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POSTED September 24, 2009 12:52 a.m.
LATHROP (0-2) at EAST UNION (2-1)

Kickoff: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Last year: No game.

Key matchup: Lathrop front seven vs. East Union QB Dennis Johnson. Johnson holds the key to the offense, and pressuring him into mistakes will be the key for Lathrop.

Closer look: Lathrop put forth an inspiring effort at Weston Ranch last week, battling to a 7-7 tie going into the fourth quarter before two interception returns for scores put the game out of reach for the Spartans in a 27-7 loss. East Union is riding high off its first win since 2007. The Lancers should win but must clean it up going into Valley Oak League play after committing five turnovers last week.

ENOCHS (0-2) at MANTECA (1-1)

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last year: No game.

Key matchup: Enochs WRs vs. Manteca secondary. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, D.C. Gardeley is the best of many targets for QB Christian Khaler. Manteca opened with two ground-based attacks in Soquel and Tracy.

Closer look: Manteca is smarting from last week’s disappointing effort, a 35-20 road loss to Tracy. The second-year varsity Eagles’ losses came against solid programs (Buhach Colony, Rosemont), so the Buffaloes should expect some resistance. Mistakes have plagued the Buffs so far but are fully capable of dominating in all facets. Friday would be a good time to play four quarters of solid football with the regular season looming.

PATTERSON (1-1) at SIERRA (2-0)

Kickoff: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Last year: 29-23, Patterson.

Key matchup: Sierra QB Jonathan Davis vs. Patterson QB Cody Weinzheimer. Both signal callers are proven threats to both run and pass and make their offenses go. While they won’t be on the field at the same time, their play could be the difference between teams equally matched in both size and speed.

Closer look: The Timberwolves have dropped three straight to the Western Athletic Conference powerhouse. Patterson has provided a good gauge for Sierra in its final non-league contests, and a win Friday would add to the momentum built by last week’s 27-26 road victory against Granada in Livermore. Second-half mistakes and turnovers doomed Patterson in its annual marquee showdown with Escalon.

TOKAY (2-0) at WESTON RANCH (1-1)

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last year: 40-26, Tokay.

Key matchup: Tokay RB Patrick McCarthy vs. Weston Ranch LB Chris Contreras. McCarthy already has 382 yards and six touchdowns in two games. Contreras and the rest of the Cougars’ front seven must contain him for the team to have a shot.

Closer look: Weston Ranch head coach Mike Hale has a score to settle with his alma mater after losing his first meeting against it. The Cougars were fortunate to get past first-year Lathrop last week. Weston Ranch’s offense needs to do a better job of sustaining drives against Tokay, which was nearly upset by Brookside Christian in a 33-28 win after blowing out Bear Creek 54-6 in Week 1.  

ARGONAUT (2-0) at RIPON (2-0)

Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year: 16-14, Ripon.

Key matchup: Argonaut RBs vs. Ripon front seven. Argonaut boasts two outstanding backs in Danny Welch and Steven Bennett, and they are complemented by Kyle Richardi and bruising fullback Mark Garbarini. LB Nick Curtice and the rest of the Indians certainly have their hands full.

Closer look: With two quality wins over Mother Lode League opponents under its belt, Ripon will have to face the best of the bunch this Friday. The Indians had to come from behind to beat Linden and Summerville but can’t afford another slow start against Argonaut’s ball-hogging ground game. QB Brad Steuble (9-for-11, 172 yards, two TDs) hasn’t had to throw much, but is plenty good enough to keep defenses honest.


Kickoff: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Last year: 26-23, Ripon Christian

Key matchup: Waterford OL vs. Ripon Christian DL. Ripon Christian got torched in the trenches in last week’s 48-7 loss to Bradshaw Christian, which gained 458 rushing yards. Waterford hasn’t been successful in running the ball so far, and RC would be best serve putting the pressure on QB Wade Hawkins.

Closer look: Waterford is coming off its first playoff berth but struggled in 40-15 and 49-0 blowout losses to Hughson and Linden, respectively. Ripon Christian RB Isaac Norman and FB Josiah Neeley anchor the ground game, which needs to build on its Week 1 success. With only 18 players on the squad, the Knights’ defensive unit can use the breather after getting pounded by Bradshaw Christian.

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