The small-school rankings are comprised of teams from the Central California Athletic Alliance, Mother Lode League, Southern League and Trans-Valley League. Last week’s ranking and current records in parenthesis.
1. (3) Ripon (5-0, 1-0): The Indians forced three turnovers and blocked a field goal in a 23-21 victory over former No. 1 Hilmar. Ripon is off to its best start since 2013. Next: vs. Riverbank.
2. (2) Escalon (4-0, 0-0): The Cougars were idle last week. Next: vs. Hilmar.
3. (3) Modesto Christian (5-0, 1-0): Hayden Sauser continued his strong start with three touchdown passes in a rout of Riverbank and the defense has yet allow more than nine points in a game. Next: at Hughson.
4. (1) Hilmar (4-1, 0-1): The Yellowjackets lost for the fourth time in five games to Ripon, despite another 200-yard rushing performance by senior running back Isaac Sharp. Next: at Escalon.
5. (5) Ripon Christian (4-0, 1-0): Michael Kamps shouldered the load, offensively and defensively, for the Knights, who silenced Waterford’s fast-and-fun offense with its best defensive performance of the season. Next: at Denair.
6. (6) Orestimba (3-1, 1-0): With two weeks to prepare for Mariposa, the three-time defending Southern League champions extended their league winning streak to 22 games with a resounding victory. Next: at Le Grand.
7. (7) Denair (4-0, 1-0): Steffin Winston and Hunter Musgrave combined for five touchdowns as the Coyotes ran wild in their Southern League opener with Le Grand, 41-21. Next: vs. Ripon Christian.
8. (9) Hughson (4-1, 1-0): The Huskies won for the fourth time in five games with a 35-7 victory over Livingston in their Trans-Valley League opener. Next: vs. Modesto Christian.
9. (10) Big Valley Christian (3-1, 0-0): The Lions avenged their season-ending loss to Woodland Christian last fall in the Division VII playoffs with a 35-21 victory. It will be hard to keep the Lions at No. 9 if Sonora, or another team from the Mother Lode, makes a run. BVC has a much weaker strength of the schedule. Next: vs. Turlock Christian.
10. (nr) Sonora (1-4, 0-0): The oft-injured former No. 1 snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over West, and they looked the part of the offensive juggernaut with more than 500 yards of offense. With a touchdown on offense and defense, Evan Bearden played up to his growing reputation on the recruiting trail. Next: at Bret Harte.
Dropped out: Waterford (3-1, 0-1).
On the bubble: Waterford (3-1, 0-1), Gustine (3-1, 1-0), Amador (5-0, 0-0), Calaveras (1-3, 0-0).
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