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Fryer on Football: Previews, predictions for Week 1
OCVarsity's Steve Fryer has previews and predictions for some of the top games this week.
GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 5 TESORO (1-0) VS. NO. 1 MATER DEI (1-0)
Last time they met: 2010, Mater Dei 17, Tesoro 0, second round of CIF-SS Pac-5 playoffs
Series: Mater Dei leads, 2-1
Coaches: Tesoro, Matt Poston (19-6); Mater Dei, Bruce Rollinson (250-79-2)
Where, when: Santa Ana Stadium, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Public schools and private schools should not be in the same playoff divisions in many, or perhaps all, sports. Leave it to the public schools to play the private schools when they want. Tesoro wants to take on the challenge of Mater Dei, so credit Coach Matt Poston and crew for doing so. Both teams are coming off of impressive wins. Tesoro beat Edison, 35-16, last week as quarterback Devon Modster ran for three touchdowns in the first half and passed for two TDs in the second half. If there is an early leaders list for Orange County offensive player of the year, then Modster is high on that list. The Titans had 10 sacks in that game, five of them by 5-foot-11, 220-pound defensive tackle Chris Evagues. He was the only returning starter on the Tesoro defense so Poston was pleased with how well that unit played. The Titans will need more of that, probably much more, against Mater Dei. The Monarchs used a ball-control offense and a quick, hard-hitting defense last week to beat Bishop Amat of La Puente, 24-21. Mater Dei ran 44 second-half plays to Amat’s 13. That is a dominating half. The Monarchs had to control Amat’s plentiful offensive playmakers and will have to be similarly successful against Modster, who might be the best player at “The Bowl” on Friday. Tesoro has to stop Mater Dei’s offense, led last week by running back Brandon LaMarche (133 yards, three touchdowns rushing), from piling up the first downs. Mater Dei does not have to play as well as it did last week to win this game. Tesoro has to play better than it did last week to week to beat Mater Dei. So, if Mater Dei can maintain the pace …
Winner: Mater Dei
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OTHER TOP GAMES
(All games 7 p.m. unless noted)
IRVINE (0-0) VS. ESPERANZA (0-0)
Where, when: Yorba Linda High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Irvine could be the top challenger to Corona del Mar in the Pacific Coast League, which might be more tightly competitive than it has been in years. The Vaqueros, 6-5 overall last year, have an outstanding two-way player in senior Curtis Jackson, a threat on offense at receiver and a tackling machine on defense at safety. They have a new quarterback, Joseph Carter, a 5-10, 165-pound senior. He will have to deal with an Esperanza defense that has several returnees along the line and at linebacker. The Aztecs had some offensive shortcomings last year when they finished 4-6. If they have that fixed, it could be a fun season for Esperanza.
Estancia (0-0) vs. Loara (0-0) at Western High
El Dorado (0-0) vs. Troy (0-1) at Fullerton High
Eisenhower of Rialto (0-1) at Newport Harbor
Western (1-0) vs. Katella (0-0) at Glover Stadium
Century (1-0) vs. Santa Ana (0-0) at Santa Ana Stadium
Godinez (0-0) vs. Los Amigos (0-0) at Garden Grove High
Santa Ana Valley (0-0-1) vs. Beckman (0-0) at Tustin High
Savanna (0-0) vs. Rancho Alamitos (0-0) at Bolsa Grande High
Saddleback Valley Christian (0-0) vs. Crean Lutheran (1-0) at Irvine High
Paramount (1-0) vs. No. 8 Los Alamitos (0-0) at Veterans Stadium/Long Beach
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BUENA PARK (1-0) VS. EDISON (0-1)
Where, when: Huntington Beach High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Buena Park blasted out of the starting gates with a 75-20 win over Orange last week. As expected. The Coyotes’ Elijah Bynum returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and returned another first-quarter kickoff 85 yards for another six points. Zach Taylor threw four touchdown passes. Edison lost to Tesoro, 35-16. Maybe that was expected, maybe not. Right now, it appears Tesoro might be better than forecast and Edison might not be as good as anticipated. Edison might have gotten better from losing than Buena Park did from winning. Sometimes when a team wins as easily as Buena Park did, that can slow that team’s growth. Edison played a fine team and learned what they have to do now to compete against a fine team. Tesoro’s team speed troubled Edison last week. Buena Park has pretty good team speed, too.
