Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Game of the Week
No. 3 Cathedral Catholic (5-2, 2-0) at No. 8 St. Augustine (6-1, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m. at Mesa College
The Holy Bowl is typically one of the biggest matchups of the regular season, and this year’s edition is no exception. Cathedral Catholic and St. Augustine come into the 47th annual religious rivalry both ranked in the Top 10, and this matchup will go a long way in deciding the Eastern League crown. Led by senior quarterback Garrett Bogart and senior linebacker Toshaun Poumele, the third-ranked Dons have won three straight games since a 2-2 start – and are looking to continue a stretch of five straight seasons with at least a share of the league title. Eighth-ranked St. Augustine has bounced back with three consecutive wins since losing to Otay Ranch on Sept. 21, and has won its last two games by an average of 40 points. Since losing leading rusher Tyler Herburger, the Saints have run for more than 200 yards in each of the past three games, led by freshman running back Elijah Preston (374 yards, 2 TDs). Cathedral Catholic has won five of the last six meetings between these two teams but St. Augustine won the last time they played at Mesa College – a 28-21 win in 2010. With the Saints moving to Division IV this season, this will be the only meeting between these two teams in 2012.
Best of the Rest
No. 6 Poway (5-2, 2-0) at Westview (6-1, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Poway has beaten its first two Palomar League opponents by an average of 36 points, and the Titans are halfway to a second straight undefeated league season. Solid defense and steady offense propels Poway, which features Division I bound seniors Derek Babiash (Arizona) and Alec Moreno (Nevada). Westview has quietly put together a solid season, and has won three straight since a 33-14 home loss to Carlsbad on Sept. 21. The Wolverines run a balanced offense led by sophomore quarterback Nate Ketteringham and senior running back Eric Kremp, and their defense keyed a 14-13 comeback victory against Torrey Pines last week with a shutout in the second half. Since Westview opened and joined Poway in the Poway Unified School District this rivalry has belonged to the Titans, who have won all seven meetings.
Valhalla (4-3, 1-1) at No. 10 Grossmont (7-0, 2-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Those who enjoy low-scoring battles should stay away from this Grossmont Hills League matchup that features two of the section’s top passers – Grossmont junior Anthony Lawrence and Valhalla senior Ramsey Romano. Grossmont dedicated its season to late head coach Ron Murphy and hasn’t dropped a game yet sparked by emotion and an uptempo offense. Lawrence has thrown for 1,842 yards and 20 touchdowns while completing 67 percent of his passes at the helm of the Foothillers’ offense averaging 39 points per game. Valhalla has traded wins and losses since a 2-1 start but Romano continues to put up impressive numbers, passing for 2,047 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season. Valhalla has won four of the last five meetings between these teams, a trend that Grossmont will look to reverse in a game that has the makings of a high-scoring shootout.
No. 7 Olympian (7-0, 1-0) at Chula Vista (5-2, 1-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Olympian won the battle of unbeatens last week against Otay Ranch, and the Eagles take an undefeated record on the road to face Chula Vista in a key Metro Mesa League contest. Olympian relies on speed and an offense loaded with experienced senior playmakers – quarterback Christopher Humphery, running backs Harrison Hulin and Andrell Snowden, and receiver Sergio Bailey. Only one of Olympian’s wins this season has come by less than 14 points, as the Eagles have run past their opponents. Chula Vista put up 51 points against Bonita Vista last week to end a two-game slide, and the Spartans need an upset of Olympian to contend for the Metro Mesa title. A trio of seniors – quarterback Ricky Estevez, powerful running back Jevante Reed and receiver Ray Holden – leads Chula Vista on offense. Olympian won the first ever meeting between these two teams last season, 20-14.
Valley Center (5-2, 2-0) at Mt. Carmel (4-3, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
The top two teams in the Valley League meet as Mt. Carmel looks to break up Valley Center’s recent stronghold on the league – the Jaguars have won 11 straight league games, a streak that dates back to 2009. Valley Center has won two straight since back-to-back losses against Poway and Oceanside, averaging 48 points in blowout wins against Del Norte and San Marcos. Mt. Carmel ended a three-game losing streak last week by shutting out Orange Glen, and the Sundevils are looking to recapture the form from their 3-0 start. Senior running back Robbie Halliburton (520 yards, five touchdowns) leads Mt. Carmel’s run-heavy attack. A Valley Center win all but clinches a third-straight league crown while a Mt. Carmel victory makes things a little more interesting.
In the Red Zone
La Jolla (2-5, 0-1 Western) at Mission Bay (4-3, 1-1) Friday 3 p.m.
La Jolla Country Day (4-2, 1-1) at Santa Fe Christian (4-3, 2-0) Saturday 1 p.m.
Santa Fe Christian has established itself as the frontrunner in a competitive Coastal League, with a tough preseason schedule preparing the disciplined Eagles well for league play. La Jolla Country Day fell to Horizon last week, and the Torreys will be looking to get back on track. This game features two of the best all-purpose athletes in the section – Santa Fe Christian quarterback/safety Hunter Vaccaro and La Jolla Country Day receiver/defensive back Sage Burmeister.
Pictured: Santa Fe Christian senior quarterback/safety Hunter Vaccaro