When Shasta last stepped onto Foothill’s Bill Johnson Community Stadium on Aug. 17 in a scrimmage, the Wolves didn’t have a lot to lean on. The Carr Fire wasn’t completely out, smoke filled the skies and there were question marks of who would step up for the reigning Northern Section and NorCal champs.
“This a Shasta team getting better and seeing their identity unfold in their young ‘backs,” Foothill head coach Joey Brown said. “They found their defensive identity against Paradise and they’re playing physical with an aggressive front. We have a huge challenge ahead of us.”
Shasta (2-3 EAL, 3-5) lost to Paradise 10-7 on a last-second field goal two weeks ago and throttled Enterprise in River Bowl XXVI last week. Foothill (2-2 EAL, 4-4) returns home for the first time since Sept. 21 in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week but has to do so without wide receiver and captain Chris Jacobsen, who was injured in a car accident Tuesday night and is resting, Brown said.
Even without Jacobsen, Foothill quarterback Jayden Gordon (1,833 total yards, 24 TDs) can get the offense going with the likes of Chris Ostergren, Bryce Henderson and Brandon Merryman — all guys Shasta needs to be worried about and not solely focus on Gordon.
“(Gordon) can take over the game with his legs so if the kids don’t get through their progressions and worry about him then they’ll use all their other weapons and hurt us,” said Shasta head coach JC Hunsaker.
Shasta’s offense erupted last week for a season-high 47 points, only the second 40-point game this season after having 10 games of 40-plus last year. Sophomore James Weaver (4 TDs last week), Brayden Coon, Alec Meek, Bryson Kimp along with quarterback Brian Kilgore thrived, showing the Wolves are on the verge of catching fire late in the season.
“They have a three-headed monster and are finding stability at the fullback position,” Brown said. “Weaver had a breakout game, they’re going to have confidence coming in.”
Shasta has won the past five meetings over Foothill with only one of those meetings decided between seven points or less.
REDDING RANCHERIA GAME OF THE WEEK
Who: Shasta (2-3 EAL, 3-5) at Foothill (2-2 EAL, 4-4)
Where: Bill Johnson Community Stadium
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Key stat: Shasta has won five straight against Foothill, all since Hunsaker took over the program
West Valley (7-1, 3-0 NAL) at Lassen (6-2, 4-0 NAL), 7:30 p.m.
The loss of Eagles player Tyson Wacker puts a somber face on what is an important contest for the Northern Athletic League title and potential No. 1 seed in the Division III playoffs. The Eagles, however, will use its #Playfor8 rallying cry to help them in a historically difficult place to earn a victory.
On the field, the Eagles are led offensively by MVP front-runner Bailey Sulzer, and the defense will be possessed to play for Wacker, who was a defensive end for the team.
The Grizzlies feature a passing game led by Hayden Chittock, who has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 scores. Tucker St. Andre is the workhorse back for Lassen with 10 scores on 719 yards rushing.
Paradise (7-1, 4-0 EAL) at Enterprise (1-7, 0-4 EAL), 7:30 p.m.
One year after finishing 2-8 overall and 0-5 in the Eastern Athletic League, the Bobcats can move one step closer to an EAL crown and the No. 1 seed in the Division II playoffs against a Hornets team reeling from a River Bowl loss and playing without starting quarterback Leslie Cummings and wideout Sean McDonald.
Dominic Wiggins and Jacob Weldon carry the load for Rick Prinz’s squad with 1,364 and 654 yards rushing and 16 and nine TDs, respectively. Quarterback Colby Cline has added seven scores on the ground as well.
A showdown for the EAL title and home field advantage could happen if the Bobcats take care of Enterprise and Pleasant Valley beats Chico in this week’s Almond Bowl. The Vikings and Bobcats meet in Week 10 at Chico High, as Asgard Yard is undergoing renovations.
Corning (3-5, 2-2 NAL) at Anderson (5-3, 1-2 NAL), 7:30 p.m.
The Cubs bounced back last week, beating Central Valley 40-6 after being outscored 75-0 the two previous weeks by West Valley and Lassen.
Parker Phillips ran for 101 yards and two scores against the Falcons. The Cubs sit at No. 7 in playoff points release Monday, just ahead of the Cardinals, and could close the season with two wins if they beat Corning and Yreka next week.
Central Valley (2-6, 0-3 NAL) at Yreka (1-5, 0-3 NAL), 7:30 p.m.
The Falcons look to get their third win of the season against a Miners team that’s only managed to play six games thus far because of fire and smoke issues. The three wins would be the most by a CV team since Matt Hunsaker took the Falcons to the section title game in 2014.
University Prep (5-3, 2-1 MVL) at Trinity (0-8, 0-3 MVL), 7:30 p.m.
A winnable game for the Panthers against one of two winless teams in the section would help U-Prep finish above .500 for the fourth time in school history. A trip Division IV top dog East Nicolaus awaits next week.
Dylan Cabral and Riley Seay have been offensive stalwarts for the Panthers and the defense is only allowing 17 points per game.
Chester (7-1, 5-1 CVL) at Fall River (8-0, 6-0 CVL), 7:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs are not only looking to sew up the Division V top seed, but exact a little revenge for last season’s championship loss to the Volcanoes.
Gavin Dobson, this week’s Shasta County Sports Player of the Week, leads Todd Sloat’s crew along with bell cow back Bailey Small. Dobson’s weapons include Cody Jorgensen and Jeffrey Kask.
Quincy (3-5, 3-3 CVL) at Burney (0-8, 0-6 CVL) 7:30 p.m.
The Raiders are looking for their first win of the year and would like to do so before facing Intermountain rival Fall River in the regular-season ender.
Big Valley (8-0, 6-0) at Redding Christian (6-3, 5-1), 7 p.m.
The Lions have won five straight, but face their toughest test of the season against the Cardinals, No. 2 in this week’s Media Poll. Big Valley is coming off its lowest output of the season last week in a 14-10 win over Tulelake and Gerald Piper’s crew would love to enter the playoffs on a high note and a signature win under their belt.
Other Northern Section Games
Pleasant Valley at Chico, 7:30 p.m.
Orland at Gridley, 7:30 p.m.
Oroville vs. Wheatland at Harrison Stadium (Oroville), 7:30 p.m.
Las Plumas at Sutter, 7:30 p.m.
Etna at Portola, 7:30 p.m.
Biggs at Modoc, 7:30 p.m.
Williams at East Nicolaus, 7:30 p.m.
Hamilton at Mt. Shasta, 7:30 p.m.
Pierce at Live Oak, 7:30 p.m.
Willows at Esparto, 7:30 p.m.
Winters at Durham, 7:30 p.m.
Butte Valley at Tulelake, 4 p.m.
Happy Camp at Weed, 6 p.m.
Hayfork at Dunsmuir, 7:30 p.m.
Los Molinos at Greenville, 6 p.m.
Westwood at Herlong, 1 p.m.
McCloud at Princeton, 6 p.m.
Saturday, 8-Man Football
Mercy (Red Bluff, CA) at Loyalton, 1 p.m.