Insider Weekly Picks

Palomar League-Week 11 Picks (Last week 3-1)

The Wolverines Move on to the second round of the playoffs after a close win over the Christian Patriots.  The Wolverines had a chance again to put the game away early but a series of missed field goals and a dropped touchdown pass, along with a play calling philosophy that refused to throw against 8 and 9 man boxes in the 2nd half was just about enough for Westview to beat themselves.  Coach Williams has to be asking himself how can a team that is winning or within a touchdown in so many games this season can either lose or have nail-biting wins that defy sound fundamental football. This is a big game for Williams, he inherited a group of Seniors that destroyed Ramona as Freshman and beat them soundly as Sophomores.  We began to lose ground last year when we lost a close one at home and were blown out in a week 6 loss 42-13. Both teams are Senior heavy and will be fighting for a CIF semifinal berth.  The game is an away game for the Wolverines and after Poway got beat last Friday by Olympian and Mt. Carmel was embarrassed by Cathedral, Westview has no signature wins against quality teams in over two years.  Every week I have picked the Wolverines because I believe in the young men that make up a talented team that Westview has not seen in years.  I will again, take the Wolverines in a close one 21-20.   Rancho Bernardo is the only Palomar league team left in the playoffs and will face off against Eastlake in the Division 1 semifinal.  The Rancho Bernardo coaching staff has worked wonders with a team that was seen as a step up from the bottom of the league during the early season predictions. Even the Rancho Bernardo faithful were not looking forward to this season. Eastlake beat Rancho Bernardo in a week 1 matchup earlier this season 21-3.  The Titans have plenty of signature wins this season and will play this game at home. Even though the Broncos are playing very good football this season I believe the Titans will be too much for them.  Take the Titans 28-14.

Palomar League-Week 11 Picks (Last week 4-0)

Westview’s win against Mt. Carmel last Friday night was a victory that many will remember for a long time, especially Mt. Carmel.  After heading into the 3rd quarter with what seemed to be an insurmountable lead the Wolverines struck midway through the 3rd quarter taking the life out of the Sundevil sideline and stands. They scored again in the 4th quarter when Kquamei Wolford scampered into the end zone giving the Wolverines the lead. Jackson Nau sealed the deal when he intercepted the Sundevil quarterback. On to the Playoffs!  Westview will face Christian High School in the bye round of the playoffs. Christian is flashy, and in my opinion, overrated. Three of the first 4  games Christian played this season were opponents that may not have made the San Diego Section Division 3 playoffs if they were in San Diego. Fallbrook did not make it Santana is the 11th seed in Division 3.  They then lost to  Santa Fe Christian 30-7 then beat Mission Bay a team that hasn’t won a game all season. They then beat Morse (28-20) a Div 2 team that didn’t make the playoffs.  They lost to Lincoln 20-7 then won their last two games against Scripps Ranch and Point Loma. Scripps Ranch won only two games Mission Bay (winless in 2017), and Coronado (won 3 games). Kudos for beating Point Loma. For the life of me, I’m not sure how that happened.  Westview is playing good competitive football right now (at times). Other times they look like a team focused on beating themselves, with blown assignments, and penalties.  If the Wolverine team that can play good football shows up Westview wins 38-28. If the Westview team that showed up the first half of the Mt. Carmel game shows up it could end up being a long night. Rancho Bernardo is going into their championship run playing the Valhalla Norsemen. Valhalla hasn’t won a game since early September. They have no quality wins and nothing that would indicate they can make a run.  Rancho Bernardo is coming into the game on a 4 game winning streak. They have one of the best coaching staffs in the county and have pulled off a miracle with the squad they have this year. Nobody predicted them to be in the position they’re in however, if they stay healthy they have a real chance of making a run for the D1 championship. Rancho Bernardo wins this one 38-7. Last year Poway’s championship run was ended by Olympian in the CIF semifinal run. They will face Olympian again this year in the bye round.  Poway hasn’t won a game since early October when they beat Mt. Carmel 38-21. The last time these two teams met earlier in the season Olympian won 42-41. The typical excuses for losing that come out of Poway have not manifested themselves probably a direct reflection of the new coaching staff.  Despite their awful November, I believe the Poway coaching staff will have their players ready and will redeem themselves against Olympian. Take Poway 35-28.  Mt. Carmel faces Cathedral in the bye round of the Division 1 playoffs. After a devastating loss to the Wolverines, it could easily be assumed the Mt. Carmel will tuck their tail and lose convincingly. However, the loss against the Wolverines hurts those in the stands more than it hurt the players. They’ll rebound this week and get an opponent that is banged up and in the midst of a bit of a coup.  The Cathedral parents are openly unhappy and vocal, calling out coaches during games. The Don’s are also banged up and not the same team they were when Westview played them in early September.  This will be a close one. If Mt. Carmel had any pulse on offense I would pick them, however, they will have a difficult time scoring against a seasoned Don team.  Take the Dons 14-6.

