Week 10: Previews and Predictions

Point Loma #8 Mission Bay: The Pointers have had an up-and-down season with big wins, big losses, and everything in between. They’ll try and win their 2nd league game when they take on the undefeated Buccaneers. The Bucs are averaging over 33 points per game led by Derrick Clark and a collection of several talented skill players.

SCORE PREDICTION: Mission Bay – 31 Point Loma – 20

Santa Fe Christian La Jolla Country Day: The battle of the year in the Coastal League– The Eagles and Torreys each with one loss on the season will compete for the league crown in week ten. The Eagles will try and pound the ball with their triple-option attack, while the Torreys will feature Braxton Burmeister in the air and on the ground.

SCORE PREDICTION: Santa Fe Christian – 35 La Jolla Country Day – 31

#4 La Costa Canyon Oceanside: The Pirates haven’t lost four games in a season in at least twelve years. They are now in danger of losing four games in a row and dropping them under .500 on the season. The Mavericks have found a solid offense this season to go with their always reliable defense. The Mavs will look to end a four game losing streak against the Pirates.

SCORE PREDICTION: La Costa Canyon – 21 Oceanside – 13

#5 Westview Poway: The Titans will have an opportunity to take down a top five team and get in position to earn a share of the league title. The Wolverines must shake off their first loss of the season, to La Costa Canyon, and get back on track for the remaining two league road games.

SCORE PREDICTION: Westview – 23 Poway – 16

#2 Helix @ #10 Grossmont: The Foothillers consistently put points on the board, but how they’ll try and stop the Highlanders high-powered offensive attack in another story. Grossmont must control the clock and avoid turnovers to give themselves a chance.

SCORE PREDICTION: Helix – 42 Foothillers – 21

LAST WEEK: 5-0

SEASON RECORD: 26-9

Analyzing the Player of the Year Race

With the first nine weeks of the season completed, I took a look at the players who have stood out the most in San Diego this season on offense and defense.

OFFENSE:

  • Nehemiah McFarlin/RB/Mission Hills HS– The running back has busted onto the scene this season with several huge games for the top ranked Grizzlies. The Grizzlies don’t publish their stats, but McFarlin has been as good as any running back in the county this season. Against Oceanside, I had McFarlin with 192 total yards and 4 touchdowns in just the first half. That’s something that doesn’t happen against the Pirates very often. He recently picked up his first scholarship offer, from USD, with more expected to come.
  • Elijah Preston/RB/St. Augustine HS– Preston is in his fourth season as the starting running back for the Saints, but probably hasn’t received enough press due to his size and how he’ll translate at the next level. The fact is, only Royce Freeman and Ricky Seale have run for more yards in San Diego County History. Preston sits at 6,357 yards with two regular season games and playoffs still to play. The Saints will rely heavily on him as they go for a 3rd consecutive CIF Title.
  • Nate Stinson/RB/Helix HS– The Highlanders have several players that are talented and put up huge numbers on the offensive side of the ball, but Stinson has been a constant threat to take it the distance each time he gets a handoff. Helix hasn’t posted stats since week two, but Stinson has made work of each opponent the Highlanders has faced since week one. He hasn’t attracted as much college interest due to his frame and durability, but I expect him to make a big impact at the next level, wherever he ends up.
  • Lucas Johnson/QB/Mt. Carmel HS– Johnson, who has committed to San Diego State, has put up huge numbers this season for the 5-3 Sundevils. One of the top athletes in the county, Johnson is a threat to take is the distance any time he takes the snap from shotgun. Through the first eight games of the season, he’s thrown for over 1,300 yards with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Johnson is also the Sundevils top rusher with 829 yards and twelve more touchdowns. He’s averaging 14.8 yards per rush and will have to carry the load as Mt. Carmel heads into the playoffs.
  • Braxton Burmeister/QB/La Jolla Country Day School– Burmeister likely won’t receive much consideration due to the fact that he’s a junior and plays at a D-V school, but the performances he’s put up this season are phenomenal. Burmeister is on pace to break many of the county career passing records, set a few seasons back by Grossmont HS QB Anthony Lawrence, who is now starting at the University of San Diego. Burmeister has eclipsed 2,000 yards so far this season with 26 touchdown passes. He’s added over 600 yards on the ground and an additional 17 rushing touchdowns. He has made a verbal commitment to Arizona, but is still being recruited by schools across the country.

