1

Maddening

For the second week in a row, Chace and I are freakishly consistent with our predictions for the Forecast. This, as far as I’m concerned, is cause for alarm. Is it one of the signs of the apocalypse? I’ll let you be the judge. Suffice it to say I’m stocking up on bottled water, tinned meats and ramen.

On the other hand, I’m 8-2 and Chace is 9-1 in two weeks of Forecasting. But because of the point system, I still lead 27-26 (my post last Friday was off by 1 point. Oops. Sorry ’bout that).

So maybe we actually know what we’re talking about. I’m just sayin’.

Also, as to The Extreme’s assertion that he’s going to channel Bill Paxton AND Helen Hunt, I say, channel away. But I question the advisability of channeling two B-actors simultaneously. You could get a bad case of the Scott Bakulas. Then you’re gonna need a shot for sure.

Anyway, on to my picks (which, of course, are the same as Chace’s, only better):

(5) Foothill over San Ramon Valley: The Falcons have looked pretty unbeatable so far in nonleague action. Of course, five of the seven EBAL teams actually enter league play unbeaten. SRV is one of them. Still, with the way that Foothill has handled top competition, and the way that the Wolves haven’t exactly destroyed some slightly less overwhelming competition, I’m going with advantage to Foothill. Plus, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Falcons are looking to avenge last year’s 28-7 loss at the hands of the Wolves.

(4) Clayton Valley over Pittsburg: Chace called this one. CV bounces back well after a bad loss. And Pittsburg, though 2-1, hasn’t exactly been impressive in those two wins.

(3) Richmond over Hercules: Why not the Oilers? Why not the end of a 36-game ACCAL losing streak? Why not try something a little different?

(2) Alhambra over College Park: Call it the battle of the Brandons if you want, but I think this game comes down to defense. Ygnacio Valley coach Mike Ivankovich said that the Bulldogs get tougher the more you smack them in the mouth after his Warriors ran the ball down Alhambra’s throat in Week 1. Me? I’m guessing Alhambra coach Dave Silveira and his ‘Dogs learned a lot from that loss, and that they’ll put it to use in slowing Brandon Fragger, Joey York, and Co. Plus, in addition to Brandon Rutley, who has cracked the 200-yard barrier in each of the past two weeks, the Bulldogs have a nice little quarterback-receiver combo in Matt Butler and Mani Bal. Diversity is the thing.

(1) California over Monte Vista: Yeesh. History tells us that the Mustangs win this one in a walk.

But it’s been said that history will teach us nothing. The Grizzlies are on a red-hot roll. Everything is clicking. Can it continue to click against a ferocious Mustangs defense? I think so. I’ll let you know on Friday night.

SWING TIME:

Ygnacio Valley over Skyline: Ivankovich isn’t going to be lulled by the Titans’ 0-3-1 record. He knows Skyline, maybe now more than ever, is a very dangerous team. However, with the way the Warriors are running the ball, and the fact that they have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher, I’d bet the farm on YV in this one. Fortunately, I don’t own a farm, so I’m just going to put one point on the line.

I’m waiting for your comments, and your predictions for the week. Bring it on.

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The Extreme

After Bill and Chace invited me to participate in The Forecast last week, I started thinking about cheesy lines in the equally cheesy movie "Twister" where the Philip Seymour Hoffman character says, "They’re going to rue the day they messed with the Extreme, baby!" and "I’m talking imminent rue-age!" Of course, I blew my 3-point game last week when Deer Valley lost to Ygnacio Valley, so the Extreme has some work to do. So as I channel Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, here are the picks.

(5) Hercules over Richmond: There’s a nice little story brewing on 23rd St., but I think if the Oilers win three out of four games, Earth will spin off its axis.

(4) Foothill over SRV: A home game for the Wolves, but history dictates that they struggle against the disciplined Falcons. Could be a close game for a while but I think Foothill pulls away in the second half.

(3) College Park over Alhambra: This could be a letdown game for the Falcons, but they’ve won their last three games against the Bulldogs on the cement-like turf at DVC.

(2) Pittsburg over Clayton Valley: There’s really no reason for me to make this pick other than the fact that the Pirates beat Freedom and the Eagles lost to Freedom. Pittsburg’s 18-game BVAL win streak is in jeopardy, though.