Winner: Buena Park
TUSTIN (1-0) VS. FOOTHILL (0-0)
Where, when: Tustin High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: First, be aware that Foothill is the home team. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the field at this one. Second, both teams are good. Tustin walloped Dana Hills, 74-14, last week. Tillers running back Tyler Noble ran for five touchdowns. It has not been unusual, over the past 25 years, that a Tustin back ran for five touchdowns. Foothill makes its debut in this one. The Knights defense could be up to the task of slowing down Tustin. They have one of the county’s better defensive players, Chris Yaghi, a 6-4, 270-pound nose guard who committed to Cal. Foothill might be fine offensively, too. Quarterback Preston Moebius and running back Jared Copeland return from a team that went 8-4 in 2014. Outscoring high-scoring opponents was a challenge for Foothill last season. The Knights might be up for that challenge this year.
SONORA (1-0) VS. BREA OLINDA (0-0)
Where, when: Brea Olinda High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Freeway League teams, of which Sonora is one, went 5-1 in their season openers last week. That only defeat being Troy’s three-point loss to Canyon. Sonora beat Whittier, 41-23, as Raiders senior back Jacob Fimbres twisted, spun and powered his way to six touchdowns. He finished with 292 rushing yards. Sonora, which went 6-4 last year and barely missed the playoffs, could be one of the county’s more-improved teams this year. Brea Olinda was 6-6 last year. The Wildcats gave Garden Grove its biggest threat in the playoffs, losing by three to the Argonauts who shut out their other three playoff opponents. The ’Cats bring back some key contributors from that team, including quarterback Nick Drury and 2014 North Hills League defensive player of the year Zach Arnold, a senior linebacker. Arnold and his pals on defense must keep a tight leash on Fimbres. That seems unlikely.
NO. 10 SAN JUAN HILLS (1-0) VS. CANYON (1-0)
Where, when: El Modena High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: There were plenty of attention-getting results last week. None was more attention-getting than San Juan Hills 34, San Clemente 20. Stallions senior quarterback Patrick O’Brien (6-3, 215) completed 30 of 37 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown. A committee of running backs rushed for 196 yards. Canyon, a Southern Division semifinalist last year and North Hills League favorite this year, opened with a 24-21 win over Troy. That’s a quality win. Comanches quarterback Jason Harman completed 18 of 29 passes for 225 yards and rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries. Noah White had eight receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. Canyon’s defense played well – safeties Charlie Treanor and Trace Hobbs had six and five solo tackles, respectively – but that group might not be able to turn off the Stallions’ offensive spigot.
Winner: San Juan Hills
CAPISTRANO VALLEY CHRISTIAN (1-0) VS. ST. MARGARET’S (0-0)
Where, when: St. Margaret’s High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Welcome to what might be the best season of small, private schools football in county history. Terrific coaches and players with size, speed and skill are plentiful in the Academy and San Joaquin leagues. St. Margaret’s has been outstanding for many years, including 2014 when the Tartans won another CIF-SS East Valley Division championship. Their average margin of victory was 28 points. St. Margaret’s, No. 1 in the East Valley Division rankings, could be just as good this year. Nick Shanks, All-CIF in ’14, is being used at running back and receiver this season. The defense has several returnees, including All-CIF lineman Nick Amoukhteh. Capistrano Valley Christian, 7-4 last season and ranked No. 7 in the East Valley Division this week, might have the best small-schools player in the county, senior receiver/safety Ben Sukut who was All-CIF in ’14. He had three touchdown receptions Saturday in the Eagles’ 37-12 win over Tri-City Christian of Vista. Eagles quarterback Dawson Piper was 11 for 19 for 219 yards and three touchdown passes. Sukut might be the best player on the field, but St. Margaret’s is the better team.
Winner: St. Margaret’s
GARDEN GROVE (0-0) VS. WESTMINSTER (0-0)
Where, when: Westminster High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Two league champions of 2014 meet, as they often do, in their season opener. Garden Grove was 13-1 last year and won the CIF-SS Southern Division championship. The Argonauts bring back some of their top contributors, including senior running back Jordan Antunez who rushed for 1,750 yards and 20 touchdowns in ’14. Malik Bilal was an All-Garden Grove League receiver last year. Defensive lineman Nathan Garcia was all-league, too. Westminster, 9-3 and Golden West League champion for the third year in a row, has only three returning starters on offense and one on defense. One of the returnees is quarterback Matt Dinh who threw for 956 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Westminster has some work to do before defending their league championship and this is a mighty tough way to start that work.