DEFENSE:

  • Terrell Burgess/CB-WR/San Marcos HS– Burgess most likely will play on the defensive side of the ball in college, but he’s the best player for the Knights wherever he plays. The senior has offers from many programs on the west coast and recently took official visits to Arizona and Nevada. Burgess has recorded three interceptions and has over 1,000 yards receiving to go with 14 touchdown catches for the high-octane Knights.
  • Troy Warner/CB-WR/Mission Hills HS– Warner appears to be the top “college prospect” in San Diego County, and has made a verbal commitment to BYU. He has very talented teammates on both sides of the ball at Mission Hills, so his stats may not look like some of the other players, but his size and athleticism make him a favorite target of Dakota Miller on offense and a lockdown corner on defense. He’ll look to become the 3rd straight Grizzly to win the CIF-SDS Defensive Player of the Year Award, following his brother Fred Warner (’14, BYU) and DeChaun Holiday (’15, UCLA).
  • Jihad Woods/LB/Helix HS– Woods is the defensive leader and a big hitter at middle linebacker for the 2nd ranked Highlanders. The Highlanders are talented all over both sides of the ball, but the defense has only allowed eleven points per game through seven games this season. Woods will begin showing his skills next season at Washington State.

Broncos Attack on all Cylinders to Inch Closer to League Title

By Jared Garcia–

The Mt. Carmel Sundevils traveled to Rancho Bernardo in a Palomar League showdown. Rancho Bernardo (6-2) defeated the Sundevils (5-3) 45-20. Although the game was perceived as a blowout, there was no shortness of talent on the field.

Rancho Bernardo quarterback Mark Salazar threw for 209 yards with 3 touchdowns, all to receiver Devaughn Vele who finished with 101 receiving yards. Running back Milan Grice rushed for a game high 196 yards with 3 touchdowns, while linebacker Devin Dunn led the broncos with 9 tackles and made a couple of clutch stops.

Lucas Johnson and Rashid Shaheed connected for 3 deep touchdowns. Johnson threw for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Shaheed hauled in 10 catches for 201 yards to go along with 3 touchdowns.

Next week, the Broncos will face a struggling Ramona team and the Sundevils will host the Torrey Pines Falcons.

 

Saints Surge in the 2nd Half, win ‘Holy Bowl’

Senior running back Elijah Preston opened the ‘Holy Bowl’ with 61 yards rushing on the opening drive capped by a 12 yard touchdown run. QB Rodney Thompson found his brother Tariq in the end zone to start the 2nd quarter, and the Dons found themselves down 14-0. After a interception by Jordan Genmark-Heath in the 2nd quarter, Hogan Irwin punched it in from two yards for the Dons. The Dons took the opening drive of the 2nd half and scored on their eighth play on a three yard touchdown run from Hogan Irwin. Suddenly, it looked as if the Dons had seized the momentun in their favor.

Cathedral Catholic Tight End Patrick Brown caught a pass over the middle and into St. Augustine territory, but was stripped and recovered by the Saints. They then drove 67 yards for the go-ahead touchdown from Francoise Sims II and followed it up with and interception return for a touchdown from safety Tariq Thompson. The Dons suddenly found themselves trailing 28-14 with just over nine minutes to play. They added a four-yard touchdown run from Adam Eastwood with 20 seconds to play, but it was not enough to overcome the Saints attack led by senior running back Elijah Preston, who ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

Saints senior OL Michael Alves discussed the big rivalry, improvements heading towards playoffs, and updated his recruitment.

Cathedral Catholic junior TE Patrick Brown looks to be on the best junior prospects around the county. He discussed playing in the big rivalry for the first time, and talked about his recent college visits as well as his first offer from San Diego State.

