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GOTW: U-Prep building momentum heading into matchup against Clear Lake

The past few years, U-Prep has been a program on the rise. A new head coach with a winning pedigree in Darren Trueblood and his former staff from Enterprise is inserted to lead the way and the players have followed.

The past few years, U-Prep has been a program on the rise. A new head coach with a winning pedigree in Darren Trueblood and his former staff from Enterprise is inserted to lead the way and the players have followed.

U-Prep won last week for the first time this season and is hoping to turn that into a winning streak with a home matchup against Clear Lake Friday night in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week. Kickoff starts at 7:30 p.m.

“We have a winning mindset,” said U-Prep senior quarterback Dylan Cabral. “We plan on winning, we don’t plan on losing. It’s a big shift in mentality since I came in as a freshman.”

Cabral has his hand in nearly every play for the 1-1 Panthers, passing for 262 yards and leading the team in rushing with another 142 on the ground. He’s accounted for seven of the Panthers’ eight offensive touchdowns this year. The other score came from Riley Seay (pronounced “sea” like an ocean), who churned out 106 yards and the TD on 21 carries a week ago. With two playmakers like that, U-Prep is confident momentum can begin to build with a victory over winless Clear Lake.

“It’s very important if we can get this win,” Seay said. “It basically shows the other teams that we have that headway and we’re not stopping.”

The biggest difference for Trueblood coaching at U-Prep compared to Enterprise is number of players on the roster. U-Prep has 27 compared to Clear Lake’s 52, and he’s used to seeing 40-plus on the sidelines in east Redding. But that makes him and his coaching staff focus more on the fundamentals because every player needs the attention to detail.

“We have to be better as coaches to be efficient and smarter with what we’re doing,” Trueblood said. “There’s a learning curve just like in everything you do and we’re still figuring that out. But I’ve been pleased so far with (the players’) effort.”

Clear Lake has been outscored 54-0 in its two games, falling to Colusa and Pierce, two quality opponents. It’s a good test for U-Prep, which hosts Colusa on Sept. 14.

Redding Rancheria Game of the Week
Who: Clear Lake (0-2) at U-Prep (1-1)
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Where: University Prep School
Updates: Follow @ShastaCoSports on Twitter or our feed on our scoreboard page

Shasta (1-0) at Elk Grove (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Wolves got a sloppy 28-24 Week Zero win over Corning and look to sew things up with their unusually early bye week. Offensively, Rocklin transfer Brayden Coon was a bright spot along with sophomore wing James Weaver, each with two scores against the Cardinals. However, the Shasta defense gave up three scoring plays of more than 60 yards. Kirk Ramage’s defense will have to contain better, a tough task against Elk Grove, a team with good team speed.

The Thundering Herd come into the home game against the Wolves 0-2, but with both losses coming to heavy hitters – an opening week loss to Inderkum and last week to Bay Area power Serra of San Mateo. Shasta will have to bottle up junior quarterback Carter Harris, who ran for 149 yards and a score in Elk Grove’s 41-17 loss last week.

Enterprise (1-1) at Lassen (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The old joke is that you step off the bus already down 7-0 anytime you venture up the hill to Susanville to play Lassen.

Well, the Hornets better hope Enterprise’s offensive playmakers – quarterback Leslie Cummings, wideouts Sean McDonald and Matt Amasaki – can erase that fictional deficit. Enterprise rides a bounce-back high of beating West Valley 35-14 into the meeting with the Grizzlies.

Head coach Chris Combs needs to hope the defense that shut down Bailey Sulzer shows up to tackle Tucker St. Andre and Lassen. St. Andre has 171 rushing yards in two games – a blowout win over perennial doormat Las Plumas and a 30-19 loss to a Chico team that looks legit after two weeks.

Lassen senior quarterback Hayden Chittock adds a passing wrinkle to the Grizzlies typically run-heavy scheme. He’s thrown for 203 yards on 20-of-37 passing and two scores (including 133 yards against the Panthers), though Chittock does have three interceptions.

Foothill (1-1) at Eureka (3-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Cougars need the Jayden Gordon that played against Carson last week to make the bus trip to the coast. Against the Senators, Gordon ran for 137 yards and four touchdowns in Foothill’s 41-7 win. The week prior, in a 16-0 loss to West Valley, Gordon and the entire Cougars offense was stymied, being held to 129 total yards.

Foothill coach Joey Brown has said the Cougars need to be balanced, but also need to take advantage of Gordon’s running ability. In order to do so, Red Thunder is going to have to get a good night from back Bryce Henderson, who ran for 108 yards and a score against Carson.

The Loggers have averaged nearly 42 points per game in their three wins and have relied on the passing game of senior gunslinger Cruz Montana. The Eureka quarterback has thrown for 713 yards on 33-of-52 passing and six touchdowns. Backs Alex Miller and Robert Weir are workhorses who will look to keep the Foothill defense honest up front.

On defense, the Loggers’ middle linebacker Tyce Mullins leads the team with 32 tackles (29 solo) and has seven tackles for a loss in the three wins.

Red Bluff (0-2) at West Valley (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
Like Foothill and Enterprise – West Valley’s opponents in the first two weeks – the Eagles have seen highs and lows. After shutting out the Cougars, Greg Grandell’s bunch were held in check by the explosive Enterprise offense and defense. The remedy? Most likely a heavy dose of running back Bailey Sulzer, who showed his worth in the opening week-win over Foothill.

