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Thousand Oaks

Home-Field Advantage: Football Season Is Starting!

Looking at all the scheduled games, I confess to being disappointed. Seems like COVID squashed most coaches’ will to be competitive! CIF’s ridiculous scheduling and bracketing for the playoffs has taught the coaches that wins are more important than competitive games (based on the strength of schedule). … How sad! They think it’s better to have an undefeated season beating bad teams than lose in OT in a competitive game. How did this happen? I’ll tell you …

It started when CIF changed the format and began picking which division a team gets into for the playoffs — after the season is played. Coaches who are friends or are familiar with the folks running CIF seem to gain an advantage. It is no secret that nobody wants to play in the same playoff bracket as Mater Dei or St. John Bosco. And this is why competition is going by the wayside … Mediocre coaches are scheduling easy games just to win. These games shouldn’t be played. Stronger teams beat weaker teams by 40 points. Nobody wants to watch, let alone play in, such a lopsided “contest.” Hey, coaches, be better than that … State ranking is not an exact science but a good guide. A team should never play a team 100 points below them in the rankings. It’s just bad for the teams, for the fans and for the game …

Before COVID, here in our area, we had three of the top high school football teams, but now only Oaks is ranked among the top teams in California — and still isn’t “Mater Dei” or “St. John Bosco” good …

1. Oaks Christian – Ranked 35* in California

2. Calabasas – Ranked 116* in California

3. Westlake – Ranked 198* in California

Calabasas, Westlake and Oaks Christian, with the edge going to Oaks … That’s how it used to be. They competed with top teams in the state and represented our community with honor. Today, only Oaks Christian remains in the top 50 and is always looking for competitive games. … Meanwhile, Calabasas and Westlake are being moved out of the Marmonte League (this happens next year; CIF, why wait?). The fall-off for all three schools is due to coaching … All three lost their coaches. Westlake has gone through four (count them, four) coaches, and with every coach, the program has become worse. The current coach scheduled one of the worst football teams in California — Taft — for the season opener … My guess is the coach wants to save his job with a victory. Taft is ranked 775 in the state. I don’t think he could have scheduled an easier game. Taft got blown out, 47-0, by Birmingham, one of the two games Westlake won last year … Westlake should beat Taft easily. I doubt it will even be competitive. If Westlake doesn’t blow out Taft, it foretells a long season …

Here are the season openers for the Marmonte and Canyon Leagues. In the Marmonte League, Oaks Christian is the only team playing a better-ranked team, and it should be a good one.

Marmonte League Season Openers (*MaxPreps 2022 state ranking)

1. Oaks Christian*35 Scheduled #19* Chaminade

2. St. Bonaventure*38 Scheduled #108* Bishop Alemany

3. Bishop Diego*41 Scheduled #221* Foothill

4. Simi Valley*141 Scheduled #96* Pacifica

5. Calabasas*116 Scheduled #504* Santa Monica

6. Westlake *198 Scheduled #775* Taft

Canyon League Season Opener (*MaxPreps 2022 state ranking)

1. Newbury Park*100 Scheduled #170* Golden Valley

2. Camarillo*91 Scheduled #309* Ventura

3. Moorpark*209 Scheduled #542* Hueneme

4. Thousand Oaks*104 Scheduled #118* Santa Barbara

5. Agoura *517 Scheduled #280* Lompoc

6. Oak Park*150 Scheduled #260* Buena

2023 Frank’s Pick Teams Rankings

#1 Oaks Christian, St. Bonaventure and Bishop Diego will battle it out for the top spots in the Marmonte, with Marmonte being the strongest league in the area. My pick is Oaks Christian. They have a school behind them, and Oaks Christian wants to be great …

#2 St. Bonaventure is a solid number 2 team and should have a great season. Tough game in the opener vs. Alemany, but they should do well against Pacifica in week 2, and we will see what they can do in the Marmonte League opener vs. Bishop Diego … Let’s see where CIF puts them in the playoffs … anywhere above D3, and they will be one and done again … Still not a top contender in California.

