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WEEK 5 PREVIEW: Sutter seeking revenge
Huskies host Orland in championship rematch
Minutes after last week's 55-7 victory at Wheatland, Sutter High football coach Ryan Reynolds gathered his team on the field for his usual postgame speech.
However, it wasn't to recap another one-sided victory. This time it was to look ahead to the one opponent the Huskies have been looking forward to playing since the end of last year — Orland.
The Huskies lost just two games in 2011, but both of them came at the hands of the Trojans on the road. The first was a 28-7 loss in the final game of the regular season, a setback that gave Orland the Butte View League title.
On a cold November night in Orland three weeks later, the Trojans did it again when it mattered most, keeping Sutter off the scoreboard in a 14-0 victory in the Northern Section Division II championship game.
The Huskies have been waiting for the opportunity to return the favor ever since, and tonight they finally get their chance by welcoming the Trojans into Wayne Gadberry Field for one of this season's most highly anticipated rematches.
"Week in and week out, we make a big deal about each game, but there's no doubt something is different about this one," Reynolds said. "The kids feel there's something to prove, especially after last year."
Led by a talented backfield featuring fullback Nathan Ahlers and halfback Mat Sanders, Sutter is off to a fast 4-0 start in 2012, rolling up an impressive 362 yards per game on the ground in the process.
Ahlers tops the team with 490 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Sanders is right behind him with 412 yards and five scores. Three other players — quarterback Trent Little and running backs Alex Ingram and Jared Miller — have ran for more than 100 yards for the Huskies.
That kind of balance could be an asset going up against a stout Trojan defensive unit that's surrendering just over 7 points per game.
"They're defense is good and very physical, so our offense will definitely be challenged," Reynolds said. "We know we'll be in for a battle."
On the other side of the ball, Sutter will try to slow down Orland's tricky veer offense ran out of the pistol formation. And just like Sutter, the Trojans prefer to spread the ball around with no less than eight different players getting carries out of the backfield.
"They're pretty balanced," Reynolds said. "They have a big fullback, and although he hasn't played that much, we expect them to play smashmouth and pound it straight ahead at us."
Orland (3-1) opened BVL play with a 49-0 victory over Gridley last week and the winner of tonight's game will have the upper hand in winning the BVL.
Both teams know it, and both will come out ready to play.
"It's been circled on our calendar for 10 months," Reynolds added. "Our guys are fired up and are definitely motivated."
River Valley (2-2) vs. Lindhurst (0-4)
In Olivehurst — Last season's contest came down to the wire and more fireworks could be in store when the Falcons travel to Dean Miller Stadium to take on the winless Blazers.
River Valley comes into tonight looking to return to the win column after committing four turnovers in a frustrating 28-14 loss at home to Bear River last week.
Junior running back T.J. Dove has been the key cog in RV's offensive scheme so far, scoring eight of his team's 12 touchdowns including both of the Falcons' scores last week. Dove has rushed for four TDs, caught two scoring passes and has returned two punts for scores this season.
The Blazers will attempt to record its first win under new coach Jason Neiber after being outscored 206-16 over their first four games.
River Valley holds a 3-1 edge in the series all-time, including a 23-17 victory in last year's game at Falcon Stadium. Lindhurst's lone win was a 21-14 victory in the schools' first meeting back in 2008.
Wheatland (3-1) vs. Oroville (0-4)
In Oroville — The Pirates and the Tigers have played each other for years now, but this time it's different — tonight's contest is a BVL game.
The Pirates are still smarting after last week's 55-7 loss to Sutter in the league opener, but they shouldn't have much of a problem righting the ship against an Oroville squad they have dominated in recent years.
The Pirates took last year's contest 39-9 and have won the last four meetings between the two teams, winning by an average score of 39-13.
Junior Jackson Hopking has given Wheatland a threat at quarterback by throwing for 530 yards and eight touchdowns on the year, while a balanced rushing attack has rolled up an average of 205 yards per game on the ground for the Pirates.
The Tigers have been outscored 133-13 this season, including a 28-0 loss to crosstown-rival Las Plumas in the league opener last week. This is their first year competing in the BVL.
Gridley (0-4) vs. Anderson (1-3)
In Anderson — The Bulldogs will try to find the end zone for the first time in three weeks when they travel to take on the Cubs in a nonleague matchup on homecoming night.
Since scoring their only touchdown of the year in a 38-8 loss to Willows in the season opener, Gridley has been shut out in three consecutive games in losses to Monterey (49-0), Live Oak (26-0) and Orland (49-0).
It's been a full 12 quarters since the last time the Bulldogs found paydirt, but they could very well end that drought against a Anderson squad that's surrendered an average of more than 40 points per game.
Colusa (2-2) vs. Chester (4-0)
In Chester — After playing with a heavy heart following the death of a classmate last week, the RedHawks are forced to regroup and make the long trip up to Plumas County to take on the unbeaten Volcanoes.
Running the ball has proved to be no problem for Colusa under first-year coach Paul Theriault and his new wing-T attack. The RedHawks rolled up 371 rushing yards per game over the first three weeks with senior Andrew Rodriguez leading the way with 706 yards and five touchdowns.
Ryan Abele paced the RedHawks by rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown in Colusa's 42-7 loss to Pierce last week.
However, the RedHawks' defensive unit must be at its best against a high-powered Volcanoes offense that averages 287 yards rushing and 42 points per contest.
Sierra Ridge (1-3) vs. Maxwell (2-2)
In Maxwell — The Panthers have an opportunity to string together two consecutive wins for the first time this season when they host Sierra Ridge/Right of Passage (San Andreas) in a nonleague tune-up.
Maxwell enters tonight riding high following a 37-12 victory at section-rival Fall River last week. Senior quarterback George Barajas led the way by rushing for three touchdowns and kicking a 35-yard field goal, while Blake Vierra added a scoring run to help lead the Panthers to the win.
The Rams, who compete in the Sac-Joaquin Section, picked up their first win of the season with a 26-14 win over Laton last week.
Biggs (3-1) vs. Burney (2-3)
In Burney — The Wolverines bounced back nicely from their first loss off the season to East Nicolaus by pounding Esparto 34-0 on the road last Friday.
Now, they will make a much longer trip by making the 148-mile trek up to Shasta County to take on the Raiders in a nonleague game.
Biggs will rely on a balanced offensive attack featuring running backs Dalton Evenson, Nathan Callaway, Chance Felkins and Greyson Milburn, who combined to roll up more than 250 yards on the ground in last week's victory.
And while the Wolverines average 31.5 points per game, their defense has been just as good, posting three shutouts on the season.
The Raiders have dropped two straight games, including a 51-0 loss to St. Bernard's a week ago. They are led by senior running back Robert Wall, who has rushed for 685 yards and five touchdowns on the year.