Bruce Kauffman 7:30 a.m., March 11
Game of the Week
No. 7 Otay Ranch (6-0, 1-0 Metro Mesa) at No. 10 Olympian (6-0, 0-0) Friday 7 p.m.
A showdown between late-season unbeatens and South Bay neighbors keeps the Metro Mesa League in the Red Zone spotlight for the second straight week. Seventh-ranked Otay Ranch is averaging 33.5 points per game with a balanced offense that gets its big plays from junior dual-threat quarterback Kyle Hawkins (1,130 yards passing, 372 rushing) and senior receiver Chris Martin (728 yards, 9 TDs). Otay Ranch has won its last two games by an average of 27 points, and faces an equally hot Olympian team. The 10th-ranked Eagles have a host of playmakers, including the senior trio of quarterback Christopher Humphery, receiver Sergio Bailey and running back Andrell Snowden. Five of Olympian’s wins have come by more than 20 points, including a 41-6 win at El Capitan last week. Though less than three miles separate these schools, they only met for the first time last season – a 34-6 Olympian victory.
Best of the Rest
No. 5 Mission Hills (4-2, 1-0 Avocado East) at San Pasqual (4-2, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Mission Hills opened league play with a decisive shutout victory over Escondido, and the fifth-ranked Grizzlies are shaping into favorites in both the Avocado East League and Division I. Mission Hills faces its biggest obstacle to a league title at San Pasqual against a Golden Eagles team who has only lost to Poway and La Costa Canyon. San Pasqual has allowed less than 10 points per game in its four wins, and won 8-6 last week against Fallbrook. This should be a physical, defensive contest that will likely determine a league champion.
Lincoln (4-2, 1-0 Eastern) at No. 3 Cathedral Catholic (4-2, 1-0) Friday 6:30 p.m.
Cathedral Catholic has won at least a share of the Eastern League title in the past five seasons, and the third-ranked Dons began their title defense with a lopsided victory at Scripps Ranch last week. Senior quarterback Garrett Bogart returned for Cathedral Catholic last week after missing two games with a wrist injury, sparking a Dons’ team that went 1-1 in his absence. Lincoln has won four of its last five games after losing its season opener. Oregon-bound seniors Tyree and Tyrell Robinson offer big play capability on both sides of the ball for the Hornets, a team that could challenge for the Eastern League crown. Cathedral Catholic has beaten Lincoln four times over the past two years, ending consecutive Hornets’ seasons in the Division III playoffs.
Grossmont (6-0, 1-0 Grossmont Hills) at Steele Canyon (2-3-1, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Grossmont has honored the memory of former head coach Ron Murphy with a spirited season, winning its first six games this season by an average of 22.7 points. Junior Anthony Lawrence (1,627 yards, 15 TDs) quarterbacks a balanced Foothillers’ offense that has one less rush attempt than pass attempt so far this year. Steele Canyon kicked off its league campaign by knocking off undefeated West Hills last week, and the Cougars are better than their overall record indicates. Steele Canyon has won the last two meetings between these two teams.
Christian (5-1) at Madison (5-1) Friday 6:30 p.m.
A move back to the Central League has Christian playing bigger schools this season, and the defending Division V champion Patriots have a nonleague slate with the size to match. Madison is the most athletic team Christian has faced this season, and the Patriots will have to contain the Warhawks’ Arizona-bound senior duo of running back Pierre Cormier and receiver Lee Walker in order to spring an upset. Christian has its fair share of weapons, and the Patriots have held their own against bigger opponents so far the season. This cross-division contest will be closer than most might expect.
In the Red Zone
Mission Bay (3-3, 0-1 Western) at Kearny (2-4, 0-1) Friday 3:30 p.m.
The lone true home game of the season for Kearny on its Linda Vista campus always carries special meaning, and this game is also must win to stay in the Western League title race after both teams fell in their openers last week.
Pictured: Kearny junior quarterback Stephen Pulley in the pocket against Point Loma