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Who's No. 2? We'll find out

The games keep getting bigger for Golden Valley.

That's what happens when a team keeps winning.

Golden Valley has done just that -- barely.

It started with a 16-14 victory over Atwater two weeks ago. Last week came a 14-13 win over Los Banos.

The two thrillers set up a Central California Conference showdown against Pitman (2-1 CCC, 4-2 overall) tonight at Joe Debley Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Ultimately, one of the two CCC playoff spots could be on the line.

"We feel blessed and we're thankful to have this opportunity," said GV coach Jon Betschart, whose team is 2-0 in the CCC and 4-2 overall.

"It's another game that matters. That's a great thing."

GV is tied with Merced atop the CCC standings.

Merced (2-0, 6-0) has been the only CCC team that has been winning easily.

Rob Scheidt's team comes into tonight's home game against Turlock (0-3, 1-5) ranked 16th in the state by CalHiSports.

Turlock's winless conference record could be misleading. Turlock has led in each of the three games.

"They're a little scary in that they can control the ball and they are a very physical team," Scheidt said. "They had a big opportunity to beat Pitman last week.

"It's one of those deals where we have to be ready to play."

Merced will again be without tight end Kenny Cooper (hamstring).

Merced will have Jarrett Sparks, however.

The star receiver caught three passes and turned them all into touchdowns in last week's 38-14 win over Buhach Colony.

In other CCC action, Los Banos (2-1, 3-3) hosts Atwater (1-1, 2-4) in a game which basically eliminates the loser from the playoffs.

Golden Valley almost found itself in that position.

However, GV somehow found a way to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns to shock Los Banos last week.

"Everybody is so close," Betschart said. "Atwater's a good team. Los Banos pretty much had us beat.

"We proved that if you work hard and stay with it until the end, good things can happen.

"Whatever it takes. That's one of our mottos. We've been resilient.

"We've had a few breaks go our way. We've been lucky, but you can also create your own luck."

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 3845-2462 or via e-mail at

Golden Valley (4-2, 2-0 CCC)

at Pitman (4-2, 2-1 CCC)

WHEN: Tonight: 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Turlock High School's

Joe Debeley Stadium

LAST SEASON: Golden Valley defeated Pitman 28-20 at Merced College.

THE SKINNY: Barring a CCC team upsetting Merced in the next few weeks, tonight's GV-Pitman game may determine second place in the conference -- and the coveted No. 2 playoff spot.

OTHER GAMES TONIGHT: Madera South at Buhach Colony; Livingston at Patterson; Turlock at Merced; Atwater at Los Banos; Mariposa at Le Grand; Chowchilla at Yosemite; Gustine at Hilmar; Delhi at Turlock Christian; Dos Palos at Kerman.