Sports

What to watch heading into Week 9 of the football season. Big matchups in CCC, WAC, TVL.

Golden Valley senior Jaren Phillips (20) attempts to break a tackle during a game against Centennial at Veterans Stadium on the campus of Golden Valley High School in Merced, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. The Golden Hawks beat the Cougars 38-15.
Golden Valley senior Jaren Phillips (20) attempts to break a tackle during a game against Centennial at Veterans Stadium on the campus of Golden Valley High School in Merced, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. The Golden Hawks beat the Cougars 38-15. akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

We’re getting into the stretch run of the prep football season. This week there are a few big matchups that have league championship and playoff implications.

Let’s start with the Central California Conference with Golden Valley and Merced.

The Cougars (5-2 overall, 2-1 CCC) host El Capitan (0-7, 0-3) at Veterans Stadium. Golden Valley is currently ranked No. 12 in the CalPreps Division III rankings, which puts the Cougars on the playoff bubble. The top 12 teams in the division make the playoffs.

That means Golden Valley needs as many wins as it can get because even with a 5-2 record, the strength of schedule hurts the Cougars’ ranking.

Last week was a must-win for Golden Valley and the Cougars pulled out an exciting 27-21 win over Atwater with the defense coming up with a big stop late.

Jaren Phillips has been leading he offense with 875 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

The Cougars close out the season with games against Buhach Colony and Merced after El Capitan this week.

Merced (7-0, 3-0 CCC) likely locked up the CCC championship with last week’s 55-14 win over Buhach Colony. The win also means the Bears will find themselves in the Division III playoffs as the conference championship. The division will be loaded with the very likely possibility of undefeated Placer and Capital Christian also playing up at Division III.

The Bears travel to Patterson (5-3, 3-1 CCC) on Friday as they try to take another step toward their first 10-0 regular season finish since 2007.

TVL Showdown

Hilmar (6-1, 2-1 Trans-Valley League) continues to fight its way back into the TVL championship race after opening league play with a 23-21 loss to Ripon.

The Yellowjackets host undefeated Modesto Christian (8-0, 4-0 TVL) on Friday in a big matchup. The Crusaders will be without their star Xaiver Carlton after he was involved in an altercation during MC’s victory over Livingston last week. Carlton is a national recruit who has drawn interest from schools like Notre Dame and USC.

Hilmar was impressive last week in a 49-7 victory over Hughson. Yellowjackets star Isaac Sharp is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing. The senior running back has 924 yards and 13 touchdowns heading into Friday’s game.

WAC Championship on the line

Undefeated Mountain House (7-0, 4-0 Western Athletic Conference) travels to Los Banos for the second time in three weeks on Friday night to face Pacheco (6-1, 4-0 WAC) in a big WAC matchup.

The Mustangs can all but lock up the conference championship with a win. A Pacheco win gives the Panthers the inside track on the WAC championship and brings Los Banos (4-3, 3-1 WAC) back into the equation with the Panthers and Tigers facing each other in the regular season finale.

Both teams love to run the option and the quarterbacks will take center stage.

Pacheco’s Marcus Ordunez has been playing great, rushing for 578 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 987 yards passing and 11 touchdowns.

Mountain House quarterback Jesse Jordan has rushed for 471 yards and four touchdowns and also passed for 579 yards and 11 scores.

Shawn Jansen: 209-385-2462, @MSSsports

Jansen’s Predictions

Mountain House at Pacheco (Pacheco)

Los Banos at Ceres (Los Banos)

Merced at Patterson (Merced)

El Capitan at Golden Valley (Golden Valley)

Central Valley at Buhach Colony (Buhach Colony)

Dos Palos at Firebaugh (Dos Palos)

Modesto Christian at Hilmar (Hilmar)

Riverbank at Livingston (Livingston)

Gustine at Le Grand (Gustine)

Delhi at Denair (Denair)

Mariposa at Ripon Christian (Ripon Christian)

Yosemite at Chowchilla (Chowchilla)

Stone Ridge Christian at Brookside Christian (Stone Ridge Christian)

Last Week: 10-2. Season Total: 83-12 (.873).

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