Fryer's previews & predictions for Week 4
GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 6 JSERRA (3-1) VS. NO. 11 LOS ALAMITOS (3-1)
Where, when: Veterans Stadium, Long Beach, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Last time they met: First meeting.
Analysis: JSerra was not in the Register’s Orange County preseason top 10. Mark that “E-Fryer” on your scorecards. Last week, in a 28-14 win over Vista Murrieta, which was ranked No. 7 in the state by CalHiSports.com at the time, the Lions displayed outstanding team speed and didn’t miss tackles. They have non-seniors at key positions – thus, our lack of confidence in how good the Lions would be – but that is not an issue. One of those juniors, quarterback Matt Robinson, can throw with zip and accuracy on the run. When Robinson starts to run, the chain-gang might as well start moving down field to set up for the next series of downs. JSerra senior Riley O’Brien is an all-around star and is going to be in the discussion for All-County first-team all-purpose. Los Alamitos is on a roll under new coach Ray Fenton. The Griffins lost to Long Beach Poly, 27-20, in the season opener and since has won three in a row, including a 40-29 win at La Habra last week. Dylan Laurent scored four touchdowns in that game and defensive tackle Joey Noble had three sacks and was our defensive player of the week. Alert readers, and we have a bunch of them, this week said Los Alamitos should be higher ranked than No. 8 Tesoro because Tesoro beat La Habra by only one point in overtime. They’re right. A win here would put the Griffins in the top 10. But a JSerra win moves the Lions up in the California top 25, in which they debuted at No. 20 this week, and maybe up the O.C. rankings ladder, too. JSerra wins this in a high-scoring and entertaining shootout.
All games 7 p.m. unless noted
NO. 20 BREA OLINDA (3-0) VS. NO. 17 FOOTHILL (2-1)
Where, when: Tustin High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Brea Olinda is either the best or second-best team in the North Hills League. Foothill is either the second- or third-best team in the Crestview League. In that eight-school Century Conference divided into the Crestview and North Hills leagues the Crestview is the superior league. Teams that Brea has defeated are 2-10, so there is no “wow” win on the Wildcats’ resume. They do have a “wow” player, running back Noah Rivera who is averaging 138 rushing yards a game and has run for seven touchdowns. Foothill has the defense to keep him from wowing the crowd. The Knights shut out Tustin, 13-0, two weeks ago and plugged Fountain Valley’s offense last week in a 30-6 win. Foothill gets this one in a low-scoring game.
KATELLA (4-0) VS. OCEAN VIEW (3-1)
Where, when: Ocean View High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: We’ve talked about alert readers, and Katella’s following has some, too. The Knights are averaging 36 points a game in their wins - over Kennedy, Western, Esperanza and Westminster. There are no top-25 teams there, but that’s a respectable collection of teams. Katella has a fine running back almost every season, and this year the ground game is led by Francisco Pineda, who is averaging 105 rushing yards a game. Knights quarterback Nathan Arrington has thrown for 390 yards and four touchdowns, so there is some offensive balance. Ocean View is 2-2 on the field, with a season-opening loss to Brethren Christian having been converted into a forfeit win. The Seahawks have back-to-back wins over Rancho Alamitos, a close one at 15-10, and over Santiago, a one-sided one at 34-7. They know how to hang on in a close game and they know how to finish a lopsided game. That’s good. But Katella looks sharp, and the way it’s going for the Knights, No. 4 in the CIF-SS Division 11 top 10, will take a 10-0 record into the playoffs.
Esperanza (1-2) vs. Canyon (0-3) at El Modena High
Westminster (0-3) vs. Magnolia (0-4) at Glover Stadium
Northwood (0-4) at Segerstrom (4-0)
Godinez (0-3) vs. Rancho Alamitos (2-1) at Bolsa Grande High
No. 3 Santa Margarita (3-1) at King of Riverside (1-2)
NO. 1 MATER DEI (4-0) VS. NO. 7 EDISON (4-0)
Where, when: Orange Coast College, 7 p.m.
