Week 9 SJS football previews and picks: Placer-Bear River game highlights tonight’s conference matchups

By: Mike Ray of the Auburn Journal
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Mike Ray’s picks: (11-8 last week, 116-52 overall, 63-29 preps, 28-13 college, 25-10 pro)

Placer 27, Bear River 17

Colfax 19, Center 16

Lincoln 31, Foothill 21

Woodcreek 37, Granite Bay 22

Oak Ridge 36, NU 21

Folsom 44, Rocklin 18

Foresthill 7, Western Sierra 6

El Dorado 23, Galt 17

Cosumnes Oaks 33, Whitney 30

Grant 17, Davis 14

Butte 25, Sierra 24

Michigan 23, Michigan State 9

Washington 37, Utah 29

Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 21

Clemson 32, Florida State 30

Stanford 26, Arizona 24

Cowboys 27, Eagles 21

Falcons 31, Packers 20

Raiders 20, Tampa Bay 10

Patriots 35, Bills 32

Pete Dufour’s picks: (12-7 last week, 108-60 overall, 59-33 preps, 25-16 college, 24-11 pro)

Placer 24, Bear River 14

Colfax 21, Center 17

Lincoln 30, Foothill 14

Woodcreek 24, Granite Bay 14

Oak Ridge 33, Granite Bay 10

Folsom 24, Rocklin 21

Western Sierra 21, Foresthill 20

El Dorado 24,  Galt 16

Whitney 24, Cosumnes Oaks 17

Grant 28, Davis 21

Sierra 27, Butte 26

Michigan 35, State 28

Washington 37, Utah 30

Nebraska 32, Wisconsin 28

Clemson 34, Fla State 28

Stanford 28, Arizona 21

Eagles 28, Cowboys 21

Packers 35, Falcons 28

Raiders 28, Tampa Bay 24

Patriots 31, Bills 28

Ike Dodson’s picks: (12-7 last week, 107-61 overall, 67-25 preps, 23-18 college, 17-18 pro)

Placer 28, Bear River 7

Center 28, Colfax 27

Lincoln 32, Foothill 21

Granite Bay 28, Woodcreek 27

Oak Ridge 38, Nevada Union 10

Folsom 42, Rocklin 17

Foresthill 17, Western Sierra 14

El Dorado 32, Galt 14

Whitney 28, Cosumnes Oaks 21

Grant 28, Davis 21

Butte 32, Sierra 30

Michigan 45, Michigan State 21

Washington 55, Utah 21

Nebraska 32, Wisconsin 17

Clemson 28, Florida State 21

Stanford 32, Arizona 31

Cowboys 28, Eagles 24

Packers 32, Falcons 28

Raiders 21, Buccaneers 17

Patriots 32, Bills 10

They call it the great equalizer. It can come at the most inopportune moment of a football season and sometimes rise up and rear its ugly head to turn an expected one-sided game into one too close to call.

But if there’s one thing for sure that comes with playing football games in inclement weather, it’s that both teams have to deal with it.

This week, with local area football coaches keeping one eye on game planning for opponents and the other on tonight’s weather forecast, key regular season stretch run games await local teams.

“I’m not concerned as much with the weather as I am with Center,” said Colfax coach Tony Martello about the Falcons’ Pioneer Valley League opponent tonight at Marson Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“Center’s an outstanding team,” Martello said. “They played Placer to a one-point game and have some outstanding athletes. Lincoln did a great job against them.”

At Placer, the Hillmen host Bear River tonight with a chance to cinch at least a tie for their fifth-straight PVL crown and set up a possible league title clash next week when Placer visits Lincoln.

However, Hillmen coach Joey Montoya doesn’t want his team to get too far ahead of itself.

“All we’re thinking about this week is Bear River,” Montoya said. “When you’re playing a team like Bear River, you throw records and all that other stuff out the window. We know we’re going to get their best shot.”

In Foresthill, Jim Herlehy’s Wildfires will entertain Western Sierra Academy from Rocklin. Foresthill needs to win tonight’s contest to make next week’s regular season closer against Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League-leading Woodland Christian mean something.

Del Oro, meanwhile, sitting at 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the Sierra Foothill League, draws its  league bye this week. The Golden Eagles, already with a CIF playoff berth in hand, close next Friday when they host Woodcreek.

Here’s a look at tonight’s games:

Bear River (3-5, 1-2) at Placer (4-4, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.

Saying that Bear River’s back is against the proverbial wall tonight might be an understatement for the Bruins, whose streak of 29 consecutive non-losing seasons is in jeopardy.

But the Bruins, who last week played without the services of  two-way standout Austin Baze and fullback Colton Wood in their 31-14 loss to Colfax, come to Auburn tonight with more than that on their minds.

Bear River co-coach Scott Savoie has missed all of his team’s practices this week, recovering at home after being injured in a woodcutting accident last weekend. His status for the game tonight is unknown.

“Scott’s very lucky,” Bruin co-coach Terry Logue said. “He has a broken jaw and a broken nose and has concussion symptoms, but he is at home and doing better. We’re all hoping for a speedy recovery.”

On the field, Baze looks doubtful for the Bruins but the team will welcome back Wood. Still, Logue feels that his team will have to play their best game of the year.

“Joey is doing a great job with his team this year,” Logue said.  “He’s staying with what his team does well. Nothing fancy, just good old fashioned football.”

At Placer, after eight weeks, Montoya is starting to get a better feel for his team.

“We have some sophomores and untested juniors who got thrown to a pretty tough non-league schedule this year,” Montoya said. “I think that they’re starting to figure it out and it’s shown in our overall play.”

Placer will go into the Bear River game led by the 1-2-3 running punch of Anthony Kerrigan, Mario Perez and Morgan Rein-Robinson. Last week in the win over Foothill, Devin Toste (12 rushes, 98 yards) also gave the Hillmen running game a lift. Sophomore quarterback Michael Stuck is steadily improving with Carter Benz and Hugh Hanson being the top targets.

Center (5-3, 1-2) at Colfax (6-2, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.

The Cougars come to Colfax needing one more league win to get playoff eligible. Two weeks ago in a 16-15 loss to Placer, the Cougars had the Hillmen on the ropes as Placer needed a blocked field goal in the waning moments to hold on for the win.

“They’re very capable,” Martello said about the Cougars. “Our game with them is going to be a lot about matchups, and they can pose a lot of problems.”

While graduating standout running backs Marcellus Roberts and Tobias Marshall, Center has been getting steady mileage from quarterback Brandon Lesly and running backs Robbie Donnell and Joaquin Andrews.

But the Cougars pose big matchups on the outside with tall receivers Zharon Houston (6 feet, 5 inches, 170 pounds) and Louie Bonds (6-4, 235-pounds), who is also a terror on defense.

Colfax, while being playoff eligible, is trying to finish with a flurry in a bid to secure a high seed in the Division V playoffs.

Western Sierra Academy (2-6, 1-2) at Foresthill (3-5, 1-1), 7:30 p.m.

If the Wildfires are looking for a natural rivalry to bloom, the Wolves from Rocklin just may fit the bill. On the field, the two teams look like mirror images with both the Wildfires and Wolves beating Valley Christian and both teams falling to Delta.

Foresthill will try to get back on track after falling hard to Delta, 43-7, last week. Western Sierra, meanwhile, posted a 28-18 win over Valley Christian.

In an interesting side note to the game, Western Sierra’s defensive coordinator is former Bear River standout Zak Logue, the son of Bear River co-coach Terry Logue.