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Realigned PVL anybody’s race

By: Mike Ray
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With former Pioneer Valley League powers Placer and Lincoln now departed to the new Foothill Valley League, four teams – Center (5-0), Bear River (5-0), Colfax (5-0) and Foothill (4-1) have emerged has potential contenders. Yes, it is indeed a four-horse race this season.  

 

Center (5-0):

  • Did you know? Center, a school which opened in 1982, is still in search of its first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football championship. The Cougars have reached the finals twice, losing to Galt, 24-14, in Division III in 1988 and falling to Placer, 42-32, in D-IV last season.

  • Alumni Flashback: It’s not often a D-IV school the size of Center turns out NFL and NBA players within two years of each other. But the Cougars can claim 1985 grad Tony Hargain (49ers, Chiefs) and ’88 grad Rich Manning (Grizzlies, Clippers).

  • The skinny: As shown by its impressive preseason wins over FVL contenders Rio Linda and Lincoln, the Cougars are for real. Playmakers Michael Worthington, Emari White and Elias Bonds make Center the team to beat.

 

Bear River (5-0):

  • Did you know? In Bear River’s first season of football in 1986, the Bruins lost their first varsity game to Bret Harte, 34-6. Who scored the first TD in Bear River history? That was a junior halfback named Shannon Weir on a 20-yard run. Weir’s son, Alex, is Colfax’s quarterback this season.

  • Alumni Flashback: Although a graduate of Paradise High, longtime Bruins co-coach Terry Logue was an outstanding tight end and kicker who played at Long Beach State. Following college, Logue had “cups of coffee” with the Los Angeles Rams and Southern California Fire of the now-defunct World Football League.

  • The Skinny: The Bruins have the personnel to win the PVL and defend their CIF D-V title, but with just 23 players, staying healthy is a must.

 

Colfax (5-0):

  • Did you know? When Colfax High opened in 1959, students picked the mascot Falcons over Cougars, Colts and Mountaineers.

  • Alumni Flashback: 1983 Colfax High grad Mike Pitz, the Falcons’ first 2,000-yard passer, still holds the record for the longest touchdown pass in University of Pacific football history at 89 yards. Pitz played both football and baseball at UOP – which dropped football in 1995. One of his assistant coaches was current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

  • The Skinny: The Falcons have the firepower both offensively and defensively to make 2018 a season to remember.  

 

Foothill (4-1):

  • Did you know? Frank Negri, the school’s first football coach, coached the Mustangs for 41 seasons from 1965 to 2006. Negri amassed 248 wins at Foothill and Natomas and is a current assistant coach at Rio Linda.

  • Alumni Flashback: Regarded as perhaps the school’s best ever all-around athlete, Kevin Thomas played football and basketball at Foothill in the late 1990s, went on to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and was a defensive back for the Buffalo Bills from 2002 to 2004.

  • The Skinny: Foothill has the talent to make some noise in this season’s PVL race. Talented running back William Goebel may be the league’s best.  

 

Marysville (2-3)

  • Did you know? From 1953 to 1971 and then again from 1974 to 1986, the Indians were members of the Sierra Foothill League. Every season, the Indians always played rival Yuba City in the season finale dubbed the “Big Little Game”. Some years, when SFL titles were on the line, the Indians-Honkers game drew as many as 10,000 fans.   

  • Alumni Flashback: Marysville captured the 1974 SFL football championship, led by the fantastic pass-catch duo of quarterback Mike Reese and receiver Joe Rose, who went on to have a stellar career at Cal and caught over 100 NFL passes for the Miami Dolphins including Dan Marino’s first NFL TD pass.

  • The Skinny: The Tribe probably thought it was getting a break when leaving the Golden Empire League and Capital Christian. Not so.  

 

Lindhurst (2-3):

  • Did you know? Set to open in 1975, construction of the Lindhurst campus wasn’t completed when classes were scheduled to begin for the 1975-76 year. However, because Lindhurst had been realigned into SFL schedules for sports purposes, Lindhurst students attended classes at Marysville High but competed as athletes for Lindhurst.

  • Alumni Flashback: In 1988, Lindhurst running back Demetryst Cornish ran for a state-high 320 yards in a 28-7 win over Mesa Verde. Cornish went on to play at Arizona.

  • The Skinny: The Blazers have a solid running back in Anthony Bragg, who averaged 9.4 yards a carry in the preseason.