Merced High football has chance for a signature win tonight

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comSeptember 12, 2013 

When it comes time to seed the playoffs, all wins aren't created equal.

There are opportunities for signature wins throughout the season that should catch the eye of the seeding committee when members are filling out the playoff brackets in November.

The Merced High football team has an opportunity for one of those wins tonight when the Bears (2-0) host Edison (2-0) of Fresno in this week's marquee matchup.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 at Veterans Stadium.

The Bears enter the game with wins over Clovis West and Downey.

"I haven't shared this with our guys, but this is one of a bunch of big games that could be in front of them," Merced head coach Rob Scheidt said. "If we go out and play well there is credibility in a win.

"There are questions about Clovis West, even though I think they are a good team. There are questions about Downey. There are no questions about Edison. They're one of the best teams in the Central Section."

The Tigers were listed as a bubble team in the latest Top 25 state rankings by Cal-Hi Sports after outscoring their first two opponents 83-12, including an eye-popping 43-6 win over Clovis two weeks ago.

"They definitely pass the look test," Scheidt said. "Fans coming to the game won't see a more athletic team in this area. The biggest thing is they are athletic at every position, including the O-line and D-line."

Merced High is doing its part to treat tonight's matchup as a big-time game. The school did it's best to emulate ESPN's Saturday morning college Game Day show by staging a rally this morning at 7:30 a.m. with the marching band, cheerleaders, players and coaches in an attempt to fire up the student body.

Putting all the hoopla aside, the key for the Bears tonight might be the ability of their offense to get into a rhythm against the Tigers' big, fast and physical defense.

Merced quarterback Tyrone Williams completed 12 of 22 passes for 263 yards in the first half in last week's 43-6 win over Downey.

The Bears line must give Williams time to throw.

"It's not just protection," Scheidt said. "The ball has to come out on time, too. If the ball is being held against a team like Edison the sacks will come. If the ball isn't thrown before the receiver makes his break their (defensive backs) can recover."

Other top matchups include Buhach Colony (1-1) facing Clovis North (1-1) at Buchanan High. Like Merced, the Thunder have an opportunity to knock off one of the top teams in the Central Section.

Los Banos (2-0) faces its toughest opponent to date when Manteca (1-1) comes to Loftin Stadium.

Le Grand (2-0) squares off against Livingston (1-1) in what has been a nice small-school rivalry. The teams have split the last four games with the road team winning each time.

"We like the matchup," Le Grand head coach Rick Martinez said. "They're a little bigger school and it's good competition for us.

"We feel it's a good game that helps us get ready for league. It's one game I don't plan on either of us dropping anytime soon."

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