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WEEK TEN PREVIEW: Falcons, Honkers set to square off in Mayor's Cup
RV, YC playing for TCC title
Things just got a little more interesting for tonight's seventh annual installment of the Mayor's Cup between River Valley and Yuba City High's football programs.
The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section confirmed Thursday morning that Woodland used ineligible players in games played against Inderkum, Yuba City and River Valley in October. This infraction results in the Wolves forfeiting last week's 46-24 victory over the Falcons.
With that win, RV now sits at 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the Tri-County Conference. A potential win over the Honkers (8-1, 4-0) tonight at Honker Stadium means there would be a three-way TCC co-championship shared between the Falcons, Honkers and Inderkum (assuming the Tigers defeat 0-9 Natomas tonight).
The Falcons snapped Yuba City's five-game Mayor's Cup winning streak last season with a 34-29 victory at Falcon Stadium.
Unlike the previous six contests between these schools, tonight's matchup will be the first time that both teams have something to play for.
"When I first got hired as a head coach four years ago, I said, 'How cool would it be for Yuba City and RV to be playing at the end of the year for a league title or playoff berth,'" said River Valley coach Brandon Asher. "It's something special to see the local teams starting to do better; it's great for the community."
The Falcons have likely secured the program's first playoff berth with the section's ruling in the Woodland game, though could improve their seeding with a win over the Honkers.
Yuba City has already locked up its first league title in 25 years, though like the 1987 squad, the Honkers want to win the banner outright. A win would also secure only the third 9-1 season by a Yuba City team in 25 years, joining the 1987 and 1998 teams, which both played in Division I.
YC coach John Ithurburn was an A-D All-Area linebacker/offensive guard on that 1987 team and said making comparisons between that team and his current group of kids is pretty difficult.
"The make-up of the two teams is vastly different," Ithurburn said. "The one thing in common that both teams had is that these kids don't think about it, they just go out and play, and that was what we liked to do."
The Honkers average 40 points per game and nearly 300 yards on the ground behind senior Nate Van Dusen, who's eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year. He's also scored 18 touchdowns.
Quarterback Taylor Elkins has plenty of weapons to work with in junior speedsters Omar Herrera and Alex Inskeep along with shifty junior Devin Pettengill and key targets in the passing game in Louis Mowers and Anthony Garcia.
RV has a bevy of talent as well, though many of the Falcons' key players missed time with injuries during the Woodland game. The team's three leading rushers, T.J. Dove, Kyle Magenheimer and Dewey Maxham, all missed significant action in last week's contest. Dove and Maxham suffered injuries and their status for tonight's game is unknown.
No matter the outcome tonight, both coaches are hoping the focus remains on the athletes competing on the field and not in the stands with confrontations.
"The kids are fine; if other people can grow up, it will be OK," Asher said. "Let the kids play (tonight) and let's have some fun."
Added Ithurburn: "I'd like to point out this is a game. A lot of feelings go into this and things get personal and it shouldn't. It's about boys on a field playing a game."
Gridley (0-9) at Wheatland (6-3)
In Wheatland — Things for the Pirates are set for the most part in the Northern Section playoff outlook.
Wheatland is looking at a No. 5 seed in Division II and a rematch with Orland in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 9.
The Pirates need to finish strong through with the winless Bulldogs coming into John Sohrakoff Jr. Field for homecoming in a Butte View League matchup. The school will also honor its Hall of Fame inductees before tonight's game.
Gridley beat Wheatland 36-29 last year in the Bulldogs' first victory over the Pirates since 2006.
Sutter (9-0) at Oroville (1-8)
In Oroville — The Huskies will look to seal their first BVL title since 2009 at Harrison Stadium against the lowly Tigers.
Sutter is currently at No. 1 in the Division II playoff points and will open playoff action on Nov. 9 at Wayne Gadberry Field though the Huskies' opponent is yet to be determined.
Willows (6-3) at Pierce (9-0)
In Arbuckle — This has become the de facto Sacramento Valley League championship game as both schools enter tonight's contest undefeated in SVL play.
Pierce will look to avenge last season's 29-15 loss in the Northern Section Division III semifinals when the Honkers ended the Bears' season en route to the section crown.
This will be the first season since 2008 that the SVL has an outright champion.
Durham (4-5) at Live Oak (6-3)
In Live Oak — The Lions' season may hang in the balance tonight after last week's loss to Pierce.
Currently, the Lions sit at No. 7 in the Division II playoff points. A loss to Durham may leave Live Oak out of the postseason entirely.
A win would clinch the playoff berth.
East Nicolaus (6-3) at Hamilton (6-3)
In Hamilton City — The Spartans have a golden opportunity tonight.
If East Nicolaus can knock off Hamilton, the Spartans would clinch a share of the Mid-Valley League championship.
East Nic is 3-1 in MVL play while Hamilton is a perfect 4-0.
The Spartans could also improve their playoff seeding with a victory as well. East Nic sits at No. 5 in the latest playoff points for Division III and would open the playoffs up in Alturas against Modoc.
A win over Hamilton could spring the Spartans to the top four and clinch a first-round home game.
West Campus (1-7) at Marysville (2-7)
In Marysville — This could be the bright spot to end the season for the Indians, who missed out on a shot at the postseason with a loss to Dixon last week.
The Indians can enter the offseason on a high note against the Warriors, who are winless in the Golden Empire League.
Capital Christian (8-1) at Lindhurst (1-8)
In Olivehurst — It's a stiff test to end the season for the Blazers as they welcome in the state-ranked Cougars to Dean Miller Stadium.
Lindhurst led Mesa Verde 15-14 at halftime last week before falling 35-15 on homecoming. A lack of depth has hurt the team all season as the Blazers only suited up 17 players last week.
Williams (2-7) at Colusa (4-5)
In Colusa — These longtime country rivals hookup tonight in a battle of bragging rights.
For the first time since 2009, Colusa's season won't end in week 10 though as the RedHawks sit at No. 6 in the Division III playoff points.
Maxwell (6-3) at University Prep (4-5)
In Redding — U-Prep has shown an ability to put up big points this season and the Panthers have to contain that if they hope to stay in the mix for a Mountain Valley League championship.
Maxwell will be closely following the result of tonight's battle between Portola and Chester. If Chester beats Portola there will be a three-way tie for the league title between Maxwell, Chester and Portola.
The Panthers are No. 3 in the current playoff points for Division IV.