Two of the top teams in the Trans-Valley League face off in Ripon in Week 9.
The Bee’s sports reporter Julian A. Lopez and football writer Jim Silva highlight their games to watch this week along with predictions: (Note: They do not predict games they will be covering):
|Julian A. Lopez||3-1||25-14|
No. 1 Escalon (3-0, 7-0) at No. 5 Ripon (2-1, 6-1), 7 p.m. at Ripon High School
Ripon has won three of the last four meetings between the two Trans-Valley League juggernauts. The Indians had a bye last week while Escalon beat Riverbank, 48-15.
Despite playing in a run-first offense, Escalon junior quarterback Ty Harris has 11 passing touchdowns, five of which have gone to senior wide receiver Kaidence Trejo.
Ripon has outscored its opponents, 83-7 during its two-game winning streak.
Jim Silva: Escalon 24, Ripon 10. Respect what the Indians have done with small roster, but Cougars are on a different level this season.
Julian A. Lopez: Covering game
Gregori (2-0, 5-2) at Downey (1-1, 4-3), 7 p.m. at Chuck Hughes Stadium
The last two meetings have each been decided by six points or less and both are coming off convincing wins.
Downey beat Enochs, 56-40 last week while Gregori beat Pitman, 28-16.
Gregori senior running back Titus Rhiney has 638 rushing yards and four touchdowns while Downey senior quarterback Bryce Gouker has 2,108 passing yards and 25 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
JS: Covering game.
JL: Gregori 38, Downey 35. Gregori has quietly won three in a row and Rhiney had a big game in the Jaguars’ win.
No. 6 Ripon Christian (4-0, 6-1) at Mariposa County (4-0, 5-2), 7:15 p.m. at Mariposa County High School
The top two teams in the Southern League have combined to outscore opponents, 292-13 in eight league games.
During its six-game winning streak, the Knights have allowed 23 points and senior running back Sean McGovern has 20 touchdowns.
Mariposa junior defensive back Kannon Gibson leads the section with seven interceptions.
JS: Ripon Christian 28, Mariposa 10. Against a common opponent, Orestimba, Knights won 35-0, Mariposa won 7-6. RC should win handily.
JL: Ripon Christian 35, Mariposa 7: The Knights are rolling once again and McGovern is one of the top players in the area.
No. 8 Calaveras (2-0, 5-2) at Sonora (2-0, 3-4), 7 p.m. at Sonora High School
All Calaveras looks to do on Friday is hand Sonora its first Mother Lode League loss since the Wildcats joined the MLL in 2014.
On a four-game win streak, including a 17-10 victory over previously unbeaten Amador last week, Calaveras jumped into The Bee’s Small-School rankings this week at No. 8.
Sonora has allowed only 17 points during its three-game winning streak.
JS: Calaveras 21, Sonora 20. CalPreps.com predicts an easy Calaveras victory. I think Sonora, which has outscored opponents 103-3 in two MLL games, is tougher than that.
JL: Sonora 24, Calaveras 21: The streak lives another day. Something about the Wildcats being at home has me picking Sonora.
Patterson (2-2, 5-3) at Merced (2-1, 3-4), 7 p.m. at Golden Valley High School
This is a big game in terms of potential seeding for playoffs.
Patterson senior running back Obadiah Godbolt has 13 touchdowns while Merced fell to Buhach Colony, 26-22, last week.
Merced needs the victory to get to four wins, the number needed to qualify for playoffs while if Patterson can beat Merced and then El Captian on Nov. 1, they could potentially host a playoff game.
JS: Merced 30, Patterson 24. The Bears come off a close loss to Buhach Colony, which impressed me enough to predict an upset.
JL: Patterson 38, Merced 24: Patterson’s offense averages 37 points per game and will be tough to stop.
Week 9 Schedule, Oct. 18
7 p.m.: Lathrop at Johansen, Modesto at Pitman (Turlock HS), Gregori at Downey, Turlock at Enochs (Gregori HS), Ceres at Los Banos, Buhach Colony at Central Valley (Ceres HS), Patterson at Merced (Golden Valley HS), Oakdale at Kimball, Weston Ranch at East Union, Manteca at Sierra, Escalon at Ripon, Livingston at Riverbank, Calaveras at Sonora, Big Valley Christian at South Lake Tahoe
7:15 p.m.: Denair at Delhi, Waterford at Orestimba, Ripon Christian at Mariposa County