Analysis: This was not selected as “Game of the Week” because this week’s “GOTW,” JSerra-Los Alamitos, looks like it will be a closer game. That’s no knock on Edison. It’s just that Mater Dei seems to be significantly better than Edison. The Monarchs are significantly better than everyone else, too, in Orange County except for Mission Viejo. Edison might be without standout receiver Shaun Colamonico, who is working through a leg injury. Colamonico is one of Edison’s better defensive backs, too, and the Chargers could use him against Mater Dei’s ballistic passing attack led by quarterback JT Daniels and his great group of receivers led by brothers Amon-Ra and Osiris St. Brown. If Mater Dei believes it is invincible and/or is looking forward to next week’s bye and the Trinity League opener against Santa Margarita on Oct. 7, the Monarchs could come out flat. The Chargers will be well prepared by Coach Dave White, make no mistake, and if they are in the game in the fourth quarter, they might pull off the upset. If Mater Dei is focused, the Monarchs will roll. Again.
Winner: Mater Dei
NO. 23 EL MODENA (3-0) VS. NO. 10 VILLA PARK (2-1)
Where, when: El Modena High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: This looks like the best team in the Century Conference’s North Hills League, El Modena, against the conference’s best team from the Crestview League, Villa Park. El Modena’s best player has been running back/linebacker Dillon Keefe, but quarterback A.J. Esperanza was the star in last week’s 26-21 win over Fullerton as he passed for 136 yards and a touchdown and ran for 69 yards. Villa Park lost to Servite, 41-32, last week. The Spartans scored a couple of late touchdowns against what was not exactly Servite’s first string defense to make it closer than the game truly was. Villa Park running back/linebacker John Stamos, who committed to Navy, is the Spartans’ best player. They also have a splendid quarterback, Purdue-committed Nick Sipe. Villa Park is the home team for this one. Home teams are 5-3 at Fred Kelly Stadium so far. Home teams will be 6-3 there by 11 p.m. Friday.
Winner: Villa Park
NO. 25 HUNTINGTON BEACH (2-2) at NO. 14 SAN JUAN HILLS (3-1)
Where, when: San Juan Hills High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: We’re at that point in the season where we’re getting a better handle on many Orange County teams. Huntington Beach is not one of those teams. The Oilers collapsed last season with losses in their final four games, and this year they have a new coach, Brett Brown, who was promoted from offensive coordinator. Huntington Beach smacked West Adams of Los Angeles, 43-0, in the season opener. West Adams now is 0-4, so not much data acquired there. The Oilers lost by 25 points to O.C. No. 9 San Clemente and by 18 to O.C. No. 8 Tesoro. Then came the joker in the pack, a 29-18 win last week over previously undefeated Long Beach Wilson. San Juan Hills is not as mysterious. The Stallions are better than anticipated. They beat O.C. No. 16 Capistrano Valley by a touchdown two weeks ago and last week lost by a touchdown to No. 7 Edison. San Juan Hills will continue to impress in this one.
Winner: San Juan Hills
SUNNY HILLS (3-0) VS. KENNEDY (2-2)
Where, when: Western High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Sunny Hills was 5-0 in nonleague games in 2014, then went 0-5 in the Freeway League. The Lancers were 4-1 in nonleague last year, and then went 1-4 in league. The teams they have beaten this year are a cumulative 1-10. Sunny Hills running back Alex Jung is the county’s third-leading rusher with 592 yards and his 10 rushing touchdowns are second in O.C. Kennedy is the best team on Sunny Hills’ nonleague schedule. The Fighting Irish lost to two undefeated teams, Katella by five points and El Modena by seven, and soundly defeated two teams they would be expected to soundly defeat, Northwood and Magnolia. Kennedy’s defense is good enough to lead the way to victory here.
EL DORADO (2-1) VS. NO. 21 YORBA LINDA (3-0)
Where, when: Yorba Linda High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: We love it when a team that’s been way down for a while has some success. El Dorado was 0-10 on the field last year, but got a forfeit win. Coach Zack LaMonda figured out a way to get the Golden Hawks to believe in themselves and here they are with back-to-back wins, over Estancia and Valencia. Their loss was by only four points to a team that’s been in the O.C. top 25, Troy. Yorba Linda has emerged as a keep-on-eye-on-them team in the Crestview League. Junior quarterback Luke Wilson has been good, having completed 63 percent of his passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Yorba Linda will enhance its profile with a win in this one, if the Mustangs remember to take El Dorado as seriously as everyone should this season.
