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Fryer's previews and predictions for Week 10
Our previews and predictions for this week's high school football games.
GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 5 SERVITE (4-5 overall, 1-3 league) VS. NO. 6 SANTA MARGARITA (5-4, 1-3)
Where, when: Saddleback College, Friday, 7 p.m.
Coaches: Servite, Scott Meyer (10-11 at Servite); Santa Margarita, Rich Fisher (5-4 at Santa Margarita)
Last time they met: 2015, Servite won, 30-20
Series: Servite leads, 12-8-1
Analysis: It’s the final week of the regular season. Many games will decide league championships and playoff berths. With a new playoff selection format in place, it can be difficult to understand which teams are going to the CIF-Ss playoffs. (Going into this week, by our calculations, 10 teams have clinched playoff berths in Division 1’s 16-team bracket; neither Santa Margarita nor Servite is in that group of 10.) Santa Margarita is close to being a sure-thing for the playoffs. If the Eagles win this Trinity League game and Orange Lutheran loses to St. John Bosco and JSerra loses to Mater Dei, Santa Margarita would get the Trinity League’s third and final guaranteed playoff berth. Even with a loss, Santa Margarita still would have the .500 record that would put them in the first group eligible for an at-large berth. Servite looks to be in a must-win situation. The Friars are 4-5, so they would need a win in this game to get to .500 and get into that first group of at-large berth candidates in Division 1. Santa Margarita comes into this game in a good frame of mind. The Eagles last week beat Orange Lutheran, 23-7, after losing to Mater Dei, St. John Bosco and Orange Lutheran. Orange Lutheran’s offense was not at full strength, but that’s still a fine effort from the Santa Margarita defense. Santa Margarita senior quarterback Richard Wagner has passed for 1,683 yards and 10 touchdowns. His top target is one of Orange County’s top targets, Oklahoma-committed Grant Calcaterra, a senior who has 49 receptions for 822 yards and seven touchdowns. Servite senior quarterback Tyler Lytle, who committed to Colorado, has passed for 2,173 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lytle and the passing game have provided most of the offense for Servite which has struggled to establish a running game. Servite’s league win was over JSerra. The Friars lost league games to St. John Bosco, Orange Lutheran and Mater Dei. The Mater Dei loss was just last week, and it was a 42-point loss. It might have left a lingering shadow. Santa Margarita should have some bounce in its step after beating Orange Lutheran. Servite is desperate. Historically, Servite comes through in such situations.
All games 7 p.m. unless noted
KENNEDY (5-4, 2-2) VS. PACIFICA (5-4, 2-2)
Where, when: Bolsa Grande High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: The Empire League is the Rubik’s Cube of Orange County football – no matter how you try to figure it out, you just get more confused. Valencia and Tustin are tied for first place after last week’s inexplicable Valencia win over Tustin (relax, Valencia … if you’re objective, it was inexplicable.) Tied at 2-2 are Cypress, Kennedy and Pacifica. If Pacifica wins, it will be the league’s No. 3 team and that probably clinches a playoff berth in Division 10, in which Pacifica is ranked No. 10. That’s the division, however, that won’t have room in its bracket for the No. 4-ranked team, Brethren Christian, so who knows. Kennedy needs a win, and its earlier win over Valencia might come in handy for a tiebreaker when the Empire League figures out which teams will be its three playoff representatives. Pacifica has an outstanding and under-appreciated, by some, junior quarterback, Ben Jefferson. He has passed for 1,693 yards and 22 touchdowns and has rushed for 936 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jefferson will be a difference-maker in this game.