(1) Monte Vista over Cal: Yeah, I know. Cal’s good, and things are different these days. But put me in the ‘but they haven’t faced (insert name of good team here)’ camp.

Swing game: Concord over Miramonte. Wow, did I just type that?

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FRIDAY FORECAST: EBAL Euphoria

Welcome back to the Forecast, fans.

I’m back in the leadoff spot this week, and apologize for the slight delay.

The EBAL opens play this week, which means we have big games happening left and right. But before I get to my picks, I have the honor of announcing yet another twist in the ongoing competition between Bill and myself. ("Survivor" has nothing on the surprises popping up in the Forecast). After Bill and I picked all but one game the same last week, it got worse this week. When we both blindly submitted our picks this week, we had picked the same winners with the same values. Creeeepy.

So, to keep things interesting and allow each other to have at least one point in play each week, we decided to add a sixth prediction. In addition to our five agreed upon games, we will each forecast a one-point "swing game" which we will each reveal at the bottom of our Forecast post. Whoever posts second must choose a different swing game.

And on with the picks…

(5) Foothill over San Ramon Valley: Plain and simple, this game boils down to defens and Foothill has the best one in the EBAL. End of discussion. Consider the schedule the Falcons have played to this point: Stagg-Stockton, Berkeley and Skyline. And to think they’ve allowed just 10 points in the three games. San Ramon Valley has performed well so far, but it hasn’t faced a defense this good. In the words of Pvt. Hudson, "Game over, man. Game over."

(4) Clayton Valley over Pittsburg: Through the first three weeks, the inconsistent Eagles look as though they are going to be one frustrating team to put your finger on. However, the team responded with a big win after its last loss. I’m betting on that again.

(3) Richmond over Hercules: I admit it. I’ve caught Oilers fever.

(2) Alhambra over College Park:  Here’s one thing you can bet on — this will not be a defensive struggle. In the Battle of the Brandons (Rutley and Fragger) points will be scored, lots of points. College Park is due for a letdown after its miracle win at Acalanes last week. Just a word to the wise for the Bulldogs: Beware of blocked field goals.

(1) California over Monte Vista: Yep, I’m on the Grizzlies bandwagon. Bill and I both weighted this game at one point for a reason — it’s the freakin’ EBAL. Anything can happen and often does. Monte Vista hasn’t seen an offense this good since it played San Ramon Valley last December. And the Mustangs won that game 26-10. Hmmmm…

SWING GAME — Acalanes over Campolindo: It’s a rivalry game and anything can happen. But the Cougars are banged up, and the Dons are ticked off! I’ll be shocked if Acalanes doesn’t roll.

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Worth a look

Don’t ask why, but I found myself in front of the television at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, completely engrossed in a new bit of ESPN original programming called "Bound for Glory: The Montour Spartans."

The premise of this show? Hall of Famer Dick Butkus and assistant Ray Crockett as the coaches of a small high school team in western Pennsylvania.

Despite past glories (like state a title) this particular program hasn’t know much recent success, having gone 1-8 in the previous season, and Butkus and Crockett (not to be confused with Crockett and Tubbs) embark on a mission to turn the thing around.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger made a cameo on the epsiode I watched. Despite Big Ben’s enthusiastic support, the Spartans dropped their season-opener 14-7.

I found the show oddly compelling, and maybe this is just because I happen to cover high school football for a living. Still, ESPN did a pretty nice job of making Butkus, Crockett and the stars — the players themselves — real and human in a way that seems to escape a lot of reality shows.

Suffice it to say, I’m hooked. If you’re a fan of high school sports, it’s worth a look. If you aren’t, why are you reading this blog?

For future programs, check this site.

I’m curious to learn what you have to say about the show. Shoot me a comment.

1

North Coast Section championship rematch

The Monte Vista High School girls tennis team, which is the defending North Coast Section champions, hosts Foothill on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

The relevance of this match is that these East Bay Athletic League teams met each other in the NCS team championship final last November, with Monte Vista coming away with a 5-2 win.

The Mustangs had the depth, while the Falcons had three of the best players on the court. Foothill’s Kerri Kummer was the EBAL champ and fell to Dublin’s Lorena Gonzalez in the first round of the NCS singles championships. Also, Foothill’s Megan Kummer and Lauren Guerdat teamed up to win the EBAL and NCS doubles championships.

