Now into Week 7, we have some movement in the middle of the rankings and also within the top three. There is certainly some debate over where teams are ranked, so from here on out we’ll include a brief explanation each week at the bottom of the rankings. Instead of simply listing teams according to record, there actually is a formula to compiling these rankings. We’ll share that rationale.
One thing to note is that we’ve also spoken to several coaches who have offered feedback as to which teams are playing the best right now. Not that every coach has seen every team, but they have a good idea of which teams are legit in the CIF-SS and can gauge how good valley teams are based upon the quality of wins they’ve accumulated.
With that, here’s the breakdown in our latest Power Rankings. Check the Desert Sun sports blog for weekly updates.
1. Cathedral City (5-0) — Outscoring opponents 254-47. Turnover margin is plus-11.
2. La Quinta (3-2) — May be scariest team in the valley, but injuries are a concern.
3. Palm Springs (4-1) — Back after a week off, Indians should return to winning ways.
4. Xavier Prep (3-3) — Potent offense and improving defense is praiseworthy.
5. Palm Desert (1-4) — Must show a much-improved defense against Cathedral City.
6. Shadow Hills (3-2) — Perhaps under the radar, the Knights still finding an identity.
7. Coachella Valley (3-2) — Dropped after loss to Banning. Tough schedule ahead.
8. Indio (0-5) — The schedule won’t get any easier with DVL play starting.
9. Desert Hot Springs (0-6) — A new era? Will start a freshman at QB and RB this week.
10. Desert Mirage (0-5) — Must find way to move the ball. Passing game is non-existent.
As impressive as La Quinta’s win over Eisenhower was on Friday, it’s difficult to knock Cathedral City down when the Lions destroyed Twentynine Palms, 46-0. The Lions are not only dangerous on offense, they force turnovers on defense and rarely give the ball away. Those two things are so vital to a team’s success.
I have had one valley coach tell me that La Quinta should be No. 1. I’ve had another tell me that the Blackhawks might be the team to beat in the DVL, yet also said Cathedral City probably deserves to be atop the rankings right now based on its resume. La Quinta has played better competition, but has had a bevy of injuries and starts a pair of freshmen, which could make the Blackhawks vulnerable at times. Still, they have size on the lines and that is another key factor entering league play.
Then there’s Palm Springs, who might actually be underrated at this point. The Indians have loads of talent and have still won despite their own injuries. Let’s not forget that Palm Springs has also won the last three DVL titles, which does carry a bit of weight and some benefit of the doubt here. At least one DVL coach has warned not to sleep on the Indians.
For the No. 4 spot, it starts to get tricky. Coachella Valley occupied this spot last week, yet a disappointing loss to Banning (a team Cathedral City beat by 50 and Shadow Hills beat by 14) was a major setback. Banning has likely improved over the last month, but there’s no way the Arabs should have lost that game. So, Xavier Prep figures into the No. 4 spot by virtue of the fact that they won on Friday and appear to be playing as well as just about anybody else outside the top three.
Palm Desert comes in at No. 5 despite a 1-4 record and a struggling defense. But the Aztecs crushed Shadow Hills and, as mentioned above, the Knights handled Banning, so they both get the nod over CV. The Arabs might be better than both of those teams above them, but we cannot assume that right now. If the Aztecs can play some defense from here out, they have the powerful offense to make a playoff run.
The three teams still searching for a win are basically a toss up. Some have been more competitive than others, and that has been the difference in 8-10.
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