Week 9: Game Previews and Predictions

Oceanside Carlsbad: The Pirates have lost two in a row, and will travel for a third straight road game. Quarterback consistency is the key for the Pirates as they continue along this season. After the first two games of the season, it looked like the Lancers were in for a long one. They’ve bounced back to a 4-3 record, including a road victory over La Costa Canyon in double-overtime last Friday. They control their destiny for the Avocado West League Title.

SCORE PREDICTION: Carlsbad – 24 Oceanside – 20

#3 St. Augustine #5 Cathedral Catholic: The Dons have been tested, playing by the far the toughest schedule in San Diego this season. They’ll have a big opportunity to make a move in the power rankings when they host their big rival in the annual “Holy Bowl”. The Saints defeated Morse on the road last week, and have lost twice this season by a combined five points to Los Angeles Loyola and Vista Murrieta.

SCORE PREDICTION: St. Augustine – 27 Cathedral Catholic – 21

#2 Helix Valhalla: The Norseman, who are allowing just over six points per game will need to put up their best performance this week against the Highlanders who are averaging 41 points per game. Will Valhalla feed off of the home crowd and make their way into the top 10?

SCORE PREDICTION: Helix – 34 Valhalla -17

Eastlake Otay Ranch: The Mustangs have had a solid 4-3 season to date, with losses to Grossmont, Steele Canyon, and St. Augustine. They posted a nice opening season win over Valhalla, but the the Titans will provide a big challenge this week. The Titans have had a very difficult schedule, which has led to their 3-5 record but should help them as the season moves on. We’ll see if the Mustangs can slow down their rushing attack.

SCORE PREDICTION: Eastlake – 28 Otay Ranch – 17

La Jolla#8 Madison: Since their loss to Eastlake, the Warhawks have outscored their opponents 154-19 in three games. They’ll look to continue that again this week against a La Jolla squad that has been up and down all season. The Vikings offensive attack has switched to a more balanced attack, than the air raid system of the last few years.

SCORE PREDICTION: Madison – 38 La Jolla – 17

 

SEASON RECORD: 21-9

Spitters’ clutch play leads Torrey Pines over Oceanside

Jared Garcia–

After quarterback Caden Kelley went down with an injury late in the second half down 21-27, it was up to backup Ben Spitters to deliver in the clutch. After converting a crucial 4th and 8, Spitters threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Scotty Gange to give the Falcons a 28-27 lead with 28 seconds left in the game.

“When Scotty caught that it was insane, we all freaked out”, said Spitters, who was lifted off of the field on the shoulders of his teammates, celebrating in joy.

Oceanside running back Tevin Meadows rushed for 175 yards to go along with 2 touchdowns while quarterback Robby Beardsley threw for 152 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Carlsbad Stops La Costa Canyon in 2OT to Retain the Rotary Cup

The Lancers used their pro-style offense throughout the night to effectively move the ball up the field. They had a great shot to end the game in regulation as Kellen Peet intercepted Tanner Clark and returned it to the eight-yard line, but a fumble on the next snap gave it back to the Mavericks. After no points in the first overtime, Carlsbad answered with a 25-yard strike on the first play of double-overtime. Tanner Clark was sacked by several Lancers on 4th down, and the Lancers celebrated.

2016 LB/TE Troy Cassidy had a huge night for the Lancers, collecting three catches for 47 yards and helping to stop the Mavericks rushing attack.

Week 8: Game Previews and Predictions

Olympian Eastlake: The Eagles have been one of the surprises in the county so far, losing only once, to Point Loma. Their weaker schedule will catch up to them this week as they face a nearby Eastlake squad that has been battle tested, while dropping their last three games.

SCORE PREDICTION: Eastlake – 31 Olympian – 27

Madison Point Loma: The Warhawks and Pointers will get the night started with a 3:00 matinee game. Madison has played below expectations this season but should get their third win in a row after the defeating their last two opponents by a combined score of 106-19.

SCORE PREDICTION: Madison – 34 Point Loma – 16

Carlsbad #4 La Costa Canyon: Since dropping the season opener, the Mavericks have been rolling through their schedule. They’ll get another test in the Avocado West League this week when they face a Lancer team that started the season slow but has really started to come around in recent weeks. Tanner Clark leads the Mavericks offense that is clicking after troubles in recent years.