Led by No. 1 singles player Vanessa Lunardi, Monte Vista reached the semifinals of the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal team championship, as did Foothill.

Not much has changed since then. Both teams have won their first three EBAL matches of the season. Kerri and Megan Kummer and Guerdat are the Falcons top three singles players (Megan Kummer and Guerdat switched between singles and doubles last year).

Mia Giovanetti has taken over the No. 1 singles spot for the Mustangs but Lunardi is at No. 2.

This should be a highly-competitive match.

As a side note, Monte Vista is scheduled to host Miramonte in a nonleague match on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Miramonte has taken early control of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League after beating rival Campolindo 5-4 last Wednesday. The Matadors are 9-0 in the DFAL. Miramonte lost to Foothill in the NCS team quarterfinals last year.

This should be a great test for Monte Vista and Miramonte and a tremendous way for the Mustangs to tuneup for the Falcons.

3

Football poll: time for a shake-up?

After three weeks, the Times prep football poll has gained some stability, at least in its top half. Yet 14 teams received votes when Times prep writers voted on Monday.

But don’t get too comfy, as the Week 4 games should shake things up. The biggest top 10 matchups are in the EBAL openers: No. 3 Foothill vs. No. 9 San Ramon Valley and No. 4 California vs. No. 5 Monte Vista. 

Who do you think will rise and fall this week?

0

DLS notes

Trailing 21-14, the Archbishop Mitty High School football team looked like it was about to tie Friday night’s game against De La Salle as the Monarchs drove to the Spartans’ 1-yard line early in the third quarter.

Then De La Salle came up with its biggest defensive plays of the season.

On first and goal from the one, Mitty RB Jason Panganiban was stopped for no gain. On second down, QB Patrick Malley was forced out of the pocket and chased out of bounds for a 7-yard loss. On third down, Malley tried to throw to FB Grant Zamudio in the flat but the pass fell incomplete. Then, just to suck out all of the momentum from the Monarchs sideline, kicker Patrick Chamberlin missed a 25-yard field goal.

De La Salle seized the opportunity to take control on its ensuing drive, marching 80 yards on six plays, capped by Mario D’Ambrosio’s 40-yard run to paydirt which gave his team a more comfortable 28-14 lead.

The point is that this year’s De La Salle team made a huge defensive stand when it needed to, when last year’s team in the early stages of the season probably would have given up that touchdown and allowed the opponents to seize momentum.

The same thing happened in the fourth quarter. This time, Mitty drove into DLS territory as it trailed 28-21. But WR/DB Vincent Colvis, who was chastised by the Spartans’ coaching staff minutes earlier for dropping a catchable ball on offense, picked off an overthrown pass by Malley and returned it to the DLS 39. On the next play, RB Tim Maupin scored the third of his three touchdowns on a 61-yard run to effectively put the game out of reach.

Bring the noise

The De La Salle sideline on Friday was loud to start the game but became more reserved as the night went on. In the second half, D’Ambrosio implored his teammates to show some emotion, using one or two choice words that probably shouldn’t be repeated.

Contrast that with the Mitty sideline, which was clearly more emotional. They were jacked up when the Monarchs had their third quarter drive, and deadly silent after the missed field goal and the long D’Ambrosio TD run.

I don’t know. As a coach, would you rather your team stay on an even keel and be more studious or would you rather have them be on that emotional roller coaster that goes with any high school football game?

Extra points

Of the six touchdowns DLS has allowed this season, two have come through the air, including a 17-yard connection on Friday from Malley to Doug Williams. … Tom McConnell has started to become more of a force on the Spartans’ defensive line. He had two sacks against Mitty and has three in the past two games.