Palomar League-Week 10 Picks (Last week 4-0)

Westview’s win against Vista last Friday night secured a playoff spot for the Wolverines. A win this week against the struggling Mt. Carmel Sundevils could put them in a very nice spot for a Division 2  run.  I was right on the money with the Mt. Carmel, San Marcos score (34-7) and think I have the Sundevils figured out. On offense they are a mess, scoring only 107 points in 9 games, that’s an average of 11 points per game. Things will not change this week for the Devils.  Joe Bennett, Tyler Slaton, Kquamei Wolford, Christian Bury are arguably the best linebacking core in the Palomar League. They will be stingy against the run, taking away the Sundevils only legitimate offensive production opportunity. The Sundevils haven’t been able to throw the ball all season and things will not change this Friday.  Zack Ratzlaff and Jackson Nau will get at least one interception between them. The Devils coaching staff does not want Beau Nelson to beat them, its been that way for the last two years and won’t change this year. Last year the Wolverine offense torched them with the pass early opening up the running game. This year they will play the pass opening up the run. Look for both PJ San Agustin and Beau Nelson to have a big night running the ball. When they stack the box look out Brady’s bunch to be on point put on a show.  Westview wins this one 35-7.  The Del Norte Nighthawks are 0-5 in the Palomar League and will travel to Ramona on Friday night. My hat goes off to the visiting Nighthawks, they play a brutal schedule every year, win one or two games then head to the playoffs. They made playoffs last year because they beat Westview this year they had no such luck and only have 1 win on the season. Ramona is 9-0 this season and there is little chance they will not be 10-0 Friday Night.  Ramona wins this one 48-0.  Poway travels to Rancho Bernardo in what should be a good game.  Poway is trying to rebound after three devastating losses in a row. Rancho Bernard is on cloud nine. Expectations were not very high for this team yet they have managed 4 league wins with their only loss coming to Ramona. Over the years Poway has had a tendency to hang their head when things haven’t gone their way.  Poway’s new coaching staff will change that part of their culture in the coming years just not this year.  Rancho Bernardo rolls 21-7

Palomar League-Week 9 Picks (Last week 1-3)

Westview continues to slip in the rankings and we find ourselves in the same position as we were last year. Right now we are the 9th seed overall, a loss to Vista would put us out of the top 12 with 1 game left.   Vista seems to be playing their best football of the season beating the Mighty Poway Titans (lol) by a score of 21-7. The Vista defense is stingy against the run. Poway had success passing the ball against Vista, look for Westview to do the same. Vista’s touchdowns came on a 61, 21, and 26 yard runs by 3 different backs.  Westview finds itself ahead by 7 at half and can’t close it out.  The RB game was the 4th game this season we were either ahead 7 or behind by 7 at half only to squander opportunities and get blown out in the second half.  We were up by 14 against Poway at half and hung on for an OT victory. I always pick Westview because 3 of our 4 losses were games we should have won, 1 should have been really close.  I’ll pick Westview again 22-21, OT. For some reason, I left Ramona off my picks.  Ramona travels to Poway. Ramona is undefeated, very well coached and has a senior class that finished 5 in the Palomar conference as freshman only to get better every year and dominate everyone in the Palomar League.  Coach Baldwin will have his team ready to play and will not hesitate to put 60 on Poway if he can. 50-7 Ramona. Mt. Carmel will travel to San Marcos in what should be a walk in the park for San Marcos.  Mt. Carmel has two evenly matched quarterbacks that they play musical chairs with.  This strategy worked very well against Del Norte last Friday, but San Marcos isn’t Del Norte. The strategy didn’t work last year and won’t work this year. Let’s just pray they continue the strategy for the next two weeks. San Marcos plays really good football with a coach that has a mentality to sling the ball around no matter who he has at QB or WR.  This one will be closer than you might think as San Marcos readies themselves for a playoff run.  34-7 San Marcos. The Rancho Bernardo Broncos travel to Del Norte.  I love Del Norte’s heart. Year in and year out they play a tough schedule, lose most of their games. They will not win this one but will be battle tested going into the D3 playoffs. RB looked like world beaters against Westview last week, playing clean football and giving our offensive line all they could handle.  40-7 Rancho Bernardo

