forfeits after it was discovered that a member of the Seraphs’ 2009 team was a fifth-year senior. The team bounced back in 2010 by opening the season with a 32-7 drubbing of Poly and eventually finished 11-2. Quarterback Marc Evans returns in 2011; he should be able to guide St. Bonaventure to another strong season, and potentially, a CIF Bowl Game.
9. Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)
Head coach: Jim Kunau
Despite five losses in each of the past two seasons, Orange Lutheran still checks in at No. 9, a testament to the difficulty of the Lancers’ schedule each season. The 2006 season was special for Jim Kunau’s squad, as former USC signal-caller Aaron Corp and current St. Louis Rams receiver Austin Pettis led the team to a 14-1 season, culminating in a Bowl Game victory over Palo Alto. A young group in 2010, Orange Lutheran returns a good deal of talent in 2011 and could contend for a Trinity League title.
10. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Head coach: Bruce Rollinson
Well known for its ability to churn out Division I quarterbacks, Mater Dei has used pass-happy offenses to parlay its string of gifted signal-callers into success on the field. With the likes of Matt Barkley and Max Wittek, the Monarchs have won at least eight games in four of the past five seasons. Ryan McMahon, who’s expected to take over at quarterback this season, has yet to throw a varsity pass. He’ll have to develop quickly in order for Mater Dei’s offense to continue to thrive.