0

Shawntinice Polk

Chances are, you’ve already heard about the tragic, sudden death of Shawntinice Polk, a star basketball player from the University of Arizona.
I heard the news as soon as I sat down at my desk today, and needless to say, I’m shocked, stunned, everything. According to the Associated Press, Polk collapsed at the McKale Center in Tucson on Monday morning. Apparently, she hadn’t been feeling well.
If you follow hoops as religiously as I do, you know all about the 6-foot-5 Polk. She was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2002-03 and was an All-Pac-10 player three years in a row.
But when I think about Polk (or Polkie, as she was known in hoops circles), I’m brought back to a winter night at Arco Arena in 2001. Amador Valley High School was facing Hanford, Polk’s former stomping grounds, with the California Interscholastic Federation Division II state championship on the line.
I remember talking with former Amador Valley coach Elizabeth Stanley before the game and asking her how on earth the Dons were going to stop Polk. Stanley knew it was going to be tough.
Here’s what she said at the time, “We have to keep the ball out of Polk’s hands. She can’t score if she doesn’t have the ball. All we can do is put together a plan and hope it works.”
Amador Valley, normally a man-to-man team, dropped into some zany zone to deal with Polk. For the most part, Stanley’s strategy worked. The Dons held Polk to 12 points, but Hanford had too many weapons.
Berkeley wasn’t so lucky. That same season, Polk dropped 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists on the Yellow Jackets at the Acalanes Shootout. That was my first introduction to Polkie. To put it mildly, I was impressed. After the game, I wandered over to former Berkeley forward Sabrina Keys, who had the misfortune of guarding Polk.
Keys laughed as she saw me approaching. I think her comment sums things up perfectly.
“I just kept asking her, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’”
To read more, go here.

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Chace connects!

To which I say, @!#$%$#@!

Anyway, here’s where we stand after this week’s forecasted games.

Chace and I ran the table on the games we picked alike. Monte Vista eked out a win over Berkeley, 24-10. Foothill pounded Skyline 40-7, Ygnacio Valley coralled Deer Valley 21-0, Las Lomas squeezed past Alhambra 32-26 and Alameda torpedoed Livermore 40-14.

So I went 4-1 again, got my 5, 4, 3, and 2 games right and scored 14 points. Chace is the proud owner of the first perfect night of the season, racking up 15. Curtis blew his DV over YV 3-point pick, and finished with 12. Ben, oh, Ben. Where did we go wrong with you? Ben went 3-2 (again) and finished with 12.

The standings after two weeks:

Kolb: 28

Chace: 27

Ben: 20

Curtis 12 (in one week of action).

C’mon, peoples. Challenge our prognostication domination. Post a comment when the Forecast rolls around again next week! We triple dog dare you.

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FRIDAY FORECAST: Swingin’ for one point!

To speak in baseball terms, this is my first week of batting cleanup for the Forecast.

I’ll try not to let it go to my head.

So as Bill mentioned, there isn’t much intrigue to our picks this week. Once we decide on the games we’re forecasting, we both make picks and then submit them to each other simultaneously. Despite the fact that neither one of us feels that any of these games are "locks", we still ended up picking the same winners with the same values right down the line — except for one. We disagree on the Livermore/Alameda tilt, but we both valued the game at one. This guarantees me at least one more week in second place. I’m not happy about this. I considered pulling a fourth-quarter audible, but I fear it would probably turn out more like a Kerry Collins audible than a Peyton Manning audible. To be clear, that would be bad.

Therefore I’m sticking with my original analysis. And here it is:

(5) Monte Vista over Berkeley: Hand it to Berkeley, they are playing a stiff nonleague schedule. Unfortunately for them, they are playing these games on the road. Berkeley will score more than the 3 points it mustered against Foothill, but the ‘Stangs should still bag this one with their offense.

(4) Foothill over Skyline: The difference here is Falcons coach Matt Sweeney. He’s writing down Skyline’s record as 0-3-1. So I am, too.

(3) Ygnacio Valley over Deer Valley: Bottom line, the Warriors let last Friday’s game at Clayton Valley slip through their fingers. Don’t think the team hasn’t thought about that all week. Chris Allen might be the most exciting player in the BVAL, but the Wolverines will need another playmaker to keep the YV defense honest.

(2) Las Lomas over Alhambra: The Knights defense has given up nine points in two games. I have a feeling it is going to figure out how to stop Brandon Rutley. When that happens, will the Bulldogs have an answer?

(1) Alameda over Livermore: Whereas Ygnacio Valley might have spent much of the week thinking about last week’s loss, the Hornets assuredly had little difficulty letting go of their 49-8 drubbing at Cal. Of course, I’m pretty sure the Alameda defense finally stopped spinning in circles on Wednesday afternoon. Livermore isn’t Cal, and Alameda will make the best of its fighting chance.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off. We’re daring you. Heck, we’re double-daring you! Let’s hear it.