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Fryer on football: Previews & predictions for Week 8

STAFF WRITER

Here is a look at the Week 8 football games:

All games 7 p.m. unless noted

THURSDAY

KENNEDY (5-2, 2-0) VS. NO. 19 TUSTIN (6-1, 2-0)

Where, when: Tustin High, 7 p.m.

Analysis: These teams are tied for first place in the Empire League. Kennedy has league wins over Western and Valencia. In nonleague, the Fighting Irish beat Sunny Hills (5-2) and lost to Katella (7-0) by five points and to El Modena (6-1) by seven. Kennedy throws the ball more than Tustin does, but so does the Venus de Milo. Quarterback Christian Rodriguez has passed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns. It’s almost a tradition that Tustin has county football’s leading rusher. KC Carr leads O.C. with 1,761 yards for averages of 252 yards a game and 8 yards a carry. Tustin is vulnerable against a team with a balanced offense like Kennedy’s. But this is the time of the season when Tustin coach Myron Miller’s double-wing offense solidifies its timing and execution. In league games, the Tillers beat Cypress by three points and Pacifica by seven. They grind out another win here.

Winner: Tustin

NO. 24 HUNTINGTON BEACH (4-3, 2-0) VS. NO. 25 NEWPORT HARBOR (3-4, 1-1)

Where, when: Orange Coast College, 7:30 p.m.

Analysis: Edison and Los Alamitos are going to finish 1-2 in the Sunset League. These two are the league’s top candidates for its third and final guaranteed playoff berth. Huntington Beach’s league wins are over Fountain Valley and Marina. Newport Harbor lost to Edison in its league opener then went wild last week in a 66-34 win over Fountain Valley. Sailors junior running back Cole Kinder ran for 285 yards and six touchdowns on 31 carries against Fountain Valley. He won’t have a game like that against Huntington Beach, but his production will be the cornerstone of a Newport win.

Winner: Newport Harbor

BRETHREN CHRISTIAN (6-1) VS. CREAN LUTHERAN (6-1)

Where, when: Irvine High, 7 p.m.

Analysis: This is not a league game, and that’s a shame because it would be a huge game if it was. When Sage Hill left the Academy League, the three remaining league teams, Brethren, Crean and St. Margaret’s became freelance teams, which are teams with no league affiliation, because CIF-SS rules require a minimum of four teams to make a league. It’s still a big game for the players and coaches and for CIF-SS playoff seedings. Brethren is No. 6 in CIF-SS Division 10. Crean is No. 3 in Division 11. Brethren senior Jordan Leonard is No. 2 in the county for yards rushing with 1,378 yards. He averages 11 yards a carry. Both teams can jet offensively. Brethren averages 51 points a game. Crean averages 40 a game. Brethren should be able to outscore another opponent in this one.

Winner: Brethren Christian

Empire League

Valencia (1-6, 1-1) at Western (2-4-1, 0-2)

Garden Grove League

Rancho Alamitos (4-3, 1-1) at Garden Grove (5-2, 2-0)

North Hills League

El Dorado (2-5) at El Modena (6-1)

Orange League

Santa Ana Valley (4-3, 2-0) vs. Katella (7-0, 2-0) at Glover Stadium

Pacific Coast League

University (6-1, 1-1) vs. No. 10 Corona del Mar (6-1, 2-0) at Estancia High

San Joaquin League

Southlands Christian of Walnut (3-4, 1-4) vs. Capistrano Valley Christian (2-5, 0-2) at Capistrano Valley High

FRIDAY

NO. 15 LA HABRA (4-3, 2-0) VS. NO. 13 BUENA PARK (6-1, 2-0)

Where, when: Buena Park High, 7 p.m.

