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Daily News’ City Section football preseason Top 5 rankings Daily News’ City Section football preseason Top 5 rankings
Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now. As we head into the 2021 fall high school football season,... Daily News’ City Section football preseason Top 5 rankings

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As we head into the 2021 fall high school football season, the Los Angeles Daily News is publishing preseason coverage that includes team rankings and lists of the top players to watch by position.

The season begins the week of Aug. 19-21.


1. Birmingham Charter

Top returners: Arlis Boardingham, WR/TE/DE, Sr.; Carlos Rivera, OL/DT, Sr.; Delamonte Barnes, RB/LB, Sr.; Patrick Robinson, DB/WR, Sr.

Key losses: Forrest Brock, QB; Tyler Smith, RB; Jeremiah Cox, WR/DB

Outlook: The Patriots, also ranked No. 10 in the Daily News’ overall preseason rankings, are the City Section’s frontrunner to win the Open title, along with San Pedro and Banning. Birmingham has a nonleague schedule full of CIF Southern Section teams that will test its ability and durability. Coach Jim Rose says the Patriots have 45 players on varsity, which is a strong number, but it needs to stay hovering at that number when West Valley League competition begins.

If the nonleague schedule beats up Birmingham too much, it could make for an interesting October and November.

2. Granada Hills Charter

Top returners: Dijon Stanley, RB, Jr.; Philip Hamburg, OT, Jr.; Antonio Ochoa, OG, Jr.; Michael Hernandez, QB, Sr.; Myles White, DE, Sr.; Cooper Brown, DB, Sr.; Jonathan Herrera, CB, Sr.; Chance Heximer, LB, So.

Key losses: Kyle Cheyno, OL; Gio Korn, LB

Outlook: It’s the “Dijon Stanley Show,” and that’s how it should be.

Stanley is one of the area’s top running backs and has an offer from Michigan. His combination of speed and strength helped him tally 1,009 yards on 63 carries and 14 touchdowns in the abbreviated spring season as a sophomore. There will be more where that came from with coach Bucky Brooks’ double-wing offense.

The Highlanders are playing an all-City Section schedule, so don’t be surprised if they’re unbeaten or have just one loss heading into the showdown with Birmingham Charter on Oct. 15.

It won’t matter if the opponent knows what’s coming, they’ll still have to stop it.

3. Reseda

Top returners: Kameran Charles, WR/DB, Sr.;  Jason Wagner Jr., DB/WR, Sr.; Saleem Marshall, LB, Sr.; Manny Maldonado, LB, Sr.; Deji Olabode, DE, Sr.; Kaden Jones, RB, Sr.; Jerry Turner, OL, Sr.

Key losses: Androw Nesem, SS/RB; Ayo Olabode, DE; Zecherriah Gipson, RB

Outlook: There’s championship experience on this Regents team, and they’re all seniors. Kameran Charles, Jason Wagner Jr., Saleem Marshal and Deji Olabode are all seniors who contributed to Reseda’s Division I title in 2019.

Charles played quarterback in the spring because that’s what the team needed. He led Reseda to a 3-1 record, but now he’s lining up where he belongs, at wide receiver. Senior Anthony Morris is projected to start at quarterback, but Charles might be seen at QB from time to time in various offensive packages.

Reseda is the favorite to win the Valley Mission League.

4. Kennedy

Top returners: Ryan Avalos QB, Sr.; Sione Manu RB/LB, Sr.; Dylan Yribe OL/DL, Jr.; Gor Abrahamian, WR/RB/LB, Jr.; Paulo Skochinski WR, Sr.; Daniel Plaza, DB, Sr.

Key losses: Frankie Argott, C/DT; Julian Soto, MLB/RT

Outlook: A heavy crop of senior and juniors return to Kennedy this fall, including senior quarterback Ryan Avalos, who threw over 700 yards and six touchdowns in four games during the spring.

The Cougars start the season in Week 0 against a CIF Southern Section program, Rosemead, on Friday, Aug. 20.

5. Arleta

Top returners: Kelvin Duran, RB/LB, Sr.; Guadalupe Cedillo, OL/DL, Sr.; Jared Rivas, OL/DL, Sr.; Mike Bonilla, WR/DB, Sr.

Key losses: Josh Lara, QB; Mike Robertson, WR

Outlook: The Mustangs went 3-0 in the spring and outscored their opponents 105-43. A lot of that scoring was done by running back Kelvin Duran. He scored seven touchdowns and ran for more than 400 yards, exceeding 100 yards rushing in each game.

Coach Bill Coan says Duran is just under 6-feet and 195 pounds.

Arleta will come out swinging with a tough test at Granada Hills in Week 0.

Other City teams to watch: Canoga Park, Cleveland, El Camino Real, Chatsworth