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WEEK EIGHT PREVIEW: For whom the bell tolls
Lindhurst, Marysville to rekindle rivalry
After last year's debacle, both Marysville and Lindhurst High's football programs are just happy to be back on the football field.
The long-time MJUSD rivals will face off at War Memorial Stadium tonight in the 40th installment of this rivalry, though the 39th edition didn't actually happen.
Eight members of the Lindhurst High football team defaced Marysville High last year and were subsequently suspended for the remainder of the season. The Blazers ended up forfeiting last year's matchup with the Indians.
Marysville coach Cullen Meyer said his players are excited to just be playing football against their biggest rival again.
"It's nice because that's what the rivalry should be all about — competition on the field and football," Meyer said. "That was tough for our kids not being able to play last year."
Lindhurst leads the all-time series, known as the Battle of the Bell, 21-18. The winner takes home a perpetual trophy, but the victory bell has been MIA for quite some time.
The bigger prize for the winner will be improving to 2-1 in the Golden Empire League where everybody is looking up at 2-0 Capital Christian, the team Marysville lost to last week 55-12.
Behind the Cougars, there is currently a cluster of teams at 1-1 in the GEL: Marysville, Lindhurst, Dixon and Mesa Verde.
Lindhurst coach Jason Neiber told his players to look at tonight's matchup as just another game on the schedule and an opportunity to make a push for the playoffs.
"The kids are really excited and this game is the one that everyone circles on the calendar," Neiber said. "If you win this game, it can make your entire season.
"It's big for both communities."
Both Lindhurst and Marysville began their seasons 0-5, but have shown signs of improvement as the season has progressed.
This rivalry reached its peak in 2008 when the two schools met each other for the Sac-Joaquin Section championship.
This season is a rebuilding year for both schools, but both coaches expect to see the same type of intensity.
"A lot of these kids grew up together and know each other," Meyer said. "It really gives them bragging rights for the rest of their life."
River Valley (5-2) at Inderkum (5-2)
In Sacramento — The Falcons will continue to make their push toward history tonight when they travel south to face the five-time defending Tri-County Conference champions.
RV is seeking its first win over the Tigers in seven chances.
After being ejected from last week's game at Woodland, Inderkum coach Terry Stark won his appeal and will be on the sidelines tonight.
His top back, senior Eric Walters, may be a game-time decision. He hurt his ankle last week in Woodland and left the game.
RV is on a three-game winning streak and off to its best start in conference play.
Junior T.J. Dove has already set a new school record with 16 touchdowns scored this season. Senior Izaya Johnson has thrown six touchdown passes since taking over at quarterback.
Woodland (1-6) at Yuba City (6-1)
In Yuba City — Since joining the TCC in 2006, the Honkers have never defeated Inderkum, Pioneer and Woodland in the same season.
They'll try to change that tonight when Woodland visits Honker Stadium.
The Wolves have been hampered by injuries all year and will bring in their spread offense that hasn't been able to produce much this year.
Three different players have been at quarterback for Woodland and have combined to throw two touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
The Wolves will get a shot in the arm with the return of senior running back Doug Coman, who has missed most of the year with injury.
YC's veer rushing attack is firing on all cylinders, averaging 316 yards per game on the ground.
Sutter (7-0) at Enterprise (5-2)
In Redding — This may be a nonleague game on paper, but the implications are high for the Huskies tonight at Enterprise Community Stadium.
Ranked at No. 5 in the newest Cal-Hi Sports Northern California Division III state bowl rankings, Sutter can make a huge statement with a win over the Division-I Hornets.
Enterprise runs a wide-open spread attack led by senior quarterback Zack Trueblood, who has 17 touchdown passes this season, compared to just four interceptions. He's also completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 1,381 yards, while holding a quarterback rating of 122.
The Hornets can also run the ball with senior Brad Woods, who has 600 yards rushing and nine touchdowns this season. Junior Jace O'Ravez has totaled 441 yards and four scores.
In the last three weeks, Enterprise has been involved in three shootouts, beating Foothill last week 45-43. On Oct. 5, the Hornets fell 42-41 to Paradise and they beat Chico 35-34 on Sept. 28.
Enterprise has put up its fair share of points, but is also allowing 26 points per game.
