Not every rivalry has a trophy or a title attached to it. Foothill has played the third-wheel to historic Shasta and Enterprise’s annual River Bowl despite being better than both squads some years.
Instead of focusing on just one game, Cougars head coach Joey Brown calls the hate-triangle the “Battle for Redding.” And the first of the three contests begins Friday at The Hornets Nest with Enterprise hosting Foothill in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week.
“This is our rivalry game, there’s just no fancy name for it,” Brown said.
Foothill beat Red Bluff on Sept. 28 before heading into its bye week and has had two weeks to prepare for Enterprise, which has lost its fourth straight game since walloping West Valley – arguably the top team in Shasta County, if not the Northern Section – for its lone win. It’s a meeting of two top quarterbacks in Foothill’s Jayden Gordon (1,537 total yards, 18 TDs) and Enterprise’s Leslie Cummings (1,012 total yards, 8 TDs), who are threats with their arms and legs. But because they share similar characteristics, it allows both teams to prepare for their explosiveness.
“We try to simulate as close as we can we’re lucky enough to have a guy who can run the ball and has speed to help us,” Enterprise head coach Chris Combs said. “Except what makes Jayden that much more special is he’s a strong runner, not just a fast guy and he can break tackles. He’s good enough to make anyone miss one-on-one.”
Foothill (1-1 Eastern Athletic League, 3-3) has the same fate, except this is the fifth time the Cougars are facing Cummings in his varsity career and that familiarity helps in understanding tendencies.
“He’s a special athlete and we’ll have to be technically sound,” Brown said. “He’s a three-year starter and brings leadership but that also means we have three years of experience against him and a lot of tape to know what has worked and what hasn’t in the past.”
Aside of the quarterbacks, both teams’ running games have gotten going with Foothill’s Bryce Henderson turning in back-to-back 100-yard performances and Enterprise (0-2 EAL, 1-5) had a pair of 100-yard rushers in Jayden Campbell and Anthony Norman in last week’s loss to Pleasant Valley. Enterprise receiver Matt Amasaki hasn’t played since the Sept. 7 Lassen game and is a game-time decision with a knee injury after his ankle sprain healed up, Combs said. Either way, the success of the ground game could help in controlling the tempo and preventing a shootout.
“The kids are starting to realize we aren’t getting the long runs we’d like but we can grind it out with 3-4-yard runs,” Combs said. “It started to happen against Sutter and we played clock management against Chico and kept it close so they are understanding that we don’t need those chunk plays.”
REDDING RANCHERIA GAME OF THE WEEK
Who: Foothill (1-1 EAL, 3-3) at Enterprise (0-2 EAL, 1-5)
Where: The Hornets Nest, Enterprise Community Stadium
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Shasta (2-4) at Paradise (5-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Wolves face a tough task heading to The Ridge against a Bobcats team that just knocked off previously unbeaten Chico.
Shasta’s offense got right in a 49-26 win against Red Bluff as James Weaver, Brayden Coon and JV call up Bryson Kimp ran for more than 200 yards and seven touchdowns. Kirk Ramage’s defense will have to be disciplined against the Wing-T Bobcats, who are resurgent after a down season last year. Paradise is led offensively by senior backs Dominic Wiggins (989 yards rushing and 12 TDs) and Jacob Weldon (531 yards rushing and 8 TDs).
The Bobcats, whose lone loss is to 5-1 West Valley, has shown it can be stingy on defense, but Foothill and Gridley both scored 35-plus points on the Paradise defense.
The last time the Wolves won at Om Wraith Field was 2014 shortly after former coach Aaron Gingery was let go.
Yreka (0-1 NAL, 1-3) at West Valley (1-0 NAL, 5-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles have to be wary of letdown after an emotional South County Collision win over Anderson, but odds of a Miners upset are slim. Yreka has been blanked in its three losses and the lone win is over winless Trinity. Yreka has logged three touchdowns all season, while surrendering an average of 25-plus points per contest.
Meanwhile, the Eagles seem to be firing on all cylinders and have to be the favorites in the Northern Athletic League. Bailey Sulzer is one yard shy of 1,000 on the year and may be the front-runner for postseason MVP honors. Ironically, a win by rival Anderson would help the Eagles in their quest for an NAL crown.
Anderson (0-1 NAL, 4-2) at Lassen (2-0 NAL, 4-2), 7:30 p.m.
The axiom that you’re down 7 when stepping off the bus in Susanville doesn’t bode well for a Cubs team reeling from their 26-0 loss to West Valley.
