East County Sports

EAST COUNTY FEARLESS FORECASTER – Week 8

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

FEARLESS FORECASTER – Week Eight

 

By Ramon Scott

EastCountySports.com

 

EL CAJON – It’s a real bummer considering the circumstances, but Christian High has had to call off its varsity football game against the Mira Mesa Marauders on Friday night due to health protocols surrounding the Patriots’ team.

Fortunately, the Marauders, who have suffered enormous heartbreak as a result of the pandemic, were able to pick up a game against Moorpark on just one day’s notice, although the team will have to travel the 325-mile round trip in order to have a game this week.

Mira Mesa was scheduled to be the home team against the Patriots, who were going to be playing their Eastern League opener.

The game was rated very closely between the league combatants but Christian had defeated the Marauders in each of the last three seasons.

Moorpark had been looking for a game for Friday night for a week, and even inquired about Foothills Christian as a potential opponent.

As for Christian, the cancellation of the game does put its league championship aspirations in question, but the front-running Scripps Ranch Falcons, who the Patriots hope to host next week at Valley Stadium, are a strong favorite for the title.

The same could be said for Mira Mesa (3-2, 1-0 Eastern), which also still has the seventh-ranked Falcons on its schedule a week later, although that game will be at Scripps Ranch.

This game also would’ve had a big impact on the Division II playoff ratings. Christian comes into the week placed fifth, while Mira Mesa is seventh. The old computer model has the team’s position reversed.

Just a little more than a month ago, Chris Thompson, who was the head coach of the Marauders and a cancer survivor, passed away after contracting COVID-19.

 

 

MISSION VIEJO (5-1) at No. 9 HELIX (3-2) – Mission Viejo ranked is ranked fifth in the state, so this game for the Highlanders should rate a bit more closely than their last game when they traveled to face the state’s third-ranked team, Servite, two weeks ago, suffering a 42-7 loss.

The Scotties are slightly underrated by the pollsters. Helix is eighth in the computer rankings and sixth in the official SDS-CIF power rankings, giving the team a chance to still reach the Open Division playoffs.

And while there is still a gap between these two successful programs (the computers rate the Diablos as a four-touchdown favorite), a case can easily be made for the Highlanders to prove their true ability here.

After all, Mission Viejo lost at Servite, 44-7, and the Highlanders will be at home for this one.

On top of that, the last time, the last time the Diablos came to the San Diego Section, they lost at Helix rival Oceanside, 28-7, back in Week 2 of 2014.

Since, then, however, Mission Viejo has suffered just three regular-season losses in the last seven-plus years.

Mission Viejo’s junior quarterback QB has thrown seven interceptions, but the Diablos spread the ball around primarily with their three top receivers in a well-balanced attack.

Helix can try to control the ball with their great running game but will ultimately need to stretch the field if MV plays to its potential.

This Highlander team has enough potential to tell some of these superpowers to come and see them in a few years.

The Scotties can stay within the rated margin… MISSION VIEJO 37-17.

 

No. 15 EL CAPITAN (5-1, 2-0 GVL) at MOUNT MIGUEL (2-2, 1-1 GVL) – Mount Miguel, coming off its city championship win over Monte Vista, has earned the right to play a big role in the Grossmont Valley League title race when it hosts the Vaqueros.

Mount Miguel earned its second shutout of the season last week, 41-0, in the Battle of Spring Valley.

This game amounts to a championship title shot against league co-favorite El Capitan.

The Vaqueros must take the Matador running game seriously.

Mount Miguel has shown to have an impressive ground game with backs Ruben Hernandez and Davian McGowan, a sophomore to keep an eye on.

El Capitan shut out Santana, 35-0, in the biggest league game so far behind the stellar performance of senior Savigon Yokley.

By now, everyone, including the Matadors, knows of Yokely’s four touchdowns in four different categories last Friday night.

The win, however, didn’t necessarily help the Vaqueros’ CIF Division III power rating. The team still trails the Sultans in the CID-SDS’ official calculation. El Cap is currently seventh, while Santana is tied for fourth with undefeated West Hills.

Hopefully, that’ll work itself out.

The Matadors are a considerable underdog but they certainly can be considered a wild card in this banner race and why not?

Mount Miguel is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings with the Vaqueros… EL CAPITAN, 34-22.

 

WEST HILLS (6-0, 2-0 GVL) at EL CAJON VALLEY (2-5, 1-2 GVL) – West Hills coach Casey Ash is sure to keep his undefeated Wolf Pack focused for the Braves.

Ash remembers when he was a member of an undefeated West Hills team that had already wrapped up a Grossmont North League championship when they went in and faced an underrated Valhalla squad in a non-league final in 1995 and lost, 21-7.

In the next game, the Wolf Pack lost its playoff opener at home against El Camino.

West Hills shouldn’t encounter that same difficulty here but the Braves are ready to give it their best shot, which usually is strong in the first half.

The Wolf Pack should have enough talent and depth to avoid any real threat of an upset.

As the league race starts to take shape, it can be noted that El Cajon Valley slowed in the second half last week in a 41-25 loss at Valhalla.