Wheatland (5-2) at Winters (4-3)
In Winters — Wheatland suffered a rough 44-14 loss to Division-I Red Bluff last week, but the Pirates will return to Butte View League play tonight against the Warriors.
The Pirates have won their last seven games over Winters. The Warriors last beat the Pirates in 2005.
At 2-1 in the BVL, the Pirates will likely be battling Orland for the No. 2 spot out of the league behind Sutter.
Wheatland's main goal over its final three games will be to secure a home playoff game in the first round of the Northern Section playoffs.
After tonight's game at Winters, the Pirates will end the season with two consecutive games at home against Orland and Gridley.
East Nicolaus (4-3) at Williams (2-5)
In Williams — East Nic fell to 1-1 in the Mid-Valley League last week with its 20-8 road loss to previously winless Quincy. The Spartans will try to put that loss behind them as they committed six turnovers.
Williams is searching for its first win over East Nicolaus since a 19-7 win in 2004.
The Yellowjackets fell 41-6 to first-place Hamilton last week.
Quincy (2-5) at Colusa (3-4)
In Colusa — The RedHawks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 38-18 win over Esparto on the road last week.
The victory evened Colusa's record in the Mid-Valley League at 1-1.
Quincy picked up its first on-the-field victory with a 20-8 win over East Nicolaus. The Trojans' other victory was a forfeit win over Weed.
Tonight's winner will move into second place in the MVL.
Colusa's last win over Quincy came in 2009 and the RedHawks are 1-7 in the two teams' last eight meetings.
Live Oak (5-2) at Mt. Shasta (0-7)
In Mount Shasta — Live Oak showed a tremendous amount of resiliency last week in a 35-27 victory over Trinity to keep its playoff hopes alive.
To earn a spot in the Northern Section Division II playoff bracket, the Lions likely need to win the rest of their games on their schedule. If they can earn a share of the Sacramento Valley League title, the Lions can solidify a playoff berth.
That quest continues tonight up north against a winless Bears team.
Live Oak senior Romario Acosta continues to do it all for the Lions. Here's his stat line from last week: Four touchdown passes, one rushing touchdown, more than 100 yards rushing, more than 150 yards passing, 11 tackles and two interceptions.
Pierce (7-0) at Trinity (4-3)
In Weaverville — The undefeated Bears received a big-time scare in Durham last week, holding on for a 21-20 victory over the Trojans.
Pierce's trek through the toughest part of its schedule doesn't get any easier on Friday as the Bears take the three-hour bus ride up to Weaverville.
Trinity gave Live Oak a battle last week, though couldn't do much in the second half against the Lions.
The Bears are the No. 5-ranked team in the Cal-Hi Sports Northern California Division IV state bowl rankings.
They're looking to stay there and stay perfect in the SVL. Pierce was SVL co-champion last season with Durham.
Gridley (0-7) at Las Plumas (2-5)
In Oroville — The search for win No. 1 continues for the Bulldogs tonight at Harrison Stadium against the Thunderbirds, a team coach John Cooprider is familiar with.
Cooprider was Las Plumas' head coach for two seasons in 2004 and 2005.
Gridley is smarting from a 62-0 loss last week at home to Sutter, the fourth time the Bulldogs have been shut out this season.
The Bulldogs have three games left to finish at .500 in the BVL with LP this week, followed by their final home game on Oct. 26 with Winters. They'll end the regular season at Wheatland on Nov. 2.
University Prep (3-4) at Biggs (3-4)
In Biggs — The Wolverines are off to a rough start in Mountain Valley League play with losses to both Chester and Portola. Biggs fell to Portola 42-7 on the road last week.
Biggs will have a homecoming crowd at Del Kalbach stadium tonight to face a Panthers squad also searching for its first MVL victory.
This will be the first time the Wolverines and Panthers face off as league foes. Biggs beat U-Prep in nonleague action last season 30-26.
Portola (7-0) at Maxwell (5-2)
In Maxwell — This is a big revenge game for the Panthers tonight.
Portola ended Maxwell's season in 2011 with a 33-21 victory in Colusa County in the opening round of the Northern Section Division IV playoffs.
This is the first season the two teams are competing against each other in the Mountain Valley League. Tonight's winner will take sole possession of first place in the MVL.