When it comes to small-school football, it’s hard to top the Pioneer Valley League.
Even with Placer realigned to the Foothill Valley League before this season, the PVL offers a lot of stout programs, headed by Bear River and Colfax who continue to achieve despite declining enrollment.
It’s testament to the coaches and athletes who continue to find a way. Bear River is led by co-coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie, and Colfax is under the direction of Tony Martello. Logue and Martello are 200-game winners at their schools, and Logue beat his friend for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship last season.
Adding to the depth of the PVL is Center and upstart Foothill, who are a combined 9-1.
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A closer look at five games of note:
No. 1 Folsom (4-1) at Rocklin (2-4)
The Bulldogs are rested after a bye week and after blasting through then-No. 2 Oak Ridge 62-6 to open Sierra Foothill League play on Sept. 14. Rocklin is on the brink here, having just lost to Oak Ridge 38-14 with Grant, Del Oro and Granite Bay looming after this contest. Rocklin must figure out a way to somehow either keep up with Folsom or to slow the Bulldogs, no easy task with stars Daniyel and Joe Ngata, Kaiden Bennett and Elijhah Badger, all returning starters from a 16-0 team.
No. 5 Inderkum (5-0) at No. 18 Woodcreek (6-0)
The newly realigned Capital Valley Conference features these programs, one of tradition in Inderkum (12 consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins) and one seeking to create some momentum as Woodcreek aims to win seven games for the first time. Inderkum averages 409 rushing yards a game, led by Raymond Brown, Aaron Espero and Johnny Williams, who have combined for 21 touchdowns. Woodcreek is led by dual-threat QB star Carter Krupp (25 total scores).
No. 16 Center (5-0) at No. 12 Bear River (5-0)
The PVL gets off to a roaring start with these two, and it’ll be played in one of the best settings in the entire Sac-Joaquin Section. The host Bruins have outscored teams 256-31, the offense led by QB Calder Kunde and RB Tre Maronic. Center has quietly been a steady force this decade under coach Digol J’Beily, who seeks his eighth consecutive playoff berth at his alma mater.
No. 20 Rio Linda (4-1) at No. 14 Ponderosa (5-0)
The newly created Foothill Valley League favorite may be Placer, but Ponderosa and Rio Linda will have a say in this race. Rio Linda is led by QB Tyson Ybarra and RB Cameron Skattebo, who has 1,020 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Ponderosa, off to its best start in years, has a signature win at No. 17 Casa Roble (31-21). It can make a bigger statement here.
No. 19 Colfax (5-0) at Foothill (4-1)
The Falcons take on a program that is trying to recapture past glory after an encouraging start. Alex Weir is the next fine Colfax passer as he’s gone for 1,174 yards and 16 touchdowns, seven to Colton Reeves and six to Jake Green. Foothill is paced by QB Kyle McLaughlin and RB William Goebell.
Week 7 schedule
Kickoffs between 7-7:30 p.m.
No. 1 Folsom at Rocklin
No. 3 Monterey Trail at River City
Nevada Union at No. 4 Placer
No. 5 Inderkum at No. 18 Woodcreek
No. 9 Grant at No. 6 Oak Ridge
Del Campo at No. 7 Capital Christian
No. 8 Sheldon at Davis
No. 10 Granite Bay at Whitney
No. 11 Jesuit at Cosumnes Oaks
No. 16 Center at No. 12 Bear River
No. 13 Elk Grove vs. Pleasant Grove at Sheldon
No. 20 Rio Linda at No. 14 Ponderosa
Bella Vista at No. 15 Antelope
Mira Loma at No. 17 Casa Roble
No. 19 Colfax at Foothill
Bye: No. 2 Del Oro
River Valley at Roseville
Lincoln at Oakmont
Dixon at Woodland
McClatchy at Kennedy
Marysville at Lindhurst
Western Sierra at Foresthill
Woodland Christian at Delta
Highlands at Rio Vista
Linden at Golden Sierra
Bradshaw Christian at Liberty Ranch
Galt at El Dorado
Rosemont at Union Mine
Mesa Verde vs. Pioneer at San Juan
Florin vs. Valley at Monterey Trail
Johnson vs. Cordova at Rosemont
Laguna Creek vs. Burbank at Cosumnes River College
Rio Americano vs. Vista del Lago at Del Campo
El Camino vs. Sacramento at Hughes Stadium
Valley Christian at Encina, 11 a.m.
Vacaville Christian at San Juan, 7 p.m.