WEEK 5 PREVIEW — SMITTY’S SELECTION’S
Last Week: 4-1 (.800)
Season: 19-5 (.792)
San Diego (9/25/2014) – “They are gigantic,” were the first words La Jolla Country Day head coach TYLER HAYES uttered when he answered the phone awaiting to talk about his matchup this week before continuing with, “they’re some BIG, BIG boys down there that we’ll be going against this Friday.” With such a magnitude and disparity in size between the two squads it only seems right to make the LJCD-Montgomery this week’s “Coastal Sports Game of the Week.”
The Aztecs (1-3) on paper look like they are going through some major struggles. A 35-0 loss to Calexico last week isn’t really too eye-raising, but losing to El Cajon Valley and 35-22 to Clairemont (who is in an extremely bad down year) having you thinking to yourself, “Hold up wait a minute…”
That’s a pretty bad losing streak no matter who you are, but the Torreys (1-2) haven’t exactly smoked the competition to this point. However, the youngest team in the Coastal League has made leaps and bounds every week of the season. They finally hit their stride two weeks ago in a 41-6 rout over Escondido Charter, which isn’t the best of wins, but it’s definitely a stepping stone of turning their season around in the right direction.
The majority of the seniors spent last week’s bye touring colleges all over the nation, but it was also a chance for them to get healthy. Back on the field this week is WILL POLLACK and CASEY MARIUCCI which will be a big bonus on both sides of the ball.
The biggest complaint coach Hayes had in the early portion of the season was his guys not being in the right spots they were supposed to be in to make the tackles. But after that game against the White Tigers he had zero complaints as his guys were not only where they were supposed to be, they were also a lot more aggressive.
Montgomery tries to control the tempo with a solid and balanced run attack, but that’s about the only thing they do well. It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you stop the run the Aztecs won’t beat you through the air, which is actually a good thing for the Torreys after La Jolla torched their secondary in Week 1.
“If we drop 10 balls we’re not going to beat to beat anybody,” coach Hayes said after his receivers had slick hands the first two weeks of the season. “We’ve improved so much from then to now I think if we create turnovers and limit our own mistakes we have a really good shot of winning this one.”
Sophomore BRAXTON BURMEISTER should have a good enough handle of the Torreys’ offense starting the last 14 games without missing a contest at quarterback. If he can get help from his wide-outs he should have a very productive night, both through the air and on the ground.
After losing big to both La Jolla and Castle Park this is a tough one to predict. Can one win and a bye week really put LJCD back on the winning track against a team that’s a lot bigger than they are? It seems like the one thing that the Aztecs struggle with is the spread attack. Granite Hills had soundly beat them the last two years and LJCD isn’t on Granite’s level, but they should have enough in them to eke this one out….La Jolla Country Day 27-24.
Clairemont (1-3) vs. LA JOLLA (1-3) – 7
The Vikings are coming off of a trio of losses and last week’s 26-24 loss on the road against West Hills really hurt. It was the second time in as many weeks that they lost the game in the final minute of the game.
“There’s nothing you can do once that final whistle blows no matter how much it hurts,” head coach JASON CARTER stated. “We just have to pick up the pieces, move on and put all of our focus on Clairemont. We’ve had a great week of practice so I think our guys are ready for this one.”
The Chieftans are no-doubtedly are in an extreme down year. Usually they have at least one athlete that is just ridiculously good and can be a threat to take the entire team on his back and win the game for them, but this year there’s no such guy capable of that. Expect a bounce back game for QB COLLIN RUGG and company and expect a lot of Vikings’ points as well….La Jolla 56-17.
Valhalla (1-2) vs FRANCIS PARKER (3-1) – 7
For the second straight week the Lancers go up against a bigger school than themselves from the East County. Last week they had little trouble taking care of Santana 28-14 in a game which saw the Sultans missing some key cogs in their attack. The Norsemen usually have great quarterbacks (Pete Thomas – NE Louisiana starting QB and Ramsey Romano – starting SS Uni. of Michigan), but have been missing a top-notch performer at that position the past couple of seasons.
“We’re really anxious to play them,” admitted head coach JOHN MORRISON. “They’re a great program and we’ll have a lot of fans in the stands like we normally do whenever we face a big school like theirs. They have a lot of bodies and are huge up front so it will definitely be a huge test for us.”
