GAMES OF NOV. 25
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL - EL CAMINO (9-2) AT SADDLEBACK
(11-0), 6 p.m.
Two weeks ago these two squads battled tooth and nail for the Mission Conference (National) title. Saddleback won out 42-37 in a slam, bang affair that had about 2,000 fans on their feet most all of the game. The Gauchos trailed 31-14 at halftime, but P.T. Gates turned up the wick finishing with 226 yards and 3 second-half TDs. He scored 114 for the season and gained 1,079 yards. There's lots of talent on the squad with no apparent weaknesses. El Camino has found their QB for this, and hopefully next year, in Boo Jackson (65.8-104-158-1,616-12-4). WR Kayne Farquharson is being heavily recruited. Very tough defense spearheaded by a pair of all-star LBers, Vuna Tuihalamaka and Elisha Mueller. We have an aversion to rematches and they are tough to win twice, but we'll stick with the SADDLEBACK 31, EL CAMINO 28
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PLAYOFFS SEMI-FINALS - GROSSMONT (10-1) at BAKERSFIELD
The Griffins are defending national champions. They lost their opener 13-10 to Mt. San Antonio and no one has been close since. QB John Soli has been learning on the job. CB Terry Mixon is one of the best in the nation. The defense allows around 6.5 points per game. The "O" keeps getting better and scores at a 33-points per game clip. Secret weapon Justin Johnson WE/Ret is especially dangerous. Cody Stone took over the QB duties for Bakersfield in the 3rd game and all has been well ever since. Curtis Cornelson is a heck of a LBer. T.J. Lee a great WR and J.R. Rogers, big and swift at RB. The Gades total out at 385-182. No shame in losing only to Saddleback. GROSSMONT 24, BAKERSFIELD 14
CAPITAL SHRINE BOWL, host Sacramento - FEATHER RIVER (6-4) at SACRAMENTO
(6-4), 1 p.m.
Feather River did themselves proud in their first season in the NorCal Conference. Sacramento tied for the Mid-Empire Conference title with Siskiyous. Marcellous Grigsby just missed the 1,000-yard mark for Sac City going 203-899-8, but the combination of Pat Smith, 1,203, and Marcus Okobi 106-766 gives Rod Cushman's Golden Eagles a decided rushing advantage. Neither team does a whole lot of passing, so we will go with FEATHER RIVER 37, SACRAMENTO 21
DALTON DEFENDERS BOWL, host Coffeyville - VERMILION (11-0) vs. BUTLER
(10-1), 1 pm.
If history repeats this will be no contest. Year after year the Minnesota champs venture to Iowa, Illinois, Arizona, Utah, wherever, and darned near always come away with a defeat. The last time a Minn. team won an out-of-state bowl game was Rochester over No. Iowa 23-20 in 2000. Butler seldom loses and they are good as usual. Take away an unexplained drubbing by Highland, the Grizzlies would be 11-0. Troy Morrell's troops have gone 52-6 over the past 5 seasons. The Charles Hughes to Tim Paulk passing combo should keep BC busy, but the Kansas gang is loaded with big-time rushers, Paul Eck at QB, solid defense and should win by a bunch. BUTLER 45, VERMILION 7
GAMES OF DEC. 2
SAN FRANCISCO HAWAIIAN PUNCH COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOWL, host San Francisco -
FRESNO (8-2) vs. C.C. SAN FRANCISCO (9-1), 1 p.m.
The NorCal Conference ended in a 3-way tie with CCSF, Santa Rosa and Foothill all going 9-1. Fresno lost an early game to CCSF, 34-31, when the Bay City gang scored in the waning moments and to Sierra 28-24, so we have another dreaded "rematch." FCC had a seriously tough defense all season, but few All-Conference picks. QB McKinsen Souverain was the Valley Conference MVP and OL Steven Lightsy 6-4, 325, and WR Zeb White are good ones. CCSF found a QB in Zach Lee, son of former pro Bob Lee, and he has responded with 188-295-2,788-27-5 stats. Kenny O'Neal grabbed 48 tosses for 707, Alisana Alisana, 6-5, 305, and Ako Poti, 6-5, 300, provide the blocking. LBer Devin Bishop keys the defense. FCC has had plenty of chances in San Francisco in the past so we will stick with the Bay Rams. SAN FRANCISCO 24, FRESNO 21
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME hosted by highest seed.
This one will feature the winner of Grossmont/Bakersfield and El Camino/Saddleback.
