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OPINION: Sutter represents Northern Section well
Game not indicative of final score
OROVILLE — There's no doubt about it — right now, this hurts for the Sutter High football team.
There was a glimmer of hope, visions of playing for the CIF State championship at the Home Depot Center almost became reality.
When Sutter quarterback Trent Little scored on a quarterback keeper to begin the second quarter and give the Huskies a 7-0 lead, everyone on the Sutter sideline could taste it.
The Huskies were standing toe-to-toe (and then some) with Cal-Hi Sports' No. 1-ranked team, the program with the Division-I prospects, private-school money and all the hype.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, in the second half, Marin Catholic began playing like the team everybody has been talking about all season.
Cal-bound quarterback Jared Goff showed why he's a top 20 national recruit with a 25-yard touchdown pass to cap a 65-yard drive on Marin Catholic's opening possession of the third quarter.
A Wildcat interception on Sutter's ensuing possession set up Goff and Co. at the Husky 15-yard line where he struck again with a touchdown pass.
And just like that it was 20-7.
Marin Catholic snuffed out any hope of a comeback with a 16-play, near 8-minute drive toward the end of regulation, which resulted in a field goal. That drive was a clinic by Goff, who showed off both his arm and legs, cementing his reputation to all who hadn't seen him play yet.
Yet, it's Sutter which turned heads with this performance.
Everyone will see a 23-7 final score, not nearly indicative of how close this game was.
The Huskies weren't only representing themselves, they were trying to show all of California that there is good football played north of Sacramento.
"(Sutter) had a great game plan for us tonight, that's for sure," said Marin Catholic coach Mazi Moayed. "Everything we had heard about them showed up and then some. Hats off to Sutter, they did a great job prepping for us.
"They have an outstanding team."
Saturday's loss was the first time Sutter lost a football game in more than a year.
History was made this season with Butte View League and Northern Section banners. Add in this NorCal Regional berth and Sutter had no reason to leave Harrison Stadium with anything but pride.
Sure, getting this close to glory and not getting there will sting for bit, but the Huskies have amended for the performance of the 2008 Hamilton squad's 59-7 loss in Carson.
Sutter showed the Northern Section can play up and proved the CIF section commissioners made a wise decision with this regional bid. Marin Catholic senior lineman Gunnar Graham, a University of Colorado commit, said Sutter was one of the most physical teams the Wildcats faced this year.
"I thought they came out really strong and never let down throughout the entire game," Graham said. "They were constantly on us and constantly pushing us. I have to compliment them.
"They never quit and that pushed me."
And this 6-foot-5, 280-pound specimen hasn't been challenged much this year.
So where does Sutter go from here?
The Huskies fully expect to be right back in this position in 2013.
The upcoming JV squad that went 10-0 is on the horizon and has been labeled by many in the Sutter community as the best class of football players to ever come through the school — and that's saying a lot.
Several of those players saw significant playing time during this playoff run.
Veterans like three-year starting quarterback Trent Little, Nathan Ahlers and Mat Sanders won't be back in the offense. A stalwart defense will lose eight starters as well.
But the big names like Little, Robledo and Staas, will be replaced by suitable replacements such as Randy Post, Ethan Rupert and Riley Vickner.
Sutter High is a football factory — this program won't skip a beat.
Coach Ryan Reynolds knows this wasn't the peak for Sutter football — it's the beginning of more big games to come.
"We showed that we can compete at the state level," Reynolds said. "It's nice that our guys got a taste of this. You better believe that our goal is to get back here sometime soon."