Winner: Yorba Linda
NO. 16 CAPISTRANO VALLEY (3-1) VS. TRABUCO HILLS (2-2)
Where, when: Trabuco Hills High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: The Sea View League coaches’ poll, and our own selections, had El Toro as the favorite to win the league championship. El Toro is 0-4. That’s not why El Toro’s status as league favorite is not as strong as it was. El Toro has played a tough schedule. It’s just that Capistrano Valley and quarterback Kevin Brown have been so good. The Cougars trampled Esperanza, 52-6, last week after losing a close one, 17-10, to No. 14 San Juan Hills the previous week. Trabuco Hills has a fine quarterback in Tommy Germain. The Mustangs have wins over Pacifica and Fountain Valley, and losses to Fullerton and Tustin. Capistrano Valley’s offense, averaging 39 points a game, could roll in this one.
Winner: Capistrano Valley
LAGUNA BEACH (2-2) VS. ST. MARGARET’S (3-1)
Where, when: St. Margaret’s High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: It’s always interesting when one of Orange County’s better smaller private-school teams plays a county public-school team. Laguna Beach is not a big public school, and in fact is among the smaller-enrollment public schools in Southern California that engage in CIF-SS competition. Laguna Beach is 2-2 after consecutive, one-sided losses to Segerstrom and Orange. Segerstrom and Orange both are 4-0. The Breakers collected one-sided wins over Bolsa Grande and La Quinta. St. Margaret’s is averaging 36 points a game, fairly typical for this long-successful program, but it is allowing 21 points a game, atypical for the Tartans. St. Margaret’s quarterback George Krantz, who has thrown for 751 yards and 13 touchdowns, might have a big night in this game.
Winner: St. Margaret’s
Redondo Union (2-2) at No. 2 Mission Viejo (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
Garfield of Los Angeles (2-2) vs. No. 4 Servite (2-2) at Cerritos College
Mullen of Denver (3-1) vs. No. 5 Orange Lutheran (2-2) at Santa Ana Stadium
La Serna of Whittier (2-2) at No. 8 Tesoro (3-1)
Palos Verdes (2-1) at No. 9 San Clemente (2-2)
Colony of Ontario (3-1) at No. 15 La Habra (1-3)
Hilltop of Chula Vista (3-1) at No. 22 El Toro (0-4)
Estancia (1-2) at University (3-0)
Irvine (1-1-1) at Laguna Hills (2-1)
Los Amigos (2-1) at Dana Hills (0-4)
Beckman (2-1) at No. 19 Tustin (3-1)
Pacifica (2-2) at Aliso Niguel (1-3)
Savanna (1-2) at Costa Mesa (0-4)
Whittier Christian (3-1) at Duarte (3-0)
Fullerton (2-1) at Gahr of Cerritos (4-0)
Santa Ana (3-0) at Santa Ana Valley (2-2)
Laguna Beach (2-2) at St. Margaret's (3-1)
Valencia (0-4) vs. Troy (2-1) at Fullerton High
Loara (1-2) vs. Anaheim (0-3) at Glover Stadium
Century (1-2) vs. Saddleback (1-2) at Segerstrom High
Brethren Christian (3-1) vs. Azusa (1-2) at Citrus College
Bolsa Grande (1-3) vs. Crean Lutheran (3-1) at Irvine High
Garey of Pomona (3-1) vs. La Quinta (2-1) at Bolsa Grande High
Woodbridge (1-3) at Rim of the World of Lake Arrowhead (2-0-1)
Marina (3-1) vs. St. Anthony of Long Beach (2-1) at Clark Field, Long Beach
Los Altos of Hacienda Heights (4-0) vs. No. 18 Newport Harbor (2-1) at Estancia High
Avalon (3-0) at Sage Hill (3-1), 2 p.m.
El Rancho of Pico Rivera (1-3) vs. No. 24 Cypress (3-0) at Western High
Fairmont Prep (1-2) vs. Blair of Pasadena (0-3) Muir High of Pasadena
Fryer on Football last week: 8-2
Season to date: 31-9
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