JUCO Games To Watch - California (Week 9)

There are some important matchups this weekend in the California JUCO ranks, not the least of which is the tilt between Nor Cal powers Butte and College of San Mateo. Here's a look at three of the top matchups as well as the players who are getting looks from four-year programs or are on the cusp of breaking out...

#12 College of San Mateo at #4 Butte - In the game of the week, CSM travels to Butte to determine the likely winner of the Nor Cal Conference. The Bulldogs feature an outstanding defense led by the likes of DL Pio Vatuvei (6.5 sacks, 25 tackles), DL Trevor Kelly (32 tackles, 3 sacks) and DT Rika Levi (3 sacks, 25 tackles, 8 tackles-for-loss) up front, S Sam Atoe who spends a lot of time in the opponents' backfield (team leading 10.5 tackles-for-loss to go along with 2.5 sacks and 38 tackles). CB Bryant Hayes leads the Bulldogs with three interceptions and does a great job of locking down his side and LB Michael Spivey is an instinctive player that leads the team with 49 tackles to go along with 4.5 sacks, 9 tackles-for-loss and an interception. On offense, the Bulldogs prefer to grind it out with RB George Naufahu (549 yards, 8 touchdowns) running behind top OT Dominick Jackson (committed to Alabama) and rising OT Haniteli Lousi. For Butte, freshman tailbacks Kendall Williams (946 yards, 7 touchdowns) and Robert Frazier (453 yards, 3 touchdowns) lead the way while OL Tre Tablit is the Roadrunners' best lineman. TE Bo Brummel is an impressive looking prospect who leads Butte with 14 receptions for 209 yards and 5 touchdowns. Defensively, like CSM, is where Butte really has put it to opponents, holding teams to just 16 points per game. DE Tyler Adair leads the Roadrunners with 6 sacks and 14.5 tackles-for-loss while LB Brian Anderson leads the team in tackles with 47 to go along with 2 sacks and 2 interceptions. CB Deonte Flemings is their top cover-man (3 interceptions) while freshman safety De'Aundray Gooden is an enforcer who can play close to the line or in coverage.

Game Prediction: Butte 28 – College of San Mateo 17

El Camino at Citrus - Citrus is coming off of a heart-breaking 51-50 loss to Riverside last weekend, but they hope to rebound against a talented El Camino squad that won their game over College of the Desert last weekend and, at 5-3, appears poised to make the playoffs. The leader for Citrus on offense is freshman QB Larry Cutbirth (1,593 yards, 19 touchdowns, 4 interceptions; 215 yards rushing, 6 touchdowns), a dual-threat signal-caller that is starting to garner attention from four-year programs. He's helped out by a solid rushing attack that has picked things up over the past few weeks on the legs of freshman tailback Emmanuel Pooler (467 yards, 4 touchdowns). Along the line, Byron Smith at 6'8", 285 pounds, is a monster and has seen recruiting pick up as well. On defense, the Owls are led by LB Maurice Dupleasis who has posted a team-leading 58 tackles and 10 tackles-for-loss to go along with 3.5 sacks. DT Jesus Vargas has been solid in the middle for Citrus, totaling 6.5 sacks and 9 tackles-for-loss, while DE Kenyatta Johnson leads the team with 8 sacks and is tied with Vargas for the team lead in tackles-for-loss with 9. S. Sophomore safety Herman Akins and freshman CB Charles Flowers hold things down in the secondary. For El Camino, freshman RB Kendell Sparks has been outstanding, rushing for 602 yards and four scores. TE Jean Sifrin is an absolute beast and ranks third on the Warriors with 17 receptions for 313 yards and leads the team with five touchdowns. Defensively, the linebacker trio of Kristopher Bass (77 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 14 tackles-for-loss, 1 interception), Nikorey Benyard (49 tackles, 3 forced fumbles) and Ralph Harvey (49 tackles, 5 tackles-for-loss, 1 interception) are the leaders while DE Brent Williams leads the team with 7.5 sacks and also has 10.5 tackles-for-loss to go along with 48 tackles.

Game Prediction: El Camino 27 – Citrus 24

Grossmont at #2 Fullerton - The Hornets have run roughshod through their schedule so far and should be able to get the win over Grossmont, however, the Griffs are a talented squad and they could pose some problems for second-ranked Fullerton. The Hornets are led by QB Jose Escobar (68.3% completions for 1,805 yards, 15 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) as well as the running back tandem of Ryan Byrd (697 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Lavorrie Johnson (664 yards, 8 touchdowns) who carry the load. When Escobar drops back to pass, his favorite target is WR Eli Pleasant (41 receptions, 577 yards, 5 touchdowns) while Ryan Longoria (25 receptions, 469 yards, 4 touchdowns) is a nice complimentary receiver. Along the line, Bubba Baldwin and Cal Ibanez are the top two prospects among a group that has only allowed six sacks. Linebackers Justin Owens (50 tackles) and Simon Poti (46 tackles, 4 sacks) are the leaders on what is a solid defense that is forcing over two turnovers a game. In the secondary, Corey Ferguson and Darius Lewis lock things down and are tough man-to-man cover-corners. Grossmont has one of the top passing attacks in the state and is led by freshman QB William Abt who has thrown for 2,281 yards with 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. When he drops back, his favorite targets are Nick Kurtz (32 receptions, 502 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Tim Patrick (25 receptions, 474 yards, 6 touchdowns). At tailback, Treyous Jarrells leads the team in rushing with 891 yards to go along with 13 touchdowns. The Griffins' outstanding productivity on offense is allowed by a solid line that is led by offensive tackles A.J. Allen and Sean Sullivan and swing man Ryan Krum who can play anywhere along the line. LB Christopher Collins is the leading tackler on the team with 47 tackles, he also has 3.5 sacks, while LB Nick Koenig has been a terror off the edge for the Griffs, leading the team with 5 sacks to go along with 31 tackles and 7 tackles-for-loss. The secondary features Arkansas-commit CB Kweishi Brown who leads the team with 4 interceptions and nine passes defensed.

Game Prediction: Fullerton 33 – Grossmont 27

JC Football Top Stories