Casual Fridays on Thursday: St. Francis proving worth

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Tonight’s Showdown with predictions
Burroughs (2-0) at St. Francis (2-0), 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)

Tonight’s game Burroughs-St. Francis game promises to be a good one. So good I might head over after I leave the office and check it out myself.

The top-ranked Golden Knights had a tough time last season battling injuries that ultimately put halt on their playoff hopes.

St. Francis is healthy and have arguably the area’s best running back in Dietrich Riley who of course is only a junior. Rian Younker is a strong force on the D-Line. There are lots of reasons the Golden Knights will be scary-good this season and having a balanced team is the big reason. A potent ground attack and an air assault when needed by Justin Sciarra. The offense against Crescenta Valley last week had 315 total yards led by Riley’s 213 on the ground. Malik Speed is a player not to be overlooked. His speed compliments the offense well. And lets not forget a defensive unit that has an offensive mind, too.

It should be noted that Burroughs is 2-0 and are coming off a 30-7 victory over South Torrance. The Indians have a big line up front on both sides of the ball, can spread their receivers and have lots of motion which potentially can be confusing. With such a good pass-rush from the Golden Knights expect Burroughs to be in shotgun formation almost the entire game.

I will be covering Hoover at San Marino. I know Hoover has a big line up front but the reality is the Titans will prove to be too much with a powerful running back tandem in Scott Dooley and Benny Hung. To be honest, the Temple City-San Gabriel game is much more intriguing but I won’t be there because I’m thinking of covering the Rams when they visit Rosemead next week.

The TC-SG game has all the makings of an offensive showdown. The Rams did not play to their potential against the Moors last week. Morgan Hatch can wreak havoc in the air for opposing defenses so I expect him to bounce back strong against the Matadors. Joey Stewart is very underrated and I came away impressed with how strong he is, gaining most of his yards running up the middle and breaking blocks.

This could be a close game and I see the Matadors pulling away, though I’m not as convinced as many people think.

Isaac Valdez, a junior, will prove his worth. The Rams defense, led by Nick Conora, will have to contain receiver Isaac Villalobos who’ll probably be Valdez’s favorite target. Arthur Brown is a speedy back who can make big plays like when he broke off a 52-yard touchdown run before it was called back for a holding penalty. True, the 54-14 victory came against a down South Pasadena team, which is why I don’t see either team blowing each other out. No matter what you think, Serra and Cathedral are two tough teams. The kid from Cathedral is going to USC for a reason. There’s a reason why it went from Heisman-U to Tailback-U. There were no moral victories for the Matadors and not once did I say they were. But they were losses San Gabriel learned from and can see where they stand against the rest. This game is much more important for the Matadors because it is their first true test against an area team. TC has proven itself with a shutout win and a game they should have won against Alhambra.

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