It’s easy to pick winners in high school football. Just a tiny bit of homework and almost anyone can hit 70 percent.
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But what about trying to pick upsets? We’ll move into the third 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 picked to take a loss. Every team we are pointing at in this post has to be at least on the bubble in the various CIF state bowl game divisions.
With two writeups from Stockton office assistant Paul Muyskens, here are this week’s Cal-Hi Sports Upset Alerts:
Alemany (Mission Hills) over Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks)
In leagues such as the Serra in which it seems to be a topsy-turvy race every season, it would only be holding to form for the Warriors to bounce back from their two straight losses (to Norco and Loyola) and knock off the Knights. Alemany (5-2) also has only lost twice since joining the league in 2010, including the loss to Loyola. For the Warriors to turn it around and get back to the level of play they had in reaching No. 8 in the state, they’ll need to cut down on turnovers, look for a way to stop Notre Dame’s rushing attack with an injury-depleted defense and take advantage of the Knights probably having to go without starting quarterback Grant Kraemer (shoulder injury). The Knights (5-2), who No. 17 in the state, will still have Koa Farmer making plays. Who will make up for that for Alemany? Just a hunch, but there’s enough talent that it could happen.
Serrano (Phelan) over Oak Hills (Hesperia)
Oak Hills has risen to No. 7 in the D2 South bowl game rankings and improved to 6-0 with a 55-14 romp last week against Hesperia. The Bulldogs feature one of the best junior running backs in the state in De Zhontaey Fletcher, who has piled up 1,349 yards with 19 TDs (including eight in the past two weeks). They also are No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Eastern Division rankings. For this game, though, Serrano may have the defense to slow down Oak Hills and just enough offense to get the win. The Scorpions have only allowed six points in their last four games and have a promising junior linebacker in John Mackesy (6-2, 195), who had 160 tackles as a sophomore. Serrano does have a 13-12 stinker loss to Silverado, but it’s a team that played and lost a 38-24 game to Citrus Hill in last year’s divisional final. Both teams were 13-0 in that game as well. Serrano also beat Oak Hills 41-16 last season.
Hilmar over Ripon
In a battle of two teams in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section that are 7-0, it’s with trepidation that the best bet in the section we have has the Yellowjackets, who are on the D3 North bubble, knocking off the Indians, who are ranked No. 6 in those same D3 North rankings. Ripon has already beaten Escalon and Hughson, which helped the Indians get ranked while the Yellowjackets still have those games in their final two outings of the season. The Yellowjackets’ defense has been outstanding, allowing no more than six points in their last three wins, which included a 30-0 road win over Modesto Christian a week before the Indians defeated the Crusaders 35-13 at home. With home field also in this contest, we will take junior QB Jonathan O’Brien and his teammates to perhaps clip Ripon. For the Indians, we know many in the Stanislaus District, including Brian VanderBeek of the Modesto Bee, Rich Estrada of BlackHat Football and Craig Macho of the Ripon Record, have told us that this year’s team is possibly better than last year’s, which went 10-0 in the regular season and gave Central Catholic of Modesto its closest game in the playoffs. It’s just that we’re committed to choosing one SJS upset alert per week and this looks like the best one.
Pierce (Arbuckle) over Durham
When picking an upset, it always helps to have a team at home and fired up in front of their fans and the Bears (4-2) should be even more fired up to pull off this win as they and the Trojans will be the KCRA 3 Game of the Week in the Sacramento market. Scott Burnum’s boys have yet to lose a home game. And in three home games so far, they have put up two shutouts and allowed just six points total. After a 38-28 win over Trinity of Weaverville, the Trojans (4-2) enter as winners of four straight and moved onto the bubble in this week’s D4 North bowl game rankings. Durham’s two losses, though, have come on the road, including a 42-30 loss at Colusa to open the season.
Last week’s top upsets
1. Loyola (Los Angeles) 31, Alemany (Mission Hills) 20
2. St. Genevieve (Panorama City) 43, St. Anthony (Long Beach) 36
3. North Salinas (Salinas) 29, Christopher (Gilroy) 15
Upset Alerts So Far This Season: 1-7
Note: Pick your own upset alerts in the comments section below. Anybody for Chaminade to beat Serra? And would that even be an upset? An upset alert contest also may be coming soon.