But Big Blue still has Parker Phillips and if Don Trotter and staff can fix some of the things that went wrong against the Eagles then Anderson is more than capable of coming back home with a Dub. Marquice Crowell has shown he can step up and be that big-time receiver to take pressure off the running game and quarterback Vaipou Leota is a dual threat with his arm and legs.
The Grizzlies throw the ball more than in the past as quarterback Hayden Chittock has nearly 1,000 yards passing and 12 scores, while bell cow back Tucker St. Andre does the heavy lifting. The senior has 530 yards rushing and six scores, while Robert Howard has added 259 yards rushing and five more TDs.
Central Valley (0-1 NAL, 2-4) at Corning (1-1 NAL, 2-5), 7:30 p.m.
The Falcons head to Corning down in numbers – Jesse Rogers’ squad is carrying 13 – but the coaches feel the guys they have are the right ones to begin the slow turnaround in Shasta Lake.
Will Flowers continues to be a go-to back for CV along with Isiah Polk.
The Cardinals have two backs that can take anything to the house in Christian Briceno (711 yards rushing and 8 TDs) and Devin Toth (614 yards and 9 TDs).
Williams (0-1 MVL, 3-3) at University Prep (1-0 MVL, 4-2), 7:30 p.m.
This two-week league stretch will show how far the Panthers have come under the guidance of Darren Trueblood in his first season at a different program. U-Prep has won the games it was supposed to, while battling in the others.
Junior Riley Seay has emerged as a durable back, going for 147 yards and three scores last week, while senior quarterback Dylan Cabral has been money on offense and defense.
The Yellowjackets have lost to Durham , Pierce and Mount Shasta – U-Prep fell to Pierce in the opener and has Mount Shasta next week. Williams is led offensively by senior quarterback Hunter Povlsen, who has thrown for more than 1,500 yards and 15 scores. He has a trio of receivers in Juan Zamudio, Aldo Ambriz and Samuel Navarro
Portola (1-4 CVL, 2-5) at Fall River (4-0 CVL, 6-0), 7:30 p.m.
There hasn’t been a team yet to tame the Bulldogs. Fall River is far above all other teams, yet the Bulldogs don’t have the leading passer, rusher or receiver in the Cascade Valley League. The four-headed monster of an offensive attack with quarterback Gavin Dobson (615 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT), running back Bailey Small (751 yards, 10 TDs), receiver Cody Jorgensen (303 yards, 6 TDs) and athlete Jeffrey Kask (531 yards, 8 TDs) which is averaging 371 yards per game.
Portola’s only two wins are against teams with a combined 2-11 record. Mario Ruiz (447 yards, 4 TDs) and Jiogo Juarez (354 yards, 4 TDs) lead the Tigers.
Dunsmuir (0-4 North, 0-5) at Redding Christian (3-1 North, 4-3), 7 p.m.
Dual-threat quarterback Isaiah Van Denend is averaging 248.6 yards per game this season, leads the Northern Section 8-man players in rushing with 1,205 yards and accounts for 75 percent of the offensive yards for the Lions. A win for Redding Christian should all but secure a playoff seed thanks to an earlier season win over Hayfork to hold the head-to-head.
Dunsmuir has lost their past 12 games dating back to last season. The Tigers are putting up only 207 yards and 13.6 points per game this year.
Bye: Burney (0-7)
Other Northern Section Games Friday
Red Bluff at Chico, 7:30 p.m.
East Nicolaus at Mt. Shasta, 7:30 p.m.
Oroville at Sutter (CA), 7:30 p.m.
Gridley vs. Las Plumas at Harrison Stadium (Oroville), 7:30 p.m.
Wheatland at Orland (CA), 7:30 p.m.
Chester at Maxwell, 7:30 p.m.
Etna at Biggs, 7:30 p.m.
Quincy at Modoc, 7:30 p.m.
Trinity at Hamilton, 7:30 p.m.
Live Oak at Durham, 7:30 p.m.
Pierce at Esparto, 7:30 p.m.
Colusa at Winters, 7:30 p.m.
Big Valley at Weed, 6 p.m.
Happy Camp at Butte Valley, 6 p.m.
Hayfork at Tulelake, 4 p.m.
Mercy at Los Molinos, 6 p.m.
Princeton at Westwood, 6 p.m.
McCloud at Greenville, 7 p.m.
Loyalton at Herlong, 1 p.m.