Dave Rice 8:30 a.m., Aug. 30
Game of the Week
#5 St. Augustine (5-0) at Mira Mesa (3-2) Friday 6:30 p.m.
The diverse Eastern League is typically one of the section’s most competitive, and the Game of the Week features two of its best teams. Undefeated St. Augustine has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, and the fifth-ranked Saints are looking for a second straight win over a Division I opponent after stunning Eastlake last week. St. Augustine has a balanced offensive attack featuring quarterback Joe Kennedy (1,037 yards, 14 TDs) and running back Aaron Anderson (576 yards, 4 TDs) and the Saints are rolling in a season that was expected to be a rebuilding year. Mira Mesa has been up and down all year and faces its second straight unbeaten opponent. Led by dual threat quarterback Dominic Richardson, last year’s Division I runner-up is certainly talented but still looking for consistency headed into league play. St. Augustine snapped a six-game losing streak against Mira Mesa last season, and four of the past five games in this series have been decided by less than eight points.
Best of the Rest
La Costa Canyon (3-2) at #10 Carlsbad (4-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Since dropping its season opener to St. Augustine, Carlsbad has won four straight and is rolling into Avocado West League play. The Lancers host rival La Costa Canyon looking to end a streak of four straight losses to the Mavericks. Running back Shawn Cameron has paced the Lancers offensively, rushing for 534 yards and five touchdowns in the past three games – including touchdown runs of 85 and 64 yards against Fallbrook last week. After a rough preseason stretch, La Costa Canyon has won two straight and got some rest with a bye last week. The Mayor’s Cup is on the line in this one.
Grossmont (4-0-1) at Valhalla (4-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Though top-ranked Helix is the favorite in the Grossmont Hills League, Grossmont and Valhalla could have something to say about that in the coming weeks. The Norsemen and Foothillers are two of the more underrated teams in the section, and both teams have gone about their success in contrasting fashion – Valhalla’s four wins have come by an average of 32 points while Grossmont has won its games by an average of 12.8 points. Two quality quarterbacks highlight this one – Valhalla senior Frank Foster and Grossmont sophomore Anthony Lawrence. Grossmont won last year’s meeting between these two teams 13-7, ending a three-game Valhalla win streak in the series.
Mar Vista (4-1) at Montgomery (4-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Separated by three miles, former South Bay League foes Mar Vista and Montgomery kept each other on the schedule after league realignment in 2009, and fortunes didn’t change for the Mariners last season. Montgomery owns five straight wins over Mar Vista, including a 26-22 win last season. Can Mar Vista snap the streak? The Mariners are averaging a whopping 404 rushing yards per game this season led by sophomore Jimmie Hill’s 721 yards and five touchdowns. Montgomery hasn’t really been tested in its four wins this season and its lone loss came to San Marcos, which has been the Knights’ only win of the season. With both teams in Division III, this game could have an impact on playoff seeding.
#6 San Pasqual (5-0-1) at Mission Hills (1-3-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Unbeaten San Pasqual is the only team that has a winning record entering Avocado East League play, but the Golden Eagles might not have it as easy as the standings show. Sixth-ranked San Pasqual faces a Mission Hills team fresh off a tie against Oceanside and playing its best football of the season. Led by quarterback Tyler Tony (961 rushing yards, 12 TDs), San Pasqual’s triple option attack averages 31.8 points per game and has showed no signs of slowing. Defense has helped Mission Hills break out of its winless start; the Grizzlies have allowed a total of 10 points the last two weeks. These two teams have met as league foes each year since Mission Hills opened in 2004, and the Grizzlies have won the past five meetings – including three one-point victories.
In the Red Zone
Serra (3-2) at Mission Bay (2-2-1) Friday 3 p.m.
Red Zone coverage opens with a Western League matinee on Friday afternoon. Since losing its first two games, Serra has won three straight and will look to keep rolling against up-and-down Mission Bay led by quarterback Nate Long.
Francis Parker (2-2-1) vs. Christian (3-2) Saturday 7 p.m. at Granite Hills High
The Coastal League is one of the best small school leagues in the entire state and 2011 scheduling will provide quality Saturday matchups for the rest of the season. Both Francis Parker and Christian will want to open league with a win to avoid falling in an early hole in the Coastal race.
Pictured: Mira Mesa team captains