Previews and predictions: Daily News’ top high school football games in Week 5

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Here are previews and predictions for the top local games Friday.

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 2 West Ranch vs. No. 3 Saugus at College of the Canyons, 7 p.m.

GAME PREVIEW: West Ranch’s first step toward program history starts with Saugus

Note: Daily News No. 1 Chaminade (5-0), No. 6 Sierra Canyon (2-3), No. 7 Simi Valley (3-2) and No. 12 St. Francis (2-3) are on a bye this week. All are prepping for league play to begin Friday, September 30.

FRIDAY’S TOP GAMES

(All games start 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise)

No. 5 Newbury Park (5-0) at Thousand Oaks (4-0)

The Canyon League becomes more and more interesting each week. Last week, Thousand Oaks beat Oak Park 28-14 to stay unbeaten. Newbury Park thumped Royal 55-0 to do the same.

Now, a healthy 2-0 start in league play is up for grabs Friday night.

Newbury Park quarterback Brady Smigiel has been electric through five games, throwing for 1,356 yards, 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s also tallied four rushing touchdowns. But running back Nolan Story (339 yards rushing, four TDs this season) is as dynamic as they come, and wideout tandem of Shane Rosenthal (496 yards receiving, 6 TDs) and Charlie Simmons (344, 5 TDs) make the Panthers’ offense run like a well-oiled machine.

Story also leads the defense in tackles with 29. The biggest sleeper on the team is Colton Yoos at tight end and linebacker. He’s 6-foot-6, 220 pounds of matchup nightmare.

Thousand Oaks’ Chase Martin tackles everything, now he’s eyeing a football scholarship

Thousand Oaks is one the rise under coach Evan Yabu and senior Chase Martin, who leads the team in all-purpose yards (566) and tackles (49). The Lancers’ win over Oak Park last week might’ve been the team’s toughest test, and the Eagles were without star player Rowan Heidt.

Thousand Oaks’ biggest test will be Friday night, whereas Newbury Park is coming in after a litmus-test win over Santa Maria St. Joseph two weeks ago.

Worth noting: Newbury Park coach Joe Smigiel, who played at Newbury Park, and Chase Martin’s father, Lance Martin, who played at Thousand Oaks, played against each other in high school. The Smigiel-Martin matchup is still alive.

Prediction: Newbury Park. The Panthers have too many weapons.

Loyola (1-3) at No. 4 Oaks Christian (2-2)

The Lions’ losses are to two of the Southland’s top teams, Chaminade and Serra Gardena, and both came by one possession. It’s nothing Oaks Christian should hang its head over, however, something about Friday’s home game against a one-win Loyola seems like a trap game.

Oaks Christian will start Marmonte League play next week and cannot afford to start that campaign 2-3. All that matters this Friday night is focus, focus, focus.

Prediction: Oaks Christian. Senior leadership will have the team locked in.

Tarek’s Take: Eagle Rock earning City Open Division chatter; Simi Valley facing healthy adversity

Hart (1-3) at No. 15 Golden Valley (4-1)

All this Foothill League talk and it seems the only programs being talked (and written) about are West Ranch, Saugus and Valencia. It’s nothing new, but Golden Valley is flying under the radar – probably how coach Dan Kelley likes it, honestly.

The Grizzlies lost its season opener to Newbury Park and has won every game since. Golden Valley has outscored its last four opponents 128-32. Wide receiver Ajani Smith might be the most underrated and under recruited football player in the state.

Prediction: Golden Valley. Grizz start league play 2-0.

No. 11 Oak Park (4-1) at Moorpark (3-1)

Oak Park can get back on track after falling to Thousand Oaks last week without running back Rowan Heidt, but Heidt will play this week, according to coach Casey Webb.

The Eagles not only need to win to get back into the Canyon League title race, but they need to be closet Newbury Park fans Friday night. If Newbury Park can knock off Thousand Oaks, it gives Oak Park a chance to re-insert itself into league championship chatter because the two will clash on October 21.

Prediction: Oak Park. Eagles bounce back.

No. 13 Alemany (1-2) at Lawndale (1-3)

I assured the readers that Alemany would be a storyline to keep an eye on all season. It’s been hard to be sure what the Warriors are capable after beating San Diego Lincoln then losing big to Mission Viejo with two weeks to prepare.

Alemany, again, has been marked as a team that can run the ball well. Let’s see if that gets them a win on the road this week. Going 2-2 would be big for Alemany heading into Mission League play next Friday night against Chaminade.

Prediction: Alemany. The Warriors confuse us even more.

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