Fryer on football: ‘First and 10’ list for the start of Week 5

Starting the high school football week in Orange County with notes, comments and observations …

1. Hello to Bye Week. Many of Orange County’s top football teams don’t play this week, including county top-10 teams Mater Dei, Los Alamitos, Santa Margarita, Edison, Orange Lutheran, JSerra and Yorba Linda.

This is Orange County football, so there still are plenty of fine games on this week’s schedule, including …

Garden Grove at Western, Thursday. Garden Grove is 4-0 and has a terrific running back/cornerback, Malachi Bey. Western’s Faulkner brothers, receiver Drew and running back Joshua, have scored 84 of the Pioneers’ 120 points.

Capistrano Valley vs. Cypress at Western High, Friday. Capistrano Valley and ace quarterback Trey Kukuk need a win after last week’s upset loss to El Toro. Cypress, starring Matt Morrell at receiver and Trevor Monteleone at receiver and safety, looks better than last year’s Centurions team that went 10-3.

2. Wait, there’s more. Also Friday: El Toro will try to pull another upset against Tesoro; Fountain Valley, knocking on the door to the Top 25, would boost its credentials with a win over Aliso Niguel; El Modena will try to stay undefeated when it plays at winless San Juan Hills, which sorely needs a win; Canyon and ultra-accurate quarterback Christian Lundsberg will try to keep it rolling at Brea Olinda, which shut out Fullerton last week; and Laguna Hills will look to get to 5-0 as it takes on a Woodbridge team that looks like the best team in the Pacific Valley League.

3. Who needs Bosco-Mater Dei tickets? Many people will. Mater Dei, the home team for its Trinity League game against St. John Bosco on Oct. 7 at Santa Ana Stadium, is still formulating a tickets-distribution plan. will be the place to get tickets; the number of tickets that will be available for the general public is part of the forthcoming plan.

4. Still in the top 25: San Juan Hills is 0-5 and is No. 21 in the Orange County top 25. Why? Because voters respect strength of schedule, and the five San Juan Hills losses have been to teams that are a cumulative 16-1.

5. Viva Vanguards. Matt Mitchell, coach of 4-0 El Modena, was asked what Vanguards unit is most in need of improvement. He was silent for a few seconds while contemplating an answer. That’s a good sign.

6. He’s the guy, for now. Villa Park sophomore Nate Lewis played well at quarterback last week in the Spartans’ 39-3 win over Eastlake in Chula Vista. Villa Park coach Dusan Ancich said that does not mean Lewis has won the starting position. “You’ve got to go out and earn it every day,” Ancich said.

7. Los Alamitos 69, Santa Margarita 49. It was understood that Los Alamitos, with USC-committed quarterback Malachi Nelson and USC-committed receiver Makai Lemon, had one of the best passing attacks in Southern California. Then Griffins running back Damian Henderson rushed for 305 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries against Santa Margarita and the coaches of the Sunset League’s other five teams said, “Uh-oh.”

8. Rise of the Sunset. It’s been a very good season so far for Sunset League football. The league’s six teams (Corona del Mar, Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos and Newport Harbor) are collectively 23-6.

9. Most improved team? That might be Sonora. The Raiders are 4-1 after finishing 3-6 last season. They are part of the most-balanced Freeway League in a long time and have a chance to earn a playoff berth.

10. JSerra’s rapid response. After getting hammered 41-0 by Centennial on Sept. 9 JSerra last week handled a fine Rancho Cucamonga team 34-18. That sort of rebound is a good sign for the Lions, who are off this week before the ultimate challenge of playing Mater Dei on Sept. 30.

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