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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 move into the second week of a new feature by taking a look at several games from around the state in which a higher ranked team or favored team is predicted to take a loss.
Here are this week’s Cal-Hi Sports Upset Alerts (thanks to Paul Muyskens for helping on this post):
Carlsbad over Oceanside
Oceanside has already lost two games this season to teams that are 5-0 this season, Serra of Gardena and Mission Hills of San Marcos, and Carlsbad has yet to lose and is also 5-0. The Lancers don’t have a marquee win yet, but at home this week it is very possible. Yes, we know last year it was a 54-3 romp by the Pirates. But that’s why it’s fun to choose this one as an upset alert. Carlsbad opened the season with a 41-17 win over Great Oak of Temecula and has allowed just seven points over the last four games. Senior Christian Chapman has passed for 874 yards and 15 touchdowns with just one interception while the rushing attack has been a fairly balanced attack with seven different players running for scores. Coming off a bye week, it’ll be interesting to see who’s playing quarterback for the Pirates in the aftermath of their 30-6 loss to Mission Hills.
Huntington Beach over Edison (Huntington Beach)
Yes, it would be a big upset for Huntington Beach to beat the Chargers. But the elements are there. While Edison has lost its only two games to state-ranked Servite and Mater Dei, two of its wins to open the season against Compton Centennial and L.A. Garfield weren’t too inspiring. Huntington Beach’s two losses are to JSerra and Trabuco Hills in competitive games and the team just beat defending CIF Southern Section Southeast Division champ Downey 37-29. If the Oilers can get a huge game from versatile quarterback Kai Ross, they may have a chance.
St. Francis (Mountain View) over Bellarmine (San Jose)
Two weeks ago, the Bells were No. 11 in the statewide Top 25 and this week they are No. 19 after their 17-7 loss last Friday to San Mateo Serra. They may fall again, playing at 4-0 St. Francis, their biggest rival. The host Lancers have started strong due to their defense, which blanked Oak Grove of San Jose (28-0) and Palma of Salinas (26-0) to start the year. That unit has been especially strong at nailing plays behind the line of scrimmage with 34 in its four games. Senior DE John Powers (with seven tackles for loss) tops the squad in that category. For Bellarmine, one of the problems in the Serra game was scoring touchdowns to complete drives. The Bells should escape Mountain View with a win if they can convert a few more of those opporunities. It still figures to be one of those low-scoring WCAL slugfests and a good chance for the underdog Lancers.
Franklin (Elk Grove) over Grant (Sacramento)
After getting our CIF Sac-Joaquin Section upset pick last week correct with Escalon defeating Hughson 31-11, we were tempted to pick Hughson to bounce back and upset Ripon this week . Instead, but we’re going with the Wildcats to knock off the Pacers, who are ranked No. 11 in our DI North rankings. Grant opened the season with three straight wins but have now lost two straight, although both of those losses were just by three points to Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills and Del Oro of Loomis, who are both in the top 10 of our DI North rankings. The Wildcats have also been struggling lately as they have lost two of their last three games, but those losses also were to teams ranked in our DI North rankings (Oak Ridge and Jesuit of Carmichael). In a game that stands out, the Wildcats earlier this season went to Tracy, which is currently 4-1 and a potential league champion, and returned home with a convincing 45-14 win. Last season, the Wildcats went to Sacramento and defeated the Pacers 34-26 and with this year’s game at home we think they can beat Grant again.
Last week’s top upsets
1. Norco 38, Alemany (Mission Hills) 27
2. Liberty Ranch (Galt) 20, Vista del Lago (Folsom) 14
3. Righetti (Santa Maria) 20, St. Joseph (Santa Maria) 14
Upset Alerts So Far This Season: 1-3
Note: Pick your own upset alerts in the comments section below. Anybody for Servite over Mater Dei? An upset alert contest also may be coming soon.