Southern Section focus: Jaden Casey vs. CJ Stroud is a matchup of top quarterbacks

Calabasas quarterback Jaden Casey is committed to Fresno State. He faces CJ Stroud of Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Week 1 of the high school football season brings forth an intriguing Thursday night Southern Section matchup of top quarterbacks: Jaden Casey and Calabasas traveling to face CJ Stroud and Rancho Cucamonga. Both teams are in The Times’ top 25.

Calabasas opened its season last week with a 29-14 win over Bakersfield. Rancho Cucamonga defeated Eastvale Roosevelt 50-31, with Stroud passing for 381 yards and five touchdowns.

Casey is a longtime Fresno State commit. And considering Fresno State is coming to town to play USC on Saturday, there might be a Fresno State fan or two in the bleachers. Stroud won the Elite 11 quarterback competition over the summer and has an offer from Oregon. There should be lots of passing in this 7 p.m. game.


Friday night features an intriguing private school vs. public school matchup: Santa Margarita vs. Mission Viejo at Trabuco Hills. It so happens that Mission Viejo’s starting quarterback, Peter Costelli, was the starting quarterback at Santa Margarita last season. And his top target at Mission Viejo, Chase Nenad, also was his receiver at Santa Margarita. Look for the Santa Margarita student section to have some fun. Both teams are 1-0.

Corona Centennial, coming off a loss to Mater Dei, gets another Trinity League team, Orange Lutheran, on Friday at home. Some were disappointed at the Huskies’ failure to put up much of a fight with the Monarchs. In particular, they twice failed to score with the ball inside the 5-yard line. You can count on coach Matt Logan’s team turning in an improved performance.

St. John Bosco is hosting Don Bosco Prep from New Jersey in a TV game. The big focus should be on the return of running back Nathaniel Jones. The UCLA commit missed last season with a knee injury. He’s been cleared to make his season debut.

Oaks Christian (1-0) is hosting Grace Brethren (1-0) in a game between two schools hoping to impress eighth-graders in the area. Oaks Christian’s defense better be ready to handle a power running game. The Lions need to improve on offense after scoring just 13 points last week against Chaminade.

Loyola makes its debut under new coach Drew Casani taking on St. Bernard. The Cubs are in Division 4 this season and need every victory they can get since they are playing in a league full of Division 1/2 teams. There’s some very good young players set to make their varsity debuts. St. Bernard is no pushover. The Vikings won 27-0 over Salesian last week.

A competitive game should be Vista Murrieta playing Los Alamitos at Cerritos College.

Corona del Mar, coming off an eight-touchdown performance by quarterback Ethan Garbers, travels to Northern California to take on Mountain View St. Francis.


Crenshaw is at Upland to face linebacker Justin Flowe. Imagine the fun it would have been if De’Anthony Thomas were still around and being chased by Flowe?

Birmingham is at Crespi in a battle of 1-0 San Fernando Valley teams. Crespi is making steady progress under coach Dameon Porter and could pull an upset if the Patriots take the Celts lightly. Jackson White had 2 1/2 sacks last week against Canyon Country Canyon.