PVL, SFL grid teams open up in a big way
The 2017 high school football season got underway last weekend and it didn’t take long for teams from the Pioneer Valley League and Sierra Foothill League to rise up and make their presence felt in more than impressive fashion.
In the PVL, all total, the league posted a 5-1 zero week record. Colfax, Bear River, Foothill, Lincoln and Placer all combined to outscored their opposition by a aggregate total of 224-58. That adds up to a final average winning margin of, 44-11.
Even Center, the PVL’s lone loser last weekend, led 29-28 at halftime before falling to Rio Linda in a wild, 50-37, shootout.
The SFL teams were just as impressive. Touted as the toughest Div. I league in the section, the league went 5-2 against top-flight competition.
The league’s “Big Five” of Folsom, Oak Ridge, Del Oro, Granite Bay and Rocklin all rose up and delivered big eye-opening wins in last Friday’s zero week schedule.
“I think it’s a testament to how tough are league is going to be this season,” said Del Oro coach Jeff Walters. “You won’t be able to take a week off.”
Here’s a quick once-over of last week’s PVL and SFL action:
At Garden Valley, Colfax opened with the most points it has scored in an opener since 2011 when the Falcons throttled a young Golden Sierra squad, 55-7. The points were the most tallied by a Falcon team on opening night since Tony Martello’s 2011 team opened the year with a 61-30 waxing of El Camino.
Meanwhile, at Lake of the Pines, Bear River overcame the loss of starting quarterback Luke Baggett to a first quarter “targeting” penalty on defense to overwhelm Orland, 49-7. Sophomore kicker Alex Bohn’s varsity debut was a booming one for the Bruins as the 10th grader was a perfect 7 for 7 on extra point boots and also put five kick-offs into the end zone for touchbacks.
Foothill made new head coach Anthony Eustace’s debut a winning one as the Mustangs rolled past Mira Loma, 42-0. Mustangs senior quarterback Carlos Merced was on target by hitting on 10 of 14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
Lincoln’s Chris Bean had his team fired-up for its opener at Shingle Springs against Ponderosa and the Zebras responded with a 29-14 victory. Lincoln started slow as the host Bruins built a 14-0 lead. However, after Lincoln scored to trim the lead to 14-6, the Zebras recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that resulted in points. Trailing, 14-13 at halftime, the Zebras then dominated the second half.
At Placer, Hillmen coach Joey Montoya unleashed a stable of running backs at Pleasant Grove in the Hillmen’s 49-30 win over the Eagles from Elk Grove. No fewer than six different running backs helped Placer pile up 302 rush yards in the opening victory.
Center, the lone PVL loser, had its hands full trying to stop Rio Linda’s Cameron Skattebo, a 6-1 255-pound sophomore fullback. Skattebo rushed for 128 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Knights’ high-scoring 50-37 verdict.
This week the PVL squads should face some stiffer competition as Colfax (1-0) hosts Winters (1-0); Bear River (1-0) makes the trek to El Dorado to battle Union Mine (1-0); Lincoln (1-0) plays at Antelope (1-0); Placer heads up Highway 49 to meet Nevada Union (0-1); Foothill (1-0) entertains Oakmont (1-0) and Center (0-1) hosts Rio Americano (1-0).
If first impressions are lasting ones, the football squads in the Sierra Foothill League did nothing in zero week games to dispel the notion that the SFL race – for the most part – will be another knock-down battle of attrition in 2017.
Folsom, with junior quarterback Kaiden Bennett at the reins of the high-powered Bulldogs offense, built a 56-8 halftime lead over visiting Coeur d’ Alene before sending the Idahoans packing with a 56-33 loss. Bennett, a 6-1 175-pounder, played just the first half and hit on 7 of 8 passes for 206 yards and three scores. He also showed his running ability picking up 34 yards on just two carries.
Up the road in El Dorado Hills, Oak Ridge raised some eyebrows with the ease that the Trojans dispatched Vista Del Lago to the tune of , 49-0. Receiving a sterling effort from senior quarterback Marco Baldacchino, Oak Ridge built a 28-0 halftime advantage and never looked back. Baldacchino dazzled Vista as he connected on 13 of 16 passes for 173 yards and one score along with using his legs to pick up 125 more rushing yards and two additional touchdowns.
While Folsom and Oak Ridge were using big play offenses to wilt their foes, Del Oro, Granite Bay and Rocklin all pounded out hard-earned wins.
The Golden Eagles, in Walters’ coaching debut, used an opportunistic defense which included an interception return for six points by Dante Pericin to jump start a 22-12 win over San Diego power Cathedral Catholic.
“It was an exciting night,” said Walters. “The kids played their hearts out and the coaches coached their butts off.”
While the Golden Eagles basked in their win over Cathedral, the Grizzlies from Granite Bay and Rocklin’s Thunder also gave their fans plenty to cheer about.
Granite Bay looked impressive in a a 31-21 throttling of Jesuit while Rocklin, after losing a hearbreaker at Grant in 2016, stunned the Pacers in Rocklin last Friday, 24-14.
“We have some very good teams in our league this season,” said Walters. “I think Friday’s scores really showed that.”
On the other end of the spectrum, two schools that will be leaving the SFL next season due to realignment – Woodcreek and Nevada Union – suffered one-sided losses.
Woodcreek was blasted by a rejuvenated Sheldon squad, 63-6, while NU was handled by Antelope, 41-15.
This week the SFL grinder continues with Del Oro playing a highly-touted Timpview, Utah team at Mission Viejo High in the Brothers in Arms Classic Saturday at 4 p.m. The Thundbirds are reportedly buoyed by five players with Div. I scholarship offers including a defensive tackle headed to Michigan State.
Elsewhere in the SFL, on Friday, Folsom will host Jesuit in a game that was moved from Jesuit because of heat concerns, Nevada Union hosts Placer, Oak Ridge travels to Vacaville, Woodcreek entertains Davis, Granite Bay visits Whitney and Rocklin travels to Napa.