The action figures to be festive and intense, all rolled into one, on Friday across the high school football landscape.
Or perhaps not.
With the unprecedented public safety shutoff by PG&E amid critical fire weather warnings this week, there is growing sentiment some games could be postponed to Saturday morning or afternoon – or into early next week.
This is especially a problem for teams in the following counties: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.
Colfax High School was without power Wednesday. So was Nevada Union in Grass Valley and nearby Bear River.
Placer High in Auburn was also without juice.
“We have no power now,” Placer football coach Joey Montoya said Wednesday late morning, adding, “But I heard it will be back on by Friday morning at the latest. If not, we’ll probably have to play Saturday afternoon. Really weird.”
He added with a laugh, “We are using lanterns at school right now so we don’t lose our snow days! No joke!”
“We’re all in a wait-and-see mode,” said assistant Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Will DeBoard, whose outfit governs 190 high schools. “If teams can’t play on Friday, then hopefully then can get them in on Saturday. Teams can play next week, too, up to as late as Wednesday.”
Schools in the Bay Area and the Northern Section up toward the Oregon border are also in wait-and-see mode. Some Northern Section games could be moved to Redding, where there is city-run power not reliant on PG&E.
The devastating Camp Fire that leveled large parts of Butte County last fall led to the postponment of games during last season’s playoff schedule.
Mike Ray, the decades-long Colfax Record sports editor, said the only things that rivaled these potential postponments were “heavy rains and flooding for football in the area in 1962. And the flu epidemic at Bear River in 2009 that moved a game back to Monday.”
JoeD Picks the Preps
We went a tidy 5-1 in games last week, undone only by Union Mine beating previously unbeaten Rosemont on the road.
We were good on guesses with Granite Bay downing Whitney, Elk Grove over Pleasant Grove, Cosumnes Oaks over Jesuit, Center over Bear River and Folsom over Rocklin, yet I still cannot remember my twin sister’s birthday or if my car registration is due. (Editor’s note: Let’s not talk about deadlines, Joe.)
No. 15 Rio Linda (5-1) at No. 18 Placer (4-2)
When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
Storyline: Do teams still run the ball? Yes, especially these programs, and it’ll be downhill sledding with aim at the Foothill Valley League championship that Placer won a year ago. Placer runs with Hans Grassman and Rio Linda with Abraham Banks and Cameron Skattebo, so the team that passes a bit more wins it, right?
We think we know: Placer 35-34
Nevada Union (4-2) at Oakmont (5-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Storyline: Nevada Union is off to its best start since 2011 and Oakmont its best since going 7-3 in 2005, the program’s last winner, and kudos to the coaches for the fight – Brad Sparks for NU and Tim Moore for Oakmont. Neither can afford a loss if it wants to win a share of the FVL crown.
We think we know: Oakmont 28-24
Bradshaw Christian (4-2) at Galt (4-2)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Storyline: Galt has a sparkling new field and is off to its best start since all-time coaching great Erv Hatzenbuhler produced an 8-3-1 team in 2004. B.C. has been a small-school power for years under coach Drew Rickert, and continued success prompted the Sac-Joaquin Section office to move the Pride up to a Division IV-V league – The Sierra Valley. B.C. averages 314 yards rushing.
We think we know: Bradshaw Christian 28-21
Mesa Verde (4-1) at Dixon (3-3)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Storyline: Dixon seeks its 12th successive playoff appearance and Mesa Verde just its second in 18 seasons. Mesa Verde is 4-1, two wins away from its best season since 2004 under coach Ron Barney, thanks to a rushing attack that averages 253.6 a game.
We think we know: Dixon 42-30
No. 6 Elk Grove (5-1) at Jesuit (2-4)
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Storyline: Elk Grove hasn’t been this prolific on the ground in the Delta League since perhaps the late 1990s, when it was the king of the section D-I ranks, a credit to the “Hammerhead” linemen and QB dynamo Carter Harris, the leader of the triple-option attack. Jesuit is dangerous with QB Daniel Susac and is coming off a 28-21 loss to red-hot Cosumnes Oaks.
We think we know: Elk Grove 42-21