At midseason, the biggest surprise in high school football is that it has become even more mind-boggling trying to figure out who is the best receiver in Southern California.
Last season, it was easy. Robert Woods of Gardena Serra was Superman. And as a freshman at USC, his 12 receptions for 224 yards and three touchdowns Saturday against Stanford proved it.
This season, instead of one or two players separating themselves, the talent level is so deep that each week the list of elite receivers keeps growing.
At Encino Crespi, senior Devin Lucien has caught 37 passes for 779 yards and 12 touchdowns. At Woodland Hills Taft, senior Mike Thomas has grabbed 44 passes for 708 yards and nine touchdowns.
At Thousand Oaks, senior Richard Mullaney has 40 receptions for 572 yards and eight touchdowns. At Bellflower St. John Bosco, junior Bryce Treggs has 24 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns. At Cerritos Gahr, senior Josh Perkins has caught 40 passes for 656 yards and eight touchdowns.
At Westlake Village Westlake, senior Nelson Spruce has made six touchdown catches and is averaging nearly 20 yards a catch. At Long Beach Poly, junior Richard Smith has put on moves that remind alumni of Poly great DeSean Jackson. He's averaging 26 yards a reception.
At Carson, junior Darreus Rogers caught two touchdown passes against top-ranked Mission Viejo, causing Mission Viejo Coach Bob Johnson to say he'd offer Rogers a Pac-10 scholarship right now. At Los Angeles Dorsey, senior Marvin Hall and junior Jaydon Mickens have been fantastic. At Westlake Village Oaks Christian, senior Blair Holliday and junior Jordan Payton have few peers. At Lakewood, junior Darius Powe is a man-child with great hands.
And then there's the duo at Serra. College recruiters usually say senior George Farmer is No. 1 because he's probably the fastest player. He's doing well, averaging 25 yards a reception with three touchdowns, but his teammate, senior Marqise Lee, has been off the charts, with 10 touchdown receptions while averaging 37.8 yards per catch.
"Marqise has been so amazing," Coach Scott Altenberg said.
And what about Farmer?
"When the ball has hit George's hands, he's been amazing," Altenberg.
So there's two "amazing" receivers at Serra, but they're facing stiff competition.
Every receiver mentioned has either accepted a college scholarship or should be receiving one.
All these receivers are making their quarterbacks look pretty good and leaving at least one sportswriter in a quandary over who's No. 1. Thank goodness there's half a season to go.
A proposal set for a first reading on Oct. 21 at the Southern Section Council meeting would revise the football playoffs beginning in 2012, creating more at-large berths and getting rid of some automatic berths. It also would no longer require a school to have at least a .500 record or better to be considered for an at-large berth.
Under the plan, if it were in effect this season, in the 16-team Pac-5 Division playoff bracket, there would be two guaranteed spots for the South Coast and Serra leagues and three for the Sunset, Moore and Trinity leagues, leaving three at-large berths.
The proposal says that in the last five years, fourth-place teams have a playoff record of 2-47 while at-large teams are 17-40.
It's a good proposal to improve competition and should eventually pass.
Soccer's gift to football
Mohammad Roknipour, who grew up in Iran and was a youth soccer standout, made a 57-yard field goal for Canyon Country Canyon on Friday.
"I played soccer my whole life, but football is pretty good," he said.
A freshman starts
Los Angeles Garfield is doing something very rare — starting a freshman at quarterback on varsity. Nicky Peralta has made two starts in Eastern League play and is 2-0. "He can zip the ball," Coach Lorenzo Hernandez said.