Up until a week ago, this non-league game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bishop Amat High in La Puente shaped up as one of the top prep football match-ups of the season in Southern California. After all, the game offered the pairing of the defending L.A. City champion, Carson, against a perennial Southern Section Division I power. With Bishop Amat's surprising 14-7 loss to Rubidoux in its season opener last week, the scope of this game may have changed a little, but it still could be one of the best of the season. Carson, playing its season opener, will have the revenge factor on its side. Bishop Amat defeated Carson 17-13 last season, when Carson was ranked No. 2 in the nation. Carson, 12-1 last year, has a diversified offense headed by wide receiver Michael Ross, running back Michael Jefferson and quarterback Armin Youngblood, and a solid defense that features All-America linebacker Nkosi Littleton and defensive back Clayvand Thomas. Bishop Amat has a pair of All-America receivers in Jeremy Smith and Jason Green. However, wide receiver Tim Aguayo had a game-high seven catches in the loss to Rubidoux. The Bishop Amat defense, which is expected to be severely tested, features lineman Alex Pacheco and linebacker Rocky Wenrick.
Muir vs. Verbum Dei
Considering that its next two games are against perennial powers L.A. Banning and Bishop Amat, Muir was probably hoping that this game against visiting Verbum Dei at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pasadena City College would provide a break in the schedule. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, who opened their season with a 14-7 win over a tough Palmdale squad, Friday's game does not fit that description. In fact, Verbum Dei was quite impressive in scoring a 24-16 victory over West Torrance in its season opener last week. As usual, the Eagles are strong in the skill positions, led by wide receiver Keith Neal and running back Artis Houston. Two other standouts are offensive tackle Ramon McNeal and linebacker Travis Wright. Verbum Dei will face a highly regarded Muir team that struggled a little more than expected against Palmdale. However, it was the team's first game under new Coach John Tyree. The Mustangs also have a large supply of size, speed and experience. The backfield leaders are quarterback Demetrice Martin and fullback Carlton Greer, who combined for 204 yards rushing and both of Muir's touchdowns against Palmdale. Muir also has a huge offensive line that includes Johnny Drawn (6-3, 255) and Orlando Benn (6-4, 308). The defense is led by defensive end Elic Mahone and defensive back Reggie Resar.
Claremont vs. Ganesha
When the CIF Southern Section listed its preseason rankings in August, Claremont was absent from the Division IV poll. Perhaps it was merely an oversight, considering that Claremont has been one of the perennial powers in the division in recent years and the Wolfpack finished 10-3 and reached the division semifinals last season. Or perhaps there was concern because Claremont returned only four starters from a year ago. Whatever the reason, the Wolfpack appeared as competitive as ever in a 35-21 victory last week over Bell Gardens, ranked No. 2 in the division in the preseason. Claremont could face another strong test when it meets Ganesha at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Citrus College in Glendora. Ganesha lost its season opener to Hesperia, 19-14. But the Giants were 8-3 last season and have excellent players at the skill positions, including running back Robert Hicks. Speaking of strength at the skill positions, Claremont is not lacking in talent. The Wolfpack unveiled a good prospect at quarterback last week in junior Adam Metwalli, who completed 16 of 30 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Other top offensive players are running back Ryan Lamb and receivers Ryan Wall and Brandy Braxton.
Baldwin Park vs. Northview