The Examiner breaks down this weeks prep football action.
SAN FRANCISCO GAME OF THE WEEK
Serra (4-3, 1-2 WCAL) at St. Ignatius (4-2-1, 0-2-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.
A season that began with great promise has now reached a critical stage for both of the 2006 West Catholic Athletic League co-champions. The Padres began the year with a thorough 41-7 win over one of the Central Valley’s best in Buchanan of Clovis and suffered only one nonleague loss — to national power De La Salle of Concord. Meanwhile, the Wildcats entered league play with a perfect 4-0 mark and riding high after a big 44-14 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral in the Bruce-Mahoney Game.
But after sluggish starts in the difficult WCAL, both need a win to boost their morale and bolster playoff résumés. Mobile quarterback Cody Jackson (the league’s third-leading rusher) and Serra will likely look to pound it out on the ground, hoping to make the most of their opportunities after turning the ball over four times in last week’s 20-3 loss to Riordan. The Wildcats are coming off a tough 21-10 defeat last week at Mitty of San Jose — a game they led 7-0 at the half — but still boast one of the league’s most balanced offenses. Quarterback Abe Waziri has thrown for 1,005 yards and 13 touchdowns already, spreading the ball around to 11 receivers.
Balboa (2-4, 1-1 AAA) at Washington (4-2, 2-1), 3 p.m.
Maurice Barton is averaging a city-best 10.7 yards per carry for the Eagles, while Buccaneers quarterback Eric Lara tops the leaderboard in passing yards (1,017). A Wash win against typically playoff-bound Balboa would show just how far the program has come since last year’s disappointing 3-7 season.
Galileo (0-4, 0-3 AAA) at Lowell (4-0, 3-0), 3 p.m.
Cardinals quarterback Matt Jew has been making the most of his extremely limited opportunities this season. The senior has completed two passes in just four attempts, but both have been momentum-changing 30-plus-yard touchdown strikes to Bismark Navarro.
Eagle Point (Ore.) (4-3) at Sacred Heart Cath. (4-2), 2 p.m., Kezar Stadium
Dasarte Yarnway had his coming-out party last year against the Eagles, rushing for 339 yards and five touchdowns in a wild 49-39 win in Oregon. This year, it’s Eagle Point’s turn to make the six-hour drive for the game, only the Irish are hoping the Eagles have a long trip home.
Lincoln (3-3, 2-0 AAA) at Burton (1-5, 1-1), 2:30 p.m.
Deshon Marman, Mike Paolucci and the Mustangs’ defense put on a show in last week’s 32-8 win over Balboa, allowing just 67 total yards while recording seven sacks and picking off two passes. Next up is a Pumas team that features the two-way skills of receiver-linebacker Tyre’ Ellison.
Riordan (5-1, 2-0 WCAL) at Mitty (5-1, 1-1), 7 p.m., Foothill College
The Crusaders are one of just two unbeaten teams in West Catholic Athletic League play (Bellarmine is the other and those two face off a week from Saturday in The City). But star receiver Daniel Cannon and Riordan will certainly not be looking past a strong Mitty team that beat St. Ignatius 21-10 a week ago.
— Matt Elliser
PENINSULA GAME OF THE WEEK</p>
Menlo School (4-2-0, 2-2-0) at Aragon (4-2-0, 3-1-0), Friday, 3 p.m.
Menlo School coach Mark Newton summed up last week’s critical loss to Menlo-Atherton quite simply.
“We made a ton of mistakes at crucial times,” Newton said.
Knights quarterback Travis Boyce isn’t about to let the season slip away though. Even in facing another powerhouse defense in Aragon this week, the senior is optimistic that the pass-intensive run-and-shoot offense can keep Menlo in contention for a top-three finish in Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division and an automatic Central Coast Section playoff bid.
“Those [mistakes] are things we can fix, that we can change,” Boyce said, “and hopefully come up with a different matchup against Aragon.”
Boyce has gotten his feet on the ground quickly in his first year as a varsity starter to become the PAL’s leading passer and has a variety of receiving targets to aim for — including R.J. Carver and Jerry Rice Jr.
The Menlo defense will be at a disadvantage for the second consecutive week, however, as linebacker Ryan O’Holleran and will likely be sidelined again with an ankle injury.
FRIDAY'S PAL BAY GAMES
Terra Nova (2-3-1, 2-1-1) at Carlmont (1-5-0, 0-4-0), 2:45 p.m.
Terra Nova couldn’t capitalize on four Burlingame turnovers last week in a 0-0 tie, so look for the Tigers to be hungry to get on the board against winless Carlmont. The Scots, meanwhile, are generating little offense, having failed to score in double-digits in any of their four league games.
Menlo-Atherton (5-1-0, 3-0-0) at Burlingame (2-3-1, 2-1-1), 7 p.m.
M-A is bulling over every team in its path and showcased yet another offensive weapon in running back Jamal Wilkins last week. The senior rushed for a season-high 145 yards in downing Menlo. Burlingame is coming off a 0-0 tie with Terra Nova, the second time the Panthers’ offense has been shut out in league play this season.
South City (1-5-0, 1-3-0) at Woodside (2-4-0, 1-2-0), 7 p.m.
Woodside exploded for its first league win of the season last week, scoring on four of its first five drives against Carlmont. South San Francisco’s defense has been much stingier this season, at least against run-intensive squads. The Warriors will have to defuse surging Wildcats quarterback Jeff Turner this week if they want to get back on track after two straight loses.
FRIDAY’S PAL OCEAN GAMES
San Mateo (2-4, 2-2) at El Camino (4-2, 4-0), 3 p.m.
El Camino holds its fate in its own hands after beating Cap last week to become the only undefeated team in Ocean play. Undersized San Mateo has won two straight, but will be up against a formidable defensive front of Maurice Metoyer and Rustin Mayorga, who have helped hold Ocean opponents to just 43 points in four games.
Hillsdale (1-5, 1-3) at Capuchino (2-4, 2-1), 3 p.m.
After missing a chance to tie a crucial game with El Camino last week on the final play of the game, Cap will be hungry to stay in contention against a Hillsdale team it has dominated in two previous seasons, defeating the Knights 56-27 last season and 43-0 two years ago.
Mills (2-4, 2-1) at Sequoia (2-4, 2-2), 7 p.m.
Sequoia fired on all cylinders last week to upend Hillsdale 60-42 in a game that saw three Cherokees run for more than 100 yards. Mills, meanwhile, got more than 200 yards from running back Josh Uikilifi and looks to stay in contention for a division title.
Half Moon Bay (2-4, 2-2) at Jefferson (0-6, 0-4), 7 p.m.
On what figures to be a cold Daly City night, look for a battle of ground games. Half Moon Bay running back Nik France is coming off a 118-yard performance in last week’s loss to Mills, while Jefferson tailback Fabian Fiorentini is closing on the 1,000-yard mark, fueled by a 151-yard game against San Mateo last week.
— Terry Bernal