Star Picks: Five big games this week, where to begin?

Well, let’s start with the Almont League where Alhambra and San Gabriel are each 3-0, and as I had written in my Week 0 football column, this game would decide the Almont League championship. San Gabriel has really turned things around in league, and Andy Guerrero has a lot to do with that. It’s also the reason why I’m picking San Gabriel to win Friday, and here’s why. Guerrero is a threat passing and on the ground. He torched Bell Gardens last week with 350 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 146 yards on 22 carries. He helped the Matadors beat Montebello 48-17 with 312 yards passing and three touchdowns against zero interceptions. He also rushed for 138 yards on 14 carries. Keppel and Montebello are the common opponents, but I’m comparing just the Oilers for this instance. Alhambra last week had a hard time beating Montebello, 7-6. … St. Francis-St. Paul is always a huge rivalry, and both have identical records (6-2, 1-2) coming into this must-win game. St. Paul on paper looked great starting the season but its 5-0 nonleague record was deceiving given that the teams it played right now have a combined 15-26 record, and if I’m correct at one point it was 5-22. To be fair, St. Francis’ opponents have a combined record of 22-17. …. Maranatha is falling and falling hard. The Minutemen are in a dangerous spot at 0-2 in the Olympic League with two games left, both must-wins. I think Maranatha no longer is considered a title contender in the Mid-Valley Division. A darkhorse, perhaps. But right now neither of the two roles come into play if they don’t finish .500 in league, and it starts with Village Christian (4-4, 1-1) on Friday, a team that got SMOKED by Rio Hondo Prep 31-13, all 31 points coming in the second half, 23 of which came in the fourth quarter after an 8-7 lead after the third quarter. It’s time to buckle down and get some. In my opinon the biggest game of the week is Pasadena-Arcadia. Burroughs, Arcadia and Pasadena are tied for first in the Pacific League at 4-1. Arcadia lost to Burroughs 41-29, and no doubt the Apaches were going into that game too confident after beating Muir in the league opener. Both teams are talented with stellar quarterbacks. Arcadia’s Myles Carr and Pasadena’s Brandon Cox are two explosive players who can burn you with the pass, but it’s Cox who adds another element with speed and vision when running. Arcadia’s Jake Medel has given the Apaches another solid running back to balance the passing threat that also features WR Taylor Lagace. Pasadena’s Cleo Bates is an incredible athlete who needs some traction to get his game going, and if he does watch out. Last and certainly not least is the San Marino-South Pasadena game, AKA The Crowley Cup. I saw San Marino last week, but certainly won’t base my prediction based on their play against Monrovia, although the Titans did initiate some solid drives even if the scoreboard doesn’t indicate that. Kwame Do will be a tough assignment, but I see South Pasadena finding a way with the size up front. The Tigers utilize the line well to open lanes which gives way for them to pound and pound and pound. The long drives could wear down the Titans, but I don’t see it happening. Joey Harmon and Matt Wofford will be a nice battle to watch. A San Marino win all but gives it a second-place finish in the Rio Hondo League. South Pasadena would still need to play Monrovia.

*If this schedule is not accurate please leave a comment
Friday’s games
Alhambra at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — San Gabriel
Keppel at Bell Gardens, 7 p.m. — Bell Gardens
Marshall vs. Montclair Prep at Pierce College, 7 p.m. — Montclair Prep
Bishop Montgomery at La Salle, 7 p.m. — La Salle
St. Francis at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m. — St. Francis
Gabrielino at Arroyo, 7 p.m. — Arroyo
Mountain View at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Rosemead
La Puente at Duarte, 7 p.m. — La Puente
Village Christian at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Maranatha
Pasadena at Arcadia, 7 p.m. — Arcadia
Burbank at Muir, 7 p.m. — Muir
Flintridge Prep vs. Pasadena Poly at Occidental College, 7 p.m. — Poly
Chadwick at Rio Hondo Prep, 7:30 p.m. — Rio Hondo Prep
Blair at La Canada, 7 p.m. — La Canada
Monrovia at Temple City, 7 p.m. — Monrovia
San Marino at South Pasadena, 7 p.m. — South Pasadena

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