Meanwhile, the Wolf Pack took down the Norsemen 49-0, on the same field a week earlier.

West Hills leads all-time, 23-2-1, including 8-0-1 over the last nine meetings, one of the conference’s most-lopsided series… WEST HILLS, 49-7.

 

MONTE VISTA (0-6, 0-2 GVL) at SANTANA (5-1, -1 GVL) – Despite the obvious disparity in success this season, the scales are tipped ever so slightly here, in favor of the Monarchs.

No, Monte Vista isn’t the favorite here against Santana, but the Sultans have lost both their starting and backup quarterback, which may turn this into a total ground duel.

That could allow the Monarchs to capitalize on a break or two and pull off the upset that could make their season.

Monte Vista has been short numbers all season and it doesn’t help when a couple of two-way starters do something to hurt that cause even more just a day before the game, as was the case in last week’s loss to the Matadors.

Needless to say, the Monarchs will be nothing short of motivated to get a shot at a wounded championship contender on its home field while starving for a signature victory.

“We are role models for this team and we failed to be great ones,” Monte Vista senior Jayden Richardson said. “But we will be back and ready for Santana. We will be having a different conversation after this Friday’s game.”

Santana figures to run the ball with senior Brayden Breshears and sophomore Linden Benson. The Sultans are fielding a much different starting lineup at the skill positions than at the beginning of the season.

Junior Shaun Martin, a two-way player for the Sultans, was pressed into emergency quarterback duty last week, but the Sultans could have a passer called up from the junior varsity for this one.

The Monarchs have won three straight in the series to take an 8-5 lead this century since the Sultans won twice in 2016, including a 35-32 D-4 playoff thriller in Santee.

The computers have this one as a five-touchdown blowout, but the algorithm doesn’t calculate for injuries…. SANTANA, 28-14.

 

GRANITE HILLS (4-2) at (La Cañada) ST. FRANCIS (4-1) – Granite Hills head coach Kellan Cobbs can get the lowdown on the Golden Knights from longtime friend and coaching rival Scott Longerbone over at Steele Canyon.

Last week, the Cougars went into St. Francis’ cozy confines and nearly pulled off another big comeback for an upset, ultimately falling to the Golden Knights in overtime, 32-25.

Given the fact that the Eagles appear to be fairly rated ahead of their 1-6 Grossmont Hills League rivals, Granite Hills should expect to be able to play a contentious game despite being rated as a near two-touchdown underdog against the second-rated club in the four-team Angulus League.

And while Givens isn’t a one-man band for the Cougars, the Eagles have a wider variety of options. It’s just a matter of which quarterback will deliver those choices.

Granite Hills debuted transfer quarterback Parlan Sanders, the third regular quarterback to appear this season for the Eagles, but it might be fair to say that all three have been equally efficient.

As long as the array of weapons are available, the Eagles may have enough to spread it out but they have to get the ball into their playmakers’ hands quickly.

The Knights have SDSU-bound two-way star Max Garrison, who scored three touchdowns against the Cougars. He has 13 rushing touchdowns this season.

The Eagles are playing consecutive non-CIF-San Diego Section schools for the first time ever.

In fact, the last time before the trip to Arizona was last time was in 1980 when Granite won at Garden Grove Pacifica, 10-7, so the Eagles will try for three-straight when traveling out of the county here… ST. FRANCIS, 29-28.


No. 12 POWAY (4-2) at GROSSMONT (2-4) –
The Grossmont Foothillers have another chance to get a confidence-building upset over a highly-rated visitor before heading into the Grossmont Hills League schedule next week.

The Foothillers enjoyed their best win of the season in this role when they knocked off a ranked El Camino club in Week 2, 35-22.

Grossmont hasn’t won since, scoring just one touchdown in each game, albeit against a rugged schedule.

This game doesn’t prove much easier. The Hillers are two-touchdown underdogs against the Titans, according to the computers.

There’s no doubt Grossmont still has a strong passing game but opponents seem to be keying on the Hillers’ penchant to pass.

The Titans are run-heavy behind 6-foot-3, 200-pound back Conner Rath, who has scored eight touchdowns, so this one may be more about the Foothillers’ ability to stuff the run.

Grossmont leads the all-time series, 2-1., as the Hillers swept a home-and-road in 2014-15, but Poway won, 51-21, in 2018… POWAY, 31-24.


TRI-CITY CHRISTIAN (1-5) at MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (2-3) –
TheRedHawks are in an evenly-rated game with the visiting Eagles in a crucial matchup between playoff contenders in Division V.

Mountain Empire comes into the week ranked 10th in the official D-5 power rakings.

Meanwhile, the Eagles, are currently 13th, just outside the playoff bubble in the division.

While a loss doesn’t eliminate either team from contention, the winner will likely benefit crucially from the victory heading into the final weeks of the season.

The RedHawks have adjusted after having to revert to a ground-oriented attack following a series of injuries.

Tri-City is currently in last place in the Coastal League.

The Eagles won their first game of the season last week against O’Farrell, 49-8, which rates as the easiest game on their schedule.

Mountain Empire dropped games to TCC back in 2015-16 by a combined score of 79-21, but the home field should be enough here… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 14-6.

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