Western (2-6-1, 0-4) at No. 22 Tustin (7-2, 3-1)
Garden Grove League
La Quinta (7-2, 3-1) at Garden Grove (7-2, 4-0)
Golden West League
Orange (6-3, 1-3) vs. Loara (1-8, 0-4) at Glover Stadium
Katella (9-0, 4-0) vs. Magnolia (2-7, 2-2) at Western High
Pacific Coast League
No. 9 Corona del Mar (8-1, 4-0) at Irvine (2-6-1, 1-3)
San Joaquin League
Southlands Christian of Walnut (4-5, 2-2) vs. Fairmont Prep (3-5, 1-3) at Yorba Linda High
Saddleback Valley Christian (6-3, 4-0) vs. Santa Clarita Christian of Canyon Country (5-4, 4-0) at College of the Canyons
Fountain Valley (1-8, 0-4) vs. Marina (3-6, 0-4) at Westminster High
No. 19 Newport Harbor (5-4, 3-1) vs. No. 11 Los Alamitos (6-3, 3-1) at Veterans Stadium
Carnegie of Riverside (7-2) vs. Brethren Christian (8-1) at Ocean View High
EL MODENA (8-1, 2-0) VS. BREA OLINDA (5-4, 2-0)
Where, when: Brea Olinda High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: These teams are tied for first place in the North Hills League. They tied for the league championship last year. El Modena’s only loss was to Villa Park, which is No. 10 in the Orange County top 25. Brea has lost to three teams that El Modena defeated - Canyon, Foothill and Yorba Linda. El Modena wins this game and strengthens the candidacy of El Modena’s Matt Mitchell for O.C. coach of the year.
Winner: El Modena
NO. 25 CANYON (4-5, 1-1) VS. NO. 18 YORBA LINDA (7-2, 1-1)
Where, when: Yorba Linda High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Canyon and Yorba Linda are tied for second place in the North Hills Division. Since the four teams in the North Hills League play only three league games, either team could finish tied for the league championship or tied for last place. Yorba Linda is coming off of an expected loss to Villa Park. Canyon is coming off of an unexpected win over Foothill. Although it’s difficult to figure out what teams will be at-large berth candidates, if Canyon loses it will finish without the .500-or-better overall record that puts a team in the first group of candidates for at-large berths. Yorba Linda would still be above .500 if it loses this game, and should be a viable at-large candidate for at-large berth in Division 8. Canyon’s losses are to teams that are a combined 37-9. The Comanches have enough momentum going to get this one.
NO. 20 TROY (7-2, 3-1) VS. NO. 12 BUENA PARK (8-1, 4-0)
Where, when: Buena Park High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Buena Park has clinched a share of the Freeway League championship. If Troy wins this game, then Troy gets a share of the league title that La Habra also would have a share if Troy wins and La Habra defeats Sunny Hills. Buena Park beat La Habra for the first time in a long time two weeks ago. The Coyotes kept it going last week in a 40-14 win over Sunny Hills. Their senior quarterback, James Rafkin, has completed 52 of 66 passes over the past three games since he took over as the starter. He is a sizzling quarterback on a sizzling team.
Winner: Buena Park
SANTA ANA (9-0, 4-0) VS. WESTMINSTER (5-4, 3-1)
Where, when: Westminster High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Santa Ana is riding high after last week’s 42-6 win over Segerstrom in a battle of undefeated teams. The Briseno brothers, Jonathan and Jorge, are terrific in the various ways they are used on offense and in the secondary on defense. Jorge Briseno rushed for 245 yards and four touchdowns against Segerstrom. Westminster cannot finish lower than third in league, which means a guaranteed playoff berth according to the CIF-SS playoff bulletin but in practice might not mean a guaranteed berth. Santa Ana wants to finish 10-0 and the Saints don’t want to share the league title. These Saints are a determined bunch.
Winner: Santa Ana
VALENCIA (3-6, 3-1) VS. NO. 24 CYPRESS (6-3, 2-2)
Where, when: Western High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Valencia took a record of 0-5 into nonleague so the Tigers weren’t expected to be a factor in the Empire League. However, Valencia is tied for first after upsetting Tustin, 28-20, last week. The Tigers’ nonleague losses were to Capistrano Valley (8-1) and to Troy (7-2) and Yorba Linda (7-2). In league, Cypress has losses to Pacifica and Tustin and wins over Western and Kennedy. Cypress has a feisty playmaking quarterback, Alex Ashcraft, who has thrown for 1,655 yards. Valencia running back Jahquon Speed is averaging 122 rushing yards a game and 6 yards a carry. Cypress is the logical choice. Although Valencia keeps ignoring logic …
NO. 2 MISSION VIEJO (9-0, 3-0) VS. NO. 8 SAN CLEMENTE (7-2, 3-0)
Where, when: San Clemente High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Even back in August, it was easy to predict that this game would be for the South Coast League championship. And so it is. San Clemente is the underdog, but the Tritons have a few items working in their favor. They have a potent offense, led by Duke-committed quarterback Jack Sears (1,344 passing yards, 22 touchdowns with no interceptions) and running back Brandon Reaves (497 yards and seven touchdowns rushing, 368 yards and six touchdowns receiving). They are playing at their home field, Thalassa Stadium, which can be a challenging place for visiting teams. San Clemente is on a five-game winning streak. Mission Viejo has its own winning streak. The Diablos have won 37 in a row, the third-longest winning streak in O.C. football history. They have perhaps the best player in the county, running back/linebacker Colin Schooler, an outstanding quarterback in Matt McDonald, a splendid group of receivers and a stout defense. Mission Viejo did not play last week. If you think the Diablos might be rusty, remember this: Last year, the Diablos took their bye week on the week before the playoffs began. They then won CIF section and state championships.
