A look at the Pioneer Valley League

By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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Lincoln High football got off to a difficult start and hopes to regroup during this bye week before league begins. At 1-4, they have nowhere to go but up as no other PVL team has more than two losses during this preseason. The Fighting Zebras are a fine rushing team averaging nearly 300 yards a game. However, the passing game is weak. But, that could improve now that senior Jake Gomez is back in the lineup. In their game against Argonaut, Gomez threw some good passes, but his receivers seemed unable to hang onto the ball. That situation usually arises when a quarterback hasn’t had a lot of game-time working with his receiving corps. Another problem Gomez had with the Mustangs was a pass rush that kept him on the run. Again, when an offensive line works primarily on blocking for the run, it tends to be weak when blocking for the pass. “It’s my job to keep them pumped up,” Gomez said of encouraging his offensive line to help improve the passing game. “I felt good, I just need more time in the pocket so I could make the deep ball and score some more touchdowns.” At 7-2-1, the Fighting Zebras soccer club is off to a great start; only Placer has a better record. Colfax is in third with a 4-5-1 record, and the league goes down from there. However, the PVL has not been strong in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Lincoln was 1-5-0 in preseason in 2008, but made the playoffs by taking second in league. Their most recent banner year was 2005 when Lincoln soccer won both the league and section championships. Zebras volleyball has looked very good this season. At 7-3 they stand third in the PVL, but have one less loss than either Bear River (13-4), or Colfax (13-4). The club finishes up preseason play this week before opening league play in Bear River, Oct. 3. Head volleyball coach Amanda Retallack remained cautious about making any predictions knowing the competition is tough in the PVL. Head coach Doug Croall’s cross-country squad is making great strides (no pun intended). His numbers are up as more runners discover the fun of being a part of a team. Although running tends to be solitary, cross country is about running strong as a group. As each runner’s time improves, it tends to make the team stronger. How the top five runners for each school finish in a meet determines their ranking. Individual runners can qualify for the state cross-country meet, but placing second at sections as a team means going to state altogether. Placer will be strong again this year, but the No. 2 spot could be up for grabs. Varsity runners Abi Lund and Jacob Edwards are coming on strong, and sophomore Kyle Ebert is rapidly moving up the ladder. The results weren’t yet in on how the golf team did against Placer at Auburn Valley Country Club, last week, but the Zebras play well on their home course. They were in a tie with the Hillmen going into the match, but regardless of the outcome the Auburn school will have to try and meet the challenge presented by Lincoln’s home course, Turkey Creek Golf Club.