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Cougars anxious for opportunity to cease Sierras season
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For Sierra it’s for the right to continue its season.

For Weston Ranch, it’s simply about respect.

The two squads will meet in the Valley Oak League finale Friday at Weston Ranch and with a playoff berth in the balance, Sierra will be playing for more than just another road win. It will take a strong showing, as the Cougars, winners of two of their past three contests, will look to a resurgent rushing attack in attempt to end Sierra’s season.

Last week the Cougars’ offense racked up over 400 total yards, including 356 on the ground. Paul Boone was the Cougars’ leading rusher, gaining 160 yards on 17 carries in just his second game of the season due to eligibility.

“He is definitely going to be a difference maker for us in that ball game,” Weston Ranch head coach Mike Hale said. “He is a kid that we just got back and we wish we could have had him for the whole season.

“He has definitely been a hard-runner and a difference maker.”

Boone joins a backfield that featured senior Melvin Allen (424 yards, 5TDs, VOL) and Donnell Sims (273 yards 3 TDs, season), giving Weston Ranch a handful of candidates that can put points on the board.

Sierra (4-2 VOL, 5-4 overall) hasn’t been close to defeat since its 26-20 loss to the Buffaloes Oct. 8. The Timberwolves have won three in a row by a combined 135 to 34. Quarterback Adrian Valencia has handled the bulk of the offense lately, scoring nine touchdowns since their VOL loss to Oakdale.

Valencia has been complemented by the effectiveness of sophomore Anthony Cota, who’s rushed for 349 yards over the past four weeks to go along with seven touchdowns. Both players will have to provide significant offensive contributions for Sierra to extend its season.

Valencia will also rely on deep-threat target, senior Grant Widmer, who dusted the Lathrop Spartans for 113 yards and two scores in a 49-7 win last Friday. Cota has also proved dangerous out of the backfield, giving the Cougars multiple Sierra options to cope with.

Success will fall in Sierra’s ability to prevent surrendering the big play. The Timberwolves have played consistent since a week-zero loss to Enochs, but have seen big-plays plague them in each of their four losses. Containing each of Weston Ranch’s breakaway players will be top priority for the Timberwolves’ defense and special teams.

“Boone and Melvin Allen both are capable of taking it the distance,” Hale said. “But our biggest thing is that we want to control the ball, and having Boone definitely gives us a great chance of doing that.

“Him and our other two backs really make a great trio. It’s something that we haven’t had in past weeks.”