The intensity and stakes of Friday night football are beginning to kick it up a notch. While a few are separating themselves from the pack, the rest are in a thick pool of contenders and challengers. Here’s what’s on tap this week:
OAK RIDGE (5-1) AT DEL ORO (6-0), 7 P.M.
With homecoming on the menu in Loomis, this tilt between the Trojans and the Golden Eagles could emerge as the Sierra Foothill League game of the year. For Del Oro, a chance to remain unbeaten and potentially challenge Folsom for the league title is at stake. For Oak Ridge, the chance to re-establish itself as one of the top two teams in the entire section.
PLACER (6-0) AT RIO LINDA (5-1), 7 P.M.
The Hillmen showed the value of their scout team last week as Placer held Nevada Union’s offense in check. That unit will once again have its work cut out as the Hillmen travel to Rio Linda, which features stud running back Cameron Skattebo, the top rusher in the Northern region of the Sac-Joaquin Section.
ROCKLIN (2-5) AT GRANT (3-3), 7 P.M.
On a current two-game skid, the Thunder travel to one of the toughest atmospheres for a road team in Del Paso Heights while Grant looks to rebound to a 33-6 loss to Oak Ridge last week. Take notes; these two teams could meet again later in the postseason.
WHITNEY (0-6) AT FOLSOM (5-1), 7 P.M.
With all due respect to the improving Wildcats, Folsom has found its stride. The Bulldogs have won their last 37 league games dating back to 2011. Since SFL play began this season, the Bulldogs have outscored the opposition, 110-6.
PONDEROSA (5-1) AT LINCOLN (3-3), 7 P.M.
The Zebras got off to a good start in the Foothill Valley League with a 28-3 victory, spoiling Oakmont’s homecoming last week. Ponderosa, meanwhile, had its initial FVL audition spoiled by Rio Linda. With the regular season finale less than a month away, both teams are jockeying for potential home playoff games.
ENCINA PREP (3-3) AT FORESTILL (3-3), 7 P.M.
Both teams enjoyed league-opening wins last week. The Wildfires routed Western Sierra, 48-6, and the Bulldogs used 24 fourth-quarter points to pull the rug from under Valley Christian, who had the lead heading into the fourth. Foresthill’s Caleb Westphalen, Brody Siefker and Nick Lechner each scored a pair of touchdowns in last week’s win.
DELTA (1-5) AT WESTERN SIERRA (1-5), 7 P.M.
The Wolves are hoping that home-field confines will help remedy its five-game slide. Western Sierra has easily the best receiver in the Central Valley California League in junior Chris Delaloye, who leads the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns catches.
WOODCREEK (6-1) AT ANTELOPE (4-3), 7:15 P.M.
Woodcreek’s dream start to 2018 received a rude awakening from Inderkum, who posted a 51-6 thrashing over the Timberwolves last week. Antelope is a much better team than its record suggests. The Titans, whose three losses came to three of the best in the region in Lincoln, Folsom and Capital Christian, are Maxpreps’ top-ranked Division III team in the section.
OAKMONT (3-3) AT NEVADA UNION (3-3), 7 P.M.
Both the Vikings and Miners received cold welcomes to the Foothill Valley League last week. Both teams rely heavily on the run. Wins are in high demand as a potential at-large playoff spot for each team could be hanging in the balance over the next few weeks.
LINDHURST (2-4) AT BEAR RIVER (6-0), 7:30 P.M.
Last week, the Bruins let the rest of the Pioneer Valley League know that they have championship plans, holding Center, a team that previously averaged 43 points a game, to just seven in a defensive tussle. The Bruins currently reside 22nd in the Maxpreps Sac-Joaquin Section rankings. Among teams ranked ahead of Bear River, only Modesto Christian (16th) has allowed fewer points than the Bruins.
MARYSVILLE (3-3) AT COLFAX (6-0), 7:30 P.M.
Just like Bear River, the Falcons neutralized a high-powered offense in improving to 6-0 last week. Colfax chopped Foothill’s 60-plus points per game down to a season-low 21. This week, the Falcons welcome Marysville (3-3), who posted a 31-0 shutout over Lindhurst in its PVL opener last week.
WOODLAND CHRISTIAN (2-4) AT VALLEY CHRISTIAN () AT HIGHLANDS HIGH, 7 P.M. (SATURDAY)
Valley Christian’s freshman quarterback Tommy Fasig did a lot of growing up in last week’s loss to Encina. He threw three touchdowns and helped carry an 18-16 lead into the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs went on a 24-point scoring spree. The Lions will need to build on that performance against a Woodland Christian team considered to be a strong contender for the CVCL title.
VISTA DEL LAGO (4-3), BYE
The Eagles moved to 3-0 in the Capital Athletic League with a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback over Rio Americano last week. After the bye week, Vista hosts Christian Brothers Oct. 12, a matchup that has decided the CAL championship in each of the past four years.
GRANITE BAY (3-4), BYE
When you play in the Sierra Foothill League, every win is huge. The Grizzlies checked their first league win off at Whitney last week. Jeff Evans’ squad will need to be at full strength when they travel to Folsom after the bye.
ROSEVILLE (2-5), BYE
Head coach Larry Cunha says that starting quarterback Alex Nicholas and running back Aaron Shima were nearly ready to suit back up before last week’s River Valley game – a 55-13 loss – but rather than risk coming back too early, the Tigers should have the duo back healthy for the Oct. 12 home game against Yuba City.