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Pigskin Prophecies

September 28, 2000

Proving we're an equal-opportunity operation, we've accepted the challenge of chain-smoking chief of stats Darin Esper, who somehow conned his editor into allowing him to write about motor sports. Darin hasn't been the same since Eric "Crash" Sondheimer mistook him for a speed bump and accidentally ran over him in The Times' parking lot while Darin was working on his Harley. Following Sondheimer's lead, I'm going to pop Darin like a Firestone tire and send him back to the pits. As for last week, your Soothsaying Swami was enough of a gentleman to let a little woman, Paige Leech, have a big day. Now get back in the kitchen!

The Prophet

Season totals for the Prophet: 29 of 45 (64%), 39 points

Guest

Season totals for the guests: 29 of 45 (64%), 43 points

GAME OF THE WEEK (5 points)

Kennedy at Taft

THE PROPHET SAYS: Taft's sophomore sensation, WR Steve Smith, reportedly has been offered a scholarship by USC. Not to be outdone, UCLA is said to be scouring Conejo Valley junior highs in search of another lousy quarterback. Taft, 36-32.

ESPER SAYS: I was one of only three challengers last year to beat the sultan of swineskins, who will be leaving his bald spot uncovered when he uses his turban to wipe away the tears again. Every coach knows defense wins games. Taft, 34-17.

OTHER TOP GAMES (each 3 points)

Palmdale vs. Hart at College of the Canyons

THE PROPHET SAYS: Hart, reeling from its loss to Westlake, tried to hold a closed practice this week. But coaches unwisely chose the team's offensive linemen to guard the entrances. People flooded past them and sacked QB Kyle Matter. Hart, 23-12.

ESPER SAYS: Speaking of defense, Eric Sondheimer gets defensive any time Hart, St. Francis, Notre Dame and UCLA lose. Even if the Herringtons change the offense's spark plugs and clean the fuel injectors, Hart will stall. Palmdale, 37-21.

*

Buena at Camarillo

THE PROPHET SAYS: Instead of playing a boring football game, let's determine a winner with a caged wrestling match between two of Ventura County's biggest, baddest running backs--Loren Cerny of Camarillo and Freddy Keiaho of Buena. Camarillo, 28-21.

ESPER SAYS: I don't need no stinkin' crystal ball to know Buena has the No. 5-ranked defense among Southern Section teams in the region and Camarillo's ranks No. 46. Buena, 42-24.

*

San Fernando at Birmingham

THE PROPHET SAYS: Surprising Birmingham beat Reseda to improve to 3-0, but won't have Joel Schaeffer to kick around this week. San Fernando also is 3-0 and probably should be favored. So why am I picking the Patriots? Because I'm a sucker for a Cinderella story. Birmingham, 24-21.

ESPER SAYS: Birmingham has outscored opponents, 104-34, but those teams are a combined 3-6. San Fernando has returned to its traditional tough running game. RBs Bob Stanley and Ulysses Ramirez don't invoke memories of Charles White, but they give Patriots a reality check. San Fernando, 27-14.

THE REST (1 point each)

* Westlake at Thousand Oaks: The Prophet: Will Thousand Oaks be considered the best 0-4 team in the region after falling to the mighty Warriors? Westlake, 34-10. Esper: Thousand Oaks, 20-14.

* Simi Valley at Rio Mesa: The Prophet: Reportedly, there's no truth to the rumor that Coach Steve Carroll of Simi Valley plans to have RB Chris Delung carry the ball 60 times, serve as water boy and, afterward, remove boulders from Carroll's backyard. Rio Mesa, 14-7. Esper: Rio Mesa, 44-38.

* Saugus at Quartz Hill: The Prophet: Both teams are struggling and in need of a victory. Only Saugus gets what it needs. Saugus, 14-10. Esper: Saugus, 34-14.

* Cleveland at Grant: The Prophet: Both teams should be rejuvenated after taking last week off. Cleveland was pounded by Monroe, 49-0, and Grant allowed a national-record 764 yards passing to David Koral of Palisades in a 48-30 loss. Cleveland, 31-14. Esper: Cleveland, 42-27.

* Arroyo Grande at Ventura: The Prophet: Is Ventura for real? Is RB Tyler Ebell the Ventura County version of Marshall Faulk? This game will provide the answers. Ventura, 27-24. Esper: Arroyo Grande, 34-27.

* Notre Dame at Alemany: The Prophet: Taking his cue from Louie Procopio, Notre Dame's ultra-superstitious defensive back, Knight booster Eric Sondheimer plans to kiss the headset of Coach Kevin Rooney before kickoff to ensure a victory. Notre Dame, 34-17. Esper: Notre Dame, 35-8.

* Barstow at Antelope Valley: The Prophet: This game will be a good test for the Antelopes (2-1), considering Barstow is 1-1 against Golden League teams. Barstow, 21-14. Esper: Antelope Valley, 21-14.

* Gabrielino at Burbank: The Prophet: Esper, a.k.a. Gaskethead, graduated from Burbank. Enough said. Gabrielino, 49-0. Esper: Gabrielino, 28-0.

* Crescenta Valley at La Canada: The Prophet: La Canada's three victories have come against Burbank, Glendale and Burroughs, the Bermuda Triangle of prep football. The Spartans stumble taking a step up in competition. Crescenta Valley, 31-14. Esper: Crescenta Valley, 27-21.

* Lancaster at Hueneme: The Prophet: Look for Hueneme's speedy stable of running backs, featuring cousins Leslie and Tamar Lee, to run circles around the Eagles. Hueneme, 33-21. Esper: Lancaster, 20-14.

* Paraclete at Monroe: The Prophet: Monroe is flying high after its stunning 49-0 victory over Cleveland. Steady Paraclete brings the Vikings back to earth. Paraclete, 27-21. Esper: Paraclete, 27-21.

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