Nearly all the area high school football teams have started their seasons, and based on one or two games, some things stand out. First, based on Edison’s two lopsided wins, the Chargers are clearly the top team in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area and hence are atop the Trib’s High Five this week.
Huntington Beach and Garden Grove also had impressive wins, so rise to second and third. Pacifica lost in triple overtime, so drops a bit to fourth. Tied for fifth will be Westminster and Rancho Alamitos, who will be opening their season this week. We were impressed by Marina’s big win as well, so they are “on the bubble.”
FOOTBALL TAKES OVER
If you are really a football fanatic, the calendar is turning your way this week. In addition to a fistful of high school games, the college games are starting up. On Saturday, UCLA visits Texas A&M, while USC visits Alabama.
If you’re interested in some local college football action, Golden West College starts its 2016 campaign on Saturday also, visiting Glendale College. Chapman University in Orange, the only four-year college in Orange County that fields a football team, will start its season on Sept. 10 visiting Linfield.
The Los Angeles Rams will close out their preseason slate on Thursday visiting the Minnesota Vikings. The regular season will begin on Monday, Sept. 12 when the team plays the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara.
Getting back to the prep football schedule, here’s the lineup for this weekend. As always, the schedules provided to the media are subject to change, so check with the school before making a trip.
Thursday, Sept. 1
- Pacifica at Newport Harbor (at Orange Coast College)
- Wilson of Long Beach at Fountain Valley (at Huntington Beach High)
Friday, Sept. 2
- Ocean View at Marina (at Westminster High)
- Cerritos at Bolsa Grande
- Santiago at Costa Mesa
- La Quinta at Laguna Beach
- Westminster at Garden Grove
- Rancho Alamitos at Savanna (at Glover Stadium)
- San Clemente at Huntington Beach
Saturday, Sept. 3
- Anaheim at Orange (at Fred Kelly Stadium).
Lots of interesting matchups there, but the one that snags the eye the most is Westminster at Garden Grove on Friday. Each team is favored to win its league, and this now-traditional pre-league matchup is almost always a good one.
YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST, MAYBE …
As popular as football is today, there may be a few clouds on the horizon. Lawsuits and controversy over the head injuries that occur in American tackle football are starting to create financial and ethnical concerns from Pop Warner to the NFL.
The culprit, it seems, is something intended to protect. Today’s hard plastic helmets can be used – accidentally or otherwise – as weapons, and do little to protect the brain from the dangers of concussion.
In the Aug. 29 issue of Sports Illustrated, Austin Murphy wrote an article entitled “Endgame.” It speculates – only half-kiddingly – that in another 20 years, football might be replaced in America by its close but less lethal cousin, rugby. That sport, which allows no helmets or blocking, is violent but has far fewer serious injuries because less “protection” means less risky behavior.
The argument cites – for example – a multi-million dollar legal settlement by a youth football organization over the suicide of a player diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease believed caused by severe or repeated blows to the head.
Possible solutions are hard to find. Better helmets? Experts doubt it will make a difference. Touch football? Would people pay to watch that?
Unsatisfactory solutions aside, the article does make a good case for serious effort to save football – in some form – from personal injury lawyers and angry mothers.