JUCO Games To Watch - California (Week 4)

There are several very interesting matchups on this week's schedule and JCFootball.com takes a look at five of them and gives some names to keep an eye on as well...

#15 Fresno at #6 San Francisco - This is one of the top battles in the entire country as Fresno travels to play CCSF. The Rams are led by Turner Baty who is a bounceback from Kansas and led CCSF to a National Championship back in 2011. RB Daivon Ballard leads the Rams' rushing attack (308 yards and three touchdowns) and he runs behind a line that features one of the top offensive line recruits in the country, David Hedelin. On defense, CCSF is led by the exploits of LB Nick Holt Jr., defensive ends Tavita Faaiu and David Tameilau and are led in the secondary by safety Maurice Cannon and are only allowing 10.3 points per game. Meanwhile Fresno, which also has the nickname "Rams", uses as explosive offense (53 points per game) and a stingy defense (13.3 points per game allowed) to get it done. On offense, they are led by the three-headed monster of Alek Mechikoff, Micah Ledezma and Errian Wingfield to grind things out and WR Brayden Sanchez really stretches the field when they want to throw it (15 receptions, 250 yards and three scores). On defense, Nate Palomino is the leading tackler with 36 and he's also leading in sacks with three and Gerald Nutt, a Fresno bounceback, leads the team with three interceptions and also has chipped in six tackles from his safety spot.

Prediction: CCSF 27 - Fresno 20

#13 American River at Santa Rosa - ARC once again has a tough team that sports a lot of recruits seeing FBS and FCS interest pick up. The Beavers are led on offense by a huge and athletic offensive line that features Zachary Heath, Bobby Keenan, Leonard Wood and Bob Roseberry. In the past their offense was very explosive, but now they choose to grind it out on offense and they rely on a defense that is allowing just 7.3 point per game and only 120 of offense. LB Austin Paulhus is the leading tackler with 21 and he also has 1.5 tackles-for-loss. He is joined up front by DE Jordan Carrell who has 16 tackles, one sack and a team-leading 5.5 tackles-for-loss. The Bear Cubs are off to a 3-0 start, but American River is by far the best team they've faced up to this point. QB Mike Pierson is a steady leader and he benefits from a great running game that is led by running backs K'Lan Anderson and Spencer Morrow. Up front, OT Scott Boyett is huge (6'8", 305) and he's getting attention from quite a few four-year programs. On defense, S Austin Shull leads the way in tackles with 18 and he also has an interception while freshman DE Mikal Quintoriano who has three sack to go along with 12 tackles in three games.

Prediction: American River 31 - Santa Rosa 17

Santa Ana at Grossmont - This matchup is big for both squads. Grossmont is led by freshman signal-caller William Abt (59.8% completions, 966 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions) who combines with WR Nick Kurtz (19 receptions, 283 yards and four touchdowns) to form one of the top QB/WR combinations in the state. Up front, A.J. Allen and Ryan Krum are two lineman with offers from four-year programs. Defensively, Arkansas-bound CB Kweishi Brown is the big name, but LB Christopher Collins and DT Augie Lugo also are players to keep an eye on. Santa Ana's offense has struggled to produce points so far this year, but defensively they have several big names including Arizona-bound DE Jeff Worthy and an emerging star in Billy Tanuvasa. Brock Dunn and Allen Atkins are also players getting attention from four-year programs.

Prediction: Grossmont 35 - Santa Ana 13

#22 Citrus at #8 Mt. San Antonio - The Mounties feature one of the top wideouts in the state in Kaelin Clay who has 15 receptions for 310 yards and three scores. To keep defenses honest, the Mt. SAC staff also features RB Jamal Overton (306 yards and four scores on the ground). Shaquille Davis is a JUCO lineman gaining a lot of attention from four-year programs. When the Mounties' defense is on the field, LB Elijah Lagafuaina, who had a huge game against Bakersfield two weeks ago, is a huge presence and S Elisha Henley is a playmaker in the deep patrol. Citrus is off to a 3-0 start and a big reason has been the play of freshman QB Larry Cutbirth (66.2% completions for 540 yards and seven touchdowns; 169 yards rushing and two scores) and OT Byron Smith is a very talented tackle prospect with four-year programs giving him a long look. On defense, Citrus is led by linebackers Jose Nunez and Maurice Dupleasis and safety Herman Akins.

Prediction: Citrus 24 - Mt. San Antonio 20

#18 Ventura at Bakersfield - The Pirates features a potent offensive attack that is led by QB Brad Odeman who has completed 65.2% of his passes for 1,018 yards with 15 touchdowns and no interceptions. His favorite target is WR Dylan McDaniel (24 receptions, 298 yards and five touchdowns). When their defense takes the field, freshman safety Patrick Hall is the player to keep an eye on. He flies around and makes plays all over the field and leads the team with 31 tackles and he also has an interception. LB Richard Palmer is also have a solid season (23 tackles and two interceptions). The Gades have staggered to a 1-2 record thus far, but they can point to the fact that they have play one of the tougher early schedules in the state losing to #8 Mt. San Antonio and #9 Fullerton. RB Preston Hodges is one of the top freshman tailbacks in the Golden State (223 yards and two touchdowns), but he needs to find more help from a passing game that has struggled to find some consistency with freshman QB Darrik Martin. On defense, Bakersfield features some very talented players who are getting looks from four-year programs including LB Grant Campbell (team-leading 36 tackles), S Chris Hannible (24 tackles and an interception) as well as CB Cody Jones (19 tackles, one interception and two passes defensed).

Prediction: Ventura 33 - Bakersfield 13

Other Games to Watch: College of the Canyons and Pasadena; Victor Valley at Chaffey; Golden West at #9 Fullerton; Modesto at #20 College of San Mateo; Southwestern at San Bernardino Valley

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