Jay Allen Sanford 4:30 p.m., Dec. 24
Game of the Week
#10 Westview (5-1, 1-0 Palomar) at #3 Poway (5-0-1, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
In the five-team Palomar League, Westview and Poway look like the main contenders to hang a league title banner. Both teams come this Top 10 clash a league win under their belts knowing that a victory gives them the inside track to a league title. Poway is the last undefeated team in Division I, and the Titans have beaten their last two opponents by an average of 31 since tying San Pasqual. Poway has a balanced offense, a solid defense led by defensive end Brian Guendling and an opportunistic special teams unit that scored two touchdowns against Ramona last week. Westview has been flying under the radar all season, but the Wolverines are a last-second loss to El Camino from being undefeated in what has been a surprisingly stellar season. Westview is solid on both sides of the ball, and its defense has only allowed 36 points for the entire season. Senior Taylor McNamara stars at defensive end and tight end for the Wolverines, and should have his hand in one or two big plays by the end of the game. Since Westview opened in 2002, they haven’t beaten Poway in six tries – including a 50-7 loss last season.
Best of the Rest
San Diego (4-1, 1-0 Central) at Kearny (5-2, 3-0) Friday 3 p.m.
The Red Zone Friday afternoon pick features the lone remaining Central League unbeatens. Though both teams share a zero in loss column in league, their respective quarterback situations going forward might separate them. Kearny is led by senior playmaker Shawn Boose (1,228 passing yards, 617 rushing, 24 total TDs) while San Diego will be starting a new quarterback to replace Khari Kimbrough, who suffered a season-ending leg injury Oct. 7 at Morse. Kearny has won three of the last four meetings against San Diego, including a one-point win last season.
Valhalla (5-1, 1-0 Grossmont Hills) at Steele Canyon (4-2, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Along with top-ranked Helix, these Valhalla and Steele Canyon are undefeated in Grossmont Hills League play after one week – and both will want to stay that way. Both teams have balanced offenses, and solid defenses each allowing just more than 16 points per game. The Norsemen and Cougars have split their meetings each of the past four years, and this game could go either way.
Mt. Carmel (4-2, 1-0 Valley) at Valley Center (6-1, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Mt. Carmel and Valley Center are the only teams in the Valley League with winning records, putting the league title in the balance in this early matchup. Both teams come in riding streaks – the Jaguars have won six straight since losing their season opener and the Sundevils are winners of two in a row after losing consecutive contests to ranked opponents. Which team will keep its streak going and inch closer to a league crown? Since league realignment, Valley Center has won each of the three meetings between these two teams by an average of 35 points.
Olympian (3-3, 0-0 Metro Mesa) at Otay Ranch (5-2, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
After losing three games combined in each of the past two seasons, Olympian has already equaled that number before starting league play. Don’t let the record deceive though – the Eagles’ losses have come to teams with a combined 16-1 record. Olympian makes its Metro Mesa debut against Otay Ranch, who has won three straight after an uneven start. The Mustangs are averaging 33 points per game this season and the Eagles have scored 30 per game in their last three – expect a back and forth shootout.
In the Red Zone
Bishop’s (4-2, 0-1 Coastal) at Francis Parker (2-3-1, 0-1) Saturday 1 p.m.
Bishop’s and Francis Parker have faced off in the Division V Finals each of the past three seasons, and the team that won the regular season matchup went onto the section championship. Both teams’ recent success makes it surprising that they are meeting on Saturday trying to avoid three-game losing streaks. Two straight losses in Coastal League play would make a league crown almost unattainable; that should provide the motivation to make this a good one.
Pictured: Poway players celebrate a blocked punt against San Pasqual