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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 move into another week of this new feature by taking a look at four 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.
Here are this week’s Cal-Hi Sports Upset Alerts:
El Segundo over Nordhoff (Ojai)
After knocking off Tri-Valley League champion Oak Park of Agoura 59-50 in the CIFSS Northwest Division semifinals, we will go with the Eagles to continue their upset-filled flight to the title and defeat the runner-up in the Tri-Valley League.
Led by junior QB Lars Nootbaar, who has passed for 2,578 yards and 32 touchdowns and is one of the top junior baseball prospects in the state, the Eagles have won eight straight games. They are facing a Nordhoff team that will be on its home field and is a defending champion, but the Rangers also have a 23-3 loss to that same Oak Park team that El Segundo just beat.
Despite having four losses overall, if El Segundo were to complete its run of upsets with another one, the team would still have an outside shot at the CIF D3 South bowl game. That would require Mission Oak of Tulare to lose in its section final, but see below. We think that could happen as well.
Bakersfield Christian over Mission Oak (Tulare)
Since beginning 0-2 including a loss to a Huntington Beach team that is in this week’s CIFSS Southern Division final, Bakersfield Christian has won 10 straight games. Last week’s 21-14 triumph over Central Valley Christian of Visalia also avenged a previous one-point loss.
Taking down a Mission Oak squad that is 12-0 and possibly in line for a CIF Division III Southern California bowl game isn’t going to be easy, but the Eagles have the offense to give it a shot. Junior QB Brandon Jones has passed for 3,536 yards and 47 touchdowns while junior FB/LB Matt Smith has rushed for 1,457 yards with 15 scores.
If Bakersfield Christian were to win, it would then be eligible to be chosen for the D4 South bowl game and if El Cajon Christian has been upset in its game and is no longer a factor, the Eagles in fact would be favored to win in the regional bowl and then advance to the D4 state bowl game.
Sacramento over Manteca
Coming off of a record-setting performance by WR Damen Wheeler, the Dragons’ offense has put up a ton of points this season and the Buffaloes’ defense has allowed more than 35 points in two of their three playoff wins. That is why the Dragons will be our pick to pull off the upset victory in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division III championship game.
During their eight-game winning streak, Sac has scored at least 41 points in every game behind sophomore QB Caden Voges ,who has passed for 4,139 yards and 47 touchdowns this season. While the Dragons don’t have a win over an opponent like Inderkum, which Manteca just beat 45-36, they did defeat Oakdale in the first round of the playoffs by a 41-21 final score. The Buffaloes defeated that same Mustangs’ team by a 35-20 score earlier in the season.
San Marcos over Christian (El Cajon)
Yes, after all of the controversy about whether the Patriots should be Division II or Division IV this year for the bowl games, something in the back of our minds tells us that they might not be completely ready for the CIF San Diego Division III final on Saturday against an athletic San Marcos squad that certainly could be good enough to beat them.
The CIF state office isn’t supposed to root for or against certain teams, but it’s pretty obvious an El Cajon Christian loss in this game will make their lives easier heading into Sunday’s bowl game selection meeting.
San Marcos’ last loss was to San Diego Open Division winner Mission Hills (42-14) last month. The Knights have won three straight since then and although a 3-0 win over Santa Fe Christian doesn’t impress they did just beat a Granite Hills of El Cajon squad that had upset 10-0 Parker of San Diego.
Last week’s top upsets
1. Miramonte (Orinda) 44, Clayton Valley (Concord) 38
2. Huntington Beach 28, Edison (Huntington Beach) 21
3. Norte Vista (Riverside) 38, San Gorgonio (San Bernardino) 37
4. Pacific Grove 77, Carmel 53
Upset Alerts So Far This Season: 13-15 (we picked Yuba City and San Dimas last week; Yuba City lost to Del Oro of Loomis and San Dimas beat Arroyo of El Monte)
Note: Pick your own upset alerts in the comments section below. Anybody think Chaminade can knock off Serra of Gardena? An upset alert contest also may be coming soon.