Coach: Griff and Ben the ones to watch

HIGH SCHOOL football starts this week with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

With the pros still playing pre-season games with lots of second-stringers, and the colleges still at least a week away from kicking off their football games, the focus this week shifts to high school action. Nine teams from the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area will begin play Thursday through Saturday, with the balance starting this week.

Among the star players attracting attention will be Edison’s Griffin O’Connor, the Chargers’ outstanding quarterback. He passed for 3600 yards last season as a junior, hitting for 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions. O’Connor is also a pretty good runner, scoring 10 TD’s last year and rolling up 415 yards on the ground.

Perhaps the most fun to watch among local prep signal-callers will be Ben Jefferson of Pacifica. He threw for 2124 yards in 2016, good for 28 TDs. But he also ran for 1067 yards, averaging 7.5 yards a carry and scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground.

The best matchup this week looks to be Edison at Tesoro on Friday night. The Chargers were 13-2 last season and are ranked 10th in California by The Titans (5-6) had an off-season in 2016 but are expected to bounce back to the form they showed in 2015 when they posted a 10-3 mark.

Here’s this week’s prep football schedule, which are all non-league contests.

  • Thursday: Los Amigos at Fairmont Prep of Anaheim, 7 p.m.; Orange at Brea Olinda, 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: Garden Grove at Santa Ana Valley, 7 p.m.; Pacifica at Trabuco Hills, 7 p.m.; Bolsa Grande at Laguna Beach, 7 p.m.; Edison at Tesoro, 7 p.m.; Canyon at Huntington Beach, 7 p.m.; Dana Hills at Marina (at Westminster High), 7 p.m.
  • Saturday: Fountain Valley at Troy (at La Habra High), 7 p.m.

All times and dates listed above are subject to change without notice. If you’re going, check with the school. We’ll have a more detailed preview on Thursday.

Rams, Chargers going in different directions

Jared Goff’s stock rose strongly in Saturday’s victory by the Rams (2-0) over the Raiders in Oakland. He passed for 160 yards and a touchdown as the boys from the Coliseum defeated the fellas bound for Vegas by the margin of 24-21, their second straight close win. The Ram offense looked good, although the defense still needs some work.

The Chargers (0-2), on the other hand, looked fairly limp in their 13-10 loss to the Saints at StubHub Center. Of course, they were playing without starting QB Phillip Rivers, but the visitors didn’t have their regular quarterback either. And they both were playing without many fans; the announced attendance was a little over 21,000 people. That contrasts to the 45,000-plus crowds that attended pre-season games in San Diego in 2016.

Heaven still a tough climb for Angels

The Los Angeles Angels (64-60) are on a roll, having won nine of 11 games. They’re in second place in the AL West, and are tied with the Twins for the second AL wild card spot. But making it into post-season will still be a tough task. There are three other teams below them within 2.5 games in the chase for that last post-season bus.

Anyone of them could get hot and overtake the leaders; the Angels have done it. That’s why the four-game series with the Rangers (61-62) starting Monday is so crucial. A sweep or even a 3-1 split would be preferred, but the Halos have to win at least two of the four to not risk losing the slippery ground on which they now stand.

Pete Zarustica writes Monday Morning Coach.


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