After a month of waiting this year, the Valley Oak League season is finally upon us and we have plenty to look forward to – from a championship-caliber team in the Manteca Buffaloes to an East Union team that looks from the outset like a playoff bound squad.
But this also means it’s the time for the Pigskin Prognosticators to test their mettle against one another and the teams of the area to see how we stack up.
It’s an informal group – most of our dialogue centers on insults and takes place in a text-message thread would never clear the desk of an editor. And while we each have our own rooting alliances, the common thread of being locals that genuinely care about what happens underneath those bright lights remains a strong one.
To recap, I am the defending champion – settled with a coin flip on a boozy night at a local dining establishment where past debts were settled and new challenges were thrown down.
Also, Chris Teicheira has formally purchased a brick at East Union High School that will forever link his name as Manteca High Class of 1991 alliances with the Lancers that he so desperately wants to root against. But for some reason, and even though it wasn’t technically part of the bet, he had no problem wearing Eric Wohle’s letterman’s jacket and posing for a picture that he knew would end up on the front page of this newspaper. Huh.
Anyway, we’re back – myself, Teicheira, Wohle and Mark Condit – and we’re going to do our best to make sure that we’re the ones standing tall at the end of the season.
It’s worth pointing out that this is purely entertainment and we’re in no way trying to denigrate any particular high school or program despite our picks either for or against them in any given week. This year Teicheira has a built-in mechanism to actually do well – if he finishes in last place and either Wohle or I take the cake, he has to shave the letters of our respective alma maters into the sides of his head like a football helmet for an entire week.
There’s plenty built into this to ensure that everybody is doing their absolute best.
Without further ado, here’s what we’re doing this week:
uMyself, Teicheira and Condit – We have independently arrived at the same exact picks this week, and they’re already one down to Wohle. We’ve picked Manteca over Central Catholic, Oakdale over East Union, Sierra over Kimball and Sutter over Ripon (we’re picking the Indians this year as well). We also picked both Bay Area professional franchises, and down a point after the 49ers choked one away Thursday night to the Rams.
uWohle – I thought he made a bold pick in choosing the Rams over the 49ers at home, the boldness of this Lancer great doesn’t end there. He’s picking both Manteca and Sierra but gambling on Ripon over Sutter and East Union over Oakdale. The Raiders round out his selection of six.
So, there we have it gentlemen. I personally think that his gloating over the brick purchase went to his head – Oakdale is going to be a championship-caliber team this year as well – but we know from the start that Mr. Wohle backs his team no matter what, and that’s beyond respectable.
May this be a year full of fun.
Speaking of Sports
It’s a tough year to be a San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan.
It used to be there would be a magic number about this time year we would keep in mind as the Giants made a playoff push, but that has now become a number to stave off the unthinkable 100 loss season.
To that into perspective, the last time I was in Reno before the start of the baseball season, the over-under on wins for the Giants the year after they won a World Series was almost 100 – a clear sign that the mighty have fallen.
And there isn’t any end of this terrible roll in sight. Any chance of piecing together a quality team involves trading away the most beloved players on the roster today and essentially clearing out any prospect in the minor leagues.
I experienced this with the 49ers about the time that Eddie DeBartolo had to turn the team over to his sister because he got caught up in a riverboat gambling scheme in Louisiana. There’s nothing to point at here or blame for the massive demise of a franchise that not long ago brought home three World Series titles in five years. Maybe that set some unrealistic expectations amongst the fan base – which, lets face it, grew massively once they started bringing home hardware – but it’s brutal to realize.
And those 49ers are abysmal this season. It defies logic to part ways with a coach that brought you to the Super Bowl because your front office can’t get along with him, but that’s what they did – resting on the laurels of their shiny new stadium that was built without any regard to its location or the weather in that particular city.
True story – it’s the same stadium that was proposed for Candlestick Point, which is consistently socked in with fog. They just picked it up and moved it to a sunny place and can’t figure out why nobody is showing up to bake in the Silicon Valley heat (and I use that term loosely) and pay a premium for the privilege to do it.
It’s only the third week of the football season and I’m already saying, “maybe next year.”
I guess that’s better than having your heart broken at the wire, which happens all too often these days.
Well done boys.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.