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Colfax, Del Oro and Whitney in Battle at the Capital

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It’s hard to gauge whether a football game in the first week in September will pay dividends in December but according to Matt Williams, the 2nd Annual Battle at the Capital showcase at Del Oro is one way to find out.
“Let’s be honest,” said Williams, who is the Battle at the Capital organizer. “We have schools playing in these games hoping that a win here will give them a shot at bigger things later this season. It should be a great two-days of football.”
Williams was referring to the CIF’s State Championship bowl games played in December, which now uses a variety of components to help determine its representatives from both the north and south regions of the state.
While winning a section championship is a pre-requisite, strength of schedule and common opponents are two variables used in the selection process.
Locally, three area schools — Del Oro, Colfax and Whitney — will vie in the event, which was held last year at Folsom High and was also televised regionally. This year Williams is hoping that the absence of live TV will put more fans in the stands.
“These games this weekend could be pivotal for a few schools,” said Williams. “I know Durham is thinking the small school bid out of the north and of course Central Catholic and Cardinal Newman have been to the state game before. Del Oro has put together a tough, tough schedule and also wants to be looked at. We’ll see how it plays out”
This weekend’s event will feature two games at Del Oro on Friday night and five on Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Commemorative game T-shirts will be on sale (one for $10, $2 for $15 and 3 for $20).
Each game will feature military color guards before the coin toss and there will be a armed forces fly-over before the start of Saturday’s 5 p.m. game.
Here’s a look at the Colfax-Durham game:
Friday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. – Colfax (1-0) vs. Durham (1-0) – For the first time since 1997 the Falcons will be playing a North Section school. But don’t sell the visiting Trojans from the Chico area short.
“We’re looking for a respect this season,” said Durham coach Ryan Richardson, whose Trojans led 43-0 at halftime before romping over Biggs Friday, 56-22. “We have 11 returning starters and 10 seniors back on offense. Playing a program like Colfax is a once-in--lifetime thing for us.”
The Trojans will be explosive on offense led by quarterback Nelson Fishback, the MVP quarterback of the Oregon State camp.
Fishback, who is a pass-run threat, is being courted by the Beavers, Fresno State and San Diego State among others. Also in the Trojans offensive mix are running back Isaiah Perez (77 and 57-yard TD runs vs. Biggs) and fleet receivers Bobby Mikow and Chris Craven.
8:30 p.m. -- Aptos (0-0) vs. Del Campo (0-1) – Randy Blankenship, one of the wins leader among active coaches in the state, brings the Mariners from Santa Cruz county to Loomis to tackle the defending Div. II section champion Cougars. Del Campo will be looking to bounce back after being stunned 31-10 last Friday by Carson City.

Saturday. Sept. 4

11 a.m. – Christian Brothers (1-0) vs. St. Mary’s of Berkeley (0-0) – The Falcons, who went 7-4 in 2009 and were a first round playoff victim of Del Oro, tackle the speed laden bay area foe. CBS was impressive last week in a 48-12 drubbing of Burbank.

2 p.m. – Central Catholic (0-0) vs. Cardinal Newman (0-0 ) – The Raiders from Modesto went 9-2 in 2009. Look for backs Billy Flamion and Craig Jones to highlight Central’s fly offense. Cardinal Newman, meanwhile, will follow Saturday’s game with contests against Div. I Valley Christian of San Jose and Palma of Salinas.

5 p.m. – Whitney (0-0) vs. Concord (0-0) – Mike Gimenez’ Wildcats, 7-4 a year ago, return a bevy of talent and are looking for big things this season. Versatile quarterback Jake Rodrigues will be at the helm of the ‘Cats spread attack while transfer Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, all 6-5 255 pounds of him, will be a force on both sides of the ball. Concord is led by Southern Mississippi commit Ricky Lloyd who threw for 36 touchdowns a year ago.

8 p.m. Bullard (0-0) vs. Del Oro (0-1) – The Knights (13-0) won the Central Section Div. I crown last season which includes teams from Fresno and Bakersfield. Although Bullard had key losses via graduation, the Knights picked up some off-season transfers and have a junior group that was undefeated as JVs. Del Oro played on even terms with Nevada power Bishop Gorman for three quarters before falling 37-13 Saturday night. Kenny Andri picked up 117 yards on the ground for the Golden Eagles.