CHAMPS HEARTS OF TEXAS BOWL, Copperas Cove, Tx. - FORT SCOTT (7-4) vs.
KILGORE (6-5), 2 p.m.
The 2nd place team in the SWJCFC gets automatic bid. Kilgore finished 2nd despite the 5-6 record. Fort Scott was 3rd in Kansas, but made a nifty comeback after several years in the cellar. Kilgore had 3 players make the all conference team, OG Aaron Hunter, DT Adrian Johnson, and LB Giorgio Majors. Fort Scott's Greg Cross has done a dandy job of pulling the Greyhounds out of the doldrums from his QB position. Jovani Franklin is a dynamite little RB. Scooter Rogers at DB, heads the defense. It would be neat to take FS, but our hunch is that KILGORE 24, FORT SCOTT 21 wins out.
SEA ISLAND COMPANY GOLDEN ISLES BOWL, Brunswick, Ga. - COPIAH-LINCOLN
(8-3) vs. GEORGIA MILITARY (8-2), 1:30 p.m.
This is a really tough one to figure. Co-Lin had a good season against some rough competition. GMC opened with a pair of Texas teams, losing to Navarro 17-3. Bert Williams has some super talented lads at GMA, such as Vince Vance, OT, DE Jarius Wynn, and DT Corey Irvin. The best talent seems to be on the defensive side. RB Aaron Johns sparks the Co-Lin attack, while LB Blake Speirs heads the "D." QB Cedric Johnson was the Region MVP. COPIAH-LINCOLN 28, GEORGIA MILITARY 21
ZION'S BANK TOP OF THE MTN., @ U. of Utah, SLC - COFFEYVILLE (7-3) vs.
SNOW (10-1), noon
Coffeyville lost to Butler and to Fort Scott (in the playoffs), but pretty much blew the rest away after dropping the opener 16-7 to still unbeaten Blinn. Snow's only flaw was a 25-20 loss at Eastern Arizona, but they handed Glendale its only setback. RB Nate Guillory was first team All-Conference for the Red Ravens and LB Larry Asante and DB Gary Chandler are prized prospects. Snow has the very talented Cade Cooper at QB, Matt Asiata at RB, Junior Tea at DL and ace place-kicker Zack Manning among a slew of fine players. It would be very difficult to pick against Snow (they don't have to travel), with a great pass-run combination, so we won't. SNOW 35, COFFEYVILLE 21
VALLEY OF THE SUN BOWL @ Glendale, Az. - LACKAWANNA (9-0) vs. GLENDALE,
AZ. (9-1), 2 p.m.
Could be a mismatch, or could turn out like last year when Glendale nipped Grand Rapids, 50-48. Falcons DE Antonio Holmes, 6-4, 271, is said to be in a class by himself. DT Dennis Coit is a good one. Defense abounds, but offense will have to be at its best against a strong Glendale offense/defense. The Gauchos have an ace P in Ben Nowicki (avg. 45.7), a slick QB in Fr. Brandon Gaskins, OT Collin Boulay and LB Morris Wooten. GLENDALE 31, LACKAWANNA 14
GAMES OF DEC. 9
PILGRIM'S PRIDE BOWL CLASSIC, Mt. Pleasant, Tx. - PEARL RIVER (10-1) vs.
BLINN (11-0), 12:30
The NJCAA title is on the line. This one should truly be a classic. PRC is 40-3 the past 3 seasons under Tim Hatten and its only loss this year came when the starting QB, Mike Greco, broke his collarbone just before halftime. Copiah-Lincoln, a solid 8-3 team, took advantage 31-21. Since then the Wolves have been on the prowl. WR/DB Carlton Hill took over at QB and has done a great job throwing to Demetrius Byrd and Larry Freeman, two of the best WRs in the JC ranks. OG Julius Gray is super. DT Brian Coulter and DB Gene Anderson head the defense. Blinn uses the nation's rushing leader Bernard Scott, (229-1,567-16) running behind 6-7, 270-pound Jake Johnson and OG Brandon Medelberg. DE Alex Cook and CB Ryan Mouton lead a stingy defense that gave up just 92 points in 11 games. The offense tallied 375. BLINN 35, PEARL RIVER 28
CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES COMMISSION ON ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP
Chukchansi Park, Fresno, 1 p.m.
Winner of the CC of San Francisco-Fresno tilt vs. survivor of the SoCal playoffs. Last year's winner was Grossmont.