SCORE PREDICTION: La Costa Canyon – 27 Carlsbad – 14

#6 Oceanside Torrey Pines: The Falcons have struggled to get anything going on offense since the opener and have fallen to 1-5 in the process against a tough schedule. The Pirates come in after getting beat down by Mission Hills last week and will be looking to start the Avocado West League on a winning note.

SCORE PREDICTION: Oceanside – 24 Torrey Pines – 17

Mt. Carmel Poway: The Sun Devils have been living on the edge relying heavily on senior quarterback Lucas Johnson for nearly all of their offensive production. Will the Titans be able to hold him down? The Titans three losses have come against teams ranked 1st, 7th, and 8th in the county that have a combined record of 17-1.

SCORE PREDICTION: Poway – 23 Mt. Carmel – 20

Give the Pirates Some Time

With a 4-2 record so far in the football season, the casual observer might think that the Pirates are having a solid season. The Pirates are a top five team in the county and in my opinion a top five team, as of now. I’ve seen lots of complaints and concern from Oceanside Fans/Supporters on social media about new coach David Rodriguez.

Long time coach John Carroll retired after last season after a run that saw the Pirates win a CIF title 13 times since 1995. They won state titles in 2007 and 2009, before losing to Nor-Cal power Folsom HS in the state title last season. David Rodriguez, a former assistant under Carroll, was hired as the Pirates head man after coaching in Arizona for the last few years. The Pirates have struggled mightily against their best two opponents this season, Mission Hills and Eastside Catholic (WA.), being outscored by a total of 94-13, but I don’t think that speaks to the coaching ability of Rodriguez.

I understand the frustration of having a “down” season, relative to usual expectations but that isn’t entirely fair. The “cupboard” is as empty as it’s been at Oceanside in a long time. There are big questions at quarterback following the steadiness of Paopao and Romero in recent years. They’ve had offensive weapons that not many teams in San Diego could even dream about. Talent like Mikah Holder, Thai Cottrell, and Josh Bernard have moved to the college ranks. The offensive line is the strongest part of the team, and sophomore right tackle Donovan Laie may end up as one of the best football players in school history, but they’re still a young group. Their top receiving threat Isaia Paopao, was poised for a huge senior season, before tearing his ACL in the offseason.

Against the Grizzlies, Niko Mageo was the offense. He’s a very talented running back, but without a reliable passing game that can keep the defense off balance it allows them to stuff the box and prepare for the running game.

On defense, major improvement needs to be done. Against Mission Hills, they were simply blown off the line of scrimmage on nearly every play. The good news is that there were several (non-seniors) on offense and defense that played against Mission Hills. The stars of recent memory on the Pirates defense have all moved on to the collegiate level. Jace Whittaker, Alijah Holder, and Jordan Miller are all seeing playing time in the Pac-12 as freshman, while energetic linebacker Tommy Woo has moved on to Palomar College.

When it comes to Oceanside, it’s about experience and improvement rather than coaching.

Spotlight on Ramona QB Marco Cobian

By Jared Garcia–

The Ramona Bulldogs are not having their best season, as they sit at 3-3 with big league games approaching. One shining spot for the Bulldogs is senior quarterback Marco Cobian. Cobian has 10 passing touchdowns (3 rushing) with only 5 interceptions. Keeping his touchdown to interception ratio is something that is very important to him.

“At the end of the day, I look at my turnover ratio because it’s a big stat for me, and right now I need to improve and get better at taking care of the football”, Cobian said after a 45-31 loss at Mt Carmel.

Cobian is an impressive two-sport athlete, as he plays basketball in the winter.

“Usually I try to just focus on one sport at a time, and I haven’t really had an opportunity to sit down and asses my options on the basketball court, but that’s what I enjoy about high school sports”, stated Cobian who is being recruited to play basketball at some small local colleges.

From a recruiting standpoint, quarterback Marco Cobian has visited Yale and Pennsylvania and has interest from the University of Chicago.

You can catch Cobian excelling on the football field, the basketball court, and the classroom. The future is bright for Cobian, as he looks to play at the next level in whichever spot he chooses.