|OCVarsity Gridiron: Semifinals preview|
Can Mater Dei avenge last year's loss to Long Beach Poly? Will Huntington Beach finally beat Edison? Does Irvine have a shot against Garden Grove? Can St. Margaret's take over Big Bear? Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com.
|OCVarsity Gridiron Extra: Will Fullerton continue magical run?|
Steve Fryer, Carlos Arias, and Carlos Arias travel to Fullerton High School to preview their upcoming semifinals matchup against Newport Harbor. Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com.
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Calhoun Countdown to the semifinals
The semifinals are here. We’re one step away from the ultimate destination - the CIF-SS finals.
No need to waste time, the Calhoun Countdown is here. Always on time, always at the right location.
Home, sweet Home
After a trip to Redlands, which isn’t close to San Juan Capistrano, second-seeded St. Margaret’s returns home to face Big Bear in the East Valley Division semifinals. No matter where the game has been played, the Tartans have received some impressive performances from running back Oscar Gomez Jr. Gomez rushed for 191 yards against Twentynine Palms and 186 last week against Rim of the World of Lake Arrowhead. He’s also scored four touchdowns. Triple-threat QB Joshua Davis has accounted for 37 touchdowns. Defensively, the Tartans will be up against a Big Bear ground attack that has gained 3,481 yards and 52 touchdowns. If the Tartans can survive that, look for them to be bound for the finals. Prediction: St. Margaret’s wins.
Westminster gets its shot
If you want to win the Southern Division title, at some point you have to take on the king, and I’m talking about the Corona del Mar Sea Kings. This week, Westminster is next up to bat. The Lions are back in the semifinals for the first time in 28 years and the first under Coach Ted McMillen. Lions quarterback Daniel Thomsen rushed for 106 yards last week and a touchdown. Humberto Maciel went for 125 yards and a score. The combination has rushed for 2,911 yards and 38 touchdowns. The CdM defense has allowed just three points in two playoff games. It is a group that has only one senior in the starting lineup, so the likes of Hoyt and Hugh Crance, Parker Chase and Harrison Carter will be around to torment offenses again next year. Prediction: Corona del Mar wins.
Last year, Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei squared off in the Pac-5 finals and the Jackrabbits knocked off the Monarchs, 35-17. Friday night, old acquaintances will meet again in the semifinals at Veterans Stadium. I once covered a MD-Poly playoff game at Vets. The fog rolled in thick at halftime. Back to this year’s game. The Monarchs surprised me by defeating Oaks Christian. I nailed it when I picked them to beat Mission Viejo. This week, the Monarchs are in for another challenge. Last week, the Monarchs defense, led by Grant Moore, recorded three sacks and intercepted three passes. Jonathan Lockett had two of those interceptions. Defense is the Jackrabbits’ specialty. Since allowing 28 points to Centennial of Corona on Sept. 13, Poly has allowed just 37 points in nine games. One concern I have, is whether Mater Dei will be able to score enough points. I have a feeling they will find enough to pull it out. Prediction: Mater Dei wins.
In Quest You Should Trust
Since I picked La Habra to make it to the Southwest Division final, I thought the Highlanders were going to win last week’s game against Newport Harbor. Then the Sailors went out and went video game, throwing the ball 63 times to pull off the upset 49-48 victory. I hope Cole Norris’ shoulder is OK after all those passes. Fourteen of Norris’ 36 completions went to Quest Truxton. He also had a late-game interception to seal the victory. This week, Newport Harbor and Fullerton square off. Last week’s game went three hours. This one might go four. Since I’m not covering, I hope it does. The Indians can light up the scoreboard too, with quarterback Scott Lloyd, Damani Roberts, James Hubbard, Matt Hall and Kaene Soto. One interesting note from the La Habra-Newport Harbor game: There was only one turnover. If the teams take care of the ball Friday, the score might end up 60-58. This is a tough game to pick. Prediction: Newport Harbor wins.
I created that hash tag. Feel free to use it Friday. When the Sunset League teams grabbed the at-large berths, you had to have a feeling that at least three Sunset League teams would make the semifinals. This week, we have an all Sunset League semifinal as city rivals Edison and Huntington Beach meet. Earlier this season, the Chargers took down the Oilers, 48-6. That’s a lot of points to make up this time around for the Oilers. Through the first two games of the playoffs, Oilers quarterback Kai Ross has passed for eight touchdowns. In the first game against the Oilers, Edison’s Matthew Gane and Tyler Warren rushed for 269 yards and the Chargers scored the first 28 points. Prediction: Edison wins.
Can the Vaqueros upset the Argonauts?
Lost in the outstanding run by Corona del Mar, it might be easy to overlook the play of Irvine. Did you know that the Vaqueros finished second in the Pacific Coast League? Since losing consecutive games to Dana Hills and Corona del Mar (by a combined 78-3), Irvine has won six consecutive games to get to the semifinals. In the two playoff games, Wesley Kim has rushed for 125 and 151 yards. The Argonauts have recorded six shutouts this season. The lowest point total all year for Angel Martinez, Sionne Masoe and the Argonauts is 32. On a side note, did you know that OCVarsity’s Tim Burt has the power to get all Irvine games scheduled for 7 p.m.? That’s why we call him the Mayor. Prediction: Garden Grove wins.
East Valley Division player to watch
Oscar Gomez Jr., St. Margaret’s. The junior running back has been in triple digits in every game except for two. He even has a 350-yard night. If he gets on track Friday, then it could be a long, cold night for Big Bear.
Southwest Division player to watch
Damani Roberts, Fullerton. It is fun to watch Roberts run. He’s one of the county’s quickest with the ball. If he finds room against the Sailors, it will be interesting to see the numbers he will put up.
Southern Division player to watch
Daniel Thomsen and Humberto Maciel, Westminster. The combination has been grinding out yards all year for the Lions. Friday, top-seeded Corona del Mar comes to town. If the Lions are going to pull off the upset, then the Thomsen-Maciel dynamic duo will need to be extremely busy.
Pac-5 Division Player to watch
Chase Forrest, Mater Dei. Forrest has completed 11 of 22 passes in the first two playoff games. He has attempted 11 in each of the games. I think he will need more than 11 completions for the Monarchs to win.
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