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Sports Chatter

Every game important for Falcons this season

Colfax opens 2015 season against Argonaut Friday
By: Mike Ray, Colfax Record
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Tony Martello is a realist.

Now in his 20th season as Colfax High’s football coach, Martello will be the first to tell you that a high school gridiron season is a week-by-week journey that usually brings a different story to the table every Friday night.

He knows what awaits his team this season. Oh, there will be penalties, missed tackles and injuries to go along with long touchdown passes, electrifying runs and key defensive plays.

Throw in a bad spot by an official, a wet and muddy field and even a bad play call by the head coach, and you can see how a football team’s season can be like a crazy roller coaster ride.

This year, with only 33 players suiting up, Martello’s Falcons may not have the manpower to bang with Pioneer Valley League favorites Placer and Bear River and expected upstart Lincoln.

But with the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section’s newly implemented playoff football divisional play by enrollment now ready for its second season, it makes every game, league or non-league important.

“I liked it last year,” said Martello. “We went 6-4 and got a chance to play for a section championship. The kids will never forget that.”

In the CIF’s playoff plan, teams that qualify for the post season are now bracketed solely by enrollment and not league placement. There are some instances where certain schools who have had post season success have to play “up” a division, but more the most part, schools with 600 students like Colfax, will be playing schools with 600 students.

This season, however, we have been told by CIF officials, that there will be some adjustments to last year’s initial playoff plan.

One is that Modesto Christian, a school with just 190 students, but a power in the Trans Valley League with the likes of Escalon, Ripon and Hughson, looms to be moving to to play Div. V for the post season.

A year ago the Crusaders lost to Capital Christian 35-28 in the Div. VI championship game. Capital Christian looks like it is also headed to Div. V. Although the Sacramento private school, with 412 students, did not agree to move up, if the Cougars win the Golden Empire League as expected, they will also be forced to play in the Div. V playoffs.

So, while last season’s Div. V playoff bracket looked pretty vanilla with eight public schools ranging in size from Mariposa (575) to Bear River (784), this season could be a whole new ball game with the addition of the private schools.

“They’ve changed the playoffs so many times I really have lost track,” said Martello. “Right now we’re just trying to get ready for our season opener.”

Prep Picks

Time to put our neck on the chopping block with our weekly football picks. As we go through the season, don’t take these weekly selections too seriously and please, it would be unwise to go out and bet the farm on the following choices. Have fun and enjoy:

Colfax 21 Argonaut 13 – Falcons were hot and cold in Marysville scrum.

Bear River 31 Pacheco 16 – Long trip to Los Banos won’t affect Bruins.

Placer 44 Nevada Union 20 – Hillmen expected to be better than last season.

Ponderosa 22 Lincoln 21 – Zebras will surprise in year two under Chris Bean.

Union Mine 33 Foothill 20 – Strong junior crop will bolster Mustangs.

Rio Linda 21 Center 19 – Cougars return Roberts-Marshall 1-2 run combo

Elsewhere: Del Oro 24 Pleasant Grove (Utah) 21; Golden Sierra 28 Foresthill 17; Rocklin 14 Pleasant Grove 13; Chico 21 Roseville 20; Vintage 32 Woodcreek 20; Oak Ridge 37 Vista del Lago 28.