Winner: Garden Grove
NO. 9 SERVITE (1-0) VS. BISHOP AMAT OF LA PUENTE (0-1)
Where, when: Servite beating Fountain Valley last week was no surprise. That the Friars did it so one-sidedly, 45-7, was. Tyler Lytle passed for 424 yards and two touchdowns and Aaron Simpson had six receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns. The competition gets tougher, and meaner, this week. Bishop Amat lost to Mater Dei, 24-21, last week. The Lancers were outplayed in the second half by the Monarchs. They will be out to repair their reputation in this one. Amat’s home field has never been a pleasant location for visitors. The Lancers are ranked No. 5 in the Pac-5 Division and are No. 8 in the state rankings compiled by CalHiSsports.com. If Servite wins this one, our look at the Trinity League changes dramatically. But Bishop Amat, at home and fired up …
Winner: Bishop Amat
NO. 4 ORANGE LUTHERAN (1-0) VS. CRESPI OF ENCINO (1-0)
Where, when: Crespi High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Like the Servite-Bishop Amat game, this one brings together two Pac-5 teams that might meet again in the playoffs. Teams don’t like to play other potential playoff opponents in nonleague, but not many teams outside of the Pac-5 Division have what it takes to schedule Pac-5 teams in nonleague so we get these matchups. Lutheran had an acceptable game last week, thanks to its defense led by Michael Noble and Joshua Witherspoon in a 21-13 win road win over Dominguez of Compton. That’s a good-enough win, but the Lancers can be better. The Lancers, ranked No. 9 in the Pac-5 Division, will get tested mightily by Crespi, which is No. 7 in the Pac-5 and No. 14 in the state. The Celts, coached by former Servite coach Troy Thomas, beat Sylmar last week. Jalen Starks, who committed to UCLA, rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries. Dylan Schlopy had a clean game for the Celts, too, rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown. Crespi threw only two passes. Lutheran is going to be better this week. But good enough to win at Crespi?
Cypress (0-1) at Fullerton (1-0)
Valencia (0-0) at Yorba Linda (0-0)
Brethren Christian (1-0) at Boron (0-1)
Corona del Mar (1-0) at Dana Hills (0-1)
Marina (0-1) at Ocean View (0-0)
University (0-0) at Segerstrom (0-0-1)
Sunny Hills (1-0) at Rubidoux (1-0)
Fairmont Prep (0-1) at Sage Hill (0-1)
Inglewood (0-0) at Laguna Hills (0-0)
Bolsa Grande (0-0) at Laguna Beach (0-1)
No. 6 JSerra (1-0) at Chino Hills (1-0)
Eastlake of Chula Vista (0-1) at El Toro (0-1)
Huntington Beach (1-0) at San Clemente (0-1)
Aliso Niguel (1-0) at Long Beach Millikan (1-0)
Orange (0-1) vs. Anaheim (0-0) at Glover Stadium
Kennedy (0-1) vs. Northwood (0-1) at Irvine High
Fountain Valley (0-1) at Long Beach Wilson (0-1)
South Hills of West Covina (1-0) at No. 7 La Habra (1-0)
Capistrano Valley (1-0) at El Rancho of Pico Rivera (0-1)
No. 3 Santa Margarita (1-0) at Santiago of Corona (0-1)
Saddleback (0-0) vs. La Quinta (0-0) at Bolsa Grande High
La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad (0-1) at Trabuco Hills (0-1)
Villa Park (0-0) vs. La Quinta (0-1) of La Quinta, 8 p.m.
Costa Mesa (1-0) vs. Santiago (0-1) at Garden Grove High
El Modena (0-0) vs. Woodbridge (1-0) at University High
Artesia of Lakewood (0-1) vs. Magnolia (1-0) at Western High
Oak Hills of Hesperia (1-0) at No. 2 Mission Viejo (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Bassett of La Puente (1-0) vs. Calvary Chapel (1-0) at Estancia High
Arrowhead Christian of Redlands (1-0) vs. Whittier Christian (1-0) at Whittier College
St. Michael’s Prep (0-0) at Bloomington Christian (0-1)
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Bellflower (0-1) vs. Pacifica (0-0) at Bolsa Grande High, 7 p.m.
Fryer on Football last week: 7-2-1
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