On Friday, the Rio Linda Knights took a business trip, and took care of business.
The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Champion Rio Linda Knights squared off against West Valley high school, the winners of the CIF Northern Section title, for the NorCal Regional Championship. Originally scheduled for West Valley high’s field, the recent rains and late-season football had turned the field into more of a muddy swamp. The CIF thought it best to move the championship game to a neutral site on the new turf field at Red Bluff high school.
The West Valley Eagles started off strong in the first half, and after West Valley’s Devin Low intercepted a Rio Linda pass at the goal line, the Eagles marched down the field on a 97 yard drive to draw first blood.
The Knights fought back, with RB Cameron Skattebo finding the end zone with 1:56 left in the quarter to even the game.
With 10:43 left in the half, West Valley scored another touchdown, but the PAT was blocked. The Knights took possession but fumbled the ball away which led to a missed field goal attempt by West Valley. The Knights took possession once again… but threw an interception in the end zone to end the half. The teams went into halftime with the Eagles leading 13-7.
The Rio Linda defense made adjustments at halftime and came out of the locker room with renewed purpose. West Valley was forced to punt after the Knights defence stalled their initial drive, and then forced them into two more punts. West Valley would gain only one more first down in the game, wouldn’t complete a pass during the entire second half and gained -3 yards in the second half.
Both teams went scoreless through the third.
West Valley’s defense had done some heavy lifting all year keeping most teams scoreless through 3 quarters, but they couldn’t hold off the Sac-Joaquin Section leading rusher any longer.
On a bizarre broken double reverse play, Skattebo and Abraham Banks collided in the backfield forcing Skattebo to scramble with the ball. He found quarterback Tyson Ybarra in the end zone on a 50-yard halfback pass. Rio Linda took their first lead of the game in the middle of the 4th quarter.
The West Valley Offense was forced into a punt with 4:54 to play, and just two plays later Cameron Skattebo found a huge hole in the West Valley line, and ran 80 yards for the final score of the game.
Final Score 21-13 Rio Linda.
The Knights advance to the CIF 5-AA state championship against San Gorgonio of San Bernardino on Saturday, December 15th at 6pm.
Information on advance tickets wasn’t available at press time.
- It was very cold in the frozen north of Red Bluff, and I think that contributed to Rio Linda’s 4 turnovers.
- Cameron Skattebo had 272 rushing yards and two TDs, with a 50-yard TD pass. That puts him over 3,000 rushing yards for the season, which is a school record and the first time a running back has done it in the Sac-Joaquin section in 20 years. He is currently 3rd in the state and 5th in the country.
- Red Bluff high school’s turf is the hardest I’ve ever felt. It was like carpet on packed sand.