Tuesday Oct 18 2011
Autumn Splendor In The Foothills...
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
Key Friday Football Clashes Should Draw Huge Crowds
One of the high points of being able to live in the foothills – especially this time of the year – is the autumn splendor that transcends the area from Loomis to Colfax and all parts beyond and in between . And, if you happen to be a high school football fan, it also means that this time of the year the marquee match-ups start popping up for foothill teams that will help decide league titles and further down the road, playoff berths. This Friday night, a crowd of perhaps 10,000 is expected to fill every nook and cranny of Eagle Stadium in Loomis for the Del Oro-Granite Bay game that will carry a lot of weight in who takes this season’s Sierra Foothill League title and the No. 1 automatic playoff berth that goes with it. Meanwhile, up I-80 a piece in the county seat, Placer hosts Colfax in a Pioneer Valley League titanic that should bring a crowd to LeFevbre Stadium that could rival the throngs that took in the Placer-Nevada Union showdowns of the late 1970s and early 1980s. So, with that in mind, and three weeks left in the regular season, is it too early to start talking playoff possibilities? Hardly. Here’s an up-dated look at how the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff scenarios are shaping up for area teams: Bear River (5-2, 0-2) – Last Friday’s 35-28 upset loss at Center has put the Bruins in a big hole but nothing that Bear River can’t dig itself out of. Bear River has away games at Lincoln and Foothill the next two weeks before hosting Colfax on Nov. 4. The Bruins need to win two of those games to become playoff eligible. While a shot at a PVL title is most likely out the window, a run of the table and a 7-3 mark could give the Bruins a home playoff game, something that beats a road trip to Jackson or Hilmar. Colfax (7-0, 2-0) – The Falcons head into the “meat” of their PVL slate with Friday’s showdown at Placer followed by a home date with Lincoln and the Nov. 4 finale at Bear River. Already playoff eligible, a run of the table and or a 9-1 finish could earn the Falcons a top four seed in Div. IV. This season the other top probable Div. IV seeds look to be Escalon, Hilmar, Argonaut and perhaps, if the enrollment chips land its way, Placer. Two other notable Div. IV teams to keep an eye on include Liberty Ranch and Central Catholic. Del Oro (6-1, 2-0) – Are the Golden Eagles Div. II or Div. III ? That’s too close to call right now but either way the Black and Gold are playing the rest of the way for a potential No. 1 or 2 seed in whatever division they end up in. Following Friday’s clash with Granite Bay, Del Oro will host Roseville, currently, 2-0, on Oct. 28 before finishing at Woodcreek on Nov. 4. “We have a long, long way to go still,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor after his team scored in the final 30 seconds to defeat Nevada Union, 34-31, last Friday in Grass Valley. Placer (6-1, 2-0) – The Hillmen are in the same boat as Del Oro. Until the scoreboard hits 0:00 on games played on Saturday, Nov. 5, Placer will probably not know if it is in Div. III or Div. IV for the post season. In a recent mock calpreps.com statistic-driven poll, the Hillmen were Div. IV last week but Div. III this week. Either way, if the Hillmen run the table, a high seed awaits the Green and Gold in both the Div. III and or Div. IV brackets. If the Hillmen go Div. III, it looks like the Manteca-Oakdale winner, both who are 7-0, Los Banos and Del Oro as potential top seeds. Again, in Div. IV, the Hillmen would vie with Escalon, Hilmar, Argonaut and Colfax for the top spots. Foresthill (5-0, 6-1) - The Wildfires are quietly having an outstanding season. They hold a one-game lead in the Sacramento Metro Conference and will most likely have to win at Delta on Nov. 4 to secure the outright title in the conference which plays a double round robin schedule. Sideline Yardage…...Saying that Placer has a “stable” of running backs this season is an understatement. At some point in the first half of Friday’s game with Colfax, the Hillmen should go over the 3,000 yard rushing mark this season as a team. Already this season, 14 different players have carried the ball for the Hillmen including six – Will Slane (257), Isaac Brahce (340), Jordan Ralls (366), Joe Mangino (460), Michael Robinson (531) and Brad Spangler (664) who are over the 250-yard mark. Robinson, Slane and Spangler, meanwhile, have combined for 26 rushing touchdowns… Up at Colfax, a couple of players are closing in on coveted marks. Senior quarterback Austin Young has thrown 19 touchdown passes this season. He is six scoring aerials away from joining Nate Ray (59), Ben Galbraith (57) and Marcus Arroyo (52) has the only Falcon QBs who have 50 TD passes or more in their careers….Hunter Perez, meanwhile, has tallied 23 touchdowns this season for the Falcons. That leaves him just three behind tying the school record of 26 set in 2001 by Josh Huber….Something to take note of: Because the opening round of the CIF football playoffs falls on Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), a holiday for schools, some playoff games may have the option of being moved to Thursday, Nov. 10. The CIF will be making an announcement shortly on how the holiday conflict will be addressed.