The FrontRowPreps.com large-school rankings are comprised of teams from the Central California Conference, Central California Athletic League, Valley Oak League and Western Athletic Conference. Last week’s ranking and current record in parenthesis.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s top-10:
1. (1) Central Catholic (3-1): After playing one of the strongest nonconference schedules in the southern half of the Sac-Joaquin Section, Roger Canepa has learned a lot about his team through the first four weeks of the season. What he doesn’t know, though, is who will be the team’s full-time quarterback. Will it be returner Kyle Jackson, or transfer Dalton Durossette? That answer will likely be revealed Friday evening. Next: vs. Manteca.
2. (3) Merced (4-0): The Bears are 4-0 for the first time since 2007 and looking like the favorite in the Central California Conference, which begins this Friday. There isn’t a defense in the CCC that will hold dual-threat quarterback Dhameer Warren, do-everything wide receiver Xavier Stewart and the Merced offense to fewer than 30 points. Next: at Central Valley.
3. (4) Pitman (4-0): There’s seemingly a new hero each week for the surging Pride, which is looking to close out a perfect non-conference run this Friday against a Mother Lode stalwart. Last week, quarterback Treyton Fair took his turn in the spotlight. Fair threw for four touchdowns and 227 yards in a 31-28 win over Bullard. Next: vs. Summerville.
4. (5) Downey (3-1): Beau Green and Bryce Gouker combined for six touchdown passes as the Knights bounced back from their loss to Merced with a lopsided victory over Johansen. Downey's opponent on Friday should be considerably tougher. McClymonds is a giant among small schools in the Bay Area and the top team in the Oakland Section. Next: vs. McClymonds.
5. (2) Turlock (2-2): The Bulldogs haven’t shied away from competition, but have struggled mightily away from home. Turlock is 0-2 on the road after its latest defeat, a 41-28 loss at Sheldon of Elk Grove. In that game, the Bulldogs, who turned the ball over five times in a season-opening loss at Freedom of Oakley, gave up the first 21 points, creating a hole too deep to climb out out of. Next: at Central of Fresno.
6. (6) Oakdale (3-1): Max Moore scored the first and last touchdowns for the Mustangs, including a 36-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. That proved to be the difference against Chaparral of Colorado. Oakdale has won two straight heading into Valley Oak League play. Next: at East Union.
7. (7) Buhach Colony (3-1): Youlas Dickson rushed for 102 yards on just two carries and returned an interception for a touchdown as the Thunder won for the third time in four games. Buhach Colony forced four turnovers in the win. Next: vs. Patterson.
8. (8) Manteca (2-2): The Buffaloes channeled the frustration of a two-game losing streak into a head-turning performance against a heavily-favored opponent. Junior Jacob DeJesus scored three touchdowns, quarterback Ryan Ward bounced back from injury and threw for two more, and the defense stymied Tracy’s Logan Fife in a 54-18 win. Next: at Central Catholic.
9. (nr) Modesto (3-1): The Panthers make their debut in the large-school top-10 ranking after beating Patterson beneath the palms. Modesto had two running backs with at least 100 yards, including Daeveon Graves, who also had a pick-six interception and an 8-yard touchdown reception. Next: at Franklin (Stockton).
10. (9) Patterson (2-2): The Tigers trailed by 20 at the intermission, but cut Modesto’s lead to 34-31 on touchdowns by Javier Alvarado and Miguel Alvarez. That’s as close as Patterson would get, though, as its spirited rally fell short. Next: at Buhach Colony.
Dropped out: Pacheco.
On the bubble: Gregori, Atwater, Pacheco.
Follow James Burns on Twitter @jburns1980, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.