#3 Bishop Diego last year was able to handle Simi, Calabasas and Westlake easily, and I have no doubt they will do the same this year … They lost to both Oaks and St. Bonaventure by less than 3 points, showing the world they deserved to move into the Marmonte League … With their easy preseason, I don’t think they will be ready to play the top teams in Marmonte this year. They need to step up on their preseason games and stop scheduling easy victories. Playing good teams makes you better …

#4 Newbury Park should have a solid run during the season … Coach scheduled some tough teams, and they have strength in sophomore QB Brady Smigiel if he stays healthy … I say N.P. will go to a state championship before he graduates … This year, N.P.’s biggest game will be their last one vs. Camarillo for the Canyon League Championship. I am calling it for N.P., who should beat Camarillo in a close game. I think N.P. should have been moved into Marmonte with Camarillo …

#5 Camarillo. The only tough game for Camarillo this year will be the last game of the season vs. N.P. … It’s the last year of a cake schedule for Camarillo. Next year, welcome to the Marmonte League, Scorpions!

#6 Moorpark. Maybe it is time to start scheduling competitive games?! Moorpark has always had good players and is loaded with seniors this year … I think a more competitive preseason will elevate them to be a better team. Playing their season opener vs. #542 Hueneme is an easy win for Moorpark … Another game that should not be played … Five years ago, Moorpark coaches got out of their contract of playing Westlake when Westlake beat them as badly as Moorpark beat Thousand Oaks the same year … If their coach were smart, he would have scheduled Westlake for an easy local win this year …

#7 Simi Valley scheduled Pacifica, which has a solid QB and will smack Simi, is my prediction. In the past, Jim Bankert was too smart to schedule a rout. Maybe he knows something I don’t know … Everything I have seen shows that Pacifica will have a strong team this year … Simi just isn’t ready for the Marmonte League. I put them at 7 because a good coach will find some key wins …

#8 Thousand Oaks. In just three years, Coach Yabu transformed a winless T.O. team into the program that went undefeated in the regular season this past fall. CIF moved them into Division 3 in the playoffs, and they got routed. Shame on CIF … Now he is coaching at Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks, another example of a private school poaching an underpaid public school’s coach … Last year’s undefeated Lancers will drop huge with the loss of their coach — the question is, how far?

#9 Oak Park. Near the bottom, any team below 9 is just a pick ‘em … It’s just not going to be very good football. Oak Park lost a lot of seniors last year. This could be a rebuilding year …

#10 Agoura gets a chance for a long-awaited victory against Westlake, playing them in week 2. Week 4 is against Calabasas, so Agoura could beat its last year’s record of 1-9 … Smart move, Coach Croick, for scheduling the two old powerhouse teams of the past that have been kicked out of Marmonte. Maybe he will get more than one victory this year …

#11 Calabasas holds the record for the most losses by a school, and it looks like they are headed back to that streak by scheduling Santa Monica. They did schedule a Hawaii team — is that a recruiting move? You can’t recruit if you get blown out! Calabasas is just like Westlake, hoping for wins in preseason because once they get into league play, it will be a tough road. The only games Calabasas has a chance of competing in, in Marmonte, will be against Simi Valley and Westlake …

#12 Westlake. Sadly, their coach scheduled three preseason games against the worst teams in California: Taft at #775, a second game against Agoura (1-9 last year) and the third vs. Paraclete (1-9 last year) … Looking for wins instead of being competitive? … As I said above, the Taft game will be a precursor for the season. If Westlake doesn’t blow them out by at least 40, the Warriors are in trouble this preseason, as once they get into Marmonte League play, they will not win a game again this season … Just the facts.

Let’s hope for a great season of local football!

Local professional Frank Enderle played two years of football at Notre Dame High School, one of the top programs with the best coaches, then played for two years at Calabasas High School. He has a lifetime of sports experience, including coaching his own sons in baseball, football, lacrosse and basketball and serving in their booster programs.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Coach Croick for Agura… Your move, PAID OFF!! Congratulations on beating both Marmonte teams you scheduled!! Westlake and Calabasas!! Well done!!

  2. Coach or more like coordinator Survey for Westlake is a disaster for the program and has already lost the confidence of his players and westlake supporters. Time for a new chapter at Westlake and he has to go.

    • YES… This is the time for the new chapter at Westlake, With the firing, Westlake got better!! It will be a fun match next Friday… When Westlake’s New Head Coach, Ellis Green goes against his old head coach and Westlake legend, Jim Benkert!! I think Ellis may win this one!! The Legend vs. Protégé.

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