Analysis: Buena Park began challenging La Habra’s dominance in the Freeway League shortly after Anthony White became Coyotes coach in 2010. La Habra has responded to that challenge just fine. The Highlanders have won nine straight Freeway League championships. The O.C. rankings suggest that this might be the season Buena Park slays the dragon. Buena Park is ranked No. 8 in Division 3. La Habra is No. 10 in Division 2. La Habra’s passing game this season has not been as strong as in past seasons. There are indications that facet of the team is improving. Buena Park’s passing game has no such challenges. Deshaun Harvey has passed for 1,699 yards, and last week James Rafkin came off the bench to pass for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the second half of a 21-7 victory over Fullerton. The Coyotes have not played a schedule as challenging as La Habra’s. They have beaten only one team with a winning record, Paramount, and their loss was to the best team they have faced, undefeated St. Francis of La Canada. La Habra has wins over two teams in the O.C. top 25, El Toro and Troy, and their losses are to O.C. No. 16 Tesoro, No. 12 Los Alamitos and No. 2 Mission Viejo. La Habra’s schedule might have them prepared to thwart another Buena Park challenge.

Winner: La Habra

NO. 20 YORBA LINDA (6-1,) VS. NO. 18 FOOTHILL (5-2)

Where, when: Tustin High, 7 p.m.

Analysis: Finally, the Century Conference teams are playing league games. This one is in the conference’s “upper” league, the Crestview League. Both teams lost to El Modena of the conference’s “lower” league, the North Hills League. Both teams have fine quarterbacks. Foothill quarterback Bobby Garcia has thrown for 1,024 yards and 10 touchdowns. Yorba Linda’s Luke Wilson has passed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns. Villa Park is the favorite in this league in which only the top two finishers receive guaranteed entry into the playoffs. The Knights win this one, in a close game.

Winner: Foothill

NO. 11 SAN JUAN HILLS (6-2, 1-1) VS. NO. 8 SAN CLEMENTE (5-2, 1-0)

Where, when: San Clemente High, 7 p.m.

Analysis: Only the top two finishers in the South Coast League receive guaranteed playoff berths. Mission Viejo is going to be the league’s No. 1 team. That makes this game a battle for the No. 2 spot. San Juan Hills lost to Mission Viejo last week, 57-28. San Clemente handled Tesoro, 41-3. Both teams have offensive playmakers and offensive balance. San Clemente running back Austin Whitsett averages 70 rushing yards a game, and quarterback Jack Sears is a running threat, too. San Juan Hills has a trio of running backs, led by Cole Suchesk, that collectively averages 130 yards a game. Both teams have terrific players on defense. It’s going to be a close one.

Winner: San Clemente

NO. 7 JSERRA (4-3, 0-2) VS. NO. 5 SANTA MARGARITA (4-3, 0-2)

Where, when: Saddleback College, 7 p.m.

Analysis: Mater Dei and St. John Bosco clearly are the top two teams in the Trinity League. That leaves the other four battling for the league’s third and final guaranteed playoff berth. This is a desperation game for JSerra and Santa Margarita. It’s pretty much assured that the loser will not finish third. And since a .500-or-better record is required for at-large berth consideration, neither team can afford to be 4-4 with two remaining games against Trinity League teams. JSerra lost to Orange Lutheran, 30-29, in overtime and lost to Servite, 38-14, last week. Santa Margarita lost to Mater Dei, 62-14, and St. John Bosco, 47-10. JSerra has its back to the wall. In recent years, the Lions have played great in such situations, including last year when they were 0-3 in league before beating Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran in the final two league games. In 2014, they beat Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and Servite in the final three weeks to make the playoffs. Santa Margarita might be better defensively, and healthier overall, in this matchup.

Winner: Santa Margarita

NO. 4 SERVITE (4-3, 1-1) VS. NO. 3 ORANGE LUTHERAN (4-3, 1-1)

Where, when: Orange Coast College, 7 p.m.

Analysis: This Trinity League game is crucial to the playoff chances of both teams. After St. John Bosco and Mater Dei, the league’s other four teams, JSerra, Orange Lutheran, Santa Margarita and Servite are close in quality. Common-opponent results can be informative. Orange Lutheran beat JSerra in overtime, 30-29. Servite beat JSerra by 24 points, 38-14. So …

Winner: Servite

Crestview League

No. 9 Villa Park (6-1, 0-0) vs. Canyon (3-4, 0-0) at El Modena High

Empire League

Pacifica (3-4, 0-2) vs. No. 21 Cypress (5-2, 1-1) at Western High

Freeway League

No. 23 Troy (5-2, 1-1) at Fullerton (3-4, 0-2)

Sunny Hills (5-2, 1-1) vs. .Sonora (0-7, 0-2) at La Habra High

Garden Grove League

La Quinta (6-1, 2-0) at Bolsa Grande (League) 7:00PM Map

Los Amigos (4-3, 1-1) vs. Santiago (1-6, 0-2) at Garden Grove High

Golden West League

Ocean View (4-3, 1-1) vs. Santa Ana (7-0, 2-0) at Santa Ana Stadium

Loara (1-6, 0-2) at Segerstrom (7-0, 2-0)

North Hills League

Brea Olinda (3-4, 0-0) vs. Esperanza (1-6, 0-0) at Yorba Linda High

Olympic League

Whittier Christian (5-3, 1-1) at Valley Christian of Cerritos (5-2, 1-0)

Orange League

Savanna (4-3, 1-1) vs. Anaheim (2-5, 1-1) at Glover Stadium

Magnolia (0-7, 0-2) at Century (1-6, 0-2)

Orange Coast League

Calvary Chapel (2-5, 2-0) vs. Godinez (3-4, 2-0) at Santa Ana Valley High

Saddleback (3-4, 1-1) at Laguna Beach (3-4, 1-1)

Costa Mesa (0-7, 0-2) at Estancia (1-6, 0-2)

Pacific Coast League

Northwood (1-6, 1-1) vs. Woodbridge (2-5, 0-2) at University High

Beckman (3-4, 1-1) at Irvine (2-4-1, 1-1)

Sea View League

Aliso Niguel (2-5, 0-1) at No. 14 Capistrano Valley (7-1, 2-0)

No. 22 El Toro (2-6, 1-1) at Dana Hills (1-6, 0-1)

South Coast League

Trabuco Hills (2-5, 0-1) at No. 2 Mission Viejo (8-0., 2-0)

Sunset League

No. 12 Los Alamitos (4-3, 1-1) vs. Fountain Valley (1-6, 0-2) at Westminster High

Marina (3-4, 0-2) vs. No. 6 Edison (6-1, 2-0) at Huntington Beach High

Nonleague

Templeton (1-6) at Laguna Hills (4-3)

SATURDAY

WESTMINSTER (3-4, 1-1) VS. ORANGE (5-2, 0-2)

Where, when: El Modena High, 7 p.m.

Analysis: Orange was on a roll two weeks ago. The Panthers had beaten Santa Ana in the Golden West League opener for both. Orange had to forfeit that game for using an ineligible player. Last week, the Panthers lost to Segerstrom, 20-17. They still have an outside chance at the league championship, but more important now is staying in contention for the playoffs. Westminster also is fighting for a playoff berth. The Lions beat Ocean View, 35-20, last week as Josh Avila rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Noah Welbon returned to action, left arm in a cast, to throw for 193 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to Isayah Anderson. Anderson has 10 touchdown catches. Orange is a running team. Three Panthers have more than 300 rushing yards this season. If the Panthers use that running game to control the clock and its defense is in top shape, they get back on the winning track with this one.

Winner: Orange

San Joaquin League

Saddleback Valley Christian (4-3, 2-0) at Webb of Claremont (2-5, 0-2)

Fairmont Prep (3-3, 1-1) vs. Santa Clarita Christian of Canyon Country (3-4, 2-0) Canyon of Canyon Country

Fryer’s predictions last week: 6-4

Season to date: 61-19

Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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Football:

Santa Ana 14, Rancho Christian 52 - 01:01 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Calabasas 35, Capistrano Valley 14 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

St. John Bosco 21, Mater Dei 14 - 00:33 2nd QT - Completed

Football:

Edison 44, La Mirada 24 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Burbank 21, Yorba Linda 31 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Soccer:

El Modena 2, Orange Lutheran 2 - 45:00 2nd Half - Completed

Basketball:

Eisenhower 28, Mater Dei 93 - 02:00 4th QT - Completed

Basketball:

Santa Fe 65, Foothill 53 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Valencia/Valencia 35, San Clemente 41 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

El Modena 21, Yorba Linda 28 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed