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Top 10 Southern California high school football games to watch Week 10 (10/26/2023): King/Drew and Dorsey prepare for epic South L.A. Classic

2023's South L.A. Classic should be one of the best in recent memory

More often than not, the regular season goes by in a flash for California high school football fans. And it seems like 2023 was even more of a blur than usual. Somehow, it's already Week 10. 

That means it's already time for the final "games of the week" countdown of the year. And this week's slate of matchups indicates that the 2023 regular season is going out with a bang.

Some years, most of the title races across SoCal's more prominent leagues are already decided before the final week of the regular season barring unimaginable upsets. 2022 was more or less one of those years. 

But not this season. This week's top 10 is nothing but league title games between high-level teams, dozens of which are being played by strong teams across the CIF Southern, L.A. City, and San Diego Sections.


With that said, here are the top 10 games to watch this week (Oct. 26-28) throughout Southern California high school football.


(Games are 7 p.m. Friday unless noted)

10A. Banning (Wilmington) at Carson – Friday at 7:30 p.m.

10B. Gardena at Narbonne – Friday at 7:30 p.m.

For what's far from the first or last time, it's just one of those years in the Marine League. After Gardena's upset of Carson last week, a double entry is the only appropriate option here.

Carson seemed poised to run away with the conference title and an undefeated regular season until last week. After beating Narbonne 27-7 and San Pedro 48-7, the Colts fell 27-7 to Gardena last week – a tremendous bounce back game for Gardena after getting upset by Banning.

So, if Carson and Gardena both win on Friday, they finish tied atop the standings at 3-1, with Gardena holding the head-to-head advantage if relevant. If only one of them wins, they're the undisputed champion. And if Banning and Narbonne both pull off the upset tonight, then guess what – every team in the Marine League finishes 2-2.

9. Colony at Glendora

After dealing with an uncharacteristic rebuilding year in 2022, Glendora is already back in the Citrus 4 League title hunt after outlasting South Hills and Los Osos. However, even with home field advantage, it's still an underdog this week against reigning champion Colony, which won this matchup by 30 points last year. Colony has to like its odds at completing its first back-to-back conference title run since 2014 and 2015 in the Mt. Baldy League, but it'll need to bring its A-game.

8. Brawley at Central (El Centro)

San Diego Section football fans are accustomed to getting outstanding title races in the Imperial Valley League, and 2023 is business as usual. While it probably doesn't need additional motivation, Brawley is likely extra motivated after losing narrowly to Central in back-to-back games to end 2022 – one in the league championship, and the other in the playoffs. Central's last league loss came in Week 10 of 2021 to Brawley, so both these teams are accustomed to dealing with playoff atmospheres against each other in the final game before the playoffs actually start.

7. St. Bonaventure at Oaks Christian

St. Bonaventure football

The last time Oaks Christian won the Marmonte League? It's been longer than most would think – five years. And in every one of those seasons, it came up just short. Oaks Christian was considered the favorite by many last year entering Week 10 against St. Bonaventure, but it fell 40-28. The Lions get a repeat situation this year, and are a heavier favorite to seal the deal this time around. But St. Bonaventure is not to be counted out after overcoming an injury-afflicted start to the season and entering 7-2 on a six-game tear.

6. Rancho Verde at Orange Vista

The theme of undisputed league title games continues. Orange Vista (6-3) might be on the verge of its second straight undisputed Ivy League title, and has done nothing but roll after playing a tough non-league slate and opening 1-3. However, Rancho Verde is too good to count out. Rancho Verde (8-1) didn't lose a league game from 2015 through the pandemic-affected 2020-21 season, and it would only be a minor upset if it got back on top in 2023.

5. Cypress at Tustin

It's felt like Tustin's year all season long. The Tillers are one win away from running the table throughout not only Empire League play but the whole regular season. And since reaching peak form in a Week Four 40-19 win over Trabuco Hills, Tustin hasn't allowed one opponent to play them closely. 

However, all of that could change in Week 10 against battle-tested Cypress, which outdueled Crean Lutheran 30-24 last week to set up an undisputed conference title game. Despite entering as a multi-score underdog this week, Cypress hasn't come up short of a league title since 2018, and its experienced senior class is surely ready to give Tustin its best shot on Friday.

4. Edison (Huntington Beach) at Los Alamitos

Edison Chargers 2022 football2

Unlike almost every other game on the list, this one would be a massive upset if the underdog pulls it off. Los Alamitos has swept the Sunset League the last three seasons, and is the overwhelming favorite here. In fact, on paper, its perceived advantage is so large that this game might not even make the countdown without context. But, the context is that Edison is one of those teams that nobody would dare count out. After outdueling Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor in close games, the Chargers again find themselves in the de facto Sunset League championship with an opportunity to shock the world.

