Northern California High School Football Rankings: St. Mary’s move to No. 3 after convincing 45-35 win over De La Salle

Suddenly, the St. Mary’s has an argument.

Could this be the best team in the Sac-Joaquin section? Could the Stockton Rams have a chance to make the CIF State Open final against the mighty Mater Dei or Bosco?

First of all. St. Mary’s can’t let their 45-35 win over De La Salle last week in the latest NorCal showdown lead to complacency for the rest of the Tri-City Athletic League schedule. And the Rams must, most likely, beat Folsom in the SJS Division I Finals to try their luck at the Open in a race that will include Folsom and Serra.

Folsom has another showdown this week, taking on undefeated Del Oro in a Sierra Foothill League tilt.

St. Mary’s of Stockton quarterback Samson Hunkin helped the Rams win 45-35 over De La Salle last week. (Photo: Stephen Hopson)

Ranking the 20 best high school footballers in Northern California

1. (Last week 1) Serra (San Mateo), 6-0
Last week: Defeated Bellarmine, 28-7
This week: against Riordan
Serra is cruising 3-0 in the West Catholic Athletic League after Maealiuaki Smith passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The big non-league wins are 17-12 at Folsom and 24-21 at De La Salle. Serra reached the CIF State Open final last season.

2. (2) Folsom, 6-1
Last week: Defeated Whitney, 55-7
This week: against Del Oro
The Bulldogs are Sierra Foothill League favorites with wins over Oak Ridge and Whitney. Austin Mack completed 16 of 21 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns and his defense had four turnovers. The loss was 17-12 against Serra. The biggest wins were 23-15 at Pittsburgh and 24-20 at De La Salle.

3. (6) St. Mary’s (Stockton), 7-0
Last week: Defeated De La Salle, 45-35
This week: against Tracy
After seven tries over the past decade, the Rams finally toppled De La Salle, rallying 14-0 behind Samson Hunkin, who had three touchdowns. It’s the class of the Tri-City Athletic League and maybe the whole section.

4. (3) De La Salle (Concorde), 3-3

Last week: Lost to St. Mary’s, 45-35
This week: against California
The Spartans have not had such a slow start since 2004 with a 2-3-2 record and this team still won the North Shore Division Championship. The losses this season are against Serra (24-21), Folsom (24-20) and St. Mary’s.

5. (5) Pittsburgh, 5-1
Last week: Freedom defeated, 31-29
This week: against Deer Valley
The Pirates had to sweat their Bay Valley Athletic League victory over the gritty Liberty and used a 23-yard field goal from Octavio Lopez to win it. The loss was 23-15 to Folsom.

6. (5) Monterey Trail (Elk Grove), 6-2
Last week: Beat McClatchy (forfeit)
This week: Goodbye
The Mustangs did not play as McClatchy lost their Metro League game due to low college football play. Losses were to Folsom and De La Salle.

7. (7) Del Oro (Loomis), 7-0
Last week: Defeated Rocklin, 33-20
This week: in Folsom
The Golden Eagles have a nice resume this season outside of the SFL, outpacing Clayton Valley Charter and Menlo-Atherton behind solid line play and fast-rising junior star QB Caden Pinnick. Now it’s a date with Folsom.

8. (8) Clovis West (Fresno), 7-0

Last week: Defeated Clovis East, 42-30
This week: Chez Clovis North
The top-ranked team in the Central Section beat previously undefeated Clovis East as Ryan Markarian passed for 370 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Marshel Sanders. The Tri-River Athletic Conference is fun.

9. (9) Buchanan (Clovis), 6-1
Last week: Central Beat, 42-41
This week: against Clovis
The Tri-River Athletic Conference is a grinder, and Buchanan’s loss was to Clovis West, 29-22. In the last game, Jayden Mandal passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Runnels rushed for 144 yards and four scores.

10. (12) Saltworks, 6-0
Last week: Goodbye
This week: in Aptos
The Cowboys are preparing for a Pacific Coast Gabilan League contest with Aptos and are targeting the top seed in the Central Coast Section Division I race. A big early win was over Clayton Valley Charter.

11. (11) Manteca, 6-0
Last week: Defeated Sierra, 68-0
This week: against East Union
The Buffaloes led 33-0 after the first quarter and rolled into the Valley Oak League with showdowns looming against Central Catholic of Modesto and Oakdale.

12. (12) Liberty (Bakersfield), 5-2

Last week: Defeated Stockdale, 42-0
This week: vs. Centennial (Bakersfield)
The Patriots were led by Jalen Hankins’ 112 yards and two touchdowns and have a Southwest Yosemite River League showdown against Centennial 7-0. The loss was in power of San Diego Carlsbad.

13. (14) Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills), 6-1
Last week: Defeated Granite Bay, 17-16
This week: against Whitney
The Trojans bounced back from their SFL loss to Folsom to beat Granite Bay on a Markus Hoffmann sack as the Grizzlies tried to win it with a 2-point conversion in the final moment.

14. (15) Wilcox (Santa Clara), 6-0
Last week: Defeated Milpitas, 48-9
This week: against Palo Alto
The Chargers are looking to earn the No. 1 seed in the Central Coast Section playoffs and that effort begins with star QB Armand Johnson, who passed for 221 yards and two scores.

15. (16) McClymonds (Oakland), 4-1
Last week: Defeated San Ramon Valley, 45-42
This week: On the horizon
Mack earned a thriller as Jaivian Thomas rushed for 280 yards and four scores before Oakland Athletic League action. The loss was to Pittsburg, 39-21.

16. (13) Granite Bay, 5-2
Last week: Lost to Oak Ridge, 17-16
This week: against Rocklin
The Grizzlies have two losses to start SFL play and another big test this week. Granite Bay went for two and the late win over Oak Ridge and was stopped. The other loss was 21-10 to Del Oro.

17. (19) Catholic Mariner (Kentfield), 6-0
Last week: Defeated Tamalpais, 49-6
This week: against Archie Williams
The Wildcats won the Marin County Athletic League contest, easily leading 35-0 at halftime. San Marino is the only other unbeaten in the league.

18. (20) Saint Francis (Mountain View), 3-3
Last week: Sacred Heart Cathedral defeated, 24-17
This week: to the Christian Valley
The Lancers, defending WCAL champions, were paced by Matt Dougherty Jr., who passed for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Losses were suffered by higher-seeded Monterey Trail De La Salle and Serra.

19. Central Catholic (Modesto), 3-3
Last week: Defeated Kimball, 49-13
This week: against Oakdale
The Raiders were led by Tyler Jacklich, who rushed for 162 yards and two scores in the Valley Oak League contest. This race includes Manteca and Oakdale. The losses were at Saint François, Sainte-Marie, Serra and Bosco.

20. San Ramon Valley (Danville), 5-1
Last week: Lost to McClymonds, 45-42
This week: against Clayton Valley Charter
Wolves lost despite a monstrous effort from Luke Baker who passed for 513 yards and five touchdowns.

The next 10
21. Centenary (Bakersfield), 7-0
22. Bishop Mitty (San Jose). 5-1
23. Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park), 5-1
24. Cerrito, 6-0
25. Acalanes (Lafayette), 6-0
26. Campolindo (Moraga), 6-0
27. San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno), 5-2
28. Downey (Modesto), 7-0
29. Sacred Heart Preparation (Atherton), 5-1
30. Vacaville, 4-3

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