A look at two of the top high school football games in the Southland on Friday:
Venice (3-3, 1-0) at Palisades (5-1, 1-0), 7 p.m.
With uncertainty about Harbor City Narbonne, this Western League game for first place takes on added importance in the competition to gain a City Section Open Division playoff berth. Venice coach Angelo Gasca said he needs his defense to be more physical. The Gondoliers played a tougher nonleague schedule and hope that has prepared them. Palisades relies on junior quarterback Forrest Brock, who has passed for 13 touchdowns. Venice counters with Duke-bound quarterback Luca Diamont. Linebacker Syaire Riley is a standout for Palisades. The pick: Venice.
Bellflower St. John Bosco (6-0, 1-0) at San Juan Capistrano JSerra (5-1, 1-0), 7 p.m.
St. John Bosco got a scare last week, barely getting past Anaheim Servite 27-26. The Braves learned they need to cut down on penalties and mistakes. Jode McDuffie has added versatility to the Braves’ talented receiving group with five touchdown receptions. JSerra gave St. John Bosco a competitive game last season and will need to create opportunities for running back Chris Street. The pick: St. John Bosco.