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PIGSKIN PROPHECIES

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The record speaks for itself. The Prophet was 12-2 last week, including a victory and a near-miss on the almost impossible task of predicting how many points Tustin would run up against Ocean View. Meanwhile, guest Melanie Neff went a mediocre 9-5. Neff claims she just had an off week and that she bounced back on Sunday and Monday by correctly tabbing all 14 NFL games. Did you see that in print? Me either. Up this week is Michael Itagaki, who is perhaps best known for his work covering the local volleyball scene. Mike can take his best shot, but he should expect to be rooofed!

THE PROPHET

Season totals for The Prophet: 16-23 (73%) 111 points

Last week: 12-2 22 points

MICHAEL ITAGAKI

Season totals for the guests: 56-28 (67%) 96 points

Last week: Melanie Neff 9-5 11 points

GAME OF THE WEEK (5 points)

No. 4 Edison vs. No. 2 Los Alamitos

at Long Beach Veterans Stadium, Tonight

THE PROPHET SAYS: Edison usually figures out a way to move the ball against Los Alamitos. Last year, for example, the Chargers put up 36 points against a Griffin defense that had allowed 37 points in its previous six games. And still Edison lost. The Chargers, with a healthy Darryl Poston, should score more than their fair share of points again tonight. And again it won’t be enough. Los Alamitos 41, Edison 33

ITAGAKI SAYS: Los Alamitos has made an annual habit of tormenting Edison Coach Dave White. Edison is 0-6 against Los Al in the Sunset League, including some heart-breakers. In 1997, a field goal with four seconds left beat the Chargers, 31-28. In 1994 when Los Al was No. 1 in the county and Edison No. 4 (sound familiar?), Kevin Feterik’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Tony Hartley with 12 seconds left gave the Griffins a 15-12 win. Hmmm, ‘94, ’97 . . . Los Alamitos 15, Edison 12

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OTHER TOP GAMES (each 3 points)

Valencia vs. Western at Western H.S., Tonight

THE PROPHET SAYS: Each of these teams has faced only two tough opponents. Valencia lost both--a close one to Villa Park and a not-so-close one to Kennedy. Western snuck by Loara, but got hammered by a very good team from Hacienda Heights Los Altos. Western has the edge on paper and in the polls--the Pioneers are No. 1 in Division IX; Valencia is No. 10. But last season, Western came into this matchup with a similar swagger and was humbled. Upset special. Valencia 21, Western 20

ITAGAKI SAYS: I admire Valencia Coach Mike Marrujo even more after I found out that a good friend of mine, all 5-feet-4 100-something pounds of him in high school, played defensive back for the Tiger coach. If Marrujo could win with him, imagine what he can do with 5-11 185-pound running back Grant Dhenin? Still, Western has too many weapons. The Tigers may keep it close, but not close enough. Western 15, Valencia 10

Sonora at La Habra, Friday

THE PROPHET SAYS: La Habra won the Freeway League last season on the strength of its running game. This season, the Highlanders might very well repeat. But if they do, it’ll be with balance. Quarterback Mike Keeling is an efficient passer and Brent West is averaging just shy of five yards per carry. Sonora has improved, but the league title will be decided on Nov. 3, when La Habra plays Fullerton. La Habra 31, Sonora 20

ITAGAKI SAYS: Even with a healthy David Mayfield, who sat out last week with an injured ankle, Sonora might need a big game from quarterback Nick Ross to beat the Highlanders. And Sonora has to figure out a way to slow down Keao Burdine, one of the best outside hitters in the nation . . . oops, wrong sport. La Habra 25, Sonora 14

No. 1 Mater Dei vs. L.A. Loyola at Glendale H.S., Saturday

THE PROPHET SAYS: Matt Leinart might be the best player in Orange County, but he might not be the best player on the field in this game. Loyola’s Matt Ware is outstanding both at safety and quarterback, and Leinart should get used to seeing him as an opponent. Leinart has committed to USC; Ware is bound for UCLA. The typically tough Loyola defense keeps this one close. Mater Dei 21, Loyola 16

ITAGAKI SAYS: So I hear this Leinart kid is pretty good, ridiculously good. And the rest of the Monarchs aren’t bad either, right? But the rankings don’t matter when Catholic school powers of this stature meet. Mater Dei likely hasn’t forgotten that Loyola dealt the Monarchs the lone loss of their 1991 section championship season--long before the the prophet was primping his turban in Orange County. But I digress. Mater Dei 15, Loyola 13

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THE REST (1 point each)

* Rancho Alamitos vs. Garden Grove, Tonight: The Prophet: Garden Grove was shut out in three of its first four games, but since then the Argonauts seem to be on an upswing. Garden Grove, 15-14. Itagaki: Garden Grove, 15-11.

* No. 3 Esperanza vs. Marina at Westminster H.S., Tonight: The Prophet: Last week, Marina got beat up by the Sunset League’s best team. This week, the Vikings will fall to the league’s best offensive player, Esperanza’s Temitope Sonuyi. Esperanza, 31-21. Itagaki: Esperanza, 15-7.

* No. 8 Tustin vs. Pacifica at Bolsa Grande H.S., Tonight: The Prophet: You probably thought I was joking when I said Tustin would score 77 points against Ocean View, but what happened? The Tillers surpassed even that and went for 81. Tustin, 56-28. Itagaki: Tustin, 15-3.

* Cerritos Valley Christian vs. Orange Lutheran at Brea Olinda H.S. Friday: The Prophet: Bad timing for Orange Lutheran, which is a key injury or two shy of living up to its end of what was expected to be a dynamite league championship game. Cerritos Valley Christian, 21-7. Itagaki: Orange Lutheran, 15-7.

* Foothill vs. Santa Ana Valley at Santa Ana Stadium, Friday: The Prophet: Foothill is 2-4, but three of its loses have been tough ones. To the victor goes a probable playoff berth. Foothill, 28-14. Itagaki: Santa Ana Valley, 25-21.

* Katella vs. Cypress at Western H.S., Friday: The Prophet: Cypress was bounced from the ranks of the undefeated last week, and by the end of the season the Centurions will come to rest somewhere near the middle of the Empire League standings--just ahead of Katella. Cypress, 30-28. Itagaki: Katella, 15-9.

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* Ocean View at Westminster, Friday: The Prophet: What a quirk of scheduling: After allowing 81 points to Tustin, Ocean View faces a team that has been shut out three times this season. Ocean View, 21-7. Itagaki: Ocean View, 15-6.

* University vs. Estancia at Orange Coast College, Friday: The Prophet: The winner of this one takes a major step forward in a wide-open Pacific Coast League race. University, 17-15. Itagaki: University, 25-20.

* Laguna Hills at Newport Harbor, Friday: The Prophet: Laguna Hills was averaging 28 points per game before getting blanked by Woodbridge last week. Newport Harbor won’t be league champion, but look out for the Sailors in the playoffs. Newport Harbor, 28-14. Itagaki: Newport Harbor, 17-15.

* No. 6 San Clemente vs. El Toro at Trabuco Hills H.S., Friday: The Prophet: San Clemente has won five in a row and, even with some key injuries, shouldn’t be seriously challenged for another four weeks. San Clemente, 21-10. Itagaki: San Clemente, 21-19.

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