By Neil Warner (The Great Zuke)
No doubt you have already seen penalty flags flying like snow flakes in December. You have seen teams jumping offsides, forgetting the snap count, missing tackles, throwing interceptions and blowing blocking assignments.
It can’t be helped. It’s all part of first-game jitters.
Not for me.
While many teams struggled to get any kind of end zone celebration going, I enjoyed a successful season debut, much to the surprise of my skeptics.
Last week someone asked me if my 3.20 ERA was actually my IQ after I picked Pleasant Grove to beat Timpview in the game of the week.
Then someone else questioned if I was dropped as a child when I picked Alta to beat Lone Peak, but just so you know – the tougher the games are to pick, the better I am.
I should have had a perfect week. Had it not been for Juan Diego’s double overtime win over Skyline and South Summit’s unexplainable 13-12 win over Morgan I would have aced the contest.
What has to be discouraging for you all is I only get better each week.
Your only chance to beat me is to catch me before I get hot which means you better hurry up. If you would like to join the Beat the Zuke contest, your picks must be in by 6 p.m. on Friday to be eligible.
(To take your crack at Beat The Zuke, put your selected winners up against his, by clicking on this link, or on the Beat The Zuke icon on the home page at PrepsMag.com).
Now let’s get to this week’s winners.
Timpanogos at Pleasant Grove
Well surprise, surprise, surprise, Timpanogos is 2-0 on the year. Here’s another surprise. Someone other than Spencer Romney will be the difference in this one.
It could be Zac Dawe or Jacob and Jared Ivan. In other words defense.
But there is one other area the Vikings have the edge in this one – special teams.
I have a hunch Timpanogos is going to get “Menched.”
Tate Briggs started this new trend. This most often happens on punt returns. The ball carrier cuts across field, finds some running room and just when a pursing defender thinks he’s about to make a tackle he gets hit decleated with a blindside block that sends him into the first row.
He just got Menched.
Menched t-shirts on sale now.
Pleasant Grove 42, Timpanogos 21
Stansbury at Springville
With wins over Dixie and Corner Canyon, Springville has already matched their win total from last year. What’s going on in Springville?
It’s all part of the preparation for the “Welcome home party” for the great Red Devil running back Marcus Case.
Gee, Springville never threw me a welcome back party.
I guess I’ll just have to crash the party because I’m down with this team and very up with the offense that is bringing out the best in Max Schreiner, Dylan Slavens, Jessi Noll and Jarom Hendricks.
They will have to be good to offset the output of Stansbury quarterback Chase Christiansen.
Springville 27, Stansbury 21
Viewmont at Woods Cross
I’m going to go follow my instinct on this one and use the math I learned when I started calculating the spread of high school games in 7th grade.
Woods Cross has scored 74 points in the first two games. Viewmont was shutout last week by Bountiful. According to my formula, that makes Woods Cross a winner. Now I’ll just have to wait and see if my method is adopted by the UEA.
Woods Cross 26, Viewmont 13
Manti at Grantsville
I love this defense they’ve got it going on in G’ville. The Cowboys have given up just seven points over the first two games thanks in large part to Devin Adams and Jake Riding. My problem with Grantsville this week is it faces a Manti team that already has four players who have over 100 yards rushing.
I’m banking on T.J. Pogroszewski on having a big night.
Manti 24, Grantsville 20
American Fork at Orem
I simply can’t pick a team with a defense that has given up 94 points in its first two games, especially when Zach Katoa starts smelling the end zone.
American Fork 38, Orem 28
Bountiful at Logan
I love this Bountiful team and what an impressive win last week with a 42-0 win over Viewmont but I just can’t pick against Logan quarterback Chase Nelson. He’s good for my record.
Logan 28, Bountiful 24
Bear River at Box Elder
Riley Burt got some momentum going last week on the ground for the Bees. Box Elder must hope it will be enough to fend off a 2-0 Bear River team. I’m seeing a late Bear River turnover as the difference in this one.
Box Elder 23, Bear River 16
Bonneville at Weber
Bonneville off to a 0-2 start which makes me think the Lakers are in for a letdown but I like teams that can run the ball and last week Weber got the win behind Austin Tesch, who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and topped 100 yards. That’s good enough for me..
Weber 17, Bonneville 14
Juab at Salem Hills
Juab has outscored its first two opponents 86-15. You know what Salem Hills’ Ammon Fifita has to say about that?
Fifita will hook up with Porter Gustin for a pair of touchdowns to help the Skyhawks go 3-0.
Salem Hills 35, Juab 27
Granger at Brighton
After American Fork lit up Brighton’s defense for 28 points in Week 1, I was beginning to wonder what happened to that stingy Bengal defense that has been so good for so many years. I didn’t have to wonder too long because Orange crush returned last week with a 38-0 win over Fremont.
This week’s assignment is to stop Granger’s Kylon Pierre. The offense should score enough points to leave the defense plenty of room for error.
Brighton 42, Granger 7
Neil Warner has been covering sports in Utah Valley for 22 years. What was once his idea for his weekly predictions column - The Great Zucchini, knows all, sees all - eventually turned into his name. The Great Zuke writes each week for PrepsMag.com, and can also be enjoyed regularly on his blog at www.greatzuke.com. And now, Beat The Zuke, with those weekly predictions, has come to PrepsMag.com.