Things are really getting serious this week in football. It’s the final week of the NFL pre-season, area college teams are starting their 2017 campaigns and all the high school football squads will be in action.
Our “local” NFL teams will be playing their final pre-season contests before the season starts the weekend of Sept. 10. Most of our “local” college teams are playing as well, although Chapman University won’t begin until next week.
Here’s a look at the gridiron outlook for Thursday through Sunday, with a focus on prep teams in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area.
The Pros: Rams, Chargers on the road
- After three warmup games in the warmth of California, the Rams (2-1) are in Wisconsin on Thursday to take on the Green Bay Packers (2-1). We should see a bit more of Jared Goff – who had a rocky outing last week – and Packer Hall-of-Famer to-be Aaron Rogers. 4 p.m. on Channel 2
- Another California matchup for the Chargers (1-2), also on Thursday, as they visit the San Francisco 49ers (1-2), 7 p.m. Philip Rivers had a sharp appearance last week; will he play more than a quarter? 7 p.m. on Channel 7
Colleges: Trojans can’t overlook WMU; UCLA must bounce back
- The USC Trojans (10-3 last season) enter the season as the fourth-ranked team in the nation, thus putting them in the running for the College Football Playoffs. Can Sam Darnold do as well as he did last season? Will Western Michigan (13-1) play the giant-killer role? We’ll see on Saturday. Our guess: Trojans pull away in the second half.
- The UCLA Bruins (4-8) took a detour on their planned return to greatness. They hope to shake off the blues from last year and make a new start by hosting Texas A&M (8-5) on Sunday at the Rose Bowl. It could be Josh Rosen’s final season as a Bruin, so he’ll want to make this a season to remember. Our guess: A close UCLA win.
- Golden West College (4-6) played one game on campus last season, and liked the experience so much the Rustlers turned their temporary bleachers into a permanent stadium, with five real home games scheduled for 2017. For starters, they’ll host Glendale College (0-1 so far in 2017) on Saturday at 1 p.m. Our guess: Too close to call.
High schools: Pacifica vs. Newport in a sea battle
The biggest games of the week for the GG-HB-W area.
- Newport Harbor’s Sailors (0-1) visit the Pacifica Mariners (1-0) at Bolsa Grande Stadium on Saturday. Can the rising M’s show their stuff against a Sunset League team? Our guess: Probably.
- Garden Grove and Westminster will open their seasons at the WHS field on Friday. The Argonauts have won five straight Garden Grove League titles and the Lions are a perennial contender in the Golden West League, which Grove will be joining in 2018. History and preview combined. Our guess: Too close to call.
- Huntington Beach (0-1) lost to Canyon the closing minute last week on a field goal. The Oilers came close despite having a freshman quarterback and a blizzard of penalties. The HBHS will visit San Clemente (1-0), a South County powerhouse. Our guess: Huntington gets better, but maybe not fast enough the match the Tritons.
ALSO THIS WEEK …. Thursday: Laguna Beach (1-0) at La Quinta (0-0) at Bolsa Grande Stadium; Tesoro (0-1) at Marina (1-0) at Westminster High; Orange (0-0) at Anaheim (0-0) at Glover Stadium …. Friday: Bolsa Grande (0-1) at Cerritos (0-1); Los Amigos (1-0) at Ocean View (0-0); Savanna (1-0) at Rancho Alamitos (0-0) at Bolsa Grande Stadium; Santiago (0-0) at Costa Mesa (1-0); Edison (1-0) at Oaks Christian (0-1).