Westlake at Oaks Christian – It’s the game of the week in beautiful Westlake Village. This game has been 11 years in the making and both schools, which are less than a mile away from each other, are looking forward to it. Westlake (3-0) is ranked the top team in the state of California in many polls and will get their second major test of the year. Their first, against Thousand Oaks, was passed with flying colors. The Warriors are led by RB Tavier Mowry, who is averaging 13.1 yards per carry. Mowry and WR Nelson Spruce give the Warriors big play potential and can take it to the house at any moment. Starting QB Nick Isham isn’t too shabby himself. He knows how to get his entire offense involved. In just three games, he has completed 78 percent of his passes to 13 different Warrior receivers. Oaks Christian (2-1) already had a miraculous come-from-behind victory against St. Bonaventure and comes in looking to make their second statement of the young season. It’s unclear who will start at QB for the Lions, but Richie Harrington has really outperformed Trevor Gretzky so far. Harrington has thrown for six touchdowns and no interceptions, while Gretzky has recorded only one touchdown compared to three interceptions. The teams was so excited for Harrington, that they nicknamed him “Falco” in practice. Although I’m an Oaks alum, I have to go with my head on this pick. The Lions are not deep enough to contend with Westlake throughout the course of the game and really pulled a rabbit out of a hat just to beat St. Bonaventure two weeks ago. Also, the shaky placekicking may really cost them should this game be close. Prediction: Westlake 34 Oaks Christian 20
Moorpark at St Bonaventure – With two teams ranked inside the top 30 in the state, most weeks this game would be the game of the week, but it’s not even the biggest game in the Marmonte League this week! The Musketeers (2-1) come in led by Junior QB Grant Rohach. Rohach has been incredibly efficient completing 73 percent of his passes while also throwing no interceptions. Bruising back Tyler Petersen will also look to make his presence felt. Petersen has very strong legs that are almost impossible to stop once they get going, proven by the fact that he squats 415 lbs, while he only weighs 185 lbs himself. Petersen is receiving some interest from Army to play at the next level and the Cadets should get a real good gauge of whether or not he can help them out in this game. St. Bonaventure (2-1) bounced back last week after the tough overtime loss to Oaks Christian. The Serraphs destroyed Simi Valley 54-0 and are thirsty for some more Marmonte blood this Friday. The key to this game will be the Serraph defense. The D is led by an absolute freak of a linebacker in 6”3’ 200 lb Jalen Jefferson, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has received offers from five Pac-10 teams already. His running mate Cody Kurz is also a force to be reckoned with at 6”3’ 238. The Seraphs will step their game up and come away with a hard fought victory.
Agoura at Newbury Park – If you like seeing plenty of offense, this game should wet your appetite. Quarterbacks Gerard Poutier (867 yards) and Jake Geringer (823 yards) lead the Northern Division in passing yardage. Newbury Park (1-2) comes in tough losers to two quality Marmonte opponents in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark. They have to be excited to see Agoura this week before getting another Marmonte juggernaut in St. Bonaventure next week. The Panthers are pretty much in a must-win situation in week four. They will hope Geringer can connect with his favorite target Dakota Dunlea early and often, which hasn’t been too much of a challenge this season considering Dunlea is averaging 102 receiving yards a game. Agoura (1-2) needs to establish any semblance of a rush game. It’s nice that Poutier has thrown for the most yards in the Northern Division, but defenses will begin sending all-out blitzes and keying on him should the team continue to falter in the rushing game. 52 rushing yards a game will not get it done at this level and especially against good teams. The good news for the Chargers is if they find a rushing game and become a two-dimensional offense at some point, their passing game will become that much better with the threat of the play-action pass. Agoura will fight hard, but won’t be able to get over the hump.
Prediction: Newbury Park 35 Agoura 17
Royal at Thousand Oaks – The Lancers (2-1) look to follow up a decisive victory over Newbury Park with their third win in a row. RB Rickey Minyard is trying to follow his impressive 238 yard performance with another game-breaking type of game. The Lancers will try to pound the rock early and often to open up the pass for their star receiver Richard Mullaney. If they can get Mullaney out in the open field – watch out – this game could become a blowout. Royal (1-2) needs to open up their offense. They are only averaging 14.7 points a game in a Marmonte League that features an abundance of dynamic offenses. They need QB Zach Collins to step up if they have any chance of winning. In the end, Thousand Oaks will have way too much offense.
Simi Valley at Calabasas – This is a key game for both teams to pick up a league win in. For Simi Valley (1-2), it’s a chance to get to 2-1 in the Marmonte League, which would be a very impressive start. The Pioneers will rely on Jake Maranto’s arm to lead them to victory. He needs to have a short-term memory about the four interceptions he threw last week and come out this week firing on all cylinders. This Calabasas team is not even close to the level of the Serraphs. It’s a very winnable game for the Pioneers. On the other side of the ball, the Coyotes (1-2) are hungry for a Marmonte League win. They’ve gone 0-7 every year in league play since 2004 and hope they’ll finally get over the hump this Friday. The Coyotes will need to rely heavily on Sophomore RB Tyson Jones, who was the sole bright spot in the 47-6 loss to Oaks Christian. Jones rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries and should be the featured workhorse for this team for the next three years.
Carson at Mission Viejo – The Diablos (3-0) are ranked as high as 16th nationally in the prepnation.com poll and could make it even higher in the rankings when the season is all said and done. The Diablos will be without Tre Madden for the second consecutive week, but that didn’t hurt them in last week’s 37-7 blowout victory over Long Beach Poly. Jahleel Pinner and Dallas Kessman picked up the slack rushing for 122 and 143 yards respectively. QB Alex Bridgford needs to find his game against Carson. He wasn’t very efficient against the Jackrabbits going 8 for 19 with an interception. This team will need him to perform to his highest level later on in the season. Carson (2-1) comes into this game rested after its bye week. The Colts will need all the rest they can get if they want to stay competitive with the Diablos. The Colts will need a strong running game to milk the time of possession and keep the Diablos off the field, but that’s much easier said than done. Between Dion Lewis, QB Justin Alo and Myles Johnson they have three capable ball carriers who have rushed for 223 yards a game. This will be too tough of a task for Carson too handle.
Prediction: Mission Viejo 45 Carson 13
Edison at Mater Dei – USC bound QB Matt Wittek finally showed his potential last week throwing for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns. If Mater Dei (1-2) wants to stay in the hunt, they’ll need these kinds of performances week in and week out from Wittek. It’s not too difficult when he has a receiver like Victor Blackwell, who will join Wittek at USC next year. Blackwell caught 6 passes for 183 yards last week and has explosive 4.4 speed. Edison (3-1) is coming off a tough loss to Servite. Nicholas Masaniai was held in check for the first time this year rushing 15 times for only 43 yards. The defense will need its star Charles Burks (32 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries) to wreak havoc on the interior line. Burks already has offers from Stanford, Boise State and San Diego State among others. This is my toughest pick of the week, but I’m leaning toward Edison.