River City at Liberty Ranch
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Galt High School
Records: Liberty Ranch (5-2, 3-0 Sierra Valley Conference); River City (3-4, 2-1).
Last week: Liberty Ranch defeated Union Mine, 35-26; River City lost 47-7 to Vista del Lago.
Last meeting: River City topped Liberty Ranch 20-17 last year.
Preview: Tonight is not only a potential milestone game, but also a chance for redemption.
A year ago, the Hawks suffered a heartbreaker to River City, giving up a late go-ahead score in a loss that ultimately kept them out of the playoffs.
This time around, Liberty Ranch can clinch a postseason berth while continuing their push for a league championship.
“This is one that I’m looking forward to
personally,” Hawks quarterback Ranse Gale said. “River City is definitely competitive, and they’re pretty physical. We both have the athleticism to score.”
The game figures to be a slugfest, as the Raiders also employ a physical ground attack, led by senior tailback David Vincent (613 yards, nine TDs); Vincent churned out a school-record five touchdowns against El Dorado two weeks ago. Four different Raider rushers have over 100 yards so far this season.
The Hawks won’t make much of River City’s big loss to Vista, a team they upended two weeks earlier. Gale said last Friday’s escape against winless Union Mine was a lesson in not taking any opponent lightly.
“We didn’t come out and play like we were supposed to,” he said. “It showed us that
we can’t fall asleep on any play, any game whatsoever.”
Noteworthy: Trevon Windley leads the Hawks in total yards (632 rushing, 271 receiving) and touchdowns (10 rushing, three receiving). ... Tony Garcia paces Liberty Ranch with 55 tackles. ... David Lara and Garrison King-Halsey have two interceptions each in the secondary.
Lodi at Tracy
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Tracy High School
Records: Lodi (3-3, 1-0 San Joaquin Athletic Association); Tracy (5-1, 1-0).
Last week: Lodi defeated Chavez, 34-27; Tracy routed Franklin 49-7.
Last meeting: Tracy topped Lodi 35-14 last year.
Preview: Call it the ultimate measuring stick.
The Bulldogs got the better of Lodi at summer camp, but that was when the Flames were installing a new offense and defense.
Now, with big playoff stakes, they can see far they’ve come. Needing at least a 4-1 league mark for a postseason berth, Lodi likely must beat either Tracy or Lincoln to get in.
“This is a big, big week,” Flames coach Robert Sperling said. “The kids are aware of (the stakes). They believe they can go out this week and execute well.”
Execution will be the name of the game, against a throwback veer offense that Tracy has run for years. Much like Lodi’s gameplan, the Bulldogs will pound away on the ground before exploiting an error for a big play.
Dual-threat QB Damon Stroup (eight TDs rushing, four passing) and fullback Nate Jones (428 yards, five TDs) headline Tracy’s attack. However, the Flames’ defense has come into its own over the past two weeks. Lodi gave up yardage to Chavez and Calaveras — another power team — but came up with stops when it mattered.
Noteworthy: Lodi’s defense had one of its best outings against Chavez, proving opportunistic with seven fourth-down stops and two takeaways. David Silveira had both turnovers, with a fumble recovery and a late pick — his third on the year. ... Tim Sanguinetti (seven tackles, five pass break-ups), Jacob Coons (13 tackles, blocked PAT, sack), Jacob Donald, Chad Manguso and Vince Cecchetti also had standout games. ... David Simon paces the offense with 12 total TDs (eight passing, four rushing).
Quoteworthy: “It’s like playing us in a way,” Sperling said on Tracy’s offense. “They will grind you. People may know what they run, but they execute it so well.”
Stone Ridge Christian at Elliot Christian
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
Where: Lincoln High School
Records: Elliot (2-4, 0-1 Central California Athletic Alliance); Stone Ridge (2-4, 0-1).
Last week: Elliot lost to Brookside Christian, 48-6; Stone Ridge lost 29-22 to Millennium.
Last meeting: Elliot defeated Stone Ridge 54-12 last year.
Preview: After a tough speed test last week, the curve gets a bit easier from here on out.
Like last year, when the Knights were Elliot’s only league blowout loss, the rest of CCAA play should have more even match-ups.
That doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t be tested in Saturday’s Homecoming game. After Brookside’s pass-happy attack last Friday, they face a Stone Ridge offense that has only thrown the ball 12 times all year while rolling up nearly 300 yards a game on the ground. Estevon Herrera (684 yards, eight TDs) carries the way as one of three rushers with over 250 yards.
“It will be a challenge. They just grind it out,” Elliot coach Tom Spadafore said. “You have to stay focused on the game and stay disciplined. If you don’t get aligned right, it winds up being five or six yards every time.”
Spadafore said the Eagles are better geared against the run, with stoppers all levels: Nelson Hansen and Kade Piazza on the line, Gino Spadafore at linebacker, and Vincent Pinasco and Holden Butler in the secondary. However, a more physical game does raise concerns about injuries, which Elliot — with only 19 healthy players currently — could ill afford.
“That’s a much more exhausting type of game to play,” Tom Spadafore said.
Noteworthy: Despite the lopsided score last week, Elliot rushed for over 250 yards against Brookside, moving the ball well on a pair of long drives.