The nights are getting a little cooler. Offenses are getting in rhythm. Defenses are getting meaner and smarter.
High school football season is coming into its own, and for larger groups like the Valley Oak League, league play begins next Friday – believe it or not.
For now, today brings another slew of intriguing nonleague matchups – with some new rivalries, some familiar faces and some out-of-area games.
Here’s a look at my weekly predictions. Thus far this season, I’m 29-15 after a middling 9-6 Week 2 set of predictions.
Without further ado, here’s a look at my predictions. WATCH our “Quick Hits” Game of the Week preview video, where I visit Kimball (1-1) and Tracy (1-2) football. Also, I’ve linked all of the high school sports coverage on my blog below on a day-by-day list.
TRACY 42, Kimball 17
The Jaguars are making great progress, and earned those 55 points last week at Bear Creek. But Tracy is the defending San Joaquin Athletic Association champion, and closer to full strength in all likelihood as senior tailback Nate Jones (1,174 rushing yards, 19 TDs as a junior) returns from an ankle injury.
To win this game, I think Kimball will need to make it a complete offensive slugfest. They run a Wing-T and Tracy runs a veer, so running the ball will be common, but the Jaguars’ defense seems better prepared to stop the pass with safeties Jacob Taloa and Rashaad Cooper.
With the win, Tracy improves to 4-1 against Kimball all-time.
WEST 42, Chavez 40
The Wolf Pack rides junior tailback Marcel Dancy against a Chavez defense that, while it has talent, is still learning how to stop the run.
Expect Titans quarterback Julius Davila, tailback Priest Jennings and wide receiver Lamar Housely to have big games, but it’s not quite enough on the road in Tracy. West improves to 3-0 for the first time in AT LEAST 13 years.
West tied its first game and then won its next three, going 3-0-1 to start the 2001 season, according to calpreps.com.
STAGG 38, Lodi 32
The Flames can run the ball effectively. The Delta Kings are dangerous via the air with wide receiver Lester Williams.
Stagg is at home, and has the desperation of an 0-3 start. It needs good things to happen before SJAA play begins in October. Williams goes off with at least three touchdowns, and the Delta Kings outlast a Flames team that does show up big with their backfield. This one could go either way.
TOKAY 36, Franklin 10
The Yellowjackets frustrate the Tigers offensively early on, as converted wide receiver Jovon Woods – who played some QB last year – comes in as a dual threat. But Tokay quarterback Grayson Dillon settles down, hooks up with Allen Ward and TJ Gotelli and the Tigers eventually cruise to a win at the Grape Bowl to improve to 3-1.
LINCOLN 35, Livermore-Granada 17
The Trojans get back on track after consecutive losses to Turlock-Pitman and Elk Grove, behind the offensive quartet of sweepers Mark Russell and Chris Cannady and power runners Ronald Walker and Hunter Yates.
Coach Brian Gray improves to 8-9 in his career at Lincoln in home nonleague games.
MODESTO-GRACE DAVIS over Weston Ranch
The Cougars (1-1) showed promise and speed after they beat formerly undefeated Galt, but Davis is hot and off to a 3-0 start. Its defense held East Union – which scored 60 against Modesto Johansen – to six points in the opening game.
EDISON over Davis
Edison quarterback Sean Buligon is off to a nice start to his senior season, and the Vikings seem to be in a better place than the 0-2 Blue Devils.
VALLEJO over Bear Creek
Bear Creek is in a transitional phase, and this will be a difficult road trip.
UNION MINE over Calaveras
Calaveras comes close, once again, but still can’t get a break and falls to an 0-4 start. Life will be better for the Redskins once Mother Lode League play starts (except when Sonora comes around.)
MODESTO-GREGORI over East Union
The Lancers (1-1) surprised me with their blasting of Johansen, but Gregori (2-1) has figured things out since an opening loss at Chavez and wins a close one.
MODESTO CHRISTIAN over McNair
Modesto Christian almost beat small-school power Sacramento-Capital Christian and stomped on Calaveras – a team McNair narrowly beat. Eagles quarterback Osai Brown and wide receiver Sean Hamilton put up nice numbers again, but the Crusaders score too much at home.
GALT-LIBERTY RANCH over Escalon
Escalon (2-1) will be fired up, on a two-game winning streak and on homecoming, but Div. I Liberty Ranch is coming off a good offensive win over McNair and has too much depth and speed for the Cougars.
LINDEN over Riverbank
Riverbank is a program trying to find itself, while Linden has been knocking on the door – with a 21-19 loss at Gustine and a 27-23 home loss to Ripon Christian. Linden gets it done.
RIPON CHRISTIAN over Merced-Stone Ridge Christian
The Knights (3-0) keep the good times rolling, and senior Brian Systma keeps running like a champ.
ST. MARY’S over San Francisco-St. Ignatius
This is an out-of-area matchup for the ages, but in end, the Rams’ size on their lines and their front seven and eight on defense overwhelm their opponents just enough. St. Mary’s wins a thriller, just like at did at Modesto-Central Catholic.
THIS WEEK’S PREP SPORTS BLOG COVERAGE (Free)
TODAY: Friday Prep Football Predictions: Week 3
THIS WEEK’S STORIES IN THE RECORD AND ON RECORDNET.COM (Paid Content)
CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE
Facebook: Thomas Lawrence
Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPrep