Almond Bowl: Pleasant Valley vs. Chico at University Stadium. Not ready to make this pick just yet. Let’s get to some others.
Sutter at Las Plumas. Winner: Sutter. Huskies will bounce back after getting beaten at home by Enterprise. T’birds eked out a 23-20 win against Gridley last week. Sutter beat Gridley 59-3 recently.
Oroville at Foothill. Winner: Foothill. The passing attack was sharp on the road last week against Chico. I think Foothill wants to finish strong, and the Cougars could give Red Bluff fits in the season finale. Tigers were shut out last week at home to Orland. If they can hold onto the ball, I think they’ll score some, but they won’t be get to Foothill QB Ryan Pollard enough, and they certainly can’t cover all the receiving options Pollard will be able to find down the field.
Red Bluff at Paradise. Winner: Paradise. I’m sure Coach Rick Prinz has mentioned a time or two last year’s result at Red Bluff.
Maxwell at Biggs. Winner: Biggs. This might be Biggs’ biggest test to date. But I don’t see the Wolverines slowing down.
Durham at Mount Shasta. Winner: Durham. The Trojans have one long road trip, but I think all that talent will make the trip. Trojan looking for a move up the playoff points with strong finish.
Gridley at Winters. Winner: I’ll take Winters at home. Winters has a good dual-threat quarterback and has already beaten teams that beat Gridley.
Colusa at Hamilton. Winner: Hamilton. This probably decides the league title. I think Braves are much better and I think they’ll play better, too. Colusa has lost to D-IV teams. Hamilton’s losses are to Durham and Willows, two of the better D-III teams.
Trinity at Willows. Winner: Willows. This is the D-III matchup of the week. Honkers at home is a tough draw in yet another lengthy road trip for the Wolves. Trinity has several good athletes at skill positions. But I think Willows bounces back after loss to Durham. Not sure if Trinity will pass enough to make Willows think twice about loading up on the run.
Yreka at Corning. Winner: Corning. Miners face a long trip and a good team. Cardinals have been stout at home, and Yreka is hurting at quarterback as injuries have mounted.
Wheatland at Orland. Winner: Orland. This could be a good one. Wheatland has a good passing attack. Don’t know if Trojans will have starting QB Tyler Batchelder back from a concussion yet. That could tighten things up, but backup (and former starting at WR) James Wiseman has had a few weeks of play at the position. He’s gotten positive reviews in limited chances. Think Orland’s defense comes up big with a couple of turnovers and/or stops. And a heavy dose of big, bruising fullback Arthur Flynn makes the difference.
Herlong at Princeton. Winner: Princeton. Eagles have been on a roll since starting season 0-3 thanks to brutal opening slate. Have to figure they keep things rolling behind all those playmakers.
Chico at Pleasant Valley. Winner: Almost there.
The Big Bonus: Can’t let the River Bowl go without making a pick. I’ll take Enterprise over Shasta, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Shasta keeps it close for a quarter or more. That’s actually a compliment with the way Enterprise has ran over most teams of late. I’ll also take West Valley over Anderson, Central Valley over Lassen, Mercy over Westwood, Portola over Los Molinos, Pierce over Live Oak.
Chico at Pleasant Valley (at University Stadium). Winner: Chico. I’m surprised that it seems like everyone I’ve heard from or talked to is taking the Panthers. I don’t think enough credit has gone to PV for they way the Vikings have turned their season around the past few weeks. Panthers are definitely the more desperate team as a win means they control their destiny and would definitely make playoffs with a win at home vs. Shasta next week. I think the side-by-side results tip the favor in picking the Panthers. Chico beat Red Bluff 61-20 at the Spartans’ place. Of course, that was on the field, and the result has now become that infamous forfeit loss for use of an ineligible player. PV went to Red Bluff last week and won 35-28. Big difference in 41-point margin and a 7-point margin. Still, I think PV is fueled by getting that elusive win against Chico. Looking forward to the matchup of Chico High QB Clayton Welch vs. PV linebackers Chad Olsen and Ryan Steindorf. That’s a great matchup of three great athletes. Also, how does the freshman nose guard respond for PV? And if the Vikings can keep their offense on their field like last week when they converted 14 of 17 third-down plays for first downs and went on a 14-play drive for the go-ahead score. Well, Chico’s offense can’t score if it’s not on the field. Should be a fun game to watch no matter what, and it figures to be the closest Almond Bowl in the past few years after a pair of Chico blowouts after a PV blowout the year before that. And these types of games always seem to bring something new to the table. Last year, cheerleaders got a penalty. Had never seen that before. What does this year’s game have in store? We won’t know until it happens. But we’ll let you know when it does. Hope to see you out there. See below where you can find updates, and leave some picks in the comments section.
Here’s how I’ve done:
Week Zero: 3-0.
Week 1: 6-6.
Week 2: 7-4.
Week 3: 7-3.
Week 4: 10-2.
Week 5: 7-4.
Week 6: 8-3.
Week 7: 12-3.
Week 8: 12-1.
The right stuff: Chico over Foothill, Pleasant Valley over Red Bluff, Orland over Oroville, Paradise over Shasta, Las Plumas over Gridley, Corning over Anderson, Hamilton over Esparto, Biggs over Esparto, Princeton over Loyalton, Enterprise over Sutter, West Valley over Lassen, Central Valley over Yreka.
Didn’t see these coming: Durham over Willows.
So on the season: 72-26.
Can’t make it to the games?
Here’s who to follow on Twitter for certain games:
Almond Bowl: Pleasant Valley vs. Chico, yours truly @JShufelberger AND @TravisSouders and make sure you keep an eye on the one and only @JasonHalley_ER for photos and videos as well. And for even more, our weekend reporter @dan_reidel will be their doing a color piece for the news side as well.
Red Bluff at Paradise, @jtlarson and @Post_RickSilva.
River Bowl: Shasta at Enterprise, @tjholmes_RS AND @tlawrence_RS.
Feel free to throw some picks of your own in the comments section.