Hilmar (4-1) @ Escalon (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Hilmar lost to Ripon, 23-21
Preview: Hilmar had won their first four games of the season, but failed to pay back Ripon for their regular season loss from a year ago. Ripon defeated the Hilmar Yellowjackets in their Trans-Valley League opener. While this was a huge matchup for Hilmar early on in the year, they get another huge test when they face the Escalon Cougars — an undefeated squad who have won four straight and are coming off a bye week. The matchups between Escalon and Hilmar create an electric atmosphere and explosive game every single time they meet. This is another reason why it’s the “Blitz,” game of the week and the game I recommend to watch. Needless to say, the Yellowjackets also failed to put up 39 points or more for the first time since Nov. 3, 2017, when they lost to Ripon, 34-28. Expect a barn burner and physical game that will not be decided until the final seconds, especially since Escalon was knocked out of the playoffs a year ago, in an upset against basically almost the same team. Hilmar defeated Escalon in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI semifinal, 41-38, but lost in the regular season matchup 28-14.
Denair (4-0) v. Ripon Christian (4-0), 7 p.m.
Last week: Denair defeated Le Grand, 41-21
Preview: Is there any Southern Athletic League squad that has been more of a quiet and consistent threat in preseason play than the Denair High Coyotes? Probably not. The Coyotes have been steady and high scoring from the onset. Through the first four weeks, Denair’s offense scored 32, 56, 56 and then 41 points, respectively. So far Denair has outscored their opponents, 185-67. They come off a 20-point victory over Le Grand just a week ago while their upcoming opponent, Ripon Christian, toppled Waterford 42-6 last Friday. Denair’s ground game has been rolling after four games. This latest win saw Steffin Winston rush for 131 yards on 12 carries, while he rushed for two touchdowns and caught a pass for 27 yards. Winston also returned a kick off for a touchdown from 93 yards out. Teammate Hunter Musgrave carried the ball 13 times for 92 yards and scored twice. Dylan De Silva had 19 carries and rushed for 62 yards, along with one catch and 35 yards. Elvis Silva was 5 of 6 for 102 yards and a touchdown pass. Drew Pritchard finished with two interceptions on the defensive side. This seems like potentially one of the games of the week, considering that both teams are undefeated so far. Look for the winner to get a big step ahead in the chase for the SAL title.
Turlock Christian (1-4) @ Big Valley Christian (3-1), 7 p.m.
Last week: Turlock Christian defeated Delta Charter, 22-8
Preview: The Turlock Christian Eagles are coming off their first win of the season last Friday when they took down Delta Charter. They’re feeling great. Head coach Rich Goodwin’s motto is one game at a time. Clean slate for them since they are 1-0 in league play so far. The team was the happiest they have been in a while and are looking to continue to make progress. League doesn’t get any easier when they travel to Big Valley Christian to take on a Lions team that is 3-1 so far, coming off a 35-21 win over Woodland Christian last Friday. TC’s progression so far has seen them step up their level of play so far and a second win is in the horizon. The offense for TC has also managed to score 22 points in back-to-back games so far. This is going to be a tough test for TC, but the Eagles can certainly hang if they play up to their potential that coach Goodwin sees.
Delhi (0-4) v. Waterford (3-1), 7:15 p.m.
Last week: Delhi lost to Gustine, 37-0
Preview: Delhi High’s varsity football team is still looking for their first win of the season after they were shutout last week at the hands of Gustine in their league opener in the Southern Athletic League. It hasn’t been the season that head coach Rod McCombs expected, but they are working on it. They have been shutout twice in four games, and had two games where they scored just seven points. So far, Delhi has been outscored by its opponents 153-14. Next up for them is a Waterford group that lost to Ripon Christian last Friday, 42-6. This should be a difficult matchup for Delhi, but the Hawks are working towards improving each and every week and they will after a tough league game like this.
BYE week: Turlock and Pitman High