Sports

It’s prep football’s “second season”

PACIFICA (blue) and Garden Grove (red) both have home games in the CIF-SS playoffs this week at Monsoor Stadium. The Argonauts host Sunny Hills on Thursday and the Mariners host Whittier on Friday (Orange County Tribune photo).

The “second season” of high school football is upon us, and that means that the CIF-SS playoffs are about to start. Six teams serving the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area will be in action Thursday and Friday.

Here’s a look at what we know about those matchups. Time, location and day are subject to change without notice, so if you are planning to attend, check with the school before you pack up the SUV.

Edison at La Habra. The Chargers (7-3) have drawn a tough opponent in this Division 2 contest Friday against the Highlanders (7-3). The Freeway League champions feature a balanced attack, with Skyler Taylor having run for 1119 yards this season and 18 touchdowns. Zach Fogel has passed for 1537 yards and 16 scores. Edison, of course, has one of the top QBs in the county, Griffin O’Connor with 2013 yards passing and 23 touchdowns.

St. Genevieve at Westminster. The guys from Panorama City will come to Boswell Stadium on Friday for this Division 11 contest. Raymond Beauchamp has rushed for 18 touchdowns and 1366 yards for the Valiants (7-2), and Anthony Smets has passed for 1,578 yards. The Lions (8-2) will counter with QB Noah Melbon (206 yards passing per game) and Christian Jaime with 1401 yards on the ground.

Sunny Hills at Garden Grove. Alex Jung is the county’s top rusher (2334 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns) and leads the Lancer (8-2) attack. Grove (6-3), also primarily a running team, will answer with Dominik Sanchez, who ran for 14 touchdowns and 1153 yards. This Division 8 game will be played on Thursday at the Monsoor Memorial Stadium on the Argo campus at 7 p.m.

Whittier at Pacifica. In this Friday night Division 10 contest at Garden Grove High School, the visiting Cardinals (5-5) are led by quarterback Nathan Delgado (1442 yards passing, 13 TD passes. But he’s been intercepted 11 times. The Mariners (9-1) have a superstar in Ben Jefferson with 1800 yards passing for 18 scores. He’s also the team’s leading rusher, averaging 130 yards per game on the ground.

Orange at Cantwell-Sacred Heart. The visiting Panthers (8-2) will travel to Montebello on Friday at take on the Cardinals (6-4). Jason Wilkinson, the OHS quarterback, has passed for 1873 yards and 22 touchdowns. The home team will have Christian Valenzuela, who’s passed for 459 yards and nine scores.

Savanna at La Quinta. The Garden Grove League runner-up Aztecs (8-2) have a pretty good draw in Savanna. The Rebels (6-4) are sparked by Ryley Smith, averaging 187 all-purpose yards each game for the visitors. La Quinta, playing Friday at Bolsa Grande, has a top-flight quarterback in Michael Nadeau with 1415 yards passing and 16 touchdowns. It’s a D-13 game.

And that’s not all ….

Not every fall sport is football. The Pacifica High boys’ water polo team advanced to the Division 6 semifinal game set for Wednesday after defeating California High 7-6 on Saturday. If the Mariners defeat Temecula Valley, they will advance to the CIF-SS championship game on Nov. 11 against the winner of the Beaumont-Buena Park semifinal.

Goff took guff, no longer

JARED GOFF is much improved in 2017 over his rookie 2016 season (Rams photo).

As one of those who thought that maybe Jared Goff was not the knight in shining armor that the Los Angeles Rams needed to turn the team back into a contender, I have to take note of the fact that the former Cal star seems to have finally grown into the role as team leader.

Not only did he pass for four scores in the Rams’ 51-17 win over the New York Giants, he’s improved on all his stats from last year, especially the all-important TD to interceptions ratio. In 2016, he had five touchdowns in seven games, balanced by seven interceptions.

So far in eight games, Goff has 13 touchdowns and four picks. He’s doing better but so is the Ram offensive line. In 2016 Goff was sacked 20 times in seven games. This time it’s 10 times in eight contests. It’s tough to be a football hero with three guys from the other team jumping on you in the backfield.

Pete Zarustica writes Monday Morning Coach, which sometimes comes out on Monday afternoon.

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