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GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 4 SERVITE (4-2 overall, 0-1 league) VS. NO. 1 MATER DEI (6-0, 1-0)
Where, when: Santa Ana Stadium, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Live coverage: Prime Ticket
Analysis: Yes, a Servite-Mater Dei game again has Game of the Week status. Servite made it so with last week’s near upset of St. John Bosco, the No. 2 team in the nation in some rankings that also have Mater Dei at No. 1. (Yes, it’s back-to-back games for the Friars against the top two teams in the nation.) Friars sophomore quarterback Noah Fifita threw three touchdown passes in the 27-26 loss to the Braves in the Trinity League opener for both teams. Servite sophomore Maxx Silao and senior Tristen Wilson recorded sacks. The Friars will need plenty of offensive production from Fifita and plenty of pressure on Mater Dei senior quarterback Bryce Young who last week threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns in the Monarchs’ 51-14 league win over Orange Lutheran. Young also threw two interceptions against Orange Lutheran, but he has thrown only three interceptions this season and has completed 72 percent of his passes. Servite’s most recent win over Mater Dei was in 2011. Servite coach Troy Thomas said at practice Monday “there were a few signs of maybe a little bit of a letdown” after coming so close to beating Bosco. But, Thomas added, “The guys are excited, too. They really believe they can do it.” That’s half the battle. The other half of the battle is outscoring Mater Dei, which is averaging 52 points a game. It doesn’t look like anybody can do that.
Winner: Mater Dei
OTHER TOP GAMES THIS WEEK
MAGNOLIA (4-2, 1-0) VS. KATELLA (5-1, 1-0)
Where, when: Glover Stadium, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Katella has won 28 consecutive Orange League games. The Orange County record for consecutive football league wins is 44 by St. Margaret’s, 2006-09. The Knights’ most recent league loss? To Magnolia 34-21 on Oct. 24, 2013. Magnolia won only three games over the past two seasons, so this has been quite a turnaround season for the Sentinels who are actually 5-1 on the field; their season-opening win over Godinez became a forfeit loss because an ineligible Magnolia player participated in that game. The Sentinels’ offensive strength is the running game – junior Joseph Lariz has rushed for 833 yards and nine touchdowns and junior Lloyd Marshbanks has rushed for 647 yards and seven touchdowns. Katella is balanced on offense as usual with junior quarterback Pharrell Scorza completing 71 percent of his passes for 733 yards and five touchdowns. Katella has won its past two games by a combined score of 128-0, including last week’s 78-0, league-opening win over Century. Magnolia last week beat Savanna 45-10. Katella still looks like the dominant team in the Orange League.
NO. 12 FOOTHILL (6-0) VS. EL MODENA (4-2)
Where, when: Segerstrom High, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Foothill’s improvement was expected, but still it was a surprise to see its 21-7 win last week over Villa Park. Knights quarterback Luke Peterman threw for three touchdowns against Villa Park and Brady Schrank had 105 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. Both of El Modena’s losses have been to good teams, 19-14 to Segerstrom and 31-28 to Esperanza. Foothill is ranked No. 1 in CIF-Southern Section Division 9. With the roll Foothill is on, it looks like the Knights will be 7-0 when they play their league opener against El Dorado next week.
SANTA ANA (3-3, 1-0) VS. CALVARY CHAPEL (6-0, 1-0)
Where, when: Orange Coast College, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Analysis: Orange is going to go 5-0 in the Orange Coast League, so this one looks like the battle for second place. Santa Ana last week won its league opener against Costa Mesa 40-9 for its 17th consecutive league win. Jason Costa rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns and Miguel Vaca rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. Calvary Chapel last week defeated Estancia 24-14 in a league opener. Sophomore quarterback Ian Capuano has thrown for 18 touchdowns and the Eagles’ defense has collected 14 interceptions. Santa Ana is allowing 27 points a game, while Calvary Chapel is scoring 44 points a game. Calvary Chapel might score a lot in this one, too.
Winner: Calvary Chapel
NO. 8 ORANGE LUTHERAN (3-3, 0-1) VS. NO. 13 SANTA MARGARITA (3-3, 0-1)
Where, when: Trabuco Hills High, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Analysis: This game looks like the best opportunity for either team to get a Trinity League victory. Orange Lutheran last week lost big to Mater Dei 51-14 while Santa Margarita had a similarly difficult time against JSerra in a 35-3 loss. Orange Lutheran’s troubles included an inability to establish a running attack, being held to 59 rushing yards on 24 attempts. Santa Margarita also could not run the ball effectively in its loss to JSerra – 67 yards on 31 attempts. Look for Orange Lutheran to get its running game going and for Cooper Vander Hill to come close to his 95 rushing yards a game.
