The one constant on Rio Linda High School's football schedule since Mike Morris took over as coach 23 seasons ago has been Center.
The rivalry continues tonight with the No. 13 Knights hosting the No. 14 Cougars in what will be a showcase of versatile backfields and physical line play. The Knights feature a mixture of power and speed in fullback Leo Skattebo and tailback Marcel Brown, and Center counters with quarterback Tyrell Anderson and running back Joe Swen.
It also will be an emotional night for Morris, who will help honor longtime friend and Rio Linda teacher and coach Marion Adams, a former player who died in a traffic mishap last spring at 59.
As he was riding his bike home after leading a track practice, Adams looked over his shoulder to wave to students and crashed into a gate that had drifted open.
Faculty and staff will meet at halftime with Adams' widow, Kathy Adams, and his brother, David Adams, for a ceremony. A plaque that includes a photo of Adams and the words "Once a Knight, always a Knight" will be presented to the football program and displayed in the team room.
Rio Linda's cheerleaders will hand out 350 black and white remembrance ribbons with brass safety pins; black represents the color for trauma and death, and white is the ribbon color for accidents and community support.
"Marion Adams' death rocked us," Morris said. "His love of the Giants, 49ers and Knights was legendary, and so were his bright, neon shirts."
Coach collapses, dies Big Valley Christian coach Larry Shimel collapsed in his Modesto High classroom Thursday morning and later died of a heart attack. He was 58.
Big Valley (1-3), coming off a 47-0 loss to Ripon Christian, hosts Valley Christian of Roseville tonight, and there will be a memorial before kickoff.
Shimel was the Hughson coach in 1990 when the Huskies ended Hilmar's Sac-Joaquin Section record 46-game winning streak, the second-longest in the state at the time.
Prideful showing Bradshaw Christian, which has a small-school championship-caliber program, gave Division III power Vista del Lago all it could handle last Friday before losing 46-34. Kevin Williams tossed three touchdown passes to Kyle Betts, who had 152 receiving yards.
Matt Jimison of Vista del Lago has thrown 16 touchdown passes in going 3-0 since losing 38-0 to Oak Ridge to open the season.
Et cetera Wadus Parker of Elk Grove leads the region in rushing touchdowns with 10, followed by Justice Shelton-Mosley of Capital Christian, who has nine. Shelton-Mosley has 14 total touchdowns and is tied for the section lead with four interceptions.
Derek Delfino of El Dorado and Justin Baser of Bella Vista lead the area in tackles per game with 14.5 each, followed by Joey Banks of Franklin (13.3).
Jesse Clay of Lincoln leads the section with 11 sacks in three games, followed by Noah Letuligasenoa of Elk Grove, who has 9 1/2 in four games, including 5 1/2 in the last two.
Adam Walter is the unsung weapon for No. 4 Oak Ridge. Last Friday, he had two field goals in a 20-17 victory over then-No. 5 Grant.
Nolan Merker of Sheldon isn't just setting school passing records, he's also second in the state as a punter, averaging 49.9 yards.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD, check out his PrepsPlus Insider every Monday at blogs.sacbee.com/preps, and listen to his "Extra Point" every Wednesday on ESPN Radio 1320.
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