Fryer on football: Previews, predictions for Week 5
A look at this week's top matchups, plus the full schedule of games:
GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 23 CYPRESS (4-0) VS. NO. 17 CAPISTRANO VALLEY (4-1)
Where, when: Capistrano Valley High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Coaches: Cypress, Rick Feldman (14-11 at Cypress); Capistrano Valley, Ernie Bucher (23-15)
Last time they met: 2011, Cypress won, 42-10
Series: Cypress leads, 1-0
Analysis: Cypress is much improved from last season when it finished 2-8. The Centurions, No. 2 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 9 top 10, have wins over Woodbridge, Santa Monica, Los Amigos and El Rancho of Pico Rivera. Capistrano Valley coach Ernie Bucher said his team’s defense better be ready. “Cypress is the most athletic team, offensively, we’ll have played,” Bucher said. Cypress’ fine group of offensive playmakers includes senior running back Jeremiah Thompson, who has rushed for 299 yards and six touchdowns, and junior receiver Dominique Thompson, who has 20 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns. The Centurions sparkplug, and he’s not much bigger than one, is junior quarterback Alex Ashcraft. Ashcraft, 5-6 and 155 pounds, has completed 65 percent of his passes for 525 yards and six touchdowns. Cypress added another offensive weapon last week when transfer Cameron Covington became eligible. In his Centurions debut, Covington ran for 130 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown run, on four carries. Capistrano Valley will be the best team Cypress has faced. The Cougars, No. 4 in Division 5, have wins over Valencia, El Rancho, Esperanza and Trabuco Hills. Their loss was a close one to No. 14 San Juan Hills, 17-10. Senior quarterback Kevin Brown has completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,321 yards, the fourth-most in O.C. “He’s the real deal,” said Cypress coach Rick Feldman of Brown. “And it’s not just one guy he throws it to. He spreads it around.” This is the final nonleague game for both. Cypress plays Empire League favorite Tustin next Thursday. Capo Valley plays its Sea View League opener against 3-1 Laguna Hills. It’s great to have momentum going into league. Thanks to its defense, Capistrano Valley will carry that momentum into next week.
Winner: Capistrano Valley
All games 7 p.m. unless noted
CAPISTRANO VALLEY CHRISTIAN (2-2) VS. CREAN LUTHERAN (4-1)
Where, when: Irvine High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: The quality level of Orange County’s smaller private-school athletic programs continues to rise in a several sports. These two teams are having good seasons. Capistrano Valley Christian’s losses are to teams that are combined 8-1. The Eagles, coached by former Irvine, Northwood and Santa Margarita coach Rick Curtis, lost to 4-1 Brethren Christian last week, 55-7. Brethren will beat many teams similarly, so that result is no knock on CVC. Eagles senior running back Garin Green has rushed for 559 yards on and four touchdowns on 57 carries. He is averaging 10 yards a carry and 140 yards a game. Crean Lutheran, ranked No. 4 in Division 11, has wins over Calvary Chapel, Saddleback Valley Christian, Savanna and Bolsa Grande. The Saints’ loss was to 4-0 Aquinas of San Bernardino, which is No. 1 in Division 10. Crean senior quarterback Gavin Folsom, All-Academy League first team last year when the Saints advanced to the East Valley Division semifinals, leads a versatile offense. If Crean shows that offensive versatility again while limiting Green’s production, the Saints will win.
Winner: Crean Lutheran
Adelanto (1-4) at University (4-0)
Santa Ana (4-0) vs. Calvary Chapel (0-4) at Estancia High
Saddleback (2-2) vs. Los Amigos (2-2) at Garden Grove High
CANYON (1-3) VS. NO. 21 BREA OLINDA (3-1)
Where, when: Brea Olinda High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Canyon had a magical 2015 season, as it won the CIF-SS Southern Division championship, but the magic graduated. The Comanches are better than their record this season. Their three losses are to No. 25 Troy, No. 14 San Juan Hills and No. 7 Edison. Canyon last week clobbered Esperanza, 34-0. Cole Nequette ran for 141 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Brea might be the best team in the North Hills League, with El Modena and El Dorado right there, too. Brea’s only loss was to Foothill, 28-18, last week. That was expected. The Wildcats, No. 5 in CIF-SS Division 8, have beaten teams they should beat – Sonora, Valencia and Diamond Bar. Brea’s offensive leader is senior running back Noah Rivera who has been worth the price of admission. Rivera has rushed for 522 yards and eight touchdowns on 43 carries for averages of 131 yards a game and 12 yards a carry. Rivera should be primed for another big night.
