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Lompoc's Joe Schumer and Ryan Morgan try to bring down Arroyo Grande's James Gilmet.

Joe Bailey

1. Arroyo Grande (3-1): The Eagles finally claim my top spot after enforcing their will against Lompoc last week in a 24-10 win. The Eagles showed they can win a big game without star James Gilmet, who was really limited in his return from a foot injury. Kadin Byrne led the offense while Elijah Castro was a force on defense, helping the Eagles stifle the Braves even without injured star LB Jed Rantz.

2. Righetti (3-1): I'm not going to knock the Warriors too much after last week's loss at Centennial. They fought their way back into that game and nearly pulled off a season-defining win. But the Golden Hawks scored late to win 37-35. Righetti should move to 4-1 against Soledad Friday.

3. St. Joseph (3-1): We knew it was going to happen eventually. The Knights were living dangerously, letting Pioneer Valley hang around and needing a last-second TD to beat Garces, and they were finally beaten at Bakersfield Christian, 38-31 last week. Are the Knights just inconsistent? Or is this who they are? We'll know more after Friday's big game against unbeaten Centennial.  

4. Lompoc (2-2): The Braves at 2-2 just doesn't feel or look right. But, we knew this season was going to be a challenge from the get-go, with all the pieces the Braves lost from last year's 11-1 team. Now the challenge is much different for Andrew Jones and his guys: They aren't more talented than their opponents and haven't shown an ability to out-execute them either. Now, they'll have to out-fight their opponents, scratching and clawing for every yard on offense and every stop on defense they can get. Either way, it'll be something to watch, with many in Lompoc hoping to see the Braves win with their backs against the wall, a position that's unfamiliar for those in Blue and White. One thing I've learned is to never count out Jones, his staff and his players. They're still my Channel League favorites. They get a week off Friday and will be back in it to take on St. Joseph on Sept. 21. 

5. Santa Barbara (3-1): The Dons came back to earth a bit with a 28-13 loss to St. Bonaventure. That Channel League title chase is going to be interesting, with Lompoc, SB, DP and Santa Ynez all real close.

6. Santa Ynez (2-1): The Pirates are coming off a bye and will face another 2-1 team also coming off a bye in San Luis Obispo. This is a sneaky good matchup and one that those in SY and SLO should come out for. The Pirates' lone loss is to 3-1 Nipomo (17-14 score) and they could easily be 3-0. SLO has beaten Atascadero and San Marcos in a shootout and Friday's game should be an interesting clash of styles with Santa Ynez's smash-mouth defense going up against SLO's high-octane offense. Who will win out? 

7. Bishop Diego (2-2): This is the Bishop Diego everyone was expecting. The Cardinals poured it on early against Nipomo and hung out to win 41-28 last week at home. 

8. Nipomo (3-1): It appears the Titans came out flat at Bishop and their late charge wasn't enough to complete the comeback, though Nipomo did outscore 21-7 in the second half. The Cardinals outscoring the Titans 28-0 in the second quarter was too much to overcome. Now things get tougher for Tony Dodge's crew: The Titans play at No. 1 Arroyo Grande. The Titans gave up over 400 yards to Bishop last week.

9. Dos Pueblos (3-1): The Chargers got back on track with a 41-7 win over winless Buena. They are off this week before taking on Righetti in Orcutt on Sept. 21. That should be a good one.

10. San Luis Obispo (2-1): The Tigers are 2-1 and it's pretty cool to see really good and entertaining football return to SLO High. There were some lean years but it appears the once proud program is back on track. Though it's a non-league and cross-sectional game, the contest at Santa Ynez will be a big one for the Tigers.

Lorenzo J. Reyna

1. Arroyo Grande (3-1): The current Eagle players were in elementary school when Arroyo Grande last beat Lompoc at Huyck Stadium in 2010 – which was the last time ANYONE during the regular season beat the Braves at Huyck.

2. Righetti (3-1): The Warriors lost in heartbreaking fashion at Bakersfield Centennial and move down one spot.

3. St. Joseph (3-1): The Knights move down one notch after their shootout in the 661 against Bakersfield Christian.

4. Santa Barbara (3-1): The Dons remain at No. 4 after struggling offensively against a stout St. Bonaventure squad last Friday.

5. Santa Ynez (2-1): The Pirates stay at the fifth spot following the week off. They get a San Luis Obispo team showing signs of improvement at 2-1.

6. Dos Pueblos (3-1): The Chargers have picked up steam following that embarrassing shutout loss to Pacifica; holding off Ventura and steamrolling past Buena last week. They get a week off before taking on Righetti on the road on Sept. 21. 

7. Nipomo (3-1): The Titans clearly ran into a struggling Bishop Diego team that was itching badly to regain some momentum.

8. San Luis Obispo (2-1): This Friday’s game versus Santa Ynez will show if the Tigers are vastly improved…and a possible early player for the Ocean League title. San Luis Obispo hasn’t won past two games since the 2013 season when it finished 4-6.

9. Lompoc (2-2): Head coach Andrew Jones has pointed out mental errors throughout the season on the Braves’ side. Latest ones against Arroyo Grande were dropping potential long touchdown passes and two more turnovers that occurred deep in AG territory. 

10. Bishop Diego (2-2): The Cardinals can breathe a sigh of relief after taking down a red-hot Nipomo team, plus avoiding the 1-3 start.

On the bubble:

Santa Maria (2-2): A victory over Visalia Mt. Whitney this Friday means the Saints could go 2-0 against CIF Central Section Division III foes. 

Pioneer Valley (1-2): The Panthers turned to a dual-threat quarterback, stout running game and a defense that kept Cabrillo out of the end zone for their first win of the season.

Elliott Stern

1. Arroyo Grande

2. Righetti

3. St. Joseph

4. Santa Barbara

5. Lompoc

6. Santa Ynez

7. Dos Pueblos

8. Bishop Diego

9. San Luis Obispo

10. Nipomo

Kenny Cress

1. Righetti

2. Arroyo Grande

3. Lompoc

4. St. Joseph

5. Santa Barbara

6. Bishop Diego

7. Santa Ynez

8. Nipomo

9. Dos Pueblos

10. Paso Robles

Brian Stanley

1. Arroyo Grande (3-1)

2. Righetti (3-1)

3. St. Joseph (3-1)

4. Dos Pueblos (3-1)

5. Lompoc (2-2)

6. Nipomo (3-1)

7. Santa Ynez (2-1)

8. Santa Barbara (3-1)

9. San Luis Obispo (2-1)

10. Paso Robles (1-3)

Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports


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