'Jackets, Bears will put each other to test
Two teams with a great deal of potential will meet Friday in Arbuckle for the Rice Bowl.
The host Pierce High has dominated its first two opponents but will face its toughest challenge of the season against Williams, a team which rebounded from a loss in its second game with a blowout victory against Biggs.
During the first two games of the season Pierce has relied on two things to win ball games - a stingy defense which has allowed just three points, and a running game which averages 335 yards a game.
Linebacker Chris Tapia has 22 tackles in the first two games to go along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Nate Smith is making his presence felt in the secondary after following up his interception against Esparto with three against Hamilton, including a momentum swinging pick on the goalline to end a Braves threat.
The Bears option rushing attack has been successful using two backs so far, with Andy Corona carrying the ball 38 times for 209 yards and a touchdown and big-play back Isaiah Garcia rushing for 380 yards and six touchdowns on just 28 carries.
Williams has played in three games, winning convincingly against two struggling opponents and getting blown out by an explosive Maxwell team.
In the two victories, the Yellowjackets used a balanced attack with running back Tony Boites topping 100 yards and quarterback Ben Mayes averaging more than 100 yards passing in those games. In the loss Boites was held to 44 yards rushing and Mayes threw four interceptions and completed just three passes.
On defense Williams shut out Los Molinos and held Biggs to 14 points, but Maxwell's spread offense ran wild. Adolfo Davalos leads the 'Jackets with 7.3 tackles a game and linebacker Diego Rivera has 5.7 tackles a game, and has caused a fumble and returned another for a touchdown.
Last season the Yellowjackets scored a fourth quarter touchdown to come from behind and win 26-21. In that game Garcia rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown for the Bears. The Yellowjackets relied on departed quarterback Carlos Velazquez who passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Williams holds a 3-2 series lead during the past five years.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.