Winner: Brea Olinda
NO. 20 YORBA LINDA (4-0) VS. NO. 22 EL MODENA (3-1)
Where, when: El Modena High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Yorba Linda is ranked higher than El Modena in the Register’s Orange County top 25. CIF-SS rankings have it the other way around. The Division 8 top 10, which comes from the votes of that division’s coaches, has Yorba Linda at No. 8 and El Modena at No. 2. Yorba Linda has wins over Valencia, Troy (Troy’s only loss), Sonora and El Dorado. Yorba Linda junior running back Jonah Slack has been the Mustangs’ top offensive producer, rushing for 338 yards and four touchdowns, in their first three games. A sore shoulder kept him out of the El Dorado game. Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey is hopeful that Slack can play this week. El Modena beat Woodbridge, Kennedy and Fullerton – three probable playoff teams – before losing to No. 10 Villa Park last week, 29-10. El Modena’s most reliable weapon is running back Dillon Keefe, who has rushed for 343 yards and five touchdowns with averages of 86 yards a game and 5 yards a carry. As for that O.C./CIF-SS polls discrepancy … who is right? We’re going with us.
Winner: Yorba Linda
LA QUINTA (3-1) VS. CENTURY (1-3)
Where, when: Century High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: La Quinta had not been 3-1 this century until this year. The Aztecs are not beating O.C. top 10 teams. They are beating teams of their ilk, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. La Quinta lost to Laguna Beach in the season opener before wins over Webb of Claremont, Loara and Garey of Pomona. The Aztecs’ ground-attack already has four players with 26 or more carries. Dylan Do has rushed for 403 yards, and Tam Le has contributed 332 rushing yards. Century opened the season with a win over Firebaugh of Lynwood, lost a close game to Trinity Classical of Valencia then absorbed one-sided losses to Bolsa Grande and Saddleback. La Quinta should make it 4-1 and might be on the road to its first playoff appearance since 2010.
Winner: La Quinta
NO. 13 BUENA PARK (4-0) VS. ST. FRANCIS OF LA CANADA (4-0)
Where, when: St. Francis High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Now we will find out how good Buena Park is. The cumulative record of Buena Park’s opponents, none of which is an Orange County team, is 2-15-1. St. Francis is ranked No. 7 in Division 3. The Golden Knights advanced to the semifinals in last year’s CIF-SS Southeast Division playoffs, which now is roughly equivalent to Division 5. Buena Park, ranked No. 4 in Divison 3, is averaging 48 points a game. The Coyotes have not played a challenging opponent, which can happen when a good team can’t find local teams willing to schedule a game. Buena Park quarterback Deshaun Harvey has thrown for 1,191 yards, the sixth-most in O.C. Jeremiah Hawkins is averaging 15 yards a carry and has rushed for 307 yards, a total which would be higher if he was not removed early from the team’s blowout wins. Buena Park can beat good teams, and will prove that against St. Francis.
Winner: Buena Park
GARDEN GROVE (2-2) VS. LAGUNA HILLS (3-1)
Where, when: Laguna Hills High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Garden Grove has lost two in a row. The losses were to good teams, Woodbridge and Pacifica, so put away any thought that Garden Grove is no longer the best team in the Garden Grove League. The Argonauts are coming off of their bye week, which means they should be ready for this one, however they will be without Joseph Camarillo, who was their best offensive player before recently withdrawing from school. Laguna Hills has one of the O.C.’s top all-around players, senior Logan Montgomery. In last week’s 40-5 win over Irvine, Montgomery returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown, returned a kick 71 yards for a touchdown and scored on a 48-yard pass reception. He is spectacular, and that Hawks defense is pretty good, too.
