Super picks: Coaches break down the Super Bowl

Everybody, it seems, has an opinion on the Super Bowl, from the coaching brothers story line to a retiring Ray Lewis, to young gun Colin Kaepernick.

Six Arizona high school football coaches were asked by azcentral sports to break down next Sunday’s showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.

Here are their assessments:

Mike Morgan, St. Johns

On coaching against your brother (Mike faced his brother Bill in three consecutive semifinals, from 2007 to 2009, when Bill was leading Chandler Valley Christian): “I think the best thing I can say about that as the brothers, don’t try to let your competitiveness and desire to win overtake the love of your brother. There’s such a fine line. You love football. You love the kids you work with. You work them hard. It’s just as equal as the love of your brother and the respect for his team.”

Key for the Ravens: “Stopping (quarterback Colin) Kaepernick’s ability to run the football out of the pocket, and zone read is the key.”

Key for the 49ers: “At the same time, San Francisco’s defense has to be able to stop their big quarterback, (Joe) Flacco. His arm is unbelievably strong.”

Prediction: “It’s an evenly matched game. I pick Baltimore, 28-24.”

Rich Wellbrock, Goodyear Desert Edge

Keys for the 49ers: “They will have to run the ball effectively and control the physical wide receivers of the Ravens. Game could come down to who has the better game between the tight ends — the 49ers’ (Vernon) Davis against (Dennis) Pitta.”

Prediction: “I think the Ravens will win 28-24. They are a team that is playing at a very high level and with a sense of urgency due to the fact that Ray Lewis is retiring. They are a veteran team that has been through many battles together and understand that for a lot of them this could be their last chance.”

Jeremy Hathcock, Mesa Desert Ridge

Key for the Ravens: “Kaepernick is a potential run threat. You’ve got to hit the quarterback. If you can hit Kaepernick, I like the Ravens. If you don’t hit Kaepernick, I like the 49ers.”

Intangible: “The Ravens are like a team of destiny. It’s crazy. How do you beat those two quarterbacks (Broncos’ Peyton Manning and Patriots’ Tom Brady) like you do?”

Prediction: “This will be like a 31-24 game. If you want a prediction, I’d almost have to say the Niners.”

Donnie Yantis, Paradise Valley

Keys for the Ravens: “The Ravens must be able to run the ball well with Ray Rice and utilize their play-action throwing the ball. The key is they must be able to protect Flacco against a really good pass-rushing team. But they did a good-enough job against a good Bronco pass-rushing team and gave Flacco just enough time to make plays. The Ravens must stay out of second- and third-and-long situations.”

Keys for the 49ers: “The 49ers obviously must be able to run the ball with (Frank) Gore and Kap. I really think Ray Lewis is a step slow and the Niners’ run schemes will create problems with the Ravens linebacker. They run a unique power-read scheme that the QB will read the inside linebacker with a downhill runner in Gore and the speed of Kap. … (Coach Jim) Harbaugh does an excellent job of executing the play-action pass from their multiple run looks. This allows the receivers to be one on one with the defenders, with an occasional safety on top. … I want to say the 49ers have the edge, but a young QB in this huge game makes me question my first thought. But the young man has proven himself in big games his whole career. He beat a highly ranked Boise State team a couple years back. He is the real deal with his dual-threat ability.”

Prediction: “I predict the 49ers, 27-17. I think the 49ers do a great job of controlling the clock and the game with their run game.”

Jason Mohns, Scottsdale Saguaro

Keys for the Ravens: “The 49ers have a stout front seven and have been very good against the run all season, so it’s their ability to protect Joe Flacco. If Flacco has time in the pocket, he has proven to be lethal with the deep ball to his big-play receivers, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. If they can hit a couple home runs in the passing game, they can grind on the 49ers with their physical run game.”

Keys for the 49ers: “With two weeks to prepare for the pistol offense, the Ravens should have a much better plan to defense the zone read. My guess is that they are going to force the Niners to go to the air and dare the rookie QB to beat them with his arm. If Kaepernick can have success in the passing game like he did against Green Bay, the Niners will have a great chance to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.”

Prediction: “The Ravens are playing inspired team football and riding a wave of emotion, but the 49ers are every bit as good defensively and much more dynamic on offense. My prediction is the Niners defense keeps Baltimore’s offense in check and Colin Kaepernick cements himself as a bona-fide superstar. San Francisco 24, Baltimore 13.”

Bobby Barnes, Buckeye

The matchup: “All in all, both teams are well-coached, have good running games and excellent defenses, especially in big games. And both head coaches have the same mother and father. Go figure. Both quarterbacks have proven they can bring their teams home at the end of a game.”

Edge: “The difference for me is the multiple talents of the quarterback for San Francisco. The age of the straight drop-back quarterback may be dying, and the mobile but strong and accurate passer is the sign of the times. I’m not saying they all have to run like Kaepernick or (Seattle Seahawks QB Russell) Wilson or RGIII. But you must be at least mobile. See Andrew Luck.”

Prediction: “I give the game to the 49ers by a score of 31-27. Should Baltimore win, I will resign from being a scribe and stick to my day job.”

More News