PREP FOOTBALL: Colfax opens PVL against high-powered Lincoln
Special to The Union
Know & Go
What: Colfax vs. Lincoln
When: 7:30 p.m., tonight
Where: Robert O. Marson Field, Colfax High School
Follow along: On Twitter @TheUnionSports or online at TheUnion.com
Two weeks ago, Colfax ended in non-league slate with a 42-7 romp over Wheatland. Now, with a 2-3 record, the Falcons hope to rebound from an up-and-down beginning to the year when they open up Pioneer Valley League play against Lincoln tonight.
The home tilt will be a good test for Colfax’s squad, as the Fighting Zebras have averaged 50.6 points a game and own three wins; most impressively a 42-35 nail biter against Nevada Union on the road. With league opponents Bear River and Placer sitting at the top of the standings with undefeated records, Colfax coach Tony Martello knows how important tomorrow’s game is.
“We talk about our league all the time, and sometimes we overstate it, but the (PVL) is a top-notch league this year. Bear River might have the best team that’s ever come through that high school. In my years at Colfax, this is the best Placer team I’ve ever seen. With Lincoln, you have to have a calculator to keep up with the amount of points they score in a game,” he said. “So, for a school of our size, it’s critical that we play well and try and get that first win…(because) it doesn’t get any easier.“
Running back Lukas Rineer not only leads Colfax in rushing with 642 yards, but the entire PVL as well. At 128.4 rushing yards per game, the senior has been an important part of an explosive Falcons offense.
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“(Rineer) plays beyond his body size. He’s not a big kid. 5-foot,7-inches at the tallest and maybe 140 pounds, but when he hits (the hole) he hits it hard. He’s not a slash-and-dasher, he’s more of a power runner than anything else. I’m just amazed at how hard he runs,” said Martello.
The passing game has also been an early season positive for Colfax. In his first year as starting quarterback, Austin Weir already has 14 touchdowns and 962 yards, second only to Lincoln’s Elijah Garcia in the PVL.
“(Weir) is really stepping up. He throws the ball well. He looks at football from a cerebral standpoint. He looks at what works well, what doesn’t work well, what works in certain coverages. I really like that part about him,” Martello said. “He’s been working really hard. He comes in early in the morning and studies his report; just working his butt off to be as good as he can be.”
Other Colfax weapons on offense include receiver Matthew Harshman (565 yards on 32 receptions with nine touchdowns) and running back Marc Avila. The Harshman-led receiving corps will be further bolstered by the return of senior Drew Daniels, a transfer from Nevada Union.
Colfax will also need a strong performance from a defensive unit that, at times, has struggled to contain opponents. Still, Martello says, there’s plenty of potential on that side of the ball as they look to stop a Lincoln offense that has plenty of firepower.
“The defense has struggled from time to time, but they are continuing to improve. They’re getting better, and when they play as a unit, and their reads are right, they play well together. That’s our key; we have to be able to bring more consistency in their level of play. Sometimes we’ll miss a read, lose containment, or blow a coverage. We’ve been known to give up big plays, but they also have shown they can play physical football,” Martello said. “It’s an old coaching cliché, but I don’t think you can stop Lincoln’s offense. I don’t think you can. They do too many things. We understand that. We just hope we can slow them down, and play good enough on offense and special teams, to play close down the stretch and battle for a victory.
“We’ve struggled a bit in different places in different games. But I’m happy with the kids’ attitudes and resiliency. They’re fighting to get better, and in athletics that’s truly what it’s all about,” he added.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Robert O. Marson Field at Colfax High School.
Spencer Kellar is a freelance writer living in Nevada City; he can be reached at email@example.com.
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