The Valley Gems: Week Seven Edition
As the schedule hits week seven, league title races are beginning to take shape. An East Valley matchup with league championship dreams on the line takes place at CCLA. Three matchups in the West Valley will show who are the real contenders for the championship, while the game of the week features two Valley Mission teams with no margin for error, and potentially could have an impact on postseason aspirations. Here is what you need to know about the best matchups featured in the SFV this week:
Birmingham Patriots (4-2) at Chatsworth Chancellors (3-3) – Chatsworth High School, 7 pm
The Patriots looked as good as advertised versus a formidable Granada Hills team on the road last week. An emerging story out of Birmingham is the play of Javen Hall, the senior transfer from El Camino Real who has come in and played well for the Patriots offense. Hall’s number was called in the first half and proceeded to go 9-9 for 117 yards, while also contributing 38 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. While this performance does not mean that Kingston Tisdell is losing his starting spot, it shows that the Patriots have two talented signal callers capable of running the show if needed. The ultimate key to the game will be Birmingham’s stout defensive front, versus Chatsworth’s stud running back Isaiah Rameau. Last season the Pats held Rameau to 56 yards on the ground on their way to a 59-0 victory. The Chancellors will need to get Rameau going if they plan to win this game.
Verdugo Hills Dons (4-3) at Chavez Eagles (3-3) – CCLA, 7 pm
The Chavez Eagles had a massive opportunity slip through the fingers last week on the road at Monroe, but all is not lost. In many ways, they still control their own destiny if they are going to win the East Valley this season. It all starts tonight when they take on Verdugo Hills at home. The Dons are still technically in the hunt, but they would need a lot of help. More importantly for the Dons, they are currently projected as a potential top seed in the D III playoffs, and a win against Chavez could set them up to solidify home-field advantage for a postseason run. This game promises to be as competitive as any you will find this week.
El Camino Real Royals (2-4) at Taft Toreadors – Taft High School, 7:30 pm
If you needed to know if this game had enough hype around it, the fact that it is the featured game of the week on LA36 should tell you what you need to know. Taft might be a sleeping giant, but they are showing signs that they are waking up under first-year head coach Fred Emerson. Emerson’s Air Raid attack can put up points in a hurry, but El Camino showed last week that they are a tough bunch, especially in the red zone. This game means a ton for both teams, as wins in the West will score big with the computers as it pertains to rankings and positioning for the postseason. Both teams have the potential to make noise in the playoffs, and this game will have a playoff-type atmosphere in the battle for Woodland Hills.
Granada Hill Highlanders (3-2-1) at Cleveland Cavaliers (5-1) – Cleveland High School, 7 pm
There is pride on the line in Reseda when The Highlanders and Cavs hook up Friday night. These two programs have been building to become contenders to knock Birmingham off their throne in the West Valley. The Highlanders got the first chance at the Patriots and came up short at home and Cleveland will get their chance in a couple of weeks, but they will have to deal with Granada Hills first. The Highlanders will be looking to rebound this week and avoid going 0-2 to start league play. If they are going to do that, they will need to find a way to minimize Cleveland’s Kory Hall’s impact on the contest. Hall usually has his fingerprints on every win the Cavs tally, whether it's in the run or pass game on offense or controlling the airspace in the defensive secondary. Stop him, and you give yourself a chance. Let him get loose, and you can find yourself down on the scoreboard in a hurry.
VST Game of the Week
Sylmar Spartans (4-3) at San Fernando Tigers (6-1) – San Fernando High School, 7 pm
The game of the week comes from San Fernando, where the Tigers are still very much in the hunt for the Valley Mission crown. They rebounded in a big way versus Van Nuys last week, but they will have a tough test on their hands when Sylmar comes to pay them a visit this week. This is the kind of contest that can easily become a trap game for San Fernando if they look past this week knowing a trip to Panorama is on the horizon next week. The Spartans may not be looked at as a title threat after losing to Panorama by 29 points, but this team is as dangerous as any in the Valley offensively. The Tigers have been outstanding defensively this season, but they will have to be on high alert when players like Will Clark and Jayce Mims are on the outside with the ability to break long touchdowns at any given time for Sylmar. This game has the potential to be a shootout with the way both teams like to throw the ball downfield.