Wednesday Sep 05 2012
PVL preseason roundupBy: Jim Linsdau/News Messenger Sports Editor
After Lincoln’s resounding 48-7 victory over Natomas Friday night, it’s time to take a look at what is going on in the Pioneer Valley League during preseason. Beginning with the Fighting Zebras, they demonstrated a ground game matched by none. The trio of James Hubbard, Cameron Tatum, and Jordan Tayeh rambled behind a determined offensive line to trample the Nighthawks. And let us not overlook the defense. The visitors were held scoreless up until late in the game when they put seven on the board with a touchdown pass and kick to follow. Placer has been picked as a preseason favorite to take the PVL title. The Hillmen defeated a solid Central Catholic club 48-30 the past week. Although the Raiders are a Division IV school, they hammered Brookside Christian 68-6 the week before and made the playoffs in 2011. The boys from Auburn had 340 yards rushing, with senior Isaac Brahce totaling 154 yards on nine carries. That’s better than 17 yards per delivery. Bear River opened its season at home unloading on Union Mine 35-8. The Bruins used a more balanced attack picking up 142 yards through the air and 180 on the ground. No less than 11 players carried the ball for Bear River. Center, the first team Lincoln will play in the PVL, fell in defeat to Chico 30-19. Lincoln, Placer, and Bear River are the only league teams without a loss already this year. Chico’s Panthers were 8-4 last season and went two deep into the Northern Section Playoffs. At 0-2, Foothill is off to a rough start. They traveled to Oakmont for their season opener and dropped a 43-34 decision. They then made a trip to Davis and were set back by a score of 40-7. The Blue Devils have had their troubles over the past few seasons, but they do play in a tough, Division I league against the likes of Grant, Elk Grove, and Franklin. Against Oakmont, the Mustangs rolled up 330 yards on the ground and 174 passing. The Vikings totaled only four more yards of offense but managed to put more points on the board. At Davis, Foothill totaled less than 220 yards of offense, and turnovers didn’t help. Colfax, probably the most surprising PVL team so far, has struggled in preseason. At 0-2, last year’s league champions are off to a slow start. However, they lost 28-21 to Division IV perennial power Argonaut in Jackson, and Division II El Camino 28-13 on the Eagles’ home turf. At 2-0, El Camino is much improved this year. Falcons’ quarterback Michael Wilson had a tremendous game against the Eagles throwing for 285 yards on 23 completions. However, he had two interceptions to go along with his two touchdowns. Colfax’s running game didn’t give him much support, either. Three ball carriers totaled just 75 yards on 20 totes. That forced Wilson to put the ball up more than 40 times. On paper, Lincoln sits among the top three PVL teams in preseason. It’s much too early to predict how they will do before league play begins – but a 48-7 win is a good start.