Tokay at El Dorado
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: El Dorado High School
Last year: Tokay (7-4); El Dorado (3-7)
Last meeting: Tokay defeated El Dorado, 49-7 last season.
Preview: The Tigers head to Placerville for their second straight road game to open the season. They hope to build on last week’s tremendous defensive performance against Bear Creek, which featured the program’s first shutout since 2009. The Cougars should provide a better test, having racked up 456 rushing yards between nine backs in a season-opening 64-12 rout of South Lake Tahoe.
Tokay’s offense, however, is still trying to get on track. The Tigers didn’t score until late in the second half, and committed two turnovers inside Bear Creek’s 20-yard line last week.
Noteworthy: Defensive end Eric Stipe led the defensive charge with nine tackles and 2.5 sacks. ... Joey Patino and Austin Mitchell excelled at inside linebacker. ... Cornerback Kyle Rivers had an interception in his debut. ... Alex Burgos, who rushed for 98 yards and the game-winning touchdown last Friday, leads a committee at the fullback spot. ... Sophomore speedster Kyle Fleming was day-to-day and may not be in the lineup against the Cougars.
Quoteworthy: “We weren’t as explosive. We missed a lot of big-play opportunities,” Tigers coach Louis Franklin said. “It was a missed block, not hitting a wide-open guy. It’s easy, fixable stuff.”
Elliot Christian vs. Ripon Christian
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Lincoln High School.
Last year: Elliot (7-4); Ripon (9-3)
Last week: This is the season opener for both teams.
Last meeting: Ripon defeated Elliot 42-22 in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Preview: Head coach Tom Spadafore’s Elliot debut features a playoff rematch from 2012, won by Ripon Christian. The teams also played in last year’s season opener, with the Knights winning that game 28-13. Unlike last fall, when the Eagles debuted a new pistol offense installed weeks before the season, this squad has a year of experience in the system heading into their opener.
Still, it’s the start of a tough three-game stretch to open the season for Elliot, with Hiram Johnson and Encina Prep on the schedule in weeks 2 and 3.
“It’s a good challenge for our kids,” Spadafore said. “We know we’re big underdogs against Ripon Christian. But it prepares us and tests our kids as we get ready for league.”
Noteworthy: Elliot has been to the playoffs the last two years. ... After relying heavily on star tailback Ben Huckaby last year, the Eagles hope to get more people involved in the offensive attack and have more balance in the passing and running game. ... Elliot started out with 18 players when practices started and now has 24 on the roster.
Quoteworthy: “We’re excited. We want to go out and gauge our heart, compete and play to the end of the whistle. And we want to make sure that we’re fundamentally sound and executing our assignments,” Spadafore said.
Liberty Ranch at Lathrop
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lathrop High School.
Last year: Liberty Ranch (5-5); Lathrop (0-10)
Last week: Liberty Ranch lost to Amador 17-15.
Last meeting: Liberty Ranch defeated Lathrop 42-7 last season.
Preview: Just like last year, the Hawks face Lathrop looking to bounce back from a season-opening loss following last week’s setback against Amador. It was a tough defeat for Liberty Ranch, which rallied to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter before surrendering a field goal in the final minutes.
First-year coach Darin Higgins said the defensive lines dominated the contest, with neither ground attack finding much traction.
“It was just a slobber-knocker,” said Higgins, who will be looking for his first win with the Hawks tonight. “They came and punched us in the mouth, and we punched them in the mouth. The effort was tremendous.”
Noteworthy: Trevon Windley led the Hawks on the ground last week, carrying the ball 17 times for 85 yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. ... The Hawks struggled in the passing game. Higgins said QB Rance Gale ran the offense effectively in his first varsity start, but consistent pressure contributed to his 2-for-13 passing clip for 63 yards and an interception. ... Linebacker Tony Garcia led the defense with seven tackles, while linemen Anthony Jones and Jorge Ramirez were a force up front.
Quoteworthy: “Rance played well in the role we wanted him to play, and we were happy with his performance. He’s a great leader. We have to protect him a little better,” Higgins said.