Knightline News

Football Preview: Rio Linda at West Valley NorCal D-5AA championship

Rio Linda at West Valley

The 2018 edition of the Rio Linda Knights (11-2) varsity football team have already won the Sac-Joaquin Section D4 title. Tonight they travel north to Red Bluff where they will face off against West Valley High School (12-1) for the NorCal D-5AA championship and a chance to play for the California Interscholastic Federation State championship.

The West Valley Eagles are the Northern League champs, and the Northern Section D3 Champions, slipping past Sutter last week 7-0.

Both teams have excellent running games.

West Valley brings running back #13 Bailey Sulzer, a 5-11, 200 lb. Senior who has rushed for 1943 yards and 29 touchdowns on 262 carries. He will do the heavy lifting for the Eagles in this game.

The Knights bring standout running back and Foothill Valley League MVP  #5 Cameron Skattebo. At 5-10 and 200 lbs, with a punishing running style, and an uncanny ability to shed would-be tacklers, Skattebo has amassed 2,918 yards and 37 touchdowns on 246 carries. He is currently the third ranked running back in the state. With just 82 yards, he will be the first running back in the section to gain 3,000 yards in 20 years, since Onterrio Smith accomplished the feat with Grant in 1998.

West Valley QB Kitt McCloughlan is 85 for 151 with 1144 yards and 7 interceptions. He also has 155 yards on 53 carries.

Rio Linda QB Tyson Ybarra is 40 for 82 with 796 yards and 5 interceptions. He is dangerous as a running QB as well, with 103 carries for 978 yards.

Tyson Ybarra hands off to Cameron Skattebo.

The Knights average 50 points per game, but the West Valley defense only gives up 7 points per game on average. In the section title game, they held Sutter to 29 yards total offense and denied any first downs. At all.

However, the West Valley offense has only scored one offensive touchdown in the last two games, while the Knights defense held Golden Empire League champs Casa Roble to just 14 points in the Section title match last week. 

As always, the X-Factor will be Rio Linda receiver Abraham Banks who is averaging 8 yards per touch and 40 yards per game. The touchdown run on last weeks opening kickoff took the wind out of the sails of the Casa Roble Rams, and if Banks can find open field, look out. It’s off to the races.

Friday’s game has been moved to Red Bluff High School, on to a turf field after recent rains and late season football has turned the West Valley field into a mud pit. 

The game will be played tonight, Friday December 7th at 7:30pm. Follow along with scoring and live in-game reports at the Facebook page.

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