The Spartans head to The Pasture winless, but with two good battles under their belt. Red Bluff almost came back to beat Anderson in the opener and fell to Sutter last week with a respectable 26-0 score against one of the top teams in the section.

Junior quarterback Eli Wehbey has thrown for 423 yards and four scores through the first two weeks. Running back Tanner Gantenbein has 101 yards rushing, though he only gained 20 on seven carries in the Sutter loss.

Central Valley (1-1) at Gridley (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Falcons head to the Bone Yard a week after getting handled by a Mount Shasta team that ran for more than 200 yards and put up 42 points on the CV defense.

Coach Jesse Rogers’ squad showed it could put up points in the opening-week win over Trinity, but a defense-sapping drive by Mount Shasta last week never let the Falcons offense get rolling. Still, CV has plenty of weapons in the new-look veer offense. Quarterback Kevin Seaman, running backs Will Flowers and Isiah Polk, and wideout Brett League have big-play potential.

Gridley was smacked last week in its opener, falling 57-36 to Paradise. The Bulldogs got a monster night from quarterback Riley Dunning, who threw for 210 yard while adding 169 yards rushing on 18 carries and four touchdowns in the losing effort. The CV defense will have to get better quick and bottle up Dunning if it wants to be above .500 after three weeks in a season for the first time since 2013, before any Falcon player was in high school.

Burney (0-2) at Biggs (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Raiders have yet to find the end zone after losses to Etna and Fall River. The 16-person roster is comprised of seven underclassmen and led by sophomore quarterback Connor Pfadt, who has 112 yards passing through two games. The run attack is spearheaded by senior Gerardo Villarreul’s 89 yards.

The Wolverines have put up 665 yards on offense in their two losses – to Hamilton and Kelseyville – with a fairly balanced approach – 285 yards rushing and 380 through the air.

Fact is one squad is coming out 1-2 while the other must figure out life after an 0-3 start.

Maxwell (2-0) at Fall River (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Bulldogs quarterback Gavin Dobson had an opening night to remember, throwing for 207 yards on 7-of-9 passing and four scores. His favorite target, Cody Jorgensen, had an equally dominant night catching five of those passes for 203 yards and the four TDs.

Bailey Small led the Fall River defense with seven tackles in the 48-0 win over Burney.

The Panthers, meanwhile had scored 79 points in their two wins, while surrendering 29 on defense. Quarterback Ulises Rolon has six TD passes on the season and has added another on the ground with 105 yards rushing. Senior back Rudy Gutierrez has 150 yards rushing and three scores in the two wins.

Defensively, linebackers Tim Kromis and Gutierrez and freshman corner Ignacio Velazquez all have double-digit tackles for Maxwell.

Princeton (2-0) at Redding Christian (1-1), 7 p.m.
Depending on which Redding Christian team shows up for its home opener could depend on how long a night it is for Lions fans. The Palo Cedro school has been Jekyll and Hyde over its first two contests, blowing out Mercy 40-6 before getting throttled 50-0 by a pretty good Los Molinos team. Ahh, the shifting fortunes of 8-man football. Isaiah VanDenend showed in the opener he has the ability through the air and on the ground. But the Lions are young and prone to growing pains, especially against the elite 8-man schools, which is exactly what Princeton is.

The Eagles are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 128-12 on the young season. Princeton is led by junior quarterback Joey Willis and senior running backs Shane Irish and Nick Ramirez.

Redding Christian has won three of the last four meetings between the 8-man programs.

BYE: Anderson (1-1)

Other Northern Section Games
Chico at Yuba City, 7:30 p.m.
River Valley vs. Pleasant Valley at Yuba City (CA), 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Corning vs. Oroville at Harrison Stadium (Oroville), 7:30 p.m.
Live Oak at Hamilton, 7:30 p.m.
Pierce at Williams, 7:30 p.m.
Chester at Etna, 7:30 p.m.
Modoc at Portola, 7:30 p.m.
Orland at Willows, 7:30 p.m.
Colfax at Colusa, 7:30 p.m.
Durham at Fort Bragg, 7:30 p.m.
East Nicolaus at Bradshaw Christian, 7 p.m.
Esparto vs. Western Sierra at Mahaney Park (Roseville), 7 p.m.
Las Plumas at Lindhurst , 7:30 p.m.
Mt. Shasta at Pershing County (Lovelock, Nev.), 7 p.m.
Quincy vs. Immanuel at Feather River College (Quincy), 7:30 p.m.
Rio Vista at Winters, 7:30 p.m.
Benicia at Sutter, 7:30 p.m.
Wheatland at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Yreka at Mazama (Klamath Falls, Ore.), 7 p.m.

8-Man Games
Greenville at Happy Camp, 6 p.m.
Herlong at Big Valley, 7 p.m.
Los Molinos at Hayfork, 6 p.m.
Westwood at Tulelake, 4 p.m.
Butte Falls/Crater Lake (Butte Falls, Ore.) at Weed, 6 p.m.
Loyalton at Pyramid Lake (Nixon, Nev.), 7 p.m.
Mercy vs. Dunsmuir at Sacred Heart Parish School (Red Bluff), 1 p.m. Saturday

Staff Reports is content produced by the Shasta County Sports team.

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