With Oak Ridge High’s elimination, the two El Dorado County teams left playoff contention are Union Mine and Golden Sierra. The second-seed Diamondbacks are at home tonight hosting third-seeded Marysville in Division IV second-round action while the fifth-ranked Grizzlies are back on the road at No. 1 seed Le Grand in a D-V battle. Rain in the forecast could make things interesting.
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Marysville (7-3, 4-0)
at Union Mine (9-1, 5-1)
The Indians, champions of the Golden Empire League, narrowly squeaked past Bear River 13-12 in their playoff opener last Friday while the Diamondbacks rolled over Sonora. Marsyville features a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Michael Barabin and Cole Hannum, who have combined for 20 touchdowns, quarterback Steven Arestegui, receiver Kyle Clanton and a defense that gives up 15 points a game.
Union Mine should outscore the Indians in a shootout or out slug them in the trenches. The D’back defense has only surrendered 14 points in the last two games. Going back a game further, the D’backs gave up 10 to Vista in its only loss. Offensively, it will take more than 14 for Marysville to win tonight’s game.
Union Mine running back Sean Tow has been nearly unstoppable this season. Expect him to have another big night as the D’back offensive line blows holes open. Along with a stellar defense, Union Mine’s success is due to offensive balance. When teams key on Sean, there’s Cody Tow out of the backfield. quarterback Graham Bennett, receivers Ron Eddy and Beau Bridge, and tight end Jeremy Hernandez who all make plays.
During the regular season the D’backs defeated River City — a momentum boost considering the Raiders moved up to D-II for the playoffs and beat defending section champion Rocklin last week. While Union Mine plays one game at a time, count on this — the Raiders won’t beat Grant tonight while the D’backs will take down the Indians.
Golden Sierra (6-5, 4-2)
at Le Grande (8-2, 7-0)
With six teams in the bracket and the first round out of the way, the Grizzlies’ game tonight sends the winner to the section final. Golden Sierra has a long trip today, returning near Mariposa, the Grizzlies’ victim last week in the opening round. They hope to make it two in a row with the return of fullback and leading tackler Jordan Winje.
The Bulldogs are the Southern League champs and feature the potent ground attack of Robert Perez (1,475 yards, 19 touchdowns) and Daniel Guizar (595 yards, eight touchdowns). Quarterback Alex Bucio has thrown for 19 touchdowns and his favorite receiver is Zachary Moreno (31 catches. 747 yards, 14 touchdowns). Le Grand scores a lot and is stingy on defense.
The Grizzlies ran the “Cox Box” to near perfection against Mariposa as Jim Hansen, Matt McKain and Sean Alexander racked up over 300 yards. A repeat performance tonight along with Winje’s added offense is a must against the ‘Dogs.
Le Grand had a bye and will be rested, but after dealing with the elements last week, the Griz are playoff tested. The ‘Dogs are favored on their home field but never underestimate the heart of the Grizzlies’ 17-player roster. Keep the Cox Box rolling, Bucio, Perez and Moreno on the sideline and take your chances that this one will be decided late.