After an unscheduled hiatus in Week 10, the Friday Forecast is back in action, just in time for the playoffs.
We took a week off unexpectedly, thanks largely to the fact that most of our games were switched to Thursday, and we couldn’t think of a catchy name for a Thursday predictions entry.
You’d think we could plan far enough in advance to be prepared for that sort of thing. But you’d be wrong.
Hey, we’re journalists, not schedule makers.
When last we met, The Dizzy had cut Chace’s 6-point lead clean in half by scoring 15 points to his 12. Chace now leads 72-69. Ben and Curtis played even in Week 9, both scoring 11 points and now stand at 54 and 53 points, respectively, entering the playoffs.
So, without further ado, let’s get on with the Forecast.
5) Ygnacio Valley over El Cerrito — I’ve been accused of disrespecting teams from the West side of the hills, and I can’t really argue with that. I wouldn’t really call it a lack of respect, however. I tend to think I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s going on in the high school football world, and the fact of the matter is, this year, the ACCAL and the BSAL weren’t exactly at their best. Meanwhile, the EBAL was unbelievable (six out of seven teams made the playoffs, 24-4 overall record vs. nonleague opponents). The BVAL was pretty good, too, and YV’s only losses were to teams in higher classifications (Clayton Valley, Pitt, DLS).
None of which is going to make the Gauchos feel any better after the top-seeded Warriors rack up 300+ punishing rushing yards in a first round win.
4) San Ramon Valley over Hayward — Here we go again with the Central County bias. I know the Farmers are the No. 1 seed, and the Wolves are 5-5, the No. 8 seed, and were the last at-large team to earn a berth in the NCS 3A East Bay bracket. But let’s remember that SRV lost three of its games by 7 or fewer points, and that the other two were to 4A teams that went undefeated (Monte Vista and San Leandro). Let’s also remember that the Wolves lost to SL by 20 points (34-14), and the Farmers lost by 14 (26-12). In my book, that’s about a push.
I just think the Wolves, by virtue of having played a grossly more competitive season in the EBAL, have essentially been playing playoff games for the last seven weeks. They’re battle-tested.
3) Clayton Valley over Las Lomas — I always have trouble picking against the Knights and Doug Longero, but you have to give the edge to the red-hot Eagles, who roll into the playoffs on a 5-game winning streak after starting the season 1-4. Las Lomas, on the other hand, sorta sputtered down the stretch, missing a shot at an outright DFAL crown by losing to Dublin in Week 10 while Miramonte topped Alhambra to grab a share.
This might end up being another barn-burner, though, like the 2003 3A EB title game…
2) Pitt over San Leandro — What can I say? I like the underdog. But with the way Romont Taylor is running the ball for Pitt, I’m not sure they’re that much of an underdog. I don’t know if speedy San Leandro has been forced to match up with this kind of team speed yet this season. We’ll see how SL fares against its mirror image.
1) California over Foothill — This is the classic home-team-wins-it game. Despite a lopsided regular-season win, I don’t think the Griz are really that much better than the Falcons, per se. I’d be stunned if Cal can out-rush Foothill 251-21 like it did during the first meeting, and I’m guessing the score will be closer than the 35-21 win Cal put up in EBAL play. Sweeney’s had five weeks to make adjustments since that loss, and it will show on the field. I do think the Grizzlies will end up gutting it out, though.
SWING TIME: Miramonte over Piedmont — The Mats are playing scary-good defense right now, and quarterback Chris Vasilas is hitting on all cylinders. It’d be a surprise if the Highlanders got anything going against them, even though, as a league champ, they earned the home field in the first round.
OTHER LOCALS: These picks don’t count for points, but they could help mitigate the shame I may have to endure should I, the football writer, end up trailing Chace in the standings when all is said and done. (And yeah, I will be keeping track of these, too. Just because I can.)
DLS over James Logan — Romp city.
Monte Vista over Amador Valley — Just like in the regular season: close but no cigar for the Dons.
Acalanes over Bishop O’Dowd — The Dons are still steaming over a perceived snub by the seeding committee. Here’s guessing they take it out on the defending champs.
Dublin over Encinal — The Gaels are clicking right now. Watch for a big game from Plimmer.
Granada over Pinole Valley — That’s right. I picked the bottom half of every first-round matchup in the 3A East Bay bracket. Deal with it.
Alameda over Irvington — Get ready to take a ride on the Jonathan Ve’e express…
Justin-Siena over St. Mary’s — The Braves just keep rolling in Class A.
Salesian over John Swett — With the emergence of WR Andre Wells and QB David Singleton and the continued good play of RB Jahvid Best, the Chieftains are too multi-faceted on offense for the Indians to handle.