High School Football

Local teams look to remain undefeated: Games to watch with predictions in Week 3.

Bee photographers capture high school football week 2 in Oakdale and Modesto

Oakdale battles Liberty, Central Catholic hosts De La Salle in Friday night football contests
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Oakdale battles Liberty, Central Catholic hosts De La Salle in Friday night football contests

Week 3 features a couple of area teams in different leagues facing off as well as the annual Holy Bowl.

The Bee’s sports reporter Julian A. Lopez and football writer Jim Silva highlight their games to watch for this week along with predictions: (Note: They do not predict games they will be covering):

NameLast WeekOverall
Jim Silva6-38-5
Julian A. Lopez6-38-5

Oakdale (1-1) at Aptos (0-1), 7:30 p.m. at Aptos High School

After a tough loss against Liberty, the Mustangs will travel 130 miles to face the Mariners, the 2018 Central Coast Open Division III Champions. Aptos coach Randy Blankenship won 202 games in 25 years at six different schools in the Fresno area including four section titles with Clovis West between 1991-98.

Jim Silva: Oakdale 24, Aptos 21. It’s a long road trip and a matchup against a good team, but the Mustangs proved a lot in last week’s close loss to Liberty.

Julian A. Lopez: Oakdale 31, Aptos 24: After last week, I am all-in on the Mustangs. Oakdale coach Trent Merzon gets a road victory in a battle between two running teams.

Downey (2-0) at Merced (1-1), 7:30 p.m. at Golden Valley High School

Two teams coming off overtime games with different results face off. Downey beat Manteca last week while Merced fell to Gregori in double-overtime. Last year, Merced beat Downey, 47-44 and the Knights are 0-3 against Merced under coach Jeremy Plaa.

JS: Downey 31, Merced 13. The Knights come off an wild 54-48 overtime win over Manteca and momentum is on their side against the Bears.

JL: Downey 42, Merced 28: Knights offense carries the team to a big road victory.

Central Catholic (0-2) at St. Mary’s (0-1), 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s High School

The good news for Central Catholic against De La Salle last week was it didn’t suffer any injuries. The bad news was the Raiders suffered their second straight loss. Central Catholic will look for its first win of the season when it travels to Stockton to face the Rams in the annual Holy Bowl. The Raiders have won the last two meetings. St. Mary’s had a bye last week and lost to Pittsburg in Week 1.

JL: Central Catholic 24, St. Mary’s 21: Central Catholic gets its first win of the season behind a big night from senior running back Minaya Olivo.

Patterson (1-1) at Los Banos (0-2), 7 p.m. at Los Banos High School

Both teams lost to defending CIF Sac-Joaquin Section champions last week with Patterson falling to Capital Christian at home while Los Banos lost on the road against Hilmar. The Tigers won last year’s matchup, 55-7.

JS: Patterson 35, Los Banos 10. After a tough loss at powerhouse Capital Christian, the Tigers get back on track with a big win.

JL: Patterson 31, Los Banos 14: The Tigers win behind a strong offense and the defense, which struggled last week, forces two turnovers.

Sonora (0-2) at Escalon (2-0), 7 p.m. at Escalon High School

Sonora’s tough non-league schedule continues as the Wildcats travel to face the Cougars, the Bee’s No. 1 ranked small-school team. Escalon, which beat Calaveras last week, beat Sonora last year. The Wildcats lost to Ripon in Week 2 and have been outscored, 96-21 this year.

JS: Escalon 42, Sonora 10. The Cougars are the real deal under second-year coach Andrew Beam. Sonora is a work in progress.

JL: Escalon 34, Sonora 10: The Cougars remain undefeated before next week’s showdown against Downey.


Week 3 Schedule

7 p.m.: Gregori at Beyer (JHS), El Capitan at Davis (MJC), Enochs at McNair-Stockton, Downey at Merced, Central Catholic at St. Mary’s-Stockton, Calaveras at Modesto Christian, Le Grand at Big Valley Christian, Ripon at Central Valley, Patterson at Los Banos, Stone Ridge Christian at Riverbank, Sonora at Escalon, Hughson at Argonaut, Hilmar at Gustine, Orestimba at Golden Sierra-Garden Valley, Sumerville at Ripon Christian, Oakdale at Aptos

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.