Tonight’s Division IV semi-final matchup between the Rio Linda Knights and the Sierra Timberwolves has created quite a buzz in the valley prep sports ecosphere. Not only does it decide who plays for the D4 Section title, but it’s an intriguing contest on it’s own merits.
The Knights will field both the 2018 and 2019 FVL MVP’s, Cameron Skattebo and Abraham Banks. Sierra running back Kimoni Stanley is having an MVP season, amassing 1728 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Knights are 12-2 at home over the last 2 seasons. The Timberwolves are venturing out on the road after a 4-game, 3-win homestand. The Knights are 9-1 over the last 10 games and are on the backend of a 4 game winning streak.
Local prep football media and observers are looking forward to this game. Here’s what they’re thinking.
Black Hat Football: Sierra 42, Rio Linda 38
Max Preps: Rio Linda 38, Sierra 26
Joe Davidson @Sacbee: Rio Linda 35, Sierra 28
Jim Silva @Modesto Bee: Rio Linda 24, Sierra 20. CalPreps.com’s computer says it’ll be Rio Linda by 12. Sierra comes battled-tested out of the VOL. Should be a good one.
Julian A. Lopez @Modesto Bee: Rio Linda 30, Sierra 24: A ground-and-pound game. I give the edge to the defending champs.
Nick Woodard @Stockton Record: Sierra didn’t just win its quarterfinal game against Atwater; The Timberwolves created six turnovers in a 63-15 victory against what was the No. 5 seed. It’s going to take a similar effort for the Sierra defense – led by Matt Dunham, Josh Valdez and Holden Fishburn, to upset Rio Linda, which has won four straight since a Oct. 11 loss to Placer.
Analysis Via Black Hat Football on Twitter:
SIERRA has opened the playoffs with two lopsided games, crushing Golden Valley 61-15 in the opener and the routing Atwater 63-14.
RIO LINDA beat D4 #3 seed Casa Roble 54-26 early in the season – though Merced’s win over Casa Roble last week takes much of the luster off that win; Also beat larger Lincoln-Placer County (impressive 27.5 Calpreps power rating)
SIERRA lost to Central Catholic, Oakdale and Manteca – 3 of the Section’s premier programs. They gave up an average of 43 points in each of those losses.
RIO LINDA’s losses are hard to complain about: A Week 1 loss to Center (10-0 and the #1 seed in D5) and a Week and a Week 8 loss to D3 #2 seed Placer.
Both these teams beat everyone they were supposed to beat, and lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to. This will be the signature win for whichever team wins Friday night.
The Rio Linda Knights will face the Sierra Timberwolves tonight, November 22nd at Marion Adams Field in Rio Linda. Game time is 7pm. ADMISSION is $12 adults, $8 seniors (65-over)/military, $5 students (k-12), children 5-under are free