FOOTBALL PICKS: Playoff teams on the brink get one last shot
GRANITE BAY (3-6, 2-3 SFL) vs. ROCKLIN (4-4, 1-4 SFL), 7:30 p.m.
Players to watch:
Granite Bay: QB Jade Foddrill (10), Evan Tattersall (9)QB, RB/S Chris Osby (28), WR Brad Jones (6), TE/DE Alex Martinez (5), FB/LB Drew Yeargin (32), OT/DT Will Craig (74)
Rocklin: RB/LB Brenden Rakela (2), QB Cade Wyant (4), WR/CB Kier Gibson-Adams (7), TE/DT Chase Webb (10), WR/ CB Brady Hole (12), WR/FS Desi Streater (26)
Offenses: Each of the last three weeks have been must-win games for Granite Bay. Tonight’s showdown with Rocklin will be no different. If the Grizzlies can win, they’re in the playoffs with the fourth automatic bid from the Sierra Foothill League. If they lose, the team’s chances most likely depend on a 13-point tie-breaking system. Granite Bay hopes they can run the ball downhill, like they’ve done with much success over the past month, with running backs Drew Yeargin, Evan Tattersall, and bounce it outside occasionally with Chris Osby and Blake Peterson. Meanwhile, Rocklin has struggled to score this past month boasting just 14.25 points per game in their last four games — all losses. The Thunder do possess the league’s second-leading rusher in Brenden Rakela (822 yards) and the SFL’s fifth-leading passer Cade Wyant (1,081 yards), but need more production from them this week.
Defenses: The Grizzlies defense has been stout against the run this season, but needs to bring a strong approach in the secondary this week if they hope to keep playing after tonight. Granite Bay has been banged up back there, but, much like last week, the team needs to find a way to get big stops in key situations and force Rocklin into unfavorable, long-distance situations. Rocklin will try to do something similar on defense and look to neutralize Granite Bay’s Jade Foddrill, a dual-threat attack. If the Grizzlies can get off to a strong start, they’ll be hard to beat at home.
Prediction: Granite Bay 17, Rocklin 14
WOODCREEK (4-5, 2-3 SFL) at DEL ORO (7-2, 3-2 SFL), 7:30 p.m.
Players to watch:
Woodcreek: QB Matt Gordon (5), WR/S Brandon Davis (25), TE Matt Willford (19), RB/LB Isaiah Ajayi (1), WR/S Naequan Parker (2), WR Andrew Knapp (10), RB/CB Tyler England (21)
Del Oro: QB Stone Smartt (4), WR/FS Mason Hurst (2), RB/CB Dalton Gee (5), RB/OLB Camrion Davis (23), RB/OLB Bryce Edwards (11), RB/CB Marco Esquivel (21)
Offenses: A different call, or a different bounce last week and Woodcreek might have already wrapped up its trip to the postseason. But the T-Wolves couldn’t find the end zone in the second half against Granite Bay and dropped the 10-3 decision, falling to 2-3 in the SFL and leaving their playoff hopes in limbo. A win this week would help their chances, but Woodcreek needs a Rocklin win to secure the fourth spot in the league. On the other sideline, Del Oro is coming off its second loss in three weeks and you can bet the Eagles will be hungry to get some momentum before the playoffs begin.
Defenses: Last year, Stone Smartt tore up the T-Wolves defense with 236 yards and three TD’s through the air. A former member of the Jr. Timberwolves program, Smartt is familiar with many of his opponents on the other side of the ball this week. He specializes in extending plays and finding open receivers and he’ll try to exploit Woodcreek’s secondary all night. But the T-Wolves have made improvements on that side of the ball and should make it difficult for Del Oro to get into a rhythm.
Prediction: Woodcreek 20, Del Oro 28
ROSEVILLE (8-1, 5-1 CVC) vs. OAKMONT (5-4, 2-4 CVC), 7 p.m.
Players to watch:
Roseville: QB Nick Martig (16), TE/DE Jimmy Jaggers (82), RB/S Brendan McMinn (32), RB Jay Razzano (23), WR/CB Jeriah Crawley (25), WR Josh Clark (11), NG Hayden Simpson (22), LB Nico Andrada (52)
Oakmont: QB Jake Knapp (5), TE/DE Connor Gagain (82), RB Ray Meza (34), WR Erik Holmsen (11), LB/WR Kody Tagert (3), TE/DE Eric Yeager (86), DB/WR Jorden Grayson (4)
Offenses: Roseville and Oakmont meet in the final regular season game of the season tonight in a contest that evokes passion from both sides. The Tigers, fresh off a 42-14 win on the road at Ponderosa, seek their ninth win of the season in hopes of a home playoff game in the Division II bracket. Nothing would make them happier than to beat their rivals, on senior night, in front of their home crowd, before entering the playoffs. Meanwhile, Oakmont enters tonight’s match having split it’s last four league contests. But the Vikings haven’t lost back-to-back games since weeks three and four. Under the senior leadership of quarterback Jake Knapp, who’s looked either sensational or unsteady this season, the Vikings are one league win away from a playoff spot. They need to beat Roseville to get in.
Defenses: Both defenses will need big-time performances tonight if they hope to emerge on top. Roseville has a strong front-seven with linemen Jimmy Jaggers, Chad Stamas, Tanner Johnson and Hayden Simpson and linebackers Nico Andrada, Nicolas Enriquez and Josh Bamford. Oakmont boasts an improved secondary led by Jorden Grayson, Tristan Spiers and Ray Meza. The Vikings have also forced 17 turnovers this season. They’ll need a few more if they hope to earn the upset on the road tonight.
Prediction: Roseville 33, Oakmont 28
VALLEY CHRISTIAN (0-6, 0-3 SMAL) vs. DELTA (3-6, 2-1 SMAL) at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Players to watch:
VCA: QB John Hibbs (23), WR/DB Zach Youngquist (3), RB/MLB Drake Williams (25), RB/LB Will Weiland (48), OL/OLB Levi Finn (57), FB/DL Donovan Gonzalez (19), WR/S Bradyn Macintosh (43)
Delta: QB/OLB Jacob Rapp (20), WR/LB Nick Barnett (31), WR/DB David Andres (18), FB/NG Vernon Heffington (35), WR/DB Matt Hansen (11), TE/DE Jaylen Bunch (10)
Offenses: Showing improvement in each of their last two contests, Valley Christian is hoping for one last solid performance of the year before wrapping it up. The Lions, who are eliminated from playoff contention, host second-place Delta tonight in a Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League football matchup. The Saints boast the league’s top-ranked quarterback in Jacob Rapp, who’s thrown for 1,493 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also keeping the ball and churning in 192 rush yards and five more scores.
Defenses: VCA’s defense will need to slow Rapp and his receivers down early if they hope to last long in this contest. The Lions have been gashed this season for big plays, especially in the run game. VCA has allowed opposing teams to rush for more than 250 yards in all but one game this season. Beyond Rapp, the Saints have six ball carriers averaging more than five yards per carry this season. If the Lions can’t stop the run tonight, it’s going to get ugly quick.
Prediction: Delta 34, Valley Christian 18