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First week of prep football games shows who the heavyweights are

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St. John Bosco, Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei are the big three football teams this year
Eric Sondheimer: Great prep football season lies ahead

Well, that was exhausting.

Instead of binge eating, I engaged in binge football watching, attending four games over three nights on the opening weekend of the high school season.

There's only 16 weeks left, so it's best I don't miss anything.

The lesson learned: There's going to be the big three this season — Bellflower St. John Bosco, Long Beach Poly and Santa Ana Mater Dei.

If any team is able to beat the big three, they'll have to be very good and very lucky.

While St. John Bosco was "resting" after its business trip to Hawaii, Poly and Mater Dei unleashed powerful defenses armed with teenagers so big and strong up front that either could end up being known as the Great Wall.

Joseph Wicker of Poly had six sacks against Crenshaw. He looked unblockable.

"I'm just trying to be one of the best," Wicker said. "I have a lot to prove."

Wicker knows he plays for a program that has won 19 section titles and is filled with alumni who were All-Americans, Pro Ball players, even Hall of Fame members.

During the opening weekend of college football, Poly alumni were seemingly everywhere. Randall Goforth (UCLA) had a fumble return for a touchdown; JuJu Smith (USC) had 123 yards receiving; Kaelin Clay (Utah) returned a punt and kickoff for touchdowns.

Poly opened with a 54-14 victory over Crenshaw, the defending City Section Division I champion. What's scary is that the Jackrabbits might be able to both pass and run this season. If that happens, put the Jackrabbits in the Open Division bowl game at StubHub Center on Dec. 20.

Well, not so fast. Never have I seen a Mater Dei team win so impressively in an opening game as the Monarchs did Saturday night with a 38-18 victory over Corona Centennial.

Malik McMorris of Mater Dei was doing what he always does — disrupt ballcarriers trying to run up the middle. And it wasn't just any team McMorris and his linemates were dominating. It was Centennial, the school with the no-huddle, seemingly unstoppable offense that lost to St. John Bosco, 70-49, in a regional bowl game last season.

"Tough to start the year against a team like that," Centennial Coach Matt Logan said.

Wait a minute. I've seen Mater Dei lose to Carson in an opening game and sputter against West Covina, so for the Monarchs to come out with a new quarterback, Jack Lowary, and dominate the Huskies sends a clear message.

Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson refused to say whether it was the best opening performance in his 26 years of coaching the Monarchs. Nor would he say whether his offensive and defensive lines are the best, either.

"We'll decide that if we can win a championship," he said.

Of course, standing in the way for Mater Dei and Poly is St. John Bosco, which was 16-0 last season and won its opener, 63-14, over Honolulu St. Louis. No one can stop quarterback Josh Rosen, running back Sean McGrew and the rest of the Braves, right?

Excitement is already building for the St. John Bosco-Mater Dei game Oct. 10 at St. John Bosco.

Should I leave now to get a seat?

And you want to know why Saturday night I was exhausted, then exhilarated Sunday morning thinking about what lies ahead.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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