Here’s a look at five games to watch from around the state on Friday’s first big night of the 2014 season.
1. State No. 3 Servite (Anaheim) 0-0 vs. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 1-0 at Cerritos College. The visiting Gaels love to schedule the best from California and neighboring states because there’s no competition for them once they hit league and then the Nevada playoffs. They are loaded once again this season won their first game 44-0 last week over Brophy Prep of Phoenix. Servite lost 41-17 last season in Las Vegas but is much stronger this year with Elite 11 and Oregon-bound QB Travis Waller leading an experienced group. The problem is that Gorman may be better, too. At least one national media group (USA Today) has the Gaels ranked in the No. 1 position.
2. Jesuit (Carmichael) 0-0 vs. State No. 2 De La Salle (Concord) 0-0 at UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium. This is the game that was supposed to be played at Levi’s Stadium but had to be moved because of a turf problem. It could be big because DLS lost two key starters in its scrimmage last week – junior QB Anthony Sweeney (knee) and senior LB Simba Short (shoulder) – who according to the Contra Costa Times won’t be playing against the Marauders. Jesuit, which hung with Folsom for much of its CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoff loss last season, could be better, too, with a number of top returnees including jr. RB Beau Bisharat, senior DE Kori Collons and senior WR Isaiah Bailey.
3. State No. 31 Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 0-0 at State No. 14 Bakersfield 0-0. New QB Keayr Gregg debuts for the defending CIF Division I state champs as they will try to outlast an Oaks Christian team that won 50-49 when these two teams met last season. The Lions also will be playing with former head coach Bill Redell back on the sidelines after he stopped coaching the squad following the 2011 season.
4. State No. 5 Folsom at Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 0-0. This matchup is part of the Under Armour Brothers In Arms Classic and will be preceded by La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad taking on Corona del Mar of Newport Beach (team that starts 2014 with longest current winning streak in the state). Folsom QB Jake Browning probably isn’t going to throw for eight TDs to break the career state record but he may get the 37 yards for the career state record in that category on his first series.
5. State No. 11 Pittsburg 0-0 at State No. 42 California (San Ramon) 0-0. We’re as guilty as anyone of pumping up the Pitt Pirates in the preseason based on the players that they have returning, especially on defense. But Cal High is coming off of an appearance in the CIF North Coast Section D1 final and certainly has the horses up front to make life difficult for Pitt.
Note: On Saturday, watch out for No. 4 Mater Dei of Santa Ana playing No. 9 Centennial of Corona as part of the Mission Viejo Classic. We will have game reviews on CalHiSports.com from Friday games at Del Oro of Loomis and from Servite-Bishop Gorman. On Saturday, we’ll be at the games at Del Oro involving No. 17 Clovis North of Fresno, No. 33 Clayton Valley of Concord and Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa.