Curtain goes up on SFL play this weekend

By: Mike Ray
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While most area prep football teams reach the halfway point in their respective regular-season schedules this weekend, in the Sierra Foothill League, the dress rehearsals are over.

Ready or not, the curtain comes up on the SFL season Friday, headlined by a pair of huge games. Del Oro will risk its undefeated record when they travel to Granite Bay while the Sacramento area’s top two teams, No. 2 Oak Ridge and No. 1 Folsom, collide on the Bulldogs’ turf.

“I think our guys are ready for the SFL grind,” Del Oro coach Jeff Walters said after his team’s 45-18 win over Sacramento High last Friday. “If not, we’ll find out.”  

While the SFL season kicks off, Placer, Colfax, Bear River and Foresthill will all have home non-league games.

The Hillmen, one of the highest scoring teams in the state averaging 56 points an outing, celebrate their homecoming with a LeFebvre Stadium matchup against El Dorado.

Meanwhile, in other area games, Colfax entertains Union Mine, Bear River hosts Encina and Foresthill will be at home opposite Hiram Johnson. For Placer, Bear River and Foresthill, this will be each squad’s final non-league test as all have byes next week before opening league play Sept. 28.

Here’s a look at this week’s games:


El Dorado (1-3) at Placer (4-0), 7:30 p.m. New El Dorado coach Bruce Pielstick is probably wondering who the schedule maker was that designated his Cougars to come over Highway 49 to Auburn this week. El Dorado, a playoff team a year ago, has absorbed early losses to Argonaut (33-0), Bear River (54-7) and Ponderosa (55-19).

Last week, El Dorado finally hit the win column with a 21-16 win over Bret Harte, a Division VI team. The Cougars, last season’s Sierra Valley Conference co-champions, have a big quarterback in 6-foot-2, 215-pound Danny Bell, who has thrown for 604 yards and four touchdowns.  Tyson Hanburg is one of the leading receivers in the Sacramento area with 22 catches for 356 yards and four scores.


Union Mine (0-3) at Colfax (3-0), 7 P.M.The Falcons, the top-rated CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D-VI team, host a Diamondbacks team that has run into hard times. A playoff team a year ago, Union Mine was forced to cancel a home game two weeks ago against Douglas (Nevada) due to a threat that put students’ safety in jeopardy. Last week, the Diamondbacks were throttled, 55-28, by a D-VI team, Amador.

While a lot of the Falcons’ early success through their first three games has been generated by the team’s offense, Colfax’s defense led by Tucker Klopotek, Dylan Owens, Parker Sullivan, Jake LaHaie and Christian Evensen, has allowed just 13 points in three games.


Del Oro (4-0) at Granite Bay (2-2), 7 P.M.The last time these two teams met just 10 months ago, the Golden Eagles were walking off the Hornet Stadium turf, 22-0 losers to the Grizzlies in the section’s D-II title game.

Now, the two teams meet again with each looking to get off on the right foot in SFL play and also perhaps to get a leg up in possible playoff seeding down the road.

Granite Bay, which was held without a touchdown in two opening losses to Monte Vista, 9-3, and Damonte Ranch, 28-0, has bounced back nicely the last two weeks with impressive wins over Jesuit, 27-12, and Vacaville, 31-0. Junior Ty Peterson has four interceptions in four games for the Grizzlies’ defense.


Johnson (1-3) at Foresthill (2-2), 7:00 p.m. After back-to-back weeks on the road, the Wildfires will look to get back on the winning track with a home test against the Warriors from Sacramento. Foresthill coach Steve Collier noted after last week’s loss to Vacaville Christian that he wants the Wildfires to get back to the basics.

Foresthill will try and use the Johnson game as a stepping stone into Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League play when the Wildfires host Western Sierra Academy of Rocklin Sept. 28.