Five things I learned this weekend:
Cravens could be state's top junior
Linebacker Su'a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) was a one-man wrecking crew for the Broncos in their upset win over previously-undefeated Encino (Calif.) Crespi, 38-20.
Cravens, who picked up an offer from Cal following the game and now has a state best (for the junior class) 16, made plays on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he had double digit tackles, an interception and a sack and added two touchdowns on offense, one running and one receiving.
"We stepped up big time," Cravens said. "I think Crespi came out thinking we were going to lay down for them and be scared or something. We came out and smacked them in the mouth early and never let our foot off the gas. We've been looking forward to this game and everyone played great."
St. John Bosco has some athletes
Football can be a lot like boxing in that it's a game of matchups. La Habra (Calif.) lost by just a touchdown to Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, the state's top team, two weeks ago and lost in overtime to another state power, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) last weekend.
The Highlanders took on Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco this past weekend in a game that was expected to be close. The Braves had total control in a dominant 41-6 win showcasing some of the best athletes in the state.
It was evident early on this game that there was a huge difference in team speed between the two teams. The Braves have four or five guys faster than the Highlanders fastest player and easily one of the best secondaries in the state. Bryce Treggs, Dalis Bruce, Charles Redd and Royce Moore are all elite athletes and running back Devonte Young is a talent as well.
"This was just a bad matchup for us," Highlander linebacker Aaron Porter said. "They have so many athletes out there it was ridiculous. We didn't play our best game but give them credit, they have a great team and a crazy amount of team speed."
Bishop Gorman is the top team in the West
In a game matching the top two teams in the West in the Fab 50, No. 10 Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman handed No. 13 ranked Anaheim (Calif.) Servite its first loss of the year, 31-28. The win was historic for the Gaels and Nevada football in general as it's the first time a Nevada team has ever beaten a nationally-ranked California team going all the way back to 1896 when the two states first played against each other.
Offensively, Gaels running back Shaquille Powell showed again on a national stage that he's one of the top backs in the region. He rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns and added an interception on defense. For the Friars, even in a losing cause, linebacker Butch Pauu was all over the field and the BYU commit has the talent to play for any school in the Pac-12.
"Being from California myself I know what type of football is played by a team like Servite so for us just to be close speaks volumes about the way we play," Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. "At the end of the day, this was a game that could have gone either way."
Lewis continues big year
If you saw athlete Robert Lewis (Los Angeles, Calif./Southeast) walking down the street, it's doubtful you would guess he's one of the state's elite football players. With his slight frame, Lewis looks more like a cross country runner than a standout running back but in just about every game he plays, he's usually the best player on the field and was again last Friday.
Lewis rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and had three more touchdowns called back due to penalties and the Jaguars ended a seven-year losing streak to their city rival, Los Angeles (Calif.) Garfield, 31-28. On the season, the SMU commit has rushed for 773 yards and 12 touchdowns and is averaging almost 12 yards a carry.
"He's an electric player," Jaguars coach Derwin Henderson said. "In college, he'll probably be a slot receiver because he has such great hands and doesn't have the size to be an every down back. Get him in space and he'll be scary for anyone to match up with."
Southern Section football is unpredictable
It has been a wacky past few weeks in the CIF Southern Section. Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure opened a lot of eyes two weeks ago when it upset nationally-ranked Corona (Calif.) Centennial. The Huskies then lost to Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian this past weekend.
Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola looked like one of the top teams in the region when they took out Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco two weeks ago, but were blown out by Upland (Calif.) this past Friday. As for the Braves, they rebounded from their loss to Loyola to beat four-time defending CIF Champion La Habra (Calif.) by 40 points, the same La Habra team that only lost to Anaheim (Calif.) Servite by a touchdown and unbeaten Orange Lutheran (Calif.) in overtime.
What does all this mean? Mainly there's a lot of parity this year and will likely be several more "upsets" the rest of the season. Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita has been the most impressive team in the state thus far but will have several tough games ahead playing in the brutal Trinity League.