Now, it’s back to business as usual for Sierra High’s football team.
The California Interscholastic Federation announced the pairings for its newly-expanded state championship Bowl Games on Sunday. Sierra (8-5) travels north to face Sutter (9-4) in the Division IV-A Northern California Regional. The game will take place at River Valley High of Yuba City on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“We took it light last week in practice and the kids enjoyed it, but they’re ready for contact,” Sierra coach Jeff Harbison said. “They feel refreshed and they want to get this game on.”
It’s one of 24 games in the state that will be played later this week — 12 in Northern California and 12 in SoCal. Teams were placed into divisions according to competitive equity.
Concord powerhouse De La Salle and Centennial of Corona were chosen for the Open Division Bowl Game, which takes place Saturday, Dec. 19 at Sacramento State. They are the only two qualifying team that will not compete in the regional round.
The Open Small School Division, Division I-AA, Division I-A, and Division II-A state Bowl Games will also be played at Sac State. Valley Oak League champion Central Catholic, seeking a fourth consecutive state title, was selected to tangle with Marin Catholic of Kentfield for the NorCal Open Small School Division regional. Others representing the Sac-Joaquin Section are Folsom (Division I-AA), Del Oro (II-A), Sonora (IV-AA), Bradshaw Christian (V-AA) and Stone Ridge Christian (VI-AA).
Sierra won the SJS Division IV banner on Nov. 28 with a 42-0 throttling of Liberty Ranch. Like the Timberwolves, Sutter is doing its best work late in the season after stumbling out the gate with a 2-3 record. Both teams have an early-season loss to Ripon, which beat Sierra 34-20 in Week Zero despite getting shut out in the second half before its bend-don’t-break defensive gem highlighted a 28-3 victory over Sutter in Week 4.
The Huskies have caught fire since and avenged their only Butte View League loss to Orland by hammering their rivals 38-7 in the North Section Division III championship game. Seeded fourth for the tournament, they upset top-seeded Lassen 20-12 in the semifinals.
Sutter is 0-2 in NorCal Bowl Games while Sierra makes its first regional appearance.
“There was a lot of speculation,” Harbison said of Sierra’s possible NorCal opponent. “One of the possibilities was Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento), but I’m really glad we’re playing an out-of-section team rather than an in-section team. I want the kids to be able to experience playing against a team they are not familiar with from another section.”