Here’s a look at a few of the marquee football match-ups in the Stanislaus District this week:
Pitman (1-2) and Downey (3-0): The Knights make their home debut after spending the first three weeks on the road. Junior quarterback Bryce Peterson has been brilliant, victimizing defenses with his arm and feet. Downey is averaging 64 points per game. The Pride have lost two straight by a combined eight points and haven’t fared well in shootouts, the Knights’ specialty. Pick: Downey.
Modesto (2-1) at Turlock (1-2): Turlock and Modesto renew their longstanding rivalry, but neither team brings much momentum into the game. The host Bulldogs were beaten in a seesaw affair with Tracy, while Modesto was thumped by Patterson. This game takes on extra significance – it’s the last time they’ll meet as non-conference opponents. Next season, the Bulldogs and Panthers will be realigned as league foes. Pick: Turlock.
Central Valley (2-1) at Enochs (1-2): The much-improved Eagles were thumped by mighty Manteca last week, but return to their weight class against the Hawks, who survived a shootout with Davis. Enochs’ Wing-T offense attacks with a pair of all-Modesto Metro Conference performers, running backs Chris Butterfield and Jacob Kenoyer. The key for Enochs, though, is slowing down two-way dynamo Estevan Barragan, who accounts for more than 50 percent of Central Valley’s offense. Pick: Central Valley.
Davis (2-1) at Ripon (2-1): This is a critical game for the Spartans, who have been re-energized by the switch to the Spread. It has made instant stars of quarterback Ryan Viodes and wide receiver Micah Irwin. But the question remains: Can Davis, who has a history of falling off in mid-September, compete when the schedule stiffens? Small-school Ripon will show no mercy, especially at home. Six degrees of separation: The Indians beat Sierra, which edged Central Valley, the team responsible for Davis’ only loss. Pick: Ripon.
Hilmar (2-1) at Sonora (1-2): The Yellowjackets limp into this battle of former No. 1-ranked small-school teams. Quarterback Tristan Crowley left last week’s loss to Gustine with a sprained ankle and was listed as questionable by coach Frank Marques. Meanwhile, the Wildcats welcomed back Kane Rodgers in their road win over Ripon, a perennial Trans-Valley League title contender. Pick: Sonora.
East Union (2-0) at West (1-2): The Lancers have climbed to No. 8 in the large-school power rankings with offensive barrages against Ceres and Johansen, and that trend should continue on Friday against the Wolf Pack. East Union has taken the next step under coach Willie Herrera, but will need to beef up its non-conference schedule to compete for titles in the Valley Oak League. Pick: East Union.
Week 3 Predictions
Last week: Burns 23-9 (68-27 to date); Cortez 22-10 (66-29 to date)
Friday, Sept. 15
Beyer at Atwater, 7 p.m. Burns: Beyer. Cortez: Beyer
Johnson at Big Valley Christian, 7 p.m. Burns: Big Valley Christian. Cortez: Big Valley Christian
Buhach Colony at Pacheco, 7 p.m. Burns: Buhach Colony. Cortez: Buhach Colony
Union Mine at Calaveras, 7 p.m. Burns: Calaveras. Cortez: Calaveras
Johansen at Ceres, 7 p.m. Burns: Ceres. Cortez: Ceres
Pitman at Downey, 7 p.m. Burns: Downey. Cortez: Downey
East Union at West, 7 p.m. Burns: East Union. Cortez: East Union
Central Valley at Enochs (Johansen H.S.), 7 p.m. Burns: Central Valley. Cortez: Central Valley
Gregori at McNair, 7 p.m. Burns: Gregori. Cortez: Gregori
Modesto Christian at Gustine, 7 p.m. Burns: Gustine. Cortez: Gustine
Highlands at Bret Harte, 7 p.m. Burns: Bret Harte. Cortez: Bret Harte
Lincoln at Golden Valley, 7 p.m. Burns: Lincoln. Cortez: Lincoln
Hilmar at Sonora, 7 p.m. Burns: Sonora. Cortez: Sonora
Stone Ridge Christian at Denair, 7 p.m. Burns: Denair. Cortez: Denair
Modesto at Turlock, 7 p.m. Burns: Turlock. Cortez: Turlock
Turlock Christian at Waterford, 7 p.m. Burns: Waterford. Cortez: Waterford
Riverbank at California School for the Deaf, 7 p.m. Burns: Calif. School for the Deaf. Cortez: Calif. School for the Deaf
El Capitan at King’s Academy, 7 p.m. Burns: King’s Academy. Cortez: King’s Academy
Dos Palos at Los Banos, 7 p.m. Burns: Los Banos. Cortez: Los Banos
Merced at Madera, 7 p.m. Burns: Merced. Cortez: Merced
Mariposa County at Yosemite, 7 p.m. Burns: Mariposa. Cortez: Yosemite
Escalon at Liberty Ranch, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Escalon. Cortez: Escalon
Linden at Le Grand, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Linden. Cortez: Linden
Mountain House at Livingston, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Mountain House. Cortez: Mountain House
Davis at Ripon, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Ripon. Cortez: Ripon
Summerville at Hughson, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Summerville. Cortez: Summerville
Orestimba at Esparto, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Orestimba. Cortez: Orestimba
Saturday, Sept. 16
St. Bonaventure vs. Argonaut at Mission Viejo, 10:45 a.m. Burns: St. Bonaventure. Cortez: St. Bonaventure