By Big Tony Solorzano
We’ve reached week two and already we’re seeing some interesting trends. As usual, the Jack Del Rio League is showing its usual topsy-turvy non-league results. Last week’s picks went a bit off. Losses by La Mirada, La Serna and Warren as well as the unexpected debut of Tony Botello for the Titans dropped my record to 7-5. Despite the defeats, I’m still over .500 and I’m sitting with an overall record of 15-9.
This week, things are going to get interesting as those schools who didn’t play in week zero get a second game under their belt and we’ll start to see who’s shaking the rust off the first week’s performance and who’s close to pushing the panic button. Please note: Artesia is off this week which will help it recover after giving up 105 points to Edison and Millikan. Artesia is on the road next week to face the Gladiators.
So, without further ado, LET’S PLAY THE FEUD!!!
Thursday, September 16
Pacifica at Whittier at Whittier District Field, (Whittier)
Matchup: Pacifica is coming into Whittier District Field for a match with the Cardinals, but they’re very familiar with the Jack Del Rio League. Last year, Cal High went down to Garden Grove and started a 10-game unbeaten streak with a win over the Mariners. They may be playing on Cal’s field, but they aren’t playing the Condors, They’re taking on a Cardinals team that was shut out by Chino six days earlier.
Prediction: Pacifica 31, Whittier 7
Friday September 17
Cal at La Mirada
Matchup: A 92-yard kickoff return by former Alhambra Moor Vai Peko is really the only reason why the Matadors are not 1-1 right now. The Condors are coming off a payback loss to Rowland, and need a quality win to cement the Condors as Adam Contreras’ team.
Prediction: La Mirada 24, Cal High 7
Bonita vs. Santa Fe at Pioneer High School, (Whittier)
Matchup: Bonita’s still on a roll since capturing the Smudge Pot from San Dimas, knocking off Claremont last week. Plus the Bearcats are getting Tarez Lemmons back for the game against the Chiefs. Coach Jack Mahlstede’s boys looked really good against Warren in the season opener, but now face a real test from the Bearcats.
Prediction: Bonita 31, Santa Fe 27
El Rancho at Bell Gardens
Matchup: Last year, Bell Gardens barely held on to a 17-14 win over the Dons at El Rancho. This year, the Dons are looking to return the favor and after the Lancers suffered last week’s 48-0 beat down from Azusa, they need to stop the mistakes and turnovers.
Prediction: El Rancho 35, Bell Gardens 3
Long Beach Wilson vs. La Serna at Whittier District Field, (Whittier)
Matchup: The Lancers were pillaged for a combined 298 rushing yards from the Vikings’ running backs, including 186 yards from Kyle Lewis. This week, they have a Bruins team that barely managed a touchdown against Edison, who lit them up for 48 points (Okay, no more electricity puns).
Prediction: La Serna 28, Wilson 17
Pioneer at Salesian
Matchup: Last week, Tony Botello’s performance against Glenn was good enough to make Roggin’s Heroes on Monday. Now they head for Boyle Heights to take on the Mustangs. The Mustangs are 2-0 but barely held on against Bishop Montgomery. If Botello repeats his output, he could make “The Challenge” on Sunday night.
Prediction: Pioneer 31, Salesian 24
Paramount at Bellflower
Matchup: It’s full sail ahead for the Buccaneers as they sail into their home port, while the Pirates seek to plunder another team of a victory. (God, I love these pirate puns, arrrgh!) Someone’s timbers will be shivered this night
Prediction: Paramount 28, Bellflower 27
Cerritos at Gahr
Matchup: The Dons are still smarting from the pounding by Gabrielino two weeks ago, but then again they weren’t in an Arena League game like Gahr was against La Palma Kennedy last Friday. Granted, the Gladiators busted out for 51 points, but they still lost by 18 to the Eagles. Don’t expect Cerritos to give them a game either.
Prediction: Gahr 49, Cerritos 21
Villa Park vs. John Glenn at Excelsior Adult School, (Norwalk)
Matchup: Glenn got a Titan-sized trouncing by Pioneer and Tony Botello and has scored only 13 points total in their first two games. This week, the Spartans are marching on Excelsior Stadium with the hope to finally put a score on the board. This will be a low-scoring game with the winner determined by who screws up at the worst time.
Prediction: Glenn 10, Villa Park 3
Mayfair at Lakewood
Matchup: The Monsoons have had managed to keep their opponents to within two touchdowns, the problem has been those 14 points have been the difference in both losses. Now they face a Lancers team that has only allowed one touchdown in their first two games. The Monsoons have stormy weather ahead.
Prediction: Lakewood 28, Mayfair 10
Norwalk at St. Paul
Matchup: The Swordsmen upset La Mirada two weeks ago and are well rested for their second game of the year. The Lancers, on the other hand, have only six points to show for their offensive output after two games. Things aren’t going to be getting easier anytime soon for Norwalk.
Prediction: St. Paul 31, Norwalk 10
“Big” Tony Solorzano covers the Del Rio League for Mid Valley Sports. He is a 12-year veteran of High School Sports coverage throughout the Southern California area