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Sierra, East Union ready to kick off league play

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POSTED September 27, 2013 1:24 a.m.

If defense wins championships, don’t tell that to Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison.

The T’Wolves (2-1) are giving up 34.6 points a game this year including 58 during a three-point win over Chavez of Stockton Sept. 13.

After a week off last Friday, Sierra along with East Union will open up Valley Oak League play Friday night at home.

Sierra (2-1) will bump heads with Kimball Tracy at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m., while EU welcomes the defending champion Oakdale.

“Offensively, we were lights out, but defensively we made a lot of mental mistakes,” Harbison said of the Chavez game. “Our defense has to play a solid game in order to beat Kimball, and hopefully the last two weeks we’ve put together a good enough game plan.”

Kimball (1-2) and Sierra have one thing in common, and that is they have both lost to Tracy this season.  Sierra suffered a 32-21 defeat in Week 0, while Kimball lost 28-6 last Friday night.

Kimball, which went 5-5 last year and tied with Sonora, didn’t make the playoffs either. The Jaguars have only beaten West so far and have also lost to Patterson.

“They’re  a fast-paced team, they have some really good athletes and they’re just working on putting everything together,” Harbison said of Kimball, which features standouts Damon Jackson and Dominique Dixon.

While Sierra’s defense is preparing for Jackson and Dixon, the offense will also be aware of defensive standout Rashaad Cooper.

The T’Wolves’ offense just looks polished, however.

Sierra, led by senior QB Jake Pruitt (72 of 110, 709 yards) and WR/SS Bryson Sanders (22 catches, 199 yards, three TD’s) is averaging 45.6 points an outing.

Sierra will certainly be armed for any given shootout.

“Our offense is definitely playing very well,” Harbison added. “Our defense is a big concern, and we have to right the ship before league play or it could be a long season.

“They have some really good athletes and we are aware of their abilities.

“This is our homecoming week and our kids have to put all that hoopla aside. We have to focus on what we need to do at 7’o clock Friday night.”

As does East Union, who is entering its league schedule after a 1-2 run in the preaseason.

EU’s only win this year came against Orestimba, 63-14. The Lancers, who are coming off back-to-back two-win seasons, were shutout against Modesto Christian Friday by a score of 45-0.

East Union’s schedule won’t get any lighter either when it hosts the defending champ Oakdale at Dino Cunial Field.

“Oakdale is still the champion until the end of this year,” East Union head coach Willie Herrera said. “On film, they are your typical Oakdale team. They’re physical and a very good, disciplined football team.

“They’re very efficient on special teams and on both sides of the ball. Don’t let their record fool you.”

Oakdale is entering VOL play with a 1-2 record. The Mustangs opened the season with two one-point losses against Turlock and Enterprise of Redding before routing Paraclete of Lancaster, 40-9 last week.

East Union, which has been hobbled with injuries this preseason, will do what it can against a solid squad.

The Lancers’ injury report even worstened after losing junior contributor Isaac Danhoff to an ACL.

“It’s kind of like we get some guys back and then we lose some guys,” Herrera said. “(Danhoff) is a big blow to us, but we have some guys that are stepping in.

“Our kids are excited to get first crack at them. We want to set the tone, and hopefully we can start off and do something people aren’t expecting us to do.”

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