This Week in 8-Man Football Semi-Final Playoff Edition:
Quarterfinal Round Capsules (last week):
Los Molinos 60 Hayfork 18: Los Molinos rolled as it has all season, but Hayfork can hang its hat on being just the third team to score on the Bulldogs all year, and that the Lumberjacks 4-3 record at the end of the season was terrific when compared to their 0-4 start. Los Molinos ran for 462 yards, with Dylan Caylor leading the way with 334 yards on just 9 carries. Hayfork made their mark throwing the ball with quarterback DJ Case going 16 for 35 for 141 yards, and Will Kaspar going 1-1 for a 49 yard touchdown. With only 1 senior who had any statistics, Hayfork has a bright future, while Los Molinos rolls on.
Greenville 26 Tulelake 21: Neither team scored in the first quarter, and at the half, Greenville just led 6-0. Greenville had a balanced attack, with quarterback Tristin Clark passing for 182 yards going 11-21, while five different backs contributed to 206 yards rushing. Tulelake had almost 300 yards of offense, but had six fumbles and an interception. Tulelake made their first playoff appearance in in seven years, and must be pleased with that, even if the season ended in disappointment.
Big Valley 59 Herlong 0: Stats were not entered for this game, but the score says it all. Big Valley dominated in every phase of the game, and rolls into the second round, continuing its win streak over the last three years. Herlong came out and played, instead of opting out after a rough season, and for that they deserve a lot of credit. Hopefully the Vikings will build on the experience of being in the playoffs for more success next year.
Redding Christian 38 Princeton 12: The Lions avenged an earlier loss, and pounded the Eagles on the road. Redding Christian asserted themselves with a rushing total of 401 yards, and a physical aggressive defense that held the Eagles in check. With all their skill players returning, the Eagles could be a tough team next season.
News and Notes:
- Unlike last year when the South won 3 of the 4 first round games and had both final entries, the North and South each have 2 teams in the final 4.
- Greenville and Redding Christian both lost to their current opponent, Los Molinos and Big Valley, respectively, in the last game of the regular season
- Three of these teams were in the final four last year, the only exception, Princeton was in the final four last year instead of Redding Christian
- Los Molinos has an 11-game win streak, Big Valley’s win streak is up to 33 games.
Semifinal Playoff Previews:
#3S Greenville (7-4) @ #1S Los Molinos (11-0):
(Last Meeting Los Molinos 64 Greenville 0). On paper, Greenville is a team that should give the Bulldogs fits. Los Molinos has given up only seven touchdowns all season, and all of them have been on passing plays or after big special teams plays, two areas where Greenville excels. Greenville only has two seniors and five juniors, 10 of the 17 on their roster are underclassmen. Young teams sometimes step up and sometimes shrink back from a spotlight. But Greenville went on the road and beat Tulelake in the first round, and that should help them with young team jitters. In the end, any game comes down to execution. Los Molinos turned the ball over once in the first round, Hayfork turned it over 4 times. Greenville turned the ball over twice in the first round, Tulelake 6 times. If Greenville can get takeaways, protect league-leading passer Tristin Clark so he can pass the ball accurately, and make good decisions to take care of the ball, they might shock the Bulldogs, or at least give them a tough game.
#3N Redding Christian (7-4) @ #1N Big Valley (10-0):
(Last Meeting Big Valley 27 Redding Christian 20). Last time these teams met, the Lions jumped out 20-0 in the first quarter, then never scored again, as Big Valley came back bit by bit and got the victory. That game was also full of drama and questionable officiating, and the Lions have been aching for a rematch, feeling that if they maintained composure and responded better to adversity, they would have gotten the victory. They got their wish, now they just have to follow through. In the Princeton game, the Lions showed toughness, and they did not let up, holding the Eagles back when they tried to come back, beating a team soundly who had beaten them before. The Cardinals were not challenged by Herlong and may have used the easy first round game to fine tune their attack and heal some dinged up players.
Game time temperature in Bieber will probably be in the low 40s, down to potentially the 20s by the end of the game, which could be a factor for the Lions who are used to the warmer weather of Redding. Last time these teams met, explosion plays were huge, and both teams will be looking to make their opponent drive down the field and finish drives. Both teams will try to eliminate the mistakes that led to big plays for their opponent and turnovers that killed drives. In the last meeting, the Lions offense moved almost at will, stopped mostly by penalties or turnovers. If they can clean up those mistakes, they can win, if not they will have more to overcome.