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It’s easy to pick winners in high school football. Just a tiny bit of homework and almost anyone can hit 70 percent.
But what about trying to pick upsets? We’ll start a new feature this week by taking a look at several games from around the state in which a higher ranked team or favored team is predicted of taking a loss.
Here are this week’s Cal-Hi Sports Upset Alerts:
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) over Chaminade (West Hills)
This wouldn’t be a huge upset if Chaminade lost because the Eagles are ranked just one spot ahead of the Knights in the Top 25 overall state rankings. But Chaminade also is higher in both the L.A. Times and L.A. Daily News rankings and on this week’s Varsity Roundup show on Time Warner Cable all five of the program’s panelists in its picking contest chose the Eagles. Still, it could be a tossup game. Notre Dame is disciplined, well-coached and it’s a club that went overtime before losing to Serra of Gardena. Could Chaminade end up better than even Serra? Sure. But it also won’t take much to flip this one in Notre Dame’s favor. A late field goal by all-state candidate kicker Lucas Alfonso could be the difference.
Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) over Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara)
This one would be big for the CIF bowl games in Division IV since Bishop Diego enters the Saturday afternoon matchup in San Diego County ranked No. 1 in D4 South and also is No. 1 in the CIFSS Northwest Division. The Cardinals have been lightly challenged so far in a 4-0 start, but will be in this matchup and they also will be once they get into Tri-Valley League play (which includes Nordhoff, Carpinteria and Oak Park – all three which are in the top 10 of the D3 South bowl game rankings). Santa Fe Christian is only 3-2, but both losses are to big schools Carlsbad and La Costa Canyon. The Carlsbad game was 35-0, but at 5-0 it could be that Carlsbad is that good. The LCC loss was a respectable 15-9. At home, Santa Fe Christian plays tough and this is a program that won the D4 South bowl game last season.
Alameda over Encinal (Alameda)
The Island Bowl this year is expected to be won by Encinal, which was on the bubble this week in our D3 North bowl game rankings. It’s a series that dates back to 1955 and will be played Friday at Willie Stargell Field at Encinal. The Jets’ only loss was lopsided at 49-13, but that was to powerhouse San Mateo Serra. Alameda also is 3-1 with a lopsided loss of 44-14 to Miramonte of Orinda, which isn’t at the level of Serra but is a very good team. The reason Alameda can win is an offense coming off of a 55-24 win over Hillsdale of San Mateo. It’s also a rivalry game in which the underdog, in this case the Hornets, might be able to get over the top with extra emotion.
Escalon over Hughson
Head coach Mark Loureiro’s Cougars have lost two straight games on the road, which caused them to drop off of the bubble in our D3 North Bowl Game Rankings, but returning home to face Hughson, which is ranked No. 7 in the same division, we think will be the recipe that the legendary head coach can use to get his team back in the win column. With three of their four wins over teams that have losing records, the Huskies will be in for their toughest game so far this season as the Cougars aren’t your typical 2-3 team. Their three losses came against teams with a combined 13-1 record so far this season. Last season, the two teams faced off in Hughson and the Cougars were victorious 28-18. Also working in favor of this upset is that the Cougars have not lost more than one home game in a season for at least the last nine years and they already lost a home game this year in their season opener.
Last week’s top upsets
1. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 35, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 28
2. Palma (Salinas) 23, Palo Alto 20
3. Amador (Sutter Creek) 14, Capital Christian (Sacramento) 9
Notes: Pick your own upset alerts in the comments section below. Anybody for Servite over De La Salle? An upset alert contest also may be coming soon. Paul Muyskens contributed to this report.