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September 3, 2014

NCP Pick'em Week 1

We have a full slate of games this week, led by Vacaville on the road at Oak Ridge. Also on the docket is a pair of BVAL-EBAL showdowns and Bellarmine travels to the Sac-Joaquin Section.

#4 Del Oro (0-1) at Helix (1-0) 5:00 PM at Oceanside HS: Del Oro held a 17-13 lead in the fourth quarter against Kamehameha of Hawaii, but two late touchdowns doomed the Golden Eagles on the first weekend of the Honor Bowl. The Golden Eagles have a top wide receiver in Trey Udoffia, but are looking to find their footing in the running game. Defensively, they were very sound but struggled at times against the speed/athleticism in space. Helix is coming off an impressive 24-20 win over St. Bonaventure, which features USC quarterback commit Ricky Town. This is a rematch of the 2011 Division II State Bowl game won by the Highlanders. Helix wins 31-21

#13 San Ramon Valley (1-0) at #9 Pittsburg (1-0) 7:00 PM: It will be a good matchup of the Wolves' passing attack and Pittsburg's secondary. Quarterback Zack Barker threw for 140 yards and two touchdowns against Las Lomas, but will be without one of his top targets in Christian Fuca, who is out with a broken foot. He still has J.J. Koski and running back Josiah Alvira, who rushed for 120 yards in the opener. Pittsburg beat California 19-7 behind an interception return from Shurod Thompson. The Pirates made the biggest jump in the first rankings revision into the Top 10. Pittsburg wins 21-14

Freedom (1-0) at #15 Foothill-Pleasanton (1-0) 7:00 PM: Foothill moved past San Leandro 30-12 and will look to avenge a playoff loss to the Falcons. Kyle Kearns played well in the opener with 232 yards and three touchdowns. Freedom, the top preseason contender to Pittsburg in the Bay Valley Athletic League, beat Tracy 14-6 in the opener. Junior quarterback Joey Sweeney threw for two touchdowns in the win. Look for a defensive matchup in another BVAL-East Bay Athletic League showdown. Foothill wins 17-7

Turlock (1-0) at Oakdale (1-0) 7:00 PM: A marquee game in the Central Valley features two of the best programs in the southern half of the section. Turlock beat Enochs 25-20 in the opener behind a dual threat night from quarterback Bubba Moreno. He finished with more than 330 total yards in his first start. Oakdale opened up with a 28-14 win over Sonora behind good offensive showings from quarterback Adam Olsen and fullback Frankie Trent. Having this game at The Corral gives the Mustangs the advantage. Oakdale wins 24-21

Bellarmine (0-0) vs. #10 Franklin-Elk Grove (1-0) 7:00 PM at Cosumnes Oaks HS: Franklin shutout Atwater 29-0 behind a good defensive effort and strong production from quarterback Lamar Jackson in limited duty. This is the Wildcats first game against the West Catholic Athletic League since beating Sacred Heart Cathedral 28-10 in 2009. Bellarmine is transitioning as a program after a down 2013 season by its standards. The Bells haven't played a SJS program since losing to St. Mary's-Stockton in 2009. This is a good comparison game between the Delta League and WCAL, which are in the mix for the second best league in Northern California. Franklin wins 24-14

#14 Mitty (0-0) at Los Gatos (0-0) 7:00 PM: Mitty travels to Los Gatos in its first game under former head coach Dan Brown. The Monarchs will turn to new starting quarterback Brett Foley, who will have a pair of Division I recruits at his disposal with Dakari Monroe and Thomas Hudson (Arizona State). Los Gatos, the defending CCS Division II champions, returns star running back Joey Wood. Replacing Nick Bawden at quarterback is Dru Brown. Los Gatos figures to battle Milpitas for the De Anza league title. Mitty wins 28-20

Clovis North (1-0) at #2 Folsom (1-0) 7:15 PM: Clovis North beat Reed of Nevada at the NorCal Honor Bowl, but does it have enough to hang with Folsom? Clovis North boasts UCLA bound running back Bolu Olurunfunmi, who was the Running Back MVP at the Rivals Camp Series in Northern California. It will be without USC defensive line commitment Jacob Daniel, who is out due to injury. For Folsom, Jake Browning (Washington) continues to get better and the line play on both sides of the ball could be the best for the Bulldogs in their recent run. The Bulldogs are coming off a 55-10 rout of Cathedral Catholic in Southern California. Folsom wins 42-21

Cardinal Newman (1-0 at St. Mary's-Stockton (0-0) 7:15 PM: After an exciting 56-32 win over Churchill County of Nevada, Cardinal Newman stays out on the road to take on St. Mary's. The Cardinals boast sophomore quarterback Jordan Brookshire as a dual threat option and linebacker Pat Evans leads the defense. The Rams start the year unranked, but turn to senior Noah Righetti to take over at quarterback. Demetrius Ferguson is a playmaker to watch and linebacker Khalil Hodge should anchor the defense. St. Mary's wins 31-28

Chico (1-0) at Liberty (1-0) 7:15 PM: Both programs are coming off impressive wins last week. Chico beat Roseville 31-28 and Liberty defeated Central of Fresno 27-26. Chico is led by senior quarterback Clayton Welch, who is the top quarterback in the Northern Section. The Panthers went 5-7 last year, but had five losses by one possession. Liberty had a resurgent season in the first year under Jeff Walters. It made the playoffs with a first round loss to Logan. Against Central, Willie Williams had three touchdowns and quarterback Joseph Tolentino played well with 230 yards. Liberty wins 35-31

#17 Vacaville (0-0) at #8 Oak Ridge (1-0) 7:30 PM Game of the Week: Oak Ridge has won two straight games in this series and the Trojans are the favorites to extend that streak. Junior quarterback Ian Book was very good in the opening win against Whitney and defensive recruit Andrew Lackowski had two rushing touchdowns. The Bulldogs routinely play a difficult non-league schedule and return athletic quarterback Chad Hekking. If the Bulldogs can corral the Trojans' passing game, they have a good chance to get the road win. Oak Ridge wins 31-21


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