There was a time during my coverage of high school football when I would predict the final score of the weekly football matchups. I stopped doing so because I was not being completely honest with my final-score predictions, purposely making the final score closer than I really thought it would be in an attempt to avoid embarrassing an obviously overmatched team.

But I like to think I have a pretty good idea of how a game will play out.

While I may be out of the prediction game, I’m still always trying to find the best football matchups come Friday and so far, I’m 3-for-3 in choosing to cover arguably the best games of the weekend.

Week 1 saw Terra Nova hold off Hillsdale when the Knights’ last-minute, 2-point conversion try fell incomplete during a 14-13 Tigers’ win. Week 2 saw Mills put up a fight, but ultimately fall 26-21 to visiting Monta Vista-Cupertino. A game that was tied 14-all at halftime, a game that saw Vikings’ running back Fonzy Ortega rush for 104 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries and a game in which Mills had the ball and five minutes to play to drive for a game-winning score.

The Vikings came up short, but ask any coach if they would want the ball and time on the clock to win the game, they would take it every time.

Last week, I continued my hot streak as San Mateo held off Carlmont, 28-21. In this one, the Bearcats scored the game-winner with just under a minute to play.

Conversely, Daily Journal sports reporter Terry Bernal has seen nothing but blowouts in his first three weeks, which encompasses four games. In Week 1, it was a 41-0 Carlmont win over El Camino; Week 2 saw Serra bury Palo Alto. Last Friday, he watched Terra Nova crush Jefferson 34-0 and Saturday watched College of San Mateo run roughshod over College of Sequoias, 41-0.

I haven’t decided which game I’ll be covering this week, but I’ll do my best to find the best matchup possible — and hopefully Bernal can get in on an exciting game as well this week.

***

There was a local angle to St. Francis upset of De La Salle last week in Mountain View. The Lancers’ 31-28 win ended the Spartans’ 30-year, 318-game unbeaten streak against California teams north of Clovis — generally agreed as the dividing line between northern and southern California.

Lancers’ starting quarterback, junior Matthew Dougherty Jr., who completed 7-of-15 passes for 122 yards and the game-winning, 34-yard score, is a Burlingame resident.

Tim Netane, a senior wide receiver/defensive back who made a juggling touchdown catch for 11 yards, started his high school career at Carlmont.

***

With Bernal covering the tennis and volleyball beat Tuesday, my plan was to cover the Notre Dame-Belmont at Aragon girls’ water polo match, slated for a 5 p.m. start. It would have given the front page of the Daily Journal sports section the trifecta of sports going on that day.

I got to the Aragon gym about 15 minutes before the match and something just felt off. The parking lot was fairly empty considering there was a match to be played and as I walked into the pool area, it was evident something was up: there was no buzz around the complex. There were 12 players in the pool, no one on the benches, no one in the stands and the referee was not in his traditional all-white uniform.

It just didn’t feel right, so I pivoted to a volleyball match.

Now I know why everything felt off. According to a note from Peninsula Athletic League statistician Simi Lee, the NDB-Aragon match was canceled due to a lack of referees.

***

A couple days after its home game against Placer was canceled because of COVID issues for the Gold Country high school, the Menlo-Atherton football team has added another opponent to fill the Bears’ Oct. 1 bye week.

Instead, the Bears will essentially swap their bye week. They’ll be off this week, but two weeks later will be on the road at Oak Ridge-El Dorado at 7 p.m.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. To report scores or have tips, email sports@smdailyjournal.com

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