Casa Roble will face a high school version of Tim Tebow and Bryce Harper rolled into one when Fruitland of Idaho plays the Rams on Saturday morning in the Football for Families showcase in El Dorado Hills.
The game is part of the two-day, seven-game event at Oak Ridge High School that also includes No. 8 Placer, No. 10 Oak Ridge, Northern Section power Foothill of Palo Cedro, McClymonds of Oakland and state-ranked Minico of Idaho.
But none of the teams not even Placer with national recruit and USC verbal commit Eddie Vanderdoes may have an athlete quite like Fruitland's Joey Martarano.
At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Martarano is a standout football, basketball and baseball player who has helped his rural school of 500 students nestled among apple orchards near the Oregon border win five state championships, including one in football. The quarterback-linebacker has verbally committed to Boise State.
As a junior, he had 152 tackles, two sacks and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He also combined for 1,800 passing and rushing yards with 31 touchdowns. He made first team all-Idaho on offense and defense.
But his best sport may be baseball, where some experts see him as a possible first-round draft pick in June. ESPN ranks the third baseman as the No. 1 corner infielder in the high school class of 2013 and the No. 26 prospect overall.
There was some question whether Martarano would be allowed to play Saturday after he reportedly threw a punch and was ejected early in Fruitland's 58-7 win over Ontario, Ore., last Friday night.
The ejection was overturned on appeal (some observers reported that Martarano only reached out to push away a player who had grabbed his face mask after a play), and Casa Roble coach Norm Ryan figures that the Grizzlies wouldn't come to California without their best player.
"No. 2 looks good on film," Ryan said. "On one play, he cut back against the grain and outran everyone 60 yards down the sideline. My first thought, 'He's too big to do that.' "
Ryan says Fruitland runs an old-fashioned wing-T in which Martarano sometimes tosses the ball to a running back, then delivers a crushing lead block.
"He's even more devastating at linebacker," Ryan said.
It will be an interesting team matchup and one Ryan thinks will be competitive despite the enrollment ratio difference of nearly three to one between the schools.
Fruitland has played in the past six 3A Idaho state championship games, winning twice, and has another Boise State commit in 6-4, 235-pound senior tight end-defensive end Alec Dhaenens.
"Looking at the film, that's a football team," Ryan said. "They tackle and block just like us. The only difference is they practice in the middle of a corn field. And I thought Orangevale was rural."
The 10 a.m. start was made to accommodate Fruitland's two-way players and concerns about the heat.
Casa Roble, which traditionally platoons, is in a minor rebuilding mode after 38 seniors, including 19 starters, graduated from last year's 10-3 team.
Casa Roble usually runs a balanced spread attack, but its biggest success this year has come with talented senior Kody Jones running behind 6-foot-5, 385-pound tackle Chris McKnight and 6-2, 270-pound guard Eddie Chastain, both seniors.
Jones, the area's leading rusher, has gained 410 yards and scored two touchdowns on 34 carries through two games, a 28-20 win over Rio Americano and a 49-34 loss to Woodcreek last Friday.
Although it's a nonleague game, tonight's game could be pivotal to Casa Roble's hopes of reaching the playoffs for the 10th time in Ryan's 11 seasons.
Teams need at least five wins, sometimes six, to reach the postseason. Next up for the Rams are games at No. 8 Placer on Sept. 14, No. 9 Folsom on Sept. 21 and No. 13 Del Campo, the Rams' Capital Valley Conference rival, on Oct. 5.
"That's our version of murderer's row, and we still have to face a CVC in which everyone appears to have improved, with the possible exception of us," Ryan said.