Ten Burning Questions for Week 10 of High School Football
1. Who wins the Mission League championship game between Bishop Amat and Chaminade?
I’m going for the upset here and taking Bishop Amat. The Lancers have been a totally different team since their loss to Rancho Cucamonga six weeks ago (which seems like a lifetime ago to Amat fans). UCLA-bound defensive lineman Aaron Maldonado has played at an elite level during Mission League play and the belief level of everyone on the Amat team is at an all-time high. As if the Lancers didn’t need any more motivation, Chaminade quarterback Ryan Stevens said to Evan Barnes of the LA Daily News, “(Amat is) the one team I haven’t beaten yet so it’s personal.”
2. Who wins the Angelus League championship game between Cathedral and St. Francis?
St. Francis. The Golden Knights, in my opinion, are the best team in Division 3 and will prove it Friday at home. Junior quarterback Darius Perrantes was absolutely stellar (10-13, 276 yards and 4 touchdowns) in St. Francis’ win over Harvard-Westlake last week. The key to this game will be how well the offensive line of St. Francis performs against Cathedral’s elite defensive line. The Phantoms have had issues with their offensive this year and that has to be shored up if they any plans on winning.
3. Who wins the Freeway League championship game between La Habra and Fullerton?
La Habra. Since 2004, the Highlanders have won 64 of their last 66 game Freeway League games. That is the ultimate definition of dominance. Senior quarterback Zach Fogel has thrown for 1,467 yards with 16 touchdown passes. They face a Fullerton team that is riding a six-game winning streak. The key for the Highlanders defense is containing senior running back Dylan Nicholson who has rushed for 1,108 yards this season.
4. Who wins the Montview League Championship between Nogales and Azusa?
Nogales. The Nobles were riding high last season before they lost to Azusa which led to their downfall to not being selected for the CIF-SS playoffs. Fast forward a year and Nogales is looking to turn the tables. Ranked second in the current CIF-SS football poll, the Nobles have gotten excellent production from quarterback Joshua Lopez. The senior has thrown for 1,100 yards and Francisco Ibarra has been extremely productive at running back (935 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns). They face an Azusa team that has held league opponents to a combined four touchdowns the last four weeks.
5. Who wins the Prep League Championship game between Rio Hondo Prep and Pasadena Poly?
Pasadena Poly. Of all the league championship games, this might be the most competitive. Both teams are evenly matched. The Panthers have used their punishing running attack (1,616 yards rushing) to dismantle teams such as Maranatha, Rosamond and Mary Star of the Sea. They’ll face a Kares team that is always well-coached under one of the more underrated head coaches in the area in Ken Drain. Rio Hondo Prep owns key wins over La Canada (52-0) and Santa Clara (29-0).
6. Can Damien still get an automatic bid from the Baseline League into the playoffs?
Yes. If the Spartans defeat Etiwanda on Friday, they’ll be in three-way tie for third place in the Baseline League standings and they’ll carry the automatic bid over the Eagles due to head-to-head criteria. Even if Damien losses, they’ll get into the playoffs with an “at-large” bid due to their record being .500 (a requirement for At-Large consideration).
7. Does St. Paul have a chance of making the playoffs?
Yes. In Division 6, there are currently 12 teams that are vying to getting automatic berths from their league. That means there are four “at-large” spots available. With Sonora and Elsinore, the only teams with .500 records or above, St. Paul will be in a pool of three teams (the others being Golden Valley and Canyon High School of Canyon Country) that will be under consideration for the final two playoff spots. A win over visiting Salesian on Friday will go a long way to enhancing the Swordsmen’s resume.
8. How important is it for Muir to win the Turkey Tussle?
Very important. Right now, there are 16 teams that are in-line for all 16 playoff spots in Division 9. However, Hemet, who’s tied for third with Beaumont in the Mountain Pass League standings, takes on highly-ranked Citrus Hill. A loss could drop Hemet into fourth place and out of playoff consideration. That would free up a playoff spot for teams petitioning to get in via the “At-Large” process. A win on Friday will help the Mustangs’ resume. Also look for Maranatha, Aliso Niguel and West Ranch to all vie for the “at-large bid” if it’s available.
9. How important is Arcadia’s game with Crescenta Valley?
Extremely important. If the Apaches beat Crescenta Valley on Thursday, they’ll get into the playoffs as the second-place team from the Pacific League. If Arcadia losses, it will drop into third and the fate of its season will be in the hands of the CIF-SS football selection committee. As many as eight third-place teams in the Division could be vying for three playoff spots.
10. How significant is the Ayala vs Glendora game on Friday?
Very significant. The winner of this game gets the second place “designation” for the league into the playoffs which is important when it comes to pairing teams up. The winner also has a great chance of hosting a first-round game next Friday night.
— From James Escarcega