Gridiron preview

By October 28, 2010


As the prep football regular season winds down, El Dorado County teams hope to finish strong — whether for playoff momentum, positioning or ending on a high note.

Union Mine has a Sierra Valley Conference test against Vista del Lago, Golden Sierra must beat San Juan in its Sierra Delta League finale to clinch a postseason spot, and Oak Ridge needs a Delta River League victory to boost its playoff hopes.

In other games, El Dorado travels to Galt and Ponderosa hosts Sheldon.

Vista del Lago (5-3, 3-1)
at Union Mine (7-0, 4-0)

The Diamondbacks shut out the Eagles last season and won’t mind a repeat performance tonight. So far, with the exception of Cosumnes Oaks, Union Mine has rolled through its SVC opponents but Vista will be a challenge with River City waiting in the wings.

Vista and Union Mine were both part of the old SVC and are familiar with each other. D’back coach Dave Johnson has been on both sides of outcomes against Eagle coach Chris Jones dating back to when Jones coached Oak Ridge. Vista features ex-Ponderosa Bruin Caleb Gottschalk, who leads the team in tackles and has caught 37 passes for six touchdowns.

Behind quarterback Graham Bennett and running backs Sean and Cody Tow, Union Mine is tough to beat.

This one will be won in the trenches. The D’backs are on a roll and have home field advantage. Take Union Mine.

San Juan (3-5, 0-4))
at Golden Sierra (4-5, 3-2)

A Senior Night victory tonight for the Grizzlies locks up a playoff spot. The Grizzlies are coming in on a two-game win streak and should make it three after they finish off the Spartans. Golden Sierra has defeated the teams it’s tied with in the SDL so would get the nod if the season ends with ties, but a win tonight means the Griz are locked in.

Jesuit (3-5, 1-2)
at Oak Ridge (6-2, 1-2)

Oak Ridge, Jesuit and Sheldon are tied for second place in the DRL behind Pleasant Grove and Folsom. Each team has to win to keep playoff hopes alive. Record-wise, the Trojans have the edge over the Marauders for a playoff berth, but need at least two league victories to be considered. With Folsom looming next week, tonight is the night to put another game in the victory column.

The Trojans have to put last week’s loss to Pleasant Grove behind them and focus on Jesuit and quarterback Benjamin Miroglio. They need a bounce-back victory and production on both sides of the ball.

Oak Ridge doesn’t want its playoff chances to rest on the outcome of the showdown with Folsom. The Trojans are home and favored to win.

El Dorado (2-6, 1-3)
at Galt (2-6, 0-4)

The Cougars face a Warrior team seeking its first SVC victory and should be tough on its own field. Depending on injuries, Galt will either be run-oriented behind Haran Piggee or pass-oriented with quarterback Ryan Cox. The Warriors were roughed up 55-0 last week by River City.

Neither of these teams has enjoyed success this season but the Cougars should take this one against winless Galt.

Sheldon (3-5, 1-2)
at Ponderosa (2-6, 0-3)

Like Oak Ridge and Jesuit, Sheldon needs a second league win to even qualify for a playoff berth. Ponderosa appears out of the playoff picture but can end on a high note and play spoiler.

After a tough five-week stretch against Union Mine, Rocklin, Pleasant Grove, Oak Ridge and Folsom, the Sheldon matchup won’t be a easy.

Sheldon, which already has a win over Oak Ridge, takes this one.

Jerry Heinzer

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