Foothill at Chico. Winner: Chico. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Panthers get a cathartic romp here, putting a big number up just to feel better after all those close calls they have had and the forfeit loss. Foothill needs to eat some clock and not turn the ball over. Winner is thinking playoffs. Loser is thinking what could have been.
Pleasant Valley at Red Bluff. Winner: Pleasant Valley. I think a 1-point win against Shasta is at least a bit more impressive than Red Bluff having to rally and then hold off Wheatland by 1 point as well. I’ll go with big momentum, which PV has embraced with a burden-lifting win against Shasta. Vikings defense seems to be peaking, and Spartans have some injuries on the offensive side, which might make for another shutdown effort for PV.
Orland at Oroville. Winner: Orland. Trojans still not real healthy at some key spots including quarterback. But Orland is tested and can grind out wins with defense, ground game and no turnovers. A formula that has worked before for Orland. Trojans ran the ball 25 times and passed none in last week’s second half against Las Plumas. Oroville’s offense has picked up, but don’t think the defense can contain Big Arthur Flynn.
Paradise at Shasta. Winner: Paradise. I have no idea what to make of Shasta. You’d think a team with a pretty balanced offense that includes some offensive linemen who are big and formidable would be a recipe to travel well. But outside a high-scoring win at Lassen, that hasn’t been the case really. Paradise’s ground game seems to be rounding into shape. The second seed for D-I is likely on the line.
Las Plumas at Gridley. Winner: Las Plumas. The hosts have been outscored 119-3 in their past two contests. Guess which side I’m going to take?
Anderson at Corning. Winner: Corning. The visitors lost to the team in the above contest that has been outscored 119-3 in their past two contests. Guess which side I’m going to take? Note, this is Corning’s homecoming, and apparently the Cardinal put on a pretty good show for homecoming. At least, that’s what I’ve been told on Twitter. Haven’t had the chance yet to witness one myself.
Willows at Durham. Winner: Willows. Until someone in Division III knocks off the two-time defending section champion Honkers, why go against them? Durham is interesting because the Trojans are a versatile offense with a good group of skill-position players that allow them to be a balanced attack. Honkers rely on a ground game that can revolve a few running backs, but there’s not much secret to what Willows wants to do. Grind you down with a tough defense and run over you on offense. This is the game this week among small schools this week.
Hamilton at Esparto. Winner: Hamilton. Esparto is winless. Hamilton’s two losses are to quality opponents in Willows and Durham. Braves too tough. They took over game against Williams early, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do the same.
Biggs at University Prep. Winner: Biggs. Wolverines are unbeaten, joining Enterprise and Dunsmuir as only section teams yet to lose. Willing to think the Wolverines’ wishbone attack travels well. Biggs seems on the verge of securing the No. 1 seed for the Division IV playoffs. A win here gets them closer.
Princeton at Loyalton, Winner: Princeton. Bryan Lex’s Eagles have won five straight games since dropping the first three games, which were against some of the tougher teams Division VI (8-man) has to offer. Eagles continue climb toward a possible home playoff game here.
The Big Bonus: Enterprise over Sutter, West Valley over Lassen, Central Valley over Yreka,
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.
The right stuff: Orland over Las Plumas, Central Valley over Corning, Winters over Oroville, Biggs over Portola, Sutter over Gridley, Hamilton over Williams, Willows over Mount Shasta, Princeton over Westwood, West Valley over Yreka, Enterprise over Foothill, Lassen over Anderson, Red Bluff over Wheatland.
Didn’t see these coming: Pleasant Valley over Shasta, Paradise over Chico, Pierce over Durham,
So on the season: 60-25.
Can’t make it to the games?
Here’s who to follow on Twitter for certain games:
Foothill at Chico, yours truly @JShufelberger and make sure you keep an eye on the one and only @JasonHalley_ER for photos and videos as well.
Orland at Oroville, @TravisSouders.
Pleasant Valley at Red Bluff, @tjholmes_RS.
Paradise at Shasta, @tlawrence_RS.
Willows at Durham, @jtlarson and from a fan’s perspective @Phinatic_Dave offered to post some updates. Give him a follow, he’s a big Dolphins and Oregon fan.
Enterprise at Sutter, @advarsitysports for Marysville Appeal-Democrat Sports Editor Jimmy Graben’s updates.
Feel free to throw some picks of your own in the comments section.