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    Fryer on Football: Previews and predictions for Week 9’s other top games
    • October 18, 2023


    NO. 3 SANTA MARGARITA (5-3, 1-2) VS. NO. 6 SERVITE (4-4, 0-3)

    Where, when: Cerritos College, Friday, 7 p.m.

    Analysis: This is a big Trinity League game for Servite. The Friars need a fifth win to guarantee that they will finish at .500, the threshold for being a candidate for an at-large berth in the upcoming CIF Southern Section playoffs. The top three teams in a six-team league like the Trinity League are guaranteed entry into the playoffs; teams that finish fourth, fifth and sixth can be considered for at-large berths if they are .500 or better. A look at the CalPreps ratings that CIF-SS will use to place teams into playoff divisions indicates that Santa Margarita probably is a sure thing to be in Division 1, which was a 10-team bracket last year and contained two at-large teams. Division 1 could be an eight-team bracket or a 12-team bracket this year. As for this game, Santa Margarita last week beat JSerra 34-31 on Ryan Gass’ late field goal. Servite was unable to convert its late chances last week against Orange Lutheran in a 36-33 loss. The key player in this matchup is Santa Margarita sophomore receiver Trent Mosley, who last week produced 425 all-purpose yards including 232 yards on 10 receptions. He will be the difference-maker.

    Winner: Santa Margarita

    NO. 1 MATER DEI (7-1, 2-1) VS. NO. 2 ORANGE LUTHERAN (5-3, 2-1)

    Where, when: Orange Coast College, Thursday, 7 p.m.

    Analysis: This is a matchup of the top two teams in the county rankings. While there is a large chasm between the Nos. 1 and 2 teams we know that Mater Dei is not unbeatable as was proven last week when the Monarchs lost to St. John Bosco’s near-perfect performance 28-0. The previous time Mater Dei was shut out was in 2011 by Orange Lutheran 28-0. That also is the most-recent time the Lancers beat the Monarchs. Quarterback Elijah Brown last week did not get the offensive line protection he usually is provided. The Monarchs’ top running back, Jordon Davison, was injured early and might be out for this game, but there is plenty of depth there, including speedy Nathaniel Frazier who will likely be among the top sprinters in country track this spring. Orange Lutheran running back Steve Chavez surpassed 100 rushing yards for the fourth week in a row in the Lancers’ 36-33 win over Servite. The Monarchs are an unhappy team after the Bosco loss and this might be a bad week to be in their path.

    Winner: Mater Dei

    TROY (5-3, 3-0) VS. SONORA (7-1, 3-0)

    Where, when: La Habra High, Friday, 7 p.m.

    Analysis: It’s the battle for first place in the Freeway League. Troy beat the usual league champion La Habra 27-21 two weeks ago and also has league wins over Fullerton and Buena Park. Sonora’s league wins were against Sunny Hills, Buena Park and Fullerton. In Troy’s 21-7 win over Buena Park last week the Warriors threw only eight passes while rushing for 287 yards including Declan Kai Healey’s 104 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and Caleb Huss’ 99 yards. Troy sophomore linebacker Ethan Mundt had 10 tackles with a sack against Buena Park. Sonora, which plays La Habra next week in the league finale, rushed for 331 yards in its 43-36 win over Fullerton, led by junior Anthony Abad’s 221 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Troy’s win over La Habra is the most impressive win for either team.

    Winner: Troy

    Connor Smith (3) of El Modena breaks up the pass to Matthew Baldonado (29)of Cypress in a football game at Western High School in Anaheim on Thursday, August 31, 2023. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    NO. 20 EL MODENA (4-4, 1-0) VS. NO. 23 EL DORADO (4-4, 1-0)

    Where, when: Valencia High, Friday, 7 p.m.

    Analysis: This one is for first place in the four-team North Hills League. They have a common opponent, La Habra. El Modena beat La Habra 38-35. El Dorado lost to La Habra 40-16. El Dorado showed how much it has improved when it beat Foothill 41-19. El Dorado won its league opener last week over Canyon 41-0 as quarterback Nate Bento and running back J.P. Murray both rushed for more than 100 yards. El Modena beat Esperanza 41-20 in a league game last week. Vanguards quarterback Xzavior Guess completed 23 of 28 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns. Guess also is an excellent runner. His play-making skills will lead El Modena to the win.

    Winner: El Modena

    Quarterback Jaden O’Neal (1) of Newport Harbor passes during a Sunset League football game against Edison at Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach on Thursday, October 12, 2023. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    NO. 14 CORONA DEL MAR (4-4, 1-2) VS. NO. 12 NEWPORT HARBOR (3-5, 1-2)

    Where, when: Newport Harbor High, Friday, 7 p.m.

    Analysis: This Sunset League game is the annual Battle of the Bay. Corona del Mar has won the rivalry game 10 years in a row. Newport Harbor is the better team this year. Sailors quarterback Jaden O’Neal is developing into a star player. He has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,801 yards and 19 touchdowns. Newport Harbor lost to county No. 10 Edison last week 31-28. Corona del Mar was overwhelmed by Los Alamitos last week 69-14. Newport Harbor was similarly overwhelmed by Los Alamitos 62-14 on Oct. 6. O’Neal was hurt late in the Edison game. The key to this game is Newport Harbor’s defense, which is allowing 32 points a game. Look for that defense to come through and for O’Neal to connect continuously with ace receivers Jordan Anderson and Josiah Lamarque to get Newport Harbor that long-awaited win and the bell trophy that goes to the victor.

    Winner: Newport Harbor

    Fryer on Football last week: 3-2

    Season to date: 31-14

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    ​ Orange County Register