RESULTS OF PLAYOFFS AND BOWL GAMES TO-DATE
NOVEMBER 18 GAMES
American Bowl, Moorpark 29 vs. El Camino 31
Bulldog Bowl, San Mateo 29 vs. Sequoias 23
Butte College Century Holiday Bowl, Yuba 29 vs. Monterey Pen 8
East County Bowl, Siskiyous 23 vs. Diablo Valley 33
Golden Empire Bowl, Citrus 12 vs. Bakersfield 36
Graffiti Bowl, Modesto 28 vs. Laney 34
National Bowl, Palomar 28 vs. Saddleback 30
Silicon Valley Bowl, Sierra 0 vs. Foothill 24
Southern California Bowl, Victory Valley 7 vs. Grossmont 49
State Center Bowl, Reedley 20 vs. Santa Rosa 21
U.S. Bank Beach Bowl, Orange Coast 20 vs. Mt. San Antonio 29
Western State Bowl, Santa Ana 14 vs. Glendale 23
NOVEMBER 19 GAMES
Graphic Edge Bowl (NJCAA), Cedar Falls, IA
Iowa Central 30 over Joliet 19
Grand Rapids 24 over North Iowa Area 6
A couple of coaching changes in the offing. Craig Jersild has resigned at HUTCHINSON. That could be a dandy job for someone with those facilities. Jan Chapman allegedly took the SOUTHWESTERN job in 2006 for one year. Chuck Lawrence has tendered his resignation at NAVARRO.
Don't know who the California and NJCAA champions will be, but it would still be great if the two could meet in a Jr. Rose Bowl Game somewhere (alternating sites perhaps), for the true national title. How about matching the two next September, or late August, as a classic opening to the JC football season? That might break the ice and we go from there. I love doing the J.C. Grid-Wire and always have to thank my pal Don Judson in Pasadena for sticking with me for the first 15 or so years. We learned what a deficit was all about, but it was always fun. Hope the folks in Fresno are ‘thumping the tubs" for the Calif. title game. It would be great to see a healthy crowd. If Fresno wins the North, that would help the draw, but that's a big IF and George Rush and company are used to playing for the championship. CCSF has been in the finals seven of the nine years they have had the championship game.
QB John Soli, GROSSMONT, had his best game in a Griffins uniform going 18 of 31 for 226 and 4 TDs. Boo Jackson, EL CAMINO, 14-23-225 and Cam Merrill, MOORPARK, 13-25-246, put on a nice aerial show, as did David Singleton, SAN MATEO, 14-24-228-2 and Andre Sloan El, SEQUOIAS, 21-46-289-3.
PALOMAR's Tyler Lorenzen, 37-48-382 and 3 scores, drove the Comets 90 yards for what would have been the tying TD in the final minutes, except for the failed PAT run. P.T. Gates scored 4 times for SADDLEBACK gaining 102 yards on 22 carries. Safety Michael Ciaccio had 14 tackles, (9 solo) and broke up a pass for the winners.
QB Brek Travino led GRAND RAPIDS revenge win going 17 of 27 for 224 and a score.
SANTA ROSA QB Greg Alexander was 30 of 41 for 294 and 2 TDs, while WR Aubrey Quarles split REEDLEY's 2-9 "ghost" defense for 11 catches and 142 yards with 2 scores. Marty Ponzo caught 12 for 62. The win was the 12th straight on the road dating back to the last away game of the 2004 season.
FOOTHILL's Louis Arnold had 37 carries for 211 yards and Michael Hickman, LB, 14 tackles.
YUBA WR Marcus Allen caught 6 passes for 119 yards.
LANEY RB Frank Summers romped for 185 yards on 31 lugs and QB Matt Dardeene, 21-39-347-4.
BAKERSFIELD DB Kenny Graham 2 important picks.
OUR PICK FOR THE BIGGEST SURPRISES OF 2006: FORT SCOTT, Kans. with a 24 game-losing streak on the books, and a new coaching staff, turning things around to make the playoffs and a bowl game. In California, it would be SIERRA, moving up to the strong Valley Conference and knocking off both Fresno and Sequoias. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS would be TRINITY VALLEY and SEQUOIAS, because so much was expected of both teams.
OUR 47TH ANNUAL J.C. GRID-WIRE ALL-AMERICAN TEAM WILL BE ANNOUNCED NEXT TUESDAY