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SMQB: It's playoff time
Yuba City, Sutter lead nine local teams into postseason
Both the Sac-Joaquin and Northern Sections released football playoff brackets on Saturday as nine Mid-Valley programs earned bids for the postseason.
Fresh off their Mayor's Cup victory over River Valley, the Tri-County Conference champion Yuba City Honkers earned the No. 2 seed in Division II. This comes as somewhat of a surprise as the Honkers were projected to be in Division III for most of the season.
The Honkers are the smallest team in the 16-team Division II bracket, but would have been the largest in D-III.
Yuba City didn't get much of a reward for its 9-1 season as the Honkers open up at home on Friday against No. 15 Del Oro, the two-time defending section champion and a team that played for the state championship last season.
The Golden Eagles (5-5) are a lot better than their seed or record would indicate as they finished 4-1 in the Sierra Foothill League, one of the top leagues in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
River Valley represents the Mid-Valley in Division III where the Falcons earned the No. 13 seed and a first-round matchup with No. 4 American Canyon, which is only in its second year of competing in varsity football.
This is both schools' first ever playoff appearance.
American Canyon is just north of Vallejo. The Wolves went 9-1 this season and were champions of the Solano County Athletic Conference.
There weren't many surprises in the Northern Section, where the Sutter Huskies earned the No. 1 seed in Division II.
They will open the first round at Wayne Gadberry Field against No. 8 Yreka, which finished the year 7-3 overall and 2-3 in the Northern Athletic League.
The Miners started their year 6-0 but lost three of their final four games to drop to No. 8 in the bracket.
Wheatland earned the No. 5 seed and a rematch with No. 4 Orland this Friday. The Trojan beat the Pirates in Week Nine 48-20.
This time, the game will be played at Orland. The victor faces the winner of the Sutter-Yreka matchup.
Live Oak completed a 7-3 regular season and No. 7 seed in Division II. This will be the Lions' first season competing in the D-II bracket.
LO travels to Shasta Lake to face NAL champion Central Valley.
Like Sutter, Pierce finished the regular season 10-0 and with a league title. The Bears earned the No. 1 spot in the Division III bracket and will host Durham on Friday night.
Pierce edged Durham 21-20 on Oct. 12 during Sacramento Valley League play.
The winner of that matchup will take on the winner of Friday's tilt between No. 4 Willows and No. 5 East Nicolaus. The Spartans are looking for their first playoff win since 2008.
Colusa is back in the postseason for the first time since 2009 when the RedHawks made it to the section championship game. They will be a No. 6 seed and make the 41⁄2-hour drive to Alturas to face No. 3 Modoc.
Rounding out the local teams is Maxwell, which earned a three-way split of the Mountain Valley League title with Portola and Chester.
The Panthers open play in the Division IV bracket at home against No. 6 Burney.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Hoisting the Cup
Yuba City earned back the Mayor's Cup from River Valley with a 29-3 win over the Falcons to win the Tri-County Conference championship.
Now, the two teams split ways to make a run in the section postseason.
The section didn't do Yuba City any favors by moving the Honkers up to Division II and matching them up with Del Oro, one of the section's elite programs. River Valley also has a daunting task traveling to the Bay Area to square off with the 9-1 American Canyon Wolves.
Back on top
Sutter clinched its first BVL title since 2009 with a 63-13 blowout win over Oroville on Friday night
Of course, the Huskies have higher aspirations than the BVL crown.
"Last year, we were junior-heavy and had a great season but came up a little short," Sutter coach Ryan Reynolds told the Chico Enterprise-Record. "We came in, refocused, and our motto was 'unfinished business.' We know we've got a lot more work to do. They want to go all the way this year, so they're very focused."
And the focus shifts to Yreka in the first round of the D-II playoffs. If the Huskies win, they would set up a rematch with either Wheatland or Orland.
Pierce clinched the Sacramento Valley League's first outright champion since 2008 with a 14-7 win over Willows on Friday night.
It was a small bit of revenge for the Bears, who were ousted from the playoffs in 2011 by the Honkers.
Pierce gets an interesting matchup in the first round this week with Durham after narrowly escaping the Trojans 21-20 earlier this year.
• The season ended for Marysville, Lindhurst, Williams, Gridley and Biggs on Friday night as these teams failed to qualify for the postseason.
• The Northern Section has moved its Division II title game to the Saturday after Thanksgiving on Nov. 24. Division III and IV will play on the Wednesday before Turkey Day on Nov. 21.
• All games will begin at 7 p.m. unless schools mutually agree to change kickoff times.
Yuba City running back Nate Van Dusen — A year after missing the Mayor's Cup due to injury, the Honkers' senior back rushed for 170 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns.
Sutter running back Nathan Ahlers — In Sutter's victory over Oroville, Ahlers accounted for four touchdowns: Two rushing, one receiving and a kickoff return.
Live Oak quarterback Romario Acosta — The senior playmaker accounted for all of the Lions' touchdowns in their victory over Durham to secure a playoff spot. That was the second time Acosta has accomplished the feat this season including a 35-27 win over Trinity.