Palomar League-Week 8 Picks (Last week 3-1)

Westview moves on to Rancho Bernardo for what will probably be the senior Wolverine players last game in Westview Stadium. It’s also the third annual Red White and Blue game that honors military veterans and their service. Rancho Bernardo (RB) 2-5 overall, 2-1 in league play, with victories over Vista and Mt. Carmel, has the same league record the Wolverines.  RB seems to get better every week surprising me with a 24-7 win over Vista last Friday.Rancho Bernardo has struggled this year to put points on the board averaging 8.4 points per game but put 29 on a tough El Camino team and 24 on Vista last week.  Their defense hasn’t fared much better giving up 30 points a game. Westview’s win against Poway was a dominating performance given two of Poway’s  TD’s came on two big plays given up by the Wolverine defense. The Wolverines average 23 points per game on offense and give up an average of 24 points per game on defense.  The Wolverines will show up for their Seniors last game.  Westview 28 Rancho Bernardo 14  Vista will travel to Poway this Friday.  In typical Poway fashion, the word is Poway has already begun to marginalize Westview’s win blaming it on, of all things, Friday the 13th and the referee’s. It’s a home game for them and it’s not Friday the 13th, as a result, they should roll over Vista. Poway 95 Vista 0.  Not really, Poway 27 Vista 14. Mt. Carmel has a home game against Del Norte. With both teams fresh off a thumping, both teams will look to rebound. With Mathew Holmes at the helm, the Mt. Carmel will stay true to their strength, limit sacks and interceptions and play a game of field position.  Don’t let Mt. Carmel’s performance against Ramona fool you. They’re getting better each week. Del Norte struggles scoring points and this game will not give them many opportunities.  Mt. Carmel 28 Del Norte 3.

Palomar League-Week 7 Picks (Last week 3-1)

42-13, nothing more needs to be said about the embarrassing loss to Ramona last Friday.  That was a game Westview should have won.  On to Poway. New coaches bring new philosophies and both schools have new coaches. Westview coach Kyle Williams came in last season promising toughness and a championship attitude, Poway’s new coach Scott Coats was a finalist for the Westview head coaching job vacated by Mike Woodward a year and a half ago, that job was given to current coach Kyle Williams. Coats knows how to build a winner. While at Piedmont high school in northern California he took over a team that went 5-6 in 2012 and went 6-6 in his first year winning a playoff game. The following year his team went  12-1, won their league, made it to the CIF semi-finals eventually losing to Justin-Siena. Westview comes into Friday nights contest losing two straight by an average of 32 points. Poway comes into the contest on a two-game winning streak, 2-0 in conference play, 3-3 overall. This is a tough game to handicap, but let’s start with last years 31-6 Poway Victory.  Add 3 points to our score for home field advantage 31-9, Last years special teams cost us at least 21 points but we hired a new special teams coach and have improved a lot over last year, take 14 away from Poway 17-9 offensively were are 13.5 points a game better on offense add 14 points to Westview, 23-17. Poway is 11 points worse on offense take 11 away from Poway 21-6.  Now the defense. Poway’s defense is 14 points worse than last year add 14 points to Westview 35-6. Westview is 1 point better on defense this year versus last year subtract 1 point to Poway. Westview’s coaches will have them prepared to play, the questions is will the players play for 4 quarters and do they know how to finish. Final score 35-6 Westview. Vista has a home game against Rancho Bernardo.  Vista keeps getting better every week improving to 2-4 overall and an impressive 52-0 win over Del Norte.  Rancho Bernardo is coming off a 42-0 loss against the number one ranked Mission Hills Grizzlies.  Vista is a simple, physical grind it out, team.  They will beat Ranch Bernardo 28-10. Del Norte has a non-conference game against Escondido. Escondido had a close loss to Rancho Buena Vista and beat Fallbrook 17-0.  Del Norte will definitely have to bring their “A” game to win on the road against the Cougars.  Take Escondido 28-17 over the Nighthawks. Ramona has a road game against the the Mt. Carmel Sundevils.  The Sundevils tripped me up last week by making a QB change they will probably stick with the remainder of the season.  Mathew Holmes making his first start of the season against Poway put Mt. Carmel in a position to win before falling short in the 4th quarter 38-21.  With Holmes at the helm Mt. Carmel is a much better team that will pose problems for the remainder of their schedule, just not against Ramona.  The Bulldogs are battle-tested, 6-0 and play the near mistake free, kind of football a smaller D2 school needs to play to win. Ramona wins this one 28-7.


