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West Valley: Previews & predictions for Friday's games
OCVarsity's previews and predictions for the first-round games for Orange County teams.
ALL GAMES FRIDAY
WEST VALLEY DIVISION
Hart of Newhall (7-3) vs. Mission Viejo (10-0)
Where, when: Mission Viejo, 7 p.m.
Live coverage: foxsports.com/west/prepzone-stream
Outlook: The top-seeded Diablos begin defense of their West Valley title by coming off a bye and facing a playoff rival down to its third-string quarterback. Hart lost starter Nick Moore late in the season to a knee injury and is playing Justice Provost. But Hart will still likely get Mission Viejo’s attention. Hart ended the Diablos’ perfect season in 2005 with a 24-12 victory in the Division 2 semifinals. Hart running back Nelson James also looks dangerous with 766 yards but has been quiet in recent games. Mission Viejo is led by quarterback Brock Johnson, but don’t overlook outside linebacker Colin Schooler, who paces the team in sacks (seven) and total tackles (60).
Prediction: Mission Viejo
Fountain Valley (7-3) vs. Murrieta Valley (8-2)
Where, when: Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.
Live coverage: portal.stretchinternet.com/fvhs/ (audio)
Outlook: The Sunset League runner-up encounters one of the Inland Empire’s surprise teams. Murrieta Valley and standout freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier (2,473 yards, 29 TDs) are in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. But Murrieta Valley could be without linebacker Mazin Khalil, who was ejected last week. Khalil’s absence could be important because the Barons and quarterback Chad Olberding (945 yards) often aim to run the ball. Khalil is tied for the team lead in total tackles with 93. The Barons are seeking their first CIF victory since 2003.
Prediction: Fountain Valley
San Juan Hills (8-2) vs. Valencia of Valencia (7-3)
Where, when: Valencia, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Stallions are looking to regroup after allowing almost 700 yards offense and playing through injuries in a 66-27 loss against third-seeded Tesoro last week. The good news is that San Juan Hills features Nebraska commit quarterback Patrick O’Brien. He’s completed 77 percent of his passes for 2,609 yards and 31 TDs and also rushed for 602 yards. Foothill League champion Valencia started 0-2, but the losses were against undefeated Palmdale and by five points to Pac-5 playoff team Chaminade. Valencia also lost to reigning Pac-5 champion and undefeated Centennial of Corona, 59-7.
Los Alamitos (5-5) vs. Chino Hills (8-2)
Where, when: Chino Hills, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Los Alamitos won three consecutive games in impressive fashion after losing five straight. Quarterback Jack Telenko has 15 TDs and three interceptions during the stretch and Griffins have allowed only 10 points. Los Alamitos’ tough nonleague season – featuring La Habra, San Juan Hills and Narbonne – should have them ready for fourth-seeded Chino Hills. The Huskies lost to JSerra (42-14) and Bishop Amat (63-28) in nonleague but allowed teams only 13 points en route to capture the Baseline title. The running duo of Grady O’Donnell and Curtis Price has combined for 1,845 yards.
Prediction: Los Alamitos
Great Oak of Temecula (5-5) vs. Tesoro (8-2)
Where, when: Tesoro, 7 p.m.
Live coverage: casportszone.com (audio)
Outlook: The third-seeded Titans play host to one of the semifinalists in the West Valley last season. But Great Oak fell to third place in the Southwestern League last week by losing to Murrieta Valley, 42-10. Great Oak is led by running back Demetric Felton, a UCLA commit, offensive lineman Brysn Cain (Arizona) and linebacker Jake Schwarzer (Navy). Tesoro came off a bye last week to beat San Juan Hills, 66-27, in one of its best games. Quarterback Devon Modster (2,807 yards, 20 TDs, 2 INTs) leads an explosive offense while speedy end Chris Evagues (13 sacks, 21 hurries) anchors an active defense.
Rancho Cucamona (7-3) vs. Edison (7-3)
Where, when: Orange Coast College, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Chargers overcame several injuries, including quarterback Grant Lowary and wide receiver Garrett White, to recapture the Sunset League title. But the injury report still isn’t pretty. Coach Dave White lists five players out for the season, including Lowary and receiversWhite and Jacob Price, and two others out this week. Edison does return linebacker Joel Steele this week from injury. Sophomore quarterback Griffin O’Connor led the Chargers’ offense through league with 1,020 yards and 10 TDs (five interceptions). Rancho Cucamonga, third in the Baseline League, features highly recruited juniors Jaylon Redd, Thomas Graham (USC commit) and Tayari Venable (Washington State).
El Toro (5-5) vs. Vista Murrieta (9-1)
Where, when: Vista Murrieta, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: The at-large Chargers pulled a memorable upset in the playoffs last season on the road against Los Alamitos but face a tougher road in Vista Murrieta. The second-seeded Broncos, last season’s West Valley runner-up, are seeking to reach a sixth consecutive section final. Vista Murrieta features Arizona State commit Kyle Williams, a receiver who return kicks and can play quarterback. Defensive back Dwayne Johnson is a San Diego State commit. But El Toro showed in the South Coast League that is can play with talented teams. First-year starting QB Dawit Wilson, a junior, has passed for 2,256 yards and 25 TDs and rushed for 366 yards. Colin Kentros has 54 receptions for 992 yards and 10 TDs. Blake Morentin leads El Toro’s defense with 10 sacks.
Prediction: Vista Murrieta
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