Melendez last week (overall): 8-4 (126-66-1)
Last week: Muir, San Gabriel, Pasadena Poly and La Caada proved me wrong. To be fair, the Mustangs had one of their most unbelievable games in taking Charter Oak to the brink of elimination in the opener of the Southeast Division opener. The hot question I’ve posed coaches and our staff at the office is this: If you’re Ken Howard, do you make the decision to go for the two-point conversion or go for the PAT. I would have gone for the PAT. You already have Charter Oak on the ropes and you’ve done near the impossible in making it such a nail biter; momentum is on your side and you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. I polled some coaches about the scenario later that night and through the weekend: Some said they’d take the PAT but surprisingly the majority said they would go for it. …. To be fair, La Caada drew a tough Cerritos Valley Christian team. Is the Olympic League the most competitive league in the Mid Valley Division? The can make argument after all three teams advanced to Friday’s second round. … Pasadena Poly had an amazing game at St. Genevieve, posting 47-28 lead before hanging on, 52-42.
This week: You don’t have to ask: Monrovia vs. Paraclete at Knight High is the Game of the Week. I’m bringing the wool coat, putting chains on the tires and strapping on some gloves, because I don’t care what anybody says it gets cold up there. We’re expected to battle a balmy 34 degrees on Friday night. The record low in Palmdale is 18 degrees, set in 1978. Bundle up and get ready for what is easily the most anticipated matchup in the Mid Valley Division. This is the championship game in my books. Nevertheless, I would like to see an All-Area final on Dec. 12. …. San Marino was definitely a lot of fun to watch last week. They’re old school with Benny Hung rushing down the middle and unpredictable with Stevie Yortsos and Joe Forgatch as the driving force on offense. Ben Harwich compliments Hung’s running game, and he’s just as dangerous when he breaks off tackles. St. Francis (9-2) visits a tough Palmdale (9-2) team, led by QB Joshua Shaw’s 1,586 yards and 12 touchdowns. But after enduring the air assault by Gahr’s Casey Nielsen (400+ passing), the Golden Knights’ secondary should have an easier time. Or not. Shaw’s also the team’s second-leading rusher with 637 yards and nine touchdowns. Maranatha and Rio Hondo Prep should advance to the semifinals in their respective divisions, but I’m not so sure about Pasadena Poly, which draws No. 2 seed Linfield Christian. On the bright side, the Panthers are the only area team playing at home while we’re all on the road.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES — WITH PREDICTIONS
Monrovia vs. Paraclete at Knight High in Palmdale, 7 p.m. — Monrovia
Linfield Christian vs. Pasadena Poly at South Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Linfield Christian
St. Francis at Palmdale, 7:30 p.m. — St. Francis
San Marino vs. Azusa at Citrus, 7 p.m. — San Marino
Maranatha at Ontario Christian, 7 p.m. — Maranatha
Rio Hondo Prep vs. Saddleback Valley Christian at St. Margaret’s High, 7 p.m. — Rio Hondo Prep