1. (1) Merced (4-1): Bears had trouble stopping the run while beating No. 5 Los Banos 35-28. Should get easier this week at Buhach Colony.
2. (2) Sonora (5-0): Cause for concern after "D" surrendered second 300-yard passing game in a row. Physical Manteca provides a big challenge.
3. (3) Pitman (4-1): Pride took advantage of bye to heal nicks and minor injuries. Harvest Bowl vs. Turlock good way to start second half of season.
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4. (nr) Sierra (4-1): Coach Jeff Harbison and the T'wolves took a bite out of Manteca by beating Buffs at their own game: power running and "D."
5. (5) Los Banos (3-3): Tigers have come within a TD of beating Merced and St. Mary's -- the top two D-I teams in the south -- so they stay here.
1. (1) Central Catholic (4-1): Raiders ended any question of who deserves to be No. 1 in The Bee's small school by stunning potent St. Mary's 27-25.
2. (2) Escalon (5-0): Allowed only 10 yards to Bret Harte in 56-0 rout. Biggest games -- MC and Ripon -- not until final two weeks of the season.
3. (3) Modesto Christian (4-1): OK, these guys showed they can play some defense in a rout of Amador. Even so, "D" woes keep MC at No. 3.
4. (4) Hilmar (5-0): Posted third shutout with a 28-0 win over MLL favorite Argonaut. Should be 6-0 going into Week 7 battle vs. No. 1 Central.
5. (5) Patterson (4-1): "D" line -- DT Imani Brown is a stud -- should keep Tigers winning as they prep for Central, Hilmar in last two weeks.