Palomar League-Week 6 Picks (Last week 2-2)

Westview is coming off a bye week that enabled them to get healthier. Westview arguably has one of the best passing offenses in the county but were only able to put only 14 points on the board against division 1 teams. Westview’s defense struggled mightily against against those same opponents giving up 89 points in those same two games.  The importance of a win for the Wolverines is unquestionable and will define this staff and its players for years to come. If the Wolverines come ready to play they win a close one 28-27. Del Norte has a home game against the Vista Panthers. Both teams are 0-2 in league play and 1-4 overall.  Vista’s only win came against a tough San Pasqual team while Del Norte’s came against the struggling Fallbrook Warriors. Vista wins this one running away 28-14.  Rancho Bernardo plays host to the Mission Hills Grizzly’s .  After a 34-20 thumping last year Mission Hills will look to show who’s the best team in the county.  Rancho Bernardo will not score a point in this contest and the high powered Grizzly offense will score a lot.  The Grizzly’s win this one 50-0. Poway plays host to the Mt. Carmel Sundevils.  Poway has two wins this season against the winless Bonita Vista Barons and the one win Del Norte Nighthawks. Mt. Carmel has one win coming from a one win Vista team. Poway’s new coaching staff and new offense will have them sending chills down the spines of opponents, just not this year. This one could go either way. I like Poway like I liked Vista against Mt. Carmel in week 4 and Mt. Carmel shocked the county with an upset win over Vista.  I will be surprised if Mt. Carmel scores more than 7 points. Poway wins 21-7.


Palomar League-Week 5 Picks (Last week 4-5)

Westview played okay against a struggling Del Norte Team. Westview will want to avenge last years humbling loss against Torrey Pines and show they belong in the conversation among San Diego’s elite teams. Westview gets healthier but is still a little banged up. If Westview’s offense can control the line of scrimmage there may be only 2-3 drives per quarter. If they can get up early and often it could be a one-sided affair. Westview 34 Torrey Pines 17.  Ramona plays Vista in a key league match-up.  Vista made me look like a fool after falling to Mt. Carmel 7-0 (won’t make that mistake again) Ramona blasted Rancho Bernardo 28-0. Ramona wins this one as well. Ramona 21 Vista 7.  Rancho Bernardo hosts Mt. Carmel this week that could prove to produce less offensive yardage than the Mt. Carmel, Vista match-up.  Both teams are not playing good football right now. Mt. Carmel 7  Rancho Bernardo 0.  Del Norte plays host to Poway this week. Poway’s only win came against Bonita Vista that has not won a game all season. Del Norte’s only win came a against a winless Fallbrook team. This game could eclipse the Mt. Carmel, Rancho Bernardo game in excitement. If you have a choice go to the Poway, Del Norte Contest. Poway will rebound this week getting a much needed win. Poway 28 Del Norte 7. 

Palomar League-Week 4 Picks

Westview’s defense got hit big last week and gave up 48. Look for Donnelly’s Dogs to act like someone is trying to take away their bone. Westview 28 Del Norte 0. Ramona Plays Rancho Bernardo in Ramona. Ramona’s playing good football right now RB isn’t. Ramona 35 Rancho Bernardo 14. Poway plays La Costa Canyon in Poway. Two years ago Poway’s new coach was a candidate for the Westview head coaching job.  He was second then and will be again Friday Night.  LCC 38 Poway 14. Vista Plays Mt. Carmel in Sundevil Stadium. Mt. Carmel hasn’t won a game so far this season. It’s often said, “Win the games you should win”. Mt. Carmel should win this game but won’t. Bet the Farm, the Ranch and everything else.  Vista 21 Mt. Carmel 7.  See John’s Picks by clicking here.