Winner: Laguna Hills
TRABUCO HILLS (2-3) VS. NO. 12 CORONA DEL MAR (3-1)
Where, when: Estancia High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Trabuco Hills is another of those “better-than-its-record” teams. The Mustangs lost to three teams that are likely to go to the playoffs - Fullerton, Tustin and Capistrano Valley - and beat teams they should beat, Pacifica and Fountain Valley. Trabuco has a terrific quarterback, Tommy Germain, whose 1,149 passing yards is the seventh-most in O.C. Corona del Mar, ranked No. 4 in Division 4, has Cal-committed quarterback Chase Garbers, who is eighth in the county passing with 1,060 yards. His completion percentage is 69 percent – only Mater Dei’s JT Daniels is better in O.C., at 80 percent – and he has thrown 11 touchdown passes with zero interceptions. This will be a fun game to watch.
Winner: Corona del Mar
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN (4-1) VS. ST. MARGARET’S (4-1)
Where, when: St. Margaret’s High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Whittier Christian junior quarterback Quinn Commans continues to impress. He has completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,840 yards, which is second in the county, and he has thrown 22 touchdown passes, which also is second in O.C. St. Margaret’s has a fine quarterback, too. George Krantz has thrown for 979 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Tartans’ loss was to 4-0 Bishop’s of La Jolla. They have shutout wins over Calvary Chapel and Laguna Beach. St. Margaret’s might have the superior defense, and that could be the difference.
Winner: St. Margaret’s
DANA HILLS (1-4) VS. FULLERTON (2-2)
Where, when: Fullerton High, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Dana Hills got its first win since 2014 last week when it routed Los Amigos, 46-13. Corey Cisowski tied a Dana Hills record with six touchdown passes. The Dolphins’ four losses were to teams that are 3-2, so it’s not like they’ve been slaughtered by bad teams. Fullerton started 2-0 and got into the O.C. top 25. Back-to-back losses to El Modena and Gahr of Cerritos dropped the Indians out of the county rankings. El Modena is 3-1 and Gahr is 5-0, so they too lost to good teams. Dana Hills might finally have some much-deserved confidence. Fullerton, though, still looks like the better team.
No. 2 Mission Viejo (5-0) at No. 22 El Toro (1-4)
Notre Dame of Riverside (2-2) at No. 8 Tesoro (4-1)
No. 9 San Clemente (3-2) at Rancho Buena Vista of Vista (2-3)
No. 10 Villa Park (3-1) vs. El Dorado (2-2) at Valencia High
No. 14 San Juan Hills (4-1) at Great Oak of Temecula (2-2)
No. 16 Foothill (3-1) vs. Esperanza (1-3) at Yorba Linda High
No. 18 Newport Harbor (2-2) at Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach (2-2)
Troy (3-1) at Irvine (1-2-1)
Beckman (2-2) at Westminster (1-3)
Western (1-2) vs. Anaheim (1-3) at Glover Stadium
Aliso Niguel (1-4) vs. Sonora (0-4) at La Habra High
Savanna (2-2) vs. Santiago (1-3) at Garden Grove High
Fountain Valley (0-4) at Mira Mesa of San Diego (1-3)
Estancia (1-3) vs. Sunny Hills (3-1) at Buena Park High
Orange (4-0) vs. Godinez (1-3) at Santa Ana Valley High
Loara (1-3) vs. Rancho Alamitos (2-2) at Bolsa Grande High
Boron (3-2) vs. Saddleback Valley Christian (2-2) at University High
Rancho Christian of Temecula (3-1) vs. Brethren Christian (4-1) at Ocean View High
Discovery Prep of Pacoima (0-3) at Sage Hill (3-2)
Santa Clara of Oxnard (0-3) vs. Fairmont Prep (2-2) at Yorba Linda High
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