With four weeks left in the season, the East Union football team has put itself in position for a return trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason.
At 4-2, though, the 10th-ranked Lancers (1-2) will need to win at least two more games to make themselves eligible. The closing schedule is daunting with games against Manteca Unified rivals Lathrop (3-3, 2-1), Sierra (2-4, 1-2), Weston Ranch (1-5, 0-3) and Manteca (4-2, 1-2) in succession.
Elsewhere, Central Valley (4-2, 1-0) has proven it won’t just hand out its Western Athletic Conference crown to No. 7 Los Banos (6-0, 1-0) or No. 9 Patterson (5-1, 1-0), two of the hottest programs in the Stanislaus District. The Hawks have quietly gone 4-2 with two straight wins and step into the spotlight Friday against visiting Los Banos.
And after a rough stretch early, Pitman (3-3, 2-0) looks to prove it can win a big game on the road.
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The Pride travel to Buhach Colony, whose own title hopes in the Central California Conference have been boosted by transfers Owen Thomas and Trey Paster, formerly of Stone Ridge Christian.
Yes, it’s a make-or-break week for these large-school programs: East Union, Central Valley and Pitman.
East Union and Los Banos are decided favorites against Lathrop and Central Valley, but Pitman faces arguably the toughest test.
Like the Pride, Buhach Colony (4-2, 2-1) has won two straight games, including a 60-13 thrashing of El Capitan last week. With a loss already to Turlock (5-2, 3-0), the Thunder can ill-afford another defeat.
The problem: Buhach Colony doesn’t match up well with the ground-and-pound Pride, who feature Antonio Reyes, Tyler Stout and Jakob Partida.
Buhach Colony has struggled to stop the run. Tracy gashed the Thunder for 276 yards at nearly 8 yards per carry, while Downey rushed for six touchdowns.
The Pride have been victimized by self-inflicted wounds in losses to Lincoln of Stockton, Pleasant Grove and Downey. If they can avoid the turnover, Pitman can thin out the field of contenders.
Week 7 Predictions
Last Week: Burns 24-1 (154-43). Cortez: 21-4 (152-45)
Modesto Metro Confererence
Beyer vs. Davis (at Gregori), 7 p.m. Burns: Beyer. Cortez: Beyer.
Downey at Johansen, 7 p.m. Burns: Downey. Cortez: Downey.
Gregori vs. Enochs (at Downey) Burns: Gregori. Cortez: Gregori.
Central California Conference
Pitman at Buhach Colony, 7 p.m. Burns: Pitman. Cortez: Pitman.
Atwater at Golden Valley, 7 p.m. Burns: Atwater. Cortez: Atwater.
Merced vs. El Capitan (at Merced College), 7 p.m. Burns: Merced. Cortez: Merced.
Valley Oak League
Weston Ranch at Central Catholic, 7 p.m. Burns: Central Catholic. Cortez: Central Catholic.
East Union at Lathrop, 7:15 p.m. Burns: East Union. Cortez: East Union.
Kimball at Manteca, 7 p.m. Burns: Manteca. Cortez: Manteca.
Sierra at Oakdale, 7 p.m. Burns: Oakdale. Cortez: Oakdale.
Western Athletic Conference
Los Banos at Central Valley, 7 p.m. Burns: Los Banos. Cortez: Los Banos.
Livingston at Pacheco, 7 p.m. Burns: Pacheco. Cortez: Pacheco.
Ceres at Patterson, 7 p.m. Burns: Patterson. Cortez: Patterson.
Mountain House at Escalon, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Escalon. Cortez: Escalon.
Hilmar at Hughson, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Hilmar. Cortez: Hilmar.
Modesto Christian at Ripon, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Modesto Christian. Cortez: Ripon.
Mother Lode League
Amador at Bret Harte, 7 p.m. Burns: Amador. Cortez: Amador.
Linden at Sonora, 7 p.m. Burns: Sonora. Cortez: Sonora.
Summerville at Argonaut, 7 p.m. Burns: Summerville. Cortez: Summerville.
Delhi at Le Grand, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Delhi. Cortez: Delhi.
Waterford at Mariposa County, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Mariposa. Cortez: Mariposa.
Orestimba at Denair, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Orestimba. Cortez: Orestimba.
Gustine at Ripon Christian, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Gustine. Cortez: Gustine.
Central California Athletic Alliance
Turlock Christian at Millennium, 7 p.m. Burns: Turlock Christian. Cortez: Turlock Christian.
Delta Charter at Big Valley Christian, 7 p.m. Burns: Big Valley Christian. Cortez: Big Valley Christian.
Delta at Riverbank, 7 p.m. Burns: Delta. Cortez: Riverbank.
Stone Ridge Christian at Golden Sierra, 7 p.m. Burns: Stone Ridge Christian. Cortez: Stone Ridge Christian.