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SUNDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: Put up or shut up
The final push begins next week
Everyone on Live Oak High's sideline knew what Friday night meant.
Even on Oct. 12, not even halfway through the Sacramento Valley League schedule, the Lions were in a must-win situation.
With the Northern Section promoting them to Division II this year, the Lions can't afford to lose a game the rest of the season. Aside from Live Oak, the SVL consists of only Division-III programs. That means there's no way for the Lions to boost their power rating.
A tough 7-3 loss to Willows in the SVL opener on Oct. 5 didn't help matters much, but Live Oak showed resiliency on Friday night with a 35-27 win over visiting Trinity.
Right now, all the Lions can do is focus on winning each week. There's no looking ahead to November or the playoffs, just the next opponent on the schedule — coach Dan Johnson and quarterback Romario Acosta both agreed on that sentiment.
We will all find out a lot about our 14 Mid-Valley teams over the next three weeks.
There are only three games left in the regular season, just enough time for those final pushes for league titles and playoff berths.
Friday night proved that nothing is guaranteed.
East Nicolaus was sitting pretty in the Mid-Valley League before falling 20-8 to a previously winless Quincy squad. Pierce survived a 21-20 scare by Durham and Maxwell knocked off undefeated Chester on the road up in Plumas County.
This time of year can bring out the best in teams when players and coaches know what's at stake.
Just surviving the week is all a team can do each Friday. The fun part is seeing where they all end up after the final game on Nov. 2.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Taking it to the TCC
Yuba City and River Valley continued their collision course as both teams remain the only unbeaten teams in the Tri-County Conference.
The Honkers decimated Pioneer 50-13 on homecoming night to move to 2-0 in the TCC while the Falcons throttled Natomas 51-13 in Sacramento.
Woodland visits Honker Stadium this Friday, while River Valley will face its toughest test of the season up to this point when the Falcons travel back to Sacramento to face five-time defending TCC champ Inderkum.
RV is 2-0 in the TCC for the first time in program history and has won seven of its last 10 games dating back to last season. This is the Falcons' longest winning streak since 2007.
A buzz in the air
Sutter continued its dismantling of the Butte View League, improving to 4-0 in the BVL and 7-0 overall with a 62-0 win over Gridley.
Now, the Huskies will step out of the BVL for their biggest game of the year.
Sutter travels north to Redding to face Division-I Enterprise, which is fresh off a 45-43 victory over Foothill on Friday night.
The Hornets are 5-2 this season with a 3-1 mark in the Eastern Athletic League.
The Huskies sit at No. 5 in Cal-Hi Sports' Division III Northern California state bowl rankings. A win over the Hornets could definitely give Sutter a boost.
After both Marysville and Lindhurst opened Golden Empire League play with victories last week, they both received a wake-up call on Friday night.
The Indians and Blazers faced the top two teams in the league and fell by considerable margin.
Marysville fell to state-ranked Capital Christian 55-12 in Sacramento, while Dixon put up all kinds of numbers with a 75-24 win over Lindhurst.
The Blazers and Indians will face off this week in the annual Battle of the Bell rivalry game at War Memorial Stadium with the winner moving to 2-1 in the GEL.
• Wheatland had an opportunity to pick up a win over a Division-I program to boost its power rating, but fell 44-14 to Red Bluff. The Pirates trailed 37-7 at halftime.
• Colusa evened its record to 1-1 in the Mid-Valley League after the RedHawks' 38-18 win over Esparto.
Senior running back Andrew Rodriguez is quietly having a nice season as he totaled 145 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the win.
• Williams is tied with Colusa in the MVL standings after losing 41-6 to Hamilton.
Live Oak quarterback Romario Acosta — With his team's season on the line, he passed for four touchdowns, ran for another and made two interceptions on defense to lead the Lions to a 35-27 win over Trinity.
Pierce running back Joey Hernandez — The Bears' senior wing back scored two touchdowns in a clutch 21-20 victory over Durham to stay undefeated.
Sutter defense — The Huskies posted their second shutout of the season and are only allowing six points per game.