PALO CEDRO – The gauntlet begins. For Foothill, how’s about starting with Eastern Athletic League perennial power Paradise to start?
The Cougars, coming off an uplifting 31-28 comeback victory over Lassen, are up for the challenge on homecoming night in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week Friday night – kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.
“I feel last week is going to motivate us,” Foothill senior linebacker Matt Paschen said. “We’ll have a lot of energy for the game with homecoming, the band, The Jungle (Foothill’s student section) screaming. We’ll be hyped up pretty good so as long as we play our game we’ll be fine.”
Foothill (2-2) and Paradise (2-1) are opposites when it comes to their offensive scheme – the Cougars with the shotgun spread attack compared to the Bobcats’ old-fashioned Wing-T. Cougars’ quarterback Jayden Gordon has a combined 907 total yards this season, leading the team and EAL in rushing with 468 yards. But others are going to have to step up such as running back Bryce Henderson (108 yards, TD) to keep the Bobcat defense from keying on Gordon.
“We’re challenging our guys to be balanced,” Foothill head coach Joey Brown said. “Bryce can take some of the load off of Jayden, we’re going to have success with the passing game and can build off of that.”
Paradise has a pair of ball carriers in Dominic Wiggins and Jacob Weldon who can threaten any defense. Foothill is giving up 190 yards per game on the ground this year but is familiar with the Bobcats system.
“It’s the same winning formula for Paradise,” Brown said. “The quarterback is very talented, the two running backs are scary because one thing about Paradise running backs is they never stop moving their feet. They’ll plant demons in your head and start planting ghosts in the backfield so if you start getting off your marks and your reads then you’re in trouble.”
Foothill’s two losses are to teams who are a combined 8-1 on the season. Now it gets to try to hand Paradise it’s second loss of the year after the Bobcats lost 19-13 at home to the same West Valley team that shut out Foothill in the season opener.
Redding Rancheria Game of the Week
Who: Paradise Bobcats (2-1) at Foothill Cougars (2-2)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Bill Johnson Community Stadium
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Chico (4-0) at Shasta (1-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Wolves knew coming into the season that the front third of their schedule was formidable. Two consecutive losses and the unbeaten Panthers coming to town make that schedule look downright Sisyphean with PV also looming on the horizon.
The bright spot for the Wolves, if there are bright spots in losses, was that Shasta played Eureka tough the week prior. Yes, the same Loggers’ team that throttled Foothill 62-14 the week prior. Famous Armstrong was a key target for quarterback Brian Kilgore and Alec Meek ran for some hard-nose yards.
The Shasta defense is going to have its hands full with the plethora of weapons at Chico coach Jason Alvistur’s disposal. Quarterback Ty Thomas is a dual threat who can beat you in the air to a cadre of receivers or take the ball on the option and put his head down for tough yards after contact. The Panthers like to rotate backs behind Thomas and run behind pulling guards Winston Capucion and Javier Haro.
Enterprise (1-2) at Sutter (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
Chris Combs and the Hornets have had two weeks to prepare for the Huskies, who fell 17-7 to Chico last week.
Leslie Cummings is the engine that drive the Enterprise offensive machine, but the senior quarterback, who can beat you through the air or on the ground, also has weapons at the ready. Wide receiver Sean McDonald is emerging as a go-to pass catcher and Matt Amasaki might be as good of a possession receiver as there is in the section. Jayden Campbell brings the thunder running that ball and the Hornets are going to need a good defensive effort from the likes of Dyllan Johnson and Justin Kelly.
The Huskies have a pair of juniors (Cory McIntyre and Colton Dillabo) and a pair of seniors (Zac Hancock and Dillon Brown) all with more than 100 yards rushing on the season. Jeff Fitzgerald, Cameron Applegarth and Travis Tedder lead Sutter’s defense.
Las Plumas (1-3) at Anderson (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Thunderbirds, the other team from Oroville, come to A-Town one week after Parker Phillips and Big Blue demolished previously unbeaten Oroville 56-26. Phillips, coming back after a one-game suspension, made up for lost time by setting a Cubs rushing record with 375 yards and six scores.
Las Plumas quarterback Mason Whitfield is 55th nationally with 1,329 passing yards in four games, but the Thunderbird defense surrenders an average of 338 yards rushing per game – ripe picking for Phillips and crew.
Oroville (2-1) vs. Central Valley (1-2) at Harrison Stadium (Oroville), 7:30 p.m.
The Falcons have had two weeks to prepare for Oroville, which is coming off its first loss of the season. CV, which blasted Trinity in the opener, came back down to Earth with blowout losses to Mount Shasta and Gridley.
The Falcons have playmakers on offense – quarterback Kevin Seaman, back Isiah Polk and Will Flowers, and receiver Brett League, but low numbers force those guys to play both way. And against Mount Shasta, where the Bears controlled the clock, playing that much defense saps you on offense.
University Prep (2-2) vs. Western Sierra (1-3) at Mahaney Park (Roseville), 7:30 p.m.
A week after falling to 3-1 Colusa, U-Prep can show its mettle with a very winnable road game. The Panthers were riding high after a shutout win over Clear Lake, and have the opportunity to show that first-year coach Darren Trueblood’s scheme is taking hold at U-Prep.
The Panthers’ playmakers, Dylan Cabral, Trayton Lastalot, Riley Seay and Kaden Jones should be able to take advantage of a Wolves defense allowing nearly 50 points per game.
Mt. Shasta (2-0) at Fall River (3-0), 7:30 p.m.
This may be one of the best games of the weekend and the only 11-man meeting of no-loss teams.
The Bulldogs have shown they can win in different ways, passing to a 48-0 victory over Burney in the Fair Bowl and then grinding it out on the ground in their other three victories. Bailey Small is the lead back and tackle leader for Fall River and he’ll need to be on his game against a potent Bears rushing attack.
Mount Shasta steamrolled Central Valley two weeks ago as Kaden Crisci and Elijah Rodriguez bludgeoned the Falcons defense for more than 200 yards. The Bears only carry 18 players, which may hurt them against a deeper Fall River squad.
Burney (0-4) at Portola (1-3), 7:30 p.m.
The winless Raiders meet the one-win Tigers, so something’s got to give.
Burney has scored just 12 points on the season, while allowing an average of nearly 44 points per game. Granted, the four losses have come against the top three teams in the Cascade Valley League (twice to Etna, once to Fall River and once to Biggs).
Portola’s win was against the Coral Academy of Sciences out of Reno, Nev.
Other Northern Section Games
Pleasant Valley at Red Bluff, 7:30 p.m.
Orland at Corning, 7:30 p.m.
Trinity at Yreka, 7:30 p.m.
Quincy at Biggs, 7:30 p.m.
Chester at Modoc, 7:30 p.m.
Maxwell at Etna, 7:30 p.m.
Pierce at Colusa, 7:30 p.m.
Live Oak at Willows, 7:30 p.m.
Winters at Esparto, 7:30 p.m.
Colfax at Wheatland, 7:30 p.m.
Golden Sierra at East Nicolaus, 7 p.m.
Gridley at Marysville, 7:30 p.m.
Big Valley at Dunsmuir, 7:30pm
Hayfork at Happy Camp, 6 p.m.
Redding Christian at Tulelake, 4 p.m.
Weed at Butte Valley, 6 p.m.
Mercy at Westwood, 6 p.m.
Los Molinos at McCloud, 6 p.m.
Williams at St. Vincent (Petaluma), 2 p.m.
Greenville at Loyalton (CA), 1 p.m.
Princeton at Herlong (CA), 1 p.m.