Here are the top games to watch for Week 2 of the high school football schedule (Aug. 24):
Mater Dei (California) at Bishop Gorman, 6 p.m.
The big bad Gaels return to the gridiron after their ninth straight state title, looking for revenge on the team that ended their 55-game winning streak. Gorman fell to Mater Dei in Santa Ana in Week 2 last year, and return a squad with plenty of questions. Who will play quarterback? Who will be the top receiver? Who is on the defensive line? The Gaels have earned the benefit of the doubt, but they don’t start off the season with a gimme.
The Monarchs were perfect last season. They won the mythical national championship with a 15-0 record, and outscored opponents 724-229. They even get a week to get their feet underneath them with their opener a week prior. No. 1 quarterback in his class J.T. Daniels reclassified to join Southern California early, and star receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown graduated, so it’s a new squad coming to Fertitta Field later this month.
Liberty at Saguaro (Arizona), 7 p.m.
The Patriots complete their home-and-home with a trip to Scottsdale, where they face Arizona power Saguaro. But last year’s meeting didn’t seem to faze Liberty much, as they claimed a 51-20 victory in Henderson. But the Patriots are living in a post-Kenyon Oblad world, and seeing how the offense operates without the state’s all-time passing leader could be worth the price of admission on its own.
The Sabercats won their fifth consecutive state title last year and 10th in 12 years, but they don’t play in Arizona’s highest classification. They lost a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but junior Damian Sellers recorded 11½ sacks and 27 tackles for loss last season.
Valor Christian (Colorado) at Faith Lutheran, 7 p.m.
Greg Oliver, Sir Oliver Everett and Sebastian Burke are all coming in to lead a revamped secondary that figures to be the strength of a Crusaders team with high expectations. They lost by nine points to Valor Christian last year, but get the game at home this season. Sagan Gronauer returns under center for his third year leading the offense.
The Eagles were 11-1 last season, and lost their only game in the second round of the playoffs. It’s a similar team returning, including Nebraska quarterback commit Luke McCaffrey, Colorado running back commit Joshia Davis and uncommitted linebacker Ethan Zemla.