Each week on Thursdays, we’ll pick one game involving a team in the Top 50 of our state rankings that we think has the best chance to suffer an upset loss. We’ll see if we can nail a few of them during the season. Picking 70 percent of wins is easy for any prep writer. But just stick to upsets and it’s not so easy.
UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK
Bishop Amat (La Puente) over Rancho Cucamonga
Last week’s choice ticked off the players at Pittsburg so much that at the end of their win against San Mateo Serra that a few of them were chanting not so kind words about us. Keep in mind that this is just a fun attempt at picking upset winners instead of doing a myriad of picks in which let’s face it 80 to 90 percent of it is simple.
Even with 50 teams, the possibilities for an upset often seem slim and slimmer. This week, there was only two that that we seriously considered. Along with Bishop Amat (0-3) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (2-0) we looked at Vacaville (2-1) vs. Granite Bay (3-0.
We’ll go with Bishop Amat. The Lancers are still No. 50 in our rankings at 0-3, but their losses were 31-7 to No. 1 Mater Dei, 13-6 at Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) and 59-31 vs. JSerra of SJ Capistrano. Loyola Academy last year went 13-1 and lost in the Class 8A state final in Illinois. That’s a quality loss and the margin wasn’t great. We also like the way head coach Steve Hagerty’s team came back vs. JSerra. The Lancers were down 31-0 and had the margin to 38-27. And the way the Trinity League teams have been obliterating everyone, 59-35 is actually not that bad. Amat QB Blake Archuleta passed for 305 yards vs. JSerra and the key to the upset may be his team’s success or failure against Rancho Cucamonga’s big-time secondary. Another Lancer standout to watch is UCLA-bound DL Aaron Maldonado.
Rancho Cucamonga has won 13 of its last 14 games and is hoping to reach the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals or further after getting into the semis in 2017. The Cougars, sitting at No. 9 in the State Top 50, opened the season by beating Chaparral of Temecula 49-14. They next played at Norco (a team that was No. 32 preseason in state) and won 28-21. Norco did have a chance to tie it up at the end, but was denied. With the game at Amat, Rancho Cucamonga will at least have to play very well to keep on winning. QB Nick Acosta (527 passing years, six TDs) and junior RB Sean Dollars have both been great so far. Another emerging star may be junior WR Devvin Gitchuway.
Upset Special Record So Far This Year: 1-1 (had it correct that Oaks Christian would defeat Edison of Huntington Beach, but wrong for Serra of San Mateo to upset Pittsburg)
Note: We may start picking upsets for projected section championship teams once we start doing projections for the various CIF state bowl games.