Cali-Nevada matchups highlight area gridiron slateBy: Mike Ray
Separated by just over 100 miles, it hasn’t always been natural for Foothills- and Sacramento-area prep football teams to match up in preseason games with teams from the Reno area.
But times seem to be changing.
This prep football season, there have already been more than a handful of Sacramento-Reno-area games played, including Nevada Union hosting Spanish Springs, Damonte Ranch meeting Granite Bay and Valley Christian from Roseville playing Incline.
This week, however, the Sacramento-Reno meetings take a step up. On Friday, there will be seven different CIF Sac-Joaquin Section squads taking on teams from Nevada.
Included in the interstate games is an attractive matchup in Auburn with Placer hosting Reno power Bishop Manogue.
Elsewhere, Bear River travels to Lovelock, Nevada, to take on Pershing County, Damonte Ranch of Reno, with quarterback Cade McNamara, who has committed to Michigan, playing at Rocklin, Douglas of Minden visiting Union Mine, Del Campo playing at McQueen and Monterey Trail visiting Spanish Springs.
In recent seasons, Joey Montoya’s Hillmen, in search of non-league opposition, have played both Damonte Ranch and Reno.
Here’s a look at this week’s area games:
Bishop Manogue-Reno (1-0) at Placer (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
If you believe CalPreps.com, the visiting Miners will be the best team the Hillmen will see this regular season. The Reno parochial school comes to Auburn with a CalPreps rating of 26.9 compared to Placer’s 22.6.
“On film they look as good as advertised,” said Montoya. “They have a lot of weapons with not too many guys going both ways. They are very good.”
Manogue returns several key parts from a team that went 7-4 last season, with one of the wins being a 40-13 destruction on the road at Capital Christian. Leading the returnees is senior running back Peyton Dixon, who ran for 273 yards in the Miners’ 50-7 romp last Friday over Reed.
According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Dixon has scholarship offers from Nevada, UNLV, Fresno State and UC Davis. Dixon, a 10.8-second sprinter in the 100-meter dash who ran for 1,600 yards and scored 25 touchdowns last season, runs behind a line that averages, according to Manogue coach Ernie Howren, right about 280 pounds.
Bear River (2-0) at Pershing County-Lovelock, Nevada (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
It didn’t take long for Bear River co-coach Terry Logue to make one critical deduction after watching Pershing County on film this week. “They have everybody back,” said Logue. “It’s amazing. Same numbers, same everything.”
A year ago, Bear River defeated Pershing County, 31-10, at Lake of the Pines. From there, the Mustangs didn’t lose again as they went on to finish with a record of 11-1 and captured the Nevada 2A state championship.
Last Friday, Pershing County dedicated their new field-turf stadium with a 54-0 win over West Wendover. A school of just 200 students, the Mustangs have a huge line keyed by Davis Murphy (6-foot-4, 290 pounds), Eddie Happy (6-3, 285) and Adrian Suarez (6-3, 285).
“They’re probably the biggest team we’ll see this year,” said Logue.
Windsor (1-1) at Del Oro (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Eagles will play their home-opener after starting the season with a pair of road wins over formidable Bay Area opposition.
In Windsor, Del Oro will be facing a squad that won its opener over Casa Grande, 30-22, two weeks ago before falling to powerhouse Freedom of Oakley, 68-0, last week.
“Don’t let that score fool you,” said Del Oro coach Jeff Walters. “Freedom is very, very good. Windsor has some playmakers and big bodies that we’re concerned with.”
Returning for the Jaguars is quarterback Nick Pariani, who as a sophomore in 2017 threw for 1,803 yards and 17 touchdowns. Windsor’s top running back is elusive Lorenzo Leon, who piled up 499 yards on the ground as a sophomore in 2017.
Del Oro, fresh off last Friday’s 58-20 drubbing of Oak Grove, has climbed this week to No. 3 in the latest Sacramento-area Top 20.
Foresthill (1-1) at Portola (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Wildfires will look to bounce back on the road after getting caught napping in their home-opener last Friday, a 38-15 loss to Esparto. Five turnovers, which included a pick-six to the house, were too much for the Wildfires to overcome.
“It’s a game that we could have won, but we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Foresthill coach Steve Collier. “You can’t have five turnovers and expect to be successful.”
Collier said that he was going to monitor the health of quarterback Kaiden Pennington, who went down with a knee injury in the game.
“We don’t think it was too serious, but we’ll monitor him this week and see how he responds,” said Collier.
Collier noted that back-up quarterback Chet Matz stepped in and did an admirable job in Pennington’s absence.