Last week: 4-1
Seaside at Watsonville: I think the way to beat Seaside is to play them physical, play solid defense (a shutout would be best), without turning the ball over on offense. And I’m completely aware those are the keys to beating EVERY team. But I saw MVC do those things and it nearly equaled a victory — the offense just didn’t score enough when it could/should have. Watsonville can score points on offense. But it will be up to the defense to slow Seaside down, and I don’t know if it can right now. Pick: Seaside.
Harbor at Soquel: The Knights need a win in order to keep pace with Aptos, which could earn at least a share of the SCCAL title with a win this week. That should be enough motivation for Soquel. The Knights are gonna run the ball and run the ball and run the ball, and it will be up to Harbor to stop them. The Pirates allowed 310 rushing yards last week against Scotts Valley — a team that enjoys running the ball just as much as Soquel does. I expect the same this week. Pick: Soquel.
SLV at Aptos: We talked about this game on Double Coverage, how there is plenty of motivation on both sides to win. But SLV has had difficulty stopping the run in recent weeks — 379 yards allowed against Soquel, 254 against Scotts Valley — and Aptos enters with the most rushing yards in the SCCAL. I like Aptos for that reason, although I wouldn’t be surprised if SLV finds the motivation to win this game. Pick: Aptos.
MVC at Alisal: This is going to be a good game. Both teams need victories in order to improve their chances of reaching the postseason. But MVC has a pretty solid run defense — 119 yards allowed per game — and I think Alisal will need to throw more against the Mustangs if they want a chance to win. The Trojans CAN throw the ball, of course. QB Ezequiel Gonzales has thrown for 653 yards and six TDs this season. But Alisal is best when it’s running the ball, and I just don’t see them being able to do that enough to outlast the Mustangs. Pick: MVC.
Santa Cruz at Scotts Valley: Santa Cruz got off the schneid last week, winning its first game of the season. But it’s going to have a difficult time slowing Scotts Valley’s offense. And it’s going to have difficulty finding holes in the Falcons’ underrated defensive line. As I said last week, I think Scotts Valley is out to prove a point that its record from earlier this season is not reflective of the team it actually is, and I expect the Falcons to continue making that point against Santa Cruz. Pick: Scotts Valley.
Pajaro Valley at NMC: If you saw Double Coverage, you might know where I’m going with this one. The problem is, I don’t know where I’m going with this one. On paper, NMC is going to win this game. In league play, they’ve proven they are the better team when compared to Pajaro Valley. But I have a feeling about P.V. this week, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the Grizzlies’ last league victory, in 2007, came against NMC. Maybe it’s because they nearly defeated NMC last year, and were a two-point coversion away from doing so, before losing 7-6. Anthony Cantrell is going to need to go off in this game for the Grizzlies to win, and he’s just the type of player who can do as much. But he’ll be needed the full game (he only played the second half last week). Again, all signs point to NMC emerging victorious, and I would pick them to win this game 99 times out of 100. But P.V. has to win a league game at some point, right? Why not this one? Let’s go out on a limb. It’s Friday! I’m going with my gut on this one. Pick: Pajaro Valley.
West Valley at Cabrillo: The tough end of the Seahawks’ schedule is over; it ended last week when Cabrillo dropped MPC 23-7. MPC, for what it’s worth, defeated West Valley 54-7. I hate comparitive scoring, but that’s a pretty good one, no? The Seahawks’ defense is fairly stout, and has players who can tackle, sack the quarterback and intercept passes left and right. They had five interceptions last week. Dre Hill is a pretty decent RB — I remember seeing him at Palo Alto High — but if West Valley elects to throw the ball, watch out. Pick: Cabrillo.