Winner: Mission Viejo
NO. 3 ORANGE LUTHERAN (5-4, 2-2) VS. ST. JOHN BOSCO (7-2, 3-1)
Where, when: Cerritos College, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Orange Lutheran’s best offensive player, running back Dominik Austin, was ill and ineffective last week in the Lancers’ 23-7 loss to Santa Margarita. Austin should be back to speed in this one. But when it comes to speed, Lutheran is no match for St. John Bosco. When Braves quarterback Re-Al Mitchell takes off on a run, finds the edge and turns the corner the chain gang might as well pull up the sticks and start moving upfield because a first down is coming. Lutheran can’t match Bosco’s quickness, but that’s OK because few teams can.
Winner: St. John Bosco
NO. 7 JSERRA (5-4, 1-3) VS. NO. 1 MATER DEI (9-0, 4-0)
Where, when: Santa Ana Stadium, 7 p.m.
Analysis: JSerra has a habit of winning games late in the season, games you would think JSerra has no business winning. The Lions beat Mater Dei last year. They beat Mater Dei in 2014. JSerra might have a playoff berth locked up in Division 1. There are only 18 teams vying to get into the Division 1 16-team bracket, and it looks like Alemany and Loyola are going to be those two teams that won’t get in. So maybe Mater Dei has more to play for – an 10-0 regular-season finish, a 5-0 record in the Trinity League, and the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 playoffs. A motivated Mater Dei is ferocious.
Winner: Mater Dei
No. 23 Foothill (5-4, 0-2) vs. No. 10 Villa Park (8-1, 2-0) at El Modena High
Sonora (0-9, 0-4) at Fullerton (3-6, 0-4)
Garden Grove League
Bolsa Grande (1-8, 0-4) vs. Santiago (1-8, 0-4) at Garden Grove High
Los Amigos (6-3, 3-1) vs. Rancho Alamitos (5-4, 2-2) at Bolsa Grande High
Golden West League
Segerstrom (8-1, 3-1) at Ocean View (4-5, 1-3)
North Hills League
Esperanza (1-8, 0-2) vs. El Dorado (2-7, 0-2) at Valencia High
Santa Ana Valley (5-4, 3-1) vs. Savanna (4-5, 1-3) at Glover Stadium
Anaheim (3-6, 2-2) at Century (1-8, 0-4)
Orange Coast League
Calvary Chapel (3-6, 3-1) at Laguna Beach (5-4, 3-1)
Estancia (2-7, 1-3) vs. Godinez (5-4, 4-0) at Santa Ana Valley High
Saddleback (3-6, 1-3) at Costa Mesa (0-9, 0-4)
Pacific Coast League
Northwood (1-8, 1-3) vs. Beckman (5-4, 3-1) at Tustin High
University (7-2, 2-2) vs. Woodbridge (3-6, 1-3) at University High
San Joaquin League
Webb of Claremont (3-6, 1-3) vs. Capistrano Valley Christian (2-7, 0-4) at Capistrano Valley High
Sea View League
Laguna Hills (5-4, 1-2) at Aliso Niguel (3-6, 1-2)
No. 14 Capistrano Valley (8-1, 3-0) at Dana Hills (1-8, 0-3)
South Coast League
No. 15 Tesoro (4-5, 0-3) at Trabuco Hills (2-7, 0-3)
No. 4 Edison (8-1, 4-0) at Huntington Beach (4-5, 2-2)
Crean Lutheran (7-2) at St. Margaret's (7-2)
Fryer’s predictions last week: 6-4
Season to date: 73-27
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