PREP FOOTBALL: John Maffei’s Week 1 picks

No. 1 Cathedral Catholic at No. 3 Mater Dei Catholic

When: 6 p.m., Saturday

Preview: It won’t take long to determine the true No. 1 team in the San Diego County. Cathedral Catholic, 12-2 last season, the preseason No. 1, travels to No. 3 Mater Dei Catholic this week. Next week, MDC, which was 13-0 last season, hosts No. 2 Carlsbad. Saturday’s game matches a pair of state champions — Cathedral Catholic won the State 1-AA title and Mater Dei Catholic took home the State 2-AA championship. Jack Stevens, a junior transfer from Green Valley High in Henderson, Nev., takes over at QB for the Dons. A 3-star, pro-style prospect, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 206 yards last season. Will Bond, who ran for 447 yards, takes over at RB for San Diego Section Offensive Player of the Year Lucky Sutton. The receiving corps will be new and the OL is young, but talented. Defensively, the Dons return DL Jack Janikowski, LB Victory Johnson and SS Madden Faraimo. Mater Dei Catholic is loaded on both sides of the ball. Dominic Nankil who threw for 3,427 yards and 38 TDs, returns at QB. Nico Mosley, who rushed for 964 yards, and Anthony McMillian, who had 736 rushing yards, are back. Top WRs Jeremiah McClure and Cruz Estrada are back. On defense, the Crusaders return DBs Surahz Buncom, Chris Snyder and Isaiah Buxton along with San Diego Section Defensive Player of the Year Tre Edwards.

Prediction: Mater Dei Catholic 21, Cathedral Catholic 20

Canyon Hills at El Capitan

When: 7 p.m., today

Preview: Canyon Hills, 1-8 last season, enters the season on a 6-game losing streak and scored just 110 points a year ago. El Capitan is coming off a 9-3 season, but the Vaqueros must replace the talented Yokley brothers — QB Savignon and WR Antoine. Bruce Newland is the new starting QB. RBs Angel Diaz and Julian May return. Sophomore Chance LaChappa could be the No. 1 WR.

Prediction: El Capitan 27, Canyon Hills 12

Bonita Vista at Morse

When: 6:30 p.m., today

Preview: Bonita Vista was 4-6 last season and last had a winning season in 2015. RB Jamar Harris returns along with WR Dante Scott, a Colorado State commit. Morse was also 4-6 last season, but returns several keys on offense including QB Johnny Mosti and RBs Omar Ramirez and Damarion Wright.

Prediction: Morse 37, Bonita Vista 21

El Camino vs. St. Augustine

When: 7 p.m., today, Mesa College

Preview: El Camino is coming off a 7-6 season. The team’s strengths are up front with OL-DL Genesis Seumalo, Alex Hernandez, Talo Tavale, Mickey and Pisa Tinoisamoa and Pe’a Misaalefau. St. Augustine is rebuilding under new coach Ron Gladnick after a 2-9 season. The Saints could start as many as 8 freshmen. El Camino beat the Saints twice last season, 21-13 in the season opener and 23-14 in the playoffs.

Prediction: El Camino 38, St. Augustine 24

Castle Park at Rancho Buena Vista

When: 7 p.m., today

Preview: Castle Park returns RB Jalen Hopkins and WR Sergio Cobos off a 1-9 team. RBV, nearing the end of a rebuilding project under coach Shane Graham, was 6-6 last season. The Longhorns return their top offensive threats in QB Connor Underhill and 1,451-yard RB Angelo Trapasso. OL Kevyion Hicks and Paul Graham are anchors up front.

Prediction: Rancho Buena Vista 31, Castle Park 12

West Hills at Grossmont

When: 7 p.m., today

Preview: West Hills was 11-1 last season, losing only to Ramona in the playoffs. The Wolf Pack returns RB Diego Calderon and OL-DL Gavin Condon. Collin Dill makes the transition from RB to QB. Grossmont was 4-8 last season and lost the bulk of its offense.

Prediction: West Hills 28, Grossmont 14

Christian at Ramona

When: 7 p.m., today

Preview: Christian, which was 6-5 a year ago has a new coach in Patrick Bugg. The Patriots return QB Jake Davila, who threw for 1,743 yards and ran for 502, as well as TE-PK Hunter Provience and WR Joey Merritt. Ramona was 9-4 last season, scoring 377 points. Azlan Rodriguez will make the transition from RB to QB. Adrian Rodriguez is the top RB with Kyle Patenaude back at WR.

Prediction: Ramona 31, Christian 21

Fallbrook at University City

When: 7 p.m., today

Prediction: Fallbrook is at the front end of revival, going 5-7 last season. The Warriors have a new coach in Ross Johnson and return a top-flight player in TE-DL Kaleb Collings. University City was 8-5 last season, scoring 522 points. QB Samuel Cooper, who ran for 1,266 yards, threw for 2,342 and accounted for 51 TDs is back along with RBs Roman Rodriguez, LaDainian Lawrence and Samuel Harris. Top WR Troy Granfors is also back.

Prediction: University City 37, Fallbrook 21

Helix at Mira Mesa

When: 7 p.m., today

Preview: Helix was 9-4 last season. Throw out the COVID-19 year of spring 2021, and the Highlanders have had 14 straight winning seasons. Gone is 2,000-yard RB Christian Washington, but 1,600-yard QB Ryland Jessee is back along with DB Adren Parker and RB-LB Puka Noa. Mira Mesa was 7-4 last year and has 2 top offensive weapons back in QB Tyson Line and RB Makei Thompson.

Prediction: Helix 28, Mira Mesa 24

No. 4 Madison at Otay Ranch

When: 7 p.m., today

Preview: Madison is coming off a 9-3 season and has plenty. The Warhawks return QB Reggie Johnson, RBs Tyson Bryant and James Tivao multi-sport WR Jake Johnson and OL Jonah Rodriguez. Otay Ranch was 3-6 last season, but one of the wins was 19-14 over Madison. QB Makai Corpuz is the key returnee.

Prediction: Madison 31, Otay Ranch 20

Last season: 134-41, 76.8 percent