3. Rancho Cucamonga at Upland – Thursday at 7 p.m.

Rancho Cucamonga vs. Damien on Friday, October 20, 2023.

Call them the cardiac Cougars. Rancho Cucamonga's high-profile crusade to win arguably the best Baseline League race ever has been an ongoing storyline followed by fans from much farther than just the Inland Empire. After starting 2023 by winning six consecutive nail-biters, Rancho Cucamonga got two blowout wins (against Etiwanda and Chino Hills) to open Baseline League play, and then played its closest game yet to knock off Damien last week.

Now, the Cougars are just one win away from cementing an undefeated regular season. Nobody would be surprised if it were another blowout – or another instant classic that came down to the end. Upland, which nearly upset Damien earlier in league play, is a formidable foe that's also comfortable in tight games. And the Highlanders have undoubtedly been looking forward to their opportunity at crashing Rancho Cucamonga's parade.

2. San Marcos (San Marcos) at Del Norte (San Diego) – Thursday at 7 p.m.

Another week, another thrilling league title game in San Diego Section territory that fans from other sections might be sleeping on. Last week's highly-anticipated matchup between Granite Hills and Helix lived up to the hype, and we're expecting a memorable battle this week between San Marcos and Del Norte as well. 

Both of these teams have only lost in non-league play against Avocado League heavyweights, and enter the Palomar League title game with lots of momentum. San Marcos has made quicker work of its conference foes than Del Norte, but with only one loss, Del Norte is considered the favorite by some as it has home field advantage and an edge in CalPreps rankings. Either way, there's not much between these two sides, so get your popcorn.

1. King/Drew vs. Dorsey at L.A. Memorial Coliseum – Friday at 7:30 p.m.

To think that both of these teams were winless a month ago, and are now playing for a league title in one of the most hyped-up iterations of the South L.A. Classic in generations. Both teams are tied at 3-1 in Coliseum League play, along with Crenshaw, which rolled King/Drew to open conference play but fell a week later to Dymally. With Crenshaw nearly a lock to beat Fremont this week, whomever wins this one is almost assured a tie atop the standings.

So yes, this is a Coliseum League title game, and it's part of one of the most historic rivalries in California and beyond. That alone makes it must-see TV. Now throw in the fact it's also at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and that the halftime show includes multi-platinum rappers Warren G and Xzibit, and you have what might be the top spectacle of the entire regular season in California. To make it even better, tickets are just $15. The football gods are truly smiling down on this one.


In any given week of Southern California high school football, there are dozens of great games to watch between top programs. Here are some other exciting matchups happening this week.


Yorba Linda at Foothill (Santa Ana)

Diamond Ranch at Northview

Beaumont at Cajon

Murrieta Valley at Vista Murrieta – 7:30 p.m.

Roosevelt (Eastvale) at Chaparral

Yucaipa at Citrus Valley – 7:30 p.m.

Damien at Etiwanda

Long Beach Poly at Jordan (Long Beach)

Simi Valley at Bishop Diego

Temecula Valley at Great Oak

M.L. King at Murrieta Mesa

La Mirada at Downey (Downey)


Garfield vs. Roosevelt (Los Angeles) at East Los Angeles College – Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Bishop's at Santa Fe Christian – 3 p.m.

Servite vs. JSerra at Cerritos College

Laguna Beach at Westminster

St. Augustine at Cathedral Catholic – Thursday at 7 p.m.

Highland at Quartz Hill

El Camino (Oceanside) at Carlsbad

Orange Lutheran vs. St. John Bosco at Orange Coast College

La Habra at Sonora (La Habra)

Santa Margarita at Mater Dei

Valley Center at Oceanside

Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) at Bishop Amat

Torrey Pines at La Costa Canyon

Mission Bay at Scripps Ranch

Moorpark at Agoura

Northwood at Dana Hills

Culver City at Santa Monica

Fairfax at Venice – 7:30 p.m.

Tahquitz at Liberty (Winchester)

Eagle Rock at Franklin (Los Angeles)

Redondo Union at Mira Costa

St. Francis (La Cañada at St. Paul)

Poway at Mission Hills

Fallbrook at Ramona (Ramona)

Rancho Bernardo at Mt. Carmel

Loyola at Cathedral

Castaic at Hart

Buena at Santa Barbara

Serrano at Apple Valley

Ramona (Riverside) at Norte Vista

Corona del Mar vs. Huntington Beach at Newport Harbor

Camarillo at Newbury Park

Pacifica (Oxnard) at Oxnard

– Lance Smith | | @sbliveca