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

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Tarek’s Takes is a weekly piece that revisits my high school football predictions from the week before. Where I was right and where I was wrong, and why.

I predicted the outcome of nine Week 4 games and went 6-3 against a slate of games that had multiple toss ups. Eagle Rock made the biggest liar out of me with its performance. We’ll get to that in a second …

Right picks: Thousand Oaks over Oak Park (28-14); Saugus over Valencia (28-21); Mission Viejo over Alemany (45-8); Chaminade over Loyola (48-10); Cleveland over Palisades (34-14); Orange Lutheran over Notre Dame Sherman Oaks (37-14)

Wrong picks: Serra Gardena over Oaks Christian (20-14); Yorba Linda over Simi Valley (33-17); Eagle Rock over Granada Hills Charter (38-22)

2022 pick record: 28-14 | Game of the Week: 1-4

Tarek’s Takes

Eagle Rock’s defense, discipline impressed

Eagle Rock head coach Andy Moran said the team’s win over Granada Hills was a big step forward.

“I was pulling out whatever hair I had left last week coaching effort,” Moran said. “A lightbulb went off in that game. It was a great week to be a coach.”

The Eagles moved to 5-0 after the win and are looking more and more like a City Section Open Division contender week by week. It would be the first time since 2018 the Eagles earned an Open Division playoff berth. Moran, who took over in 2015, says they don’t talk about winning. Instead, they talk about success and process, but there’s a feel for where the team is headed.

“We don’t say it out loud,” Moran said. “But we are embracing the opportunity to play in the Open Division. We’ll play wherever we are put.”

Eagle Rock competes in the Northern League with Franklin (4-0), Lincoln (2-2), Wilson (4-1) and Marshall (1-3). The Eagles are the only Northern League team to win an Open Division playoff game since it was created in 2017, according to Moran.

Eagle Rock coach reads the Daily News

The game was all but over Friday night. Eagle Rock had a healthy lead deep into the fourth quarter when Eagles defensive coordinator Greg Pierce turned away from the field, looked at me and yelled: “The Stanley Show, huh!?”

I stood and chuckled. I didn’t know who Pierce was. But I do now …

Eagle Rock went on to beat Granada Hills Charter 37-22 in a game I predicted Dijon and Darrell Stanley would win for the Highlanders and coined their 1-2 punch ‘The Stanley Show’. Heck, the ‘show’ was a proverbial sellout at 3-0 until last week.

Though Pierce’s gesture came off immature while the game was still going on. I understand when I pick against teams it can be bulletin board material, and furthermore, this is why Tarek Take’s exists – so I can stand up and say I was wrong.

I congratulated Pierce on his win as I was leaving the parking lot.

Simi Valley, Oak Christian fall short, but in a good way

Oaks Christian’s two losses are to Mission League opponents this season, one to Chaminade and one to Gardena Serra. Both of which came by just one possession. Chaminade is the Daily News No. 1 team and Serra has played arguably the toughest schedule around. The Lions are probably frustrated about the 20-14 loss, but the way I see it: they’re going to be just fine when its time to play Marmonte League football.

However, Oaks Christian cannot overlook Loyola this week.

On the other hand, Simi Valley – also in the Marmonte League – has lost two straight, and in a fashion we are not used to seeing. The Pioneers lost to Saugus and Yorba Linda and scored just 14 points in each game. Maybe, we are witnessing some growing pains from sophomore quarterback Steele Pizzella?

Either way, these losses might be a good thing for coach Jim Benkert and his ball club. Last year, they went 10-0 with almost no resistance, no adversity to overcome. Now, Simi Valley (3-2) is looking straight down the barrel of a three-game losing streak, which looks like a healthy dose of adversity if you ask me.

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