Week 4 has a couple of intriguing games, including a matchup of two undefeated teams.
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):
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Escalon (3-0) at Downey (3-0), 7 p.m. at Downey High School
The Cougars are the No. 1 ranked small school team by the Bee and Friday’s game will their biggest test when they face the Knights. Downey, the No. 14 ranked large school team, beat Merced last week while Escalon defeated Sonora. Escalon is averaging 238 rushing yards per game and senior Kaiden Christensen averages 10.3 yards per carry and has three touchdowns. The Knights are averaging over 45 points per game.
Jim Silva: Downey 28, Escalon 27. The Cougars have their best team in years, and Downey’s defense is susceptible. It’s going to be a great game.
Julian Lopez: Covering game.
Central Catholic (0-3) at Upland (2-1), 7 p.m. at Upland High School
After suffering another loss to St. Mary’s, Central Catholic will travel 350 miles south to face Upland. The Highlanders have outscored their last two opponents, 78-7 and senior linebacker Justin Flowe is the No. 5 ranked player in the nation by 247Sports.
JS: Upland 35, Central Catholic 7. Things don’t get any easier for the Raiders, who head to SoCal and won’t have their best player, Minaya Olivo.
Julian Lopez: Upland 24, Central Catholic 10: Flowe is one of the best linebackers to come out of the LA region.
Ripon (3-0) at Calaveras (1-1), 7 p.m. at Calaveras High School
The Indians have outscored their opponents, 149-39 and are No. 5 in the small school rankings. Senior quarterback Nico Illardi has thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Calaveras was tied at 7 at halftime against Escalon two weeks ago before falling, 24-7. It rebounded with a 42-8 win over Modesto Christian last week.
JS: Ripon 28, Calaveras 24. The Indians don’t have many players (about 20), but the ones they have are really good. Calaveras is their biggest test yet.
JL: Ripon 24, Calaveras 13: A potential trap game for the Indians, who open Trans-Valley League next week against Hilmar.
Sheldon (2-1) at Turlock (2-1), 7:15 p.m. at Turlock High School
Perhaps Turlock’s 43-14 victory over Tracy was the most impressive win in the area.The Bulldogs moved up to No. 5 and will face the Huskies, who beat Kennedy, 56-28 last week. The Bulldogs have won 12 straight home games but fell to Sheldon, 41-28 last year.
JS: Turlock 28, Sheldon 3. The Bulldogs’ defense is the real deal, and the offense will only get better as the season continues.
JL: Turlock 35, Sheldon 17: Another test against a Div. I team has the Bulldogs coming out with the victory. Senior quarterback Brock Paslay throws for three touchdowns.
Palma (1-1) at Oakdale (2-1), 7:30 p.m. at Oakdale High School
Oakdale returns home after narrowly escaping with a 21-19 win at Aptos. Senior running back Leo Ayala and junior running back Zeke Saffar have combined for over 600 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Palma is from Salinas and beat Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory 35-21 in Week 2.
JL: Oakdale 31, Palma 13: The running attack paves the way for the Mustangs, who shut out the Chieftains in the second half.
JS: Covering game.
Week 4 Schedule
7 p.m.: Johansen at East Union, Escalon at Downey, Central Valley at Enochs (at Johansen), Patterson at Modesto (at Gregori), Central Catholic at Upland, Modesto Christian at El Capitan, West at Ceres, Summerville at Hughson, Hilmar at Sonora, Ripon at Calaveras
7:15 p.m.: Gregori at McNair, Big Valley Christian at Waterford, Sheldon at Turlock, Linden at Le Grand
7:30 p.m.: Pitman at Bullard, Palma at Oakdale, Riverbank at Millennium, Denair at Soquel