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Golden Valley football looks to reverse trend

Jon Betschart can save the motivational speeches.

The Golden Valley football coach doesn't need them during Merced week.

"Our kids have worked hard and we've had some intense practices," the Golden Valley coach said. "During Merced week, coaches don't have to work as hard to motivate. It's a little easier in that respect."

City bragging rights will be on the line tonight in the Battle for the Mayor's Cup between Merced and Golden Valley at Merced College.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Tonight has a rivalry night feel around the Valley.

In the Western Athletic Conference, Hilmar (1-0 WAC, 6-0) travels to Modesto to face Central Catholic (1-0, 5-1) in a rematch of last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship game won by Hilmar, 17-6.

The big game in the Southern League is Mariposa (1-0 SL, 2-4) visiting Le Grand (1-0, 2-4).

Not only is it a rivalry game, but it's Homecoming for Le Grand as the school celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Other games include a big Central California Conference showdown at Falcon Field between Pitman (2-0, 4-2) and Atwater (1-1, 4-2). Buhach Colony (1-2, 4-3) will travel to face Turlock (0-3, 0-6).

Golden Valley leads the all-time series against Merced, 8-7. However, Merced's won three in a row by a combined score of 114-30.

"When Golden Valley secures the football, they move up and down the field," said Merced coach Rob Scheidt, whose team comes into the game with a 2-0 record in the CCC and 2-4 overall.

"In the games that they've lost, they didn't take care of the ball. We're assuming they're going to take care of the ball and we'll see their best game.

"We have to answer that. Golden Valley is a much improved team and we've had our struggles. We always expect the best when we go against our rivals."

Golden Valley (1-2, 3-4) will lean on its playmakers Tyler Arnsberg (846 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns) and Matt Delora (756 rushing yards and six touchdowns).

Betschart's boys must find a way to slow down Merced running back Eric DeAnda.

What will the junior do for an encore after breaking the Merced single-game rushing record last week with 307 yards and three touchdowns against Buhach Colony?

"I don't feel any added pressure," said DeAnda, who has rushed for 637 yards and six touchdowns. "I got to keep doing what I've been doing."

Merced has won 20 straight CCC games. The last CCC team to beat Merced was Golden Valley, which knocked off Merced 38-35 in triple overtime in 2005.

"I hope our guys are motivated," Scheidt said. "When you look at it, we're still 2-4 and that's not where we wanted to be after six games. At the same time, the games we won put us in a position to play some meaningful games late in the season if we keep winning."