The Lancers are still without DAVEN HORNE due to injury, but reigning Coastal League Player of the Year KHALEEL JENKINS and Swedish sophomore sensation JORDAN GENMARK-HEATH have recently looked like a Jordan/Pippen combo on the field leading them to winning 3 of their first 4 games.
Call it the luck of the draw, but this is also the first of 3 teams that Parker will be playing against that has had two weeks to prepare for them because they are coming off a bye. Next week it’s Morse, then comes the big Coastal League opener against Santa Fe Christian. One thing that does help Parker’s cause however is this year’s schedule. They’ve already played their one true road game by beating Mater Dei and their only other is a neutral field tangle with Horizon to end the regular season. This will be a tougher test than Santana was, but the pick still goes to….Francis Parker 20-9.
CORONADO (3-1) vs. Hilltop (1-3) – 7
The Islanders are coming off of a completely embarrassing loss last week in the form of a 42-0 skunking by Bishop’s. The Lancers are just what the doctor ordered to send Coronado back to the island with a win under their belt. Although it should be an Islanders victory, if there is an upset in the making this week this would be the game to circle.
Coming off an embarrasing 75-22 defeat, at the hands of Grossmont can do either one of two things to Hilltop. A 53-point loss can devastate their team morale or light a fuse under their arse’s that nobody has seen the likes of before or they can all just sit on the pine and twiddle their thumbs.
Yes, their lone win of the year was impressive coming in Week 1 against Castle Park, but even after dropping three one would have to believe the Islanders will definitely have their hands full to prove they are a better team than most people believe….Coronado 27-14.
HORIZON (2-2) vs. Tri-City Christian (1-2) – Saturday 1:30
The Panthers are looking for their first 3-game winning streak in the past several years and the Eagles might be exactly what the doctor ordered. Defensively, TCC is known for primarily running a cover 2 man zone. Good luck with that against San Diego’s leading passer in Horizon’s JOSH GAUDET.
“We can do a lot of things they like to do against them,” said head coach LAMONT BUTLER. “If Josh can’t find an open man we’ve told him to take off running and I think his legs will play a big part in this one.”
This just has the sound of a blowout in the making before the ball is even kicked off. Having said that, the Panthers haven’t exactly proved they can stop a good offense yet and the Eagles are averaging more than 37 points a contest. The odds makers currently have the game’s over/under set at 83 with the public majority taking the over and I don’t see it any differently.
Maybe Horizon is coming into this one feeling a little too confident about what’s happened the last two weeks. They’ve won by a combined score of 106-13, but they might have well been playing Mary’s School for the Blind. Even if they have or have not, the Eagles have no shot in this one….Horizon 41-20.
Central (El Centro) (1-2) vs. SANTA FE CHRISTIAN (1-3)
Saturday – 2
The last scheduled game of the weekend is probably the hardest to figure out. The Eagles dominated last year’s game, but it was all thanks to the seniors on that team’s squad. Of the 244 yards rushing SFC racked up against them last year the underclassmen accounted for -29.
In fact, the then junior JAKE BAILEY played a huge part in the win by picking off two interceptions for touchdowns that totaled 175 yards and also had a 34-yard catch on a big third down play to move the chains.
Unfortunately, the Spartans return their leading rusher from last year – #2 Angel Ramirez – and he’s looking to do bigger things than he did against last year’s Eagles squad when he rushed for 88 yards.
“We definitely have to focus on keeping #2 contained,” head coach JON WALLACE game-planned. “They will line him up all over the field so we just have to keep a very close eye on him and make sure he’s accounted for pre-snap on every single play. They’re a good team, but they seem a little blitz-happy, so I’m hoping we can exploit that and make them pay for it.”
With the tough road games behind Santa Fe Christian this is the time of the season that they really start to come together and gel. Scheduling a horrific non-league league so early in the season every year starts to really pay off when they face teams with similar talent or just within a level or two of them. Expect them to make a statement this week just before a bye week has them heading into Coastal League play….Santa Fe Christian 20-7.
Tagged aztecs, braxton burmeister, calexico, casey mariucci, central, chieftans, clairemont, collin rugg, coronado, daven horne, eagles, el cajon valley, escondido charter, francis parker, granite hills, hilltop, horizon, islanders, jake bailey, jason carter, john morrison, jon wallace, jordan genmark-heath, josh gaudet, khaleel jenkins, la jolla, la jolla country day, lamont butler, lancers, montgomery, morse, norsemen, panthers, santa fe christian, spartans, sultans, torreys, tri-city christian, tyler hayes, valhalla, will pollack