PREP FOOTBALL: Friday night football is right around the corner with plenty of big games |

PREP FOOTBALL: Friday night football is right around the corner with plenty of big games

Bear River freshman Austin Baze takes the hand off and breaks free for a 47-yard touchdown during a game last season. The Bruins open the 2015 season Aug. 28 at Pacheco.
Photo by Brian O’Brien |

The summer workouts, skills camps and 7-on-7’s are all wrapped up and prep football players are currently waiting out the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section’s dead period.

The section’s dead period states that no member of the coaching staff (paid or volunteer) may have any contact with his/her athletes and use the sports equipment for their given sport. Weight training and conditioning are the only activities that will be allowed during this time period.

This period lasts from July 20-Aug. 10. But, that doesn’t mean we have to stop thinking about the gridiron.

With the high school football season now officially less than a month away, it’s time to circle the big games on the calendar and get pumped up for Friday night football.

Nevada Union vs. Placer – Aug. 28

The Miners (3-7 in 2014) open the season at home, welcoming the Hillmen (8-3 in 2014, Pioneer Valley League champs) to Hooper Stadium in a rematch of last year’s season opener.

The Miners shocked the Hillmen in that one, winning 41-20, racking up 570 yards from scrimmage and scoring 41 points.

In last year’s contest, NU head coach Dennis Houlihan got the monkey off his back, after going 0-10 in 2013, and won his first game as the head of the Miners’ varsity program. The win was the first of three in 2014 for Houlihan. But, as it goes in high school football, there are always many new faces and the first game of the season is always tricky. Can Houlihan stun former NU assistant coach and current Placer head coach Joey Montoya again? Or, will the Hillmen get revenge for last year’s loss?

Bear River vs. Colfax – Oct. 16

These two bitter rivals battled for a Sac-Joaquin Section D-V Championship last year. Both will surely have an eye on winning the PVL this year.

The Bruins (11-2 in 2014, Sac-Joaquin Section D-V champs), won both games against the Falcons (8-5 in 2014) last year, and that surely is adding fuel to the Colfax fire.

The Bruins return much of the team that won the section title last year, but when Colfax and Bear River meet up anything can happen.

The Bruins get Colfax at home at J. David Ramsey Stadium. The last time Bear River beat Colfax at home was more than a decade ago. In fact, the away team has won eight of the last 11 matchups. The Bruins and Falcons have faced off 12 times since 2004, and in that span Colfax has won eight of those, but Bear River has won three of the last four, including last year’s championship, which was played at a neutral site.

Bear River vs. Placer – Oct. 23

Placer was the only PVL team to beat Bear River last season, and the only reason the Bruins don’t have a league banner to go with its section championship banner.

In last year’s bout between these league foes, the Hillmen, playing at home, sent the Bruins packing with a 28-0 loss. The Bruins didn’t lose again after that though.

The Bruins get the Hillmen at their place this time. This game is set in the middle of the league season, but will likely have an impact on who is the PVL champ when all is said and done.

Nevada Union vs. Oak Ridge – Oct. 23

The Miners almost got the best of the Trojans last year, but couldn’t pull out the victory, falling 24-21. It was the only SFL game that the Miners were competitive in and this time NU gets Oak Ridge at home. If Nevada Union hopes to one day reach the top of the SFL, a win over Oak Ridge would go a long way.

Bear River at Center – Oct. 30

When these two teams met last year, it was a mud bowl with the Bruins eking out a 7-6 win in the final moments.

This game lands on the day before Halloween, adding an extra bit of intrigue to it. And this time the Bruins will have to head to Antelope to face the Cougars, who are just years removed from winning the PVL, and always field a quality team.

This game rounds out a brutal three-week stretch for the Bruins in which they face Colfax, Placer and Center in a matter of 15 days.

Colfax at Placer – Nov. 6

The two longtime league foes face off in the final game of the regular season. As two of the usual heavyweights in league play, this one could carry a lot of weight concerning playoffs and possibly the PVL title.

Nevada Union opponents in order: Placer (Aug. 28), Pleasant Grove (Sept. 4), Lincoln (Sept. 11), Pioneer (Sept. 18), Del Oro (Sept. 25), Woodcreek (Oct. 2), Folsom (Oct. 9), Granite Bay (Oct. 16), Oak Ridge (Oct. 23), Rocklin (Nov. 6).

Bear River opponents in order: Pacheco (Aug. 28), Union Mine (Sept. 4), Argonaut (Sept. 11), Escalon (Sept. 25), Sutter (Oct. 2), Foothill (Oct. 9), Colfax (Oct. 16), Placer (Oct. 23), Center (Oct. 30), Lincoln (Nov. 6).

Colfax opponents in order: Argonaut (Aug. 28), Winters (Sept. 4), Dixon (Sept. 11), Golden Sierra (Sept. 18), Wheatland (Sept. 25), Lincoln (Oct. 9), Bear River (Oct. 16), Center (Oct. 23), Foothill (Oct. 30), Placer (Nov. 6).

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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