How tough is high school football in South Orange County.
Pretty darn tough.
And if you doubted it, one of the leading high school observers of prep sports has ranked the top 10 football leagues in the nation. In the top five were the Trinity League and the South Coast League.
The Trinity League, which includes Santa Margarita Catholic and JSerra, was rated second only to a league from New Jersey, the Big North-United.
The South Coast League, comprised of Mission Viejo, Tesoro, San Clemente, El Toro and Trabuco Hills, was rated No. 5 overall.
- To see the complete list, click here
Three of the top five leagues are from the Southern Section's Pac-5 Division as the Serra League came in at No. 4.
The Serra League is made up of La Puente Bishop Amat, Encino Crespi, Mission Hills Alemany, Los Angeles Loyola and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
Figure that it's safe to say that the Pac-5 is the toughest in the nation. The Pac-5 also includes the Marmonte East and Marmonte West leagues, which includes teams such as Ventura St. Bonaventure, Westlake and Westlake Village Oaks Christian.
According to the computer-based Freeman Ratings, which Maxpreps used to compile its ranking, the Big North-United League included three of the top 13 teams in the nation among its five schools, then includes a team ranked No. 173 and its last team at No. 1,172.
By comparison, the Trinity League has a tougher fourth-place team (Servite at 171), and its sixth-place team (JSerra at 609) is 572 spots better in the national ratings.
The Trinity League breaks down like this heading into this week's games:
- Santa Margarita, 5-0 (No. 1 in state, No. 3 in nation)
- St. John Bosco, 1-4 (3, 15)
- Mater Dei, 4-1 (7, 40)
- Servite, 2-3 (29, 171)
- Orange Lutheran, 5-0 (50, 343)
- JSerra, 5-0 (70, 609)
Bosco's record reflects four forfeit losses for using an ineligible player.
This is the way the South Coast League breaks down:
- Mission Viejo, 6-0 (No. 8 in state, No. 41 nationally)
- Tesoro, 5-0 (9, 42)
- El Toro, 6-0 (16, 85)
- Trabuco Hills, 4-2 (83, 710)
- San Clemente, 4-2 (101, 851).
Keep in mind that San Clemente quarterback Sean Donnelly was injured, which coincided with back-to-back losses.
Santa Margarita will have to step up as the season continues as its starting quarterback, Nebraska-bound Johnny Stanton, was injured two weeks ago and is lost for the season.
Santa Margarita plays Servite tonight in the Trinity League opener for both teams. Servite, which is very young ths season, has won a share of seven consecutive league titles and two of the last three Pac-5 championships. Santa Margarita won last year's Pac-5 title.