Winner: Orange Lutheran
ST. JOHN BOSCO (6-0, 1-0) VS. NO. 2 JSERRA (5-1, 1-0)
Where, when: JSerra High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Live coverage: Fox Sports Prep Zone
Analysis: St. John Bosco escaped its Trinity League opener with a one-point win over Servite. Maybe the Braves were looking ahead to their Oct. 25 game against Mater Dei. Count on St. John Bosco coach Jason Negro to have them focused in this one. JSerra, No. 5 in the CIF-SS Divisions 1 and 2 combined top 10, beat Santa Margarita 35-3 in a league opener last week. Sammy Green rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns. The Lions have yet to get their passing game up to the level required to thrive in the Trinity League. They are averaging only 138 passing yards a game, whereas Mater Dei is averaging 342 passing yards a game and St. John Bosco is averaging 296 passing yards a game. Bosco quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei threw three touchdown passes against Servite. Look for him to have another great game against JSerra.
Winner: St. John Bosco
NO. 9 EDISON (4-2, 1-0) VS. CORONA DEL MAR (6-0, 1-0)
Where, when: Newport Harbor High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Live coverage: nfhsnetwork.com
Analysis: Good teams take advantage of turnovers. Edison did that last week, converting three fumble recoveries into touchdowns as the Chargers beat Los Alamitos 42-21 in a Sunset League opener. Corona del Mar started Sunset League play last week with a 49-6 win over Huntington Beach. It was a big night for Sea Kings quarterback Ethan Garbers, who passed for 376 yards and six touchdowns. Corona del Mar coach Dan O’Shea said the Sea Kings must bottle up Edison’s rushing attack. “We’ve got to keep them from running the ball,” he said. “One of their strengths is their offensive line which is big and physical.” Even if Edison does run the ball productively to limit Corona del Mar’s possessions, Corona del Mar still can score quickly and often.
Winner: Corona del Mar
NO. 11 SAN JUAN HILLS (4-3, 1-0) VS. NO. 23 ALISO NIGUEL (5-1, 0-0)
Where, when: Aliso Niguel High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Analysis: It was another fine all-around game last week for San Juan Hills receiver/defensive back Joey Hobert as the Stallions won their Sea View League opener against Trabuco Hills 42-7. Hobert had eight receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns and had two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown. The Stallions’ Austin Hogan rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown. This is the league opener for Aliso Niguel which did not play last week. The Wolverines are averaging 37 points a game. Aliso Niguel senior quarterback Kyle Kyckelhahn has passed for 1,738 yards and 18 touchdowns and senior receiver Caleb Peterson has 45 receptions for a county-leading 891 yards with nine touchdowns. San Juan Hills will present the best defense Aliso Niguel will face during the regular season.
Winner: San Juan Hills
WOODBRIDGE (2-4, 1-0) VS. NORTHWOOD (5-1, 1-0)
Where, when: Irvine High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Analysis: The Pacific Coast League might be the most balanced league in Orange County. Woodbridge last week beat Irvine 27-10 in a league opener for its second win in a row. Northwood started league play with a 39-14 win over University. Senior quarterback Jaden Piazza passed for 199 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and junior receiver Travis Arena had eight receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Look for those two to connect with regularity again as the Timberwolves go to 2-0 in league.
BREA OLINDA (4-2) VS. NO. 14 YORBA LINDA (5-1)
Where, when: Yorba Linda High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Analysis: Brea Olinda’s losses are to good teams, Ayala (6-0) of Chino Hills and No. 25 Sunny Hills (5-1). The Wildcats beat Canyon 36-14 last week as Christian Steward rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown. Yorba Linda’s only loss was to undefeated Foothill 14-7. The Mustangs are the only team to have defeated Orange and they also have wins over La Mirada and No. 21 Capistrano Valley. Yorba Linda senior running back Keaton Haddad has rushed for 815 yards and eight touchdowns. The Mustangs usually are strong defensively and they are again this season. Senior defensive tacle Brandon Schuetz has 6½ sacks and senior safety Luke Gigliotti has a team-high 57 tackles. Yorba Linda’s defense will be stout again in this final nonleague game for both teams as the Mustangs continue to look more and more like the favorite in the Crestview League when league play starts next week.
Winner: Yorba Linda
Fryer on football last week: 6-4 Season to date: 54-16