By Will James

Hometown Sports Game of the Week

The high school football regular season takes on new meaning this week when league play begins and the necessity of victory becomes an outcome of paramount importance.

As testimony to the impending intensity during league games, the curtain goes up this week for Capital Valley Conference (CVC) teams.  The CVC is among the strongest leagues in the region; so competitive that five teams are expected to contend for the league title.  All five are presently ranked in this week’s Top-20.

A playoff atmosphere will be swirling amid the action Friday evening at 7:00 pm when the Roseville Tigers invade Fair Oaks to tangle with the Del Campo Cougars in a CVC battle of Top-20 teams on Access Sacramento‘s Hometown Sports Game of the Week.

Roseville #34 Brendan McMinn (Photos by: Dave Lawicka - For The Press Tribune)

Roseville #34 Brendan McMinn (Photo by: Dave Lawicka – For The Press Tribune)

This live telecast may be seen on Comcast channel 17, Consolidated Communications channel 17, and AT&T U-Verse channel 14.  The game will be replayed Sat., Sept. 24 at 11:00 a.m. and Tues., Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m..  The game will also be streamed from AccessSacramento.org and on the NFHS Network.

If last season’s epic struggle is any indication of what to expect Friday evening, then edge-of-the-seat nail-biting will be running rampant throughout the crowd.

A year ago in Roseville the two squads waged a fierce battle of attrition before Del Campo finally emerged with a breathtaking 64-57 triple overtime victory.  Many standout players from that game are returning varsity veterans who’ll play prominent roles again in this year’s match-up.

Larry Cunha‘s 14th-ranked Tigers are rolling with early season momentum and enter play with an undefeated record, posting convincing victories over three unranked opponents.

Roseville‘s run-heavy offense averages 38 points-per-game.  Sparking this production are senior RBs, Brendan McMinn and Jay Razzano.

Senior QB Nick Martig has guided the Tigers smoothly, complimenting the run game with steady passing.  Tight End Jimmy Jaggers and McMinn are Martig’s favorite targets.

The Roseville defense has been solid, yielding less than 10 points-per-game.  LB Josh Bamford is the top run-stopper.  Jaggers, who draws double duty on the DL, along with DBs McMinn, Colton Borowiak and Jeriah Crawley are among the Tigers’ leading tacklers.

del-campo-cougars-logo-jpgDel Campo Head Coach Mike Dimino and his 16th-ranked Cougars bring a 2-1 mark to the game and will enjoy home field advantage; an intangible factor of questionable value in the CVC.

The coach’s son, Junior QB Tyler Dimino, has taken the throttle for the Cougars offense this season, leading Del Campo to two wins in three starts against tough teams.

The Cougars average 20.6 points-per-game.  RB Greg Cabral leads the rushing attack, while WRs David Joseph and Trevor Brouhns are Dimino’s primary receivers.

Despite falling to #8 Monterey Trail, Del Campo’s defense is active and impressive, allowing just 18.3 ppg against three notable opponents.  LBs Ismael Cisneros and Junior Faaliga, and DL Fotu Ulukita key the Cougars’ defensive unit.

Given the daunting task of running the gauntlet of fierce CVC opposition — which also includes defending CVC champion and 7th-ranked Antelope, #13 Whitney, and #15 Cosumnes Oaks — it’s highly unlikely any of the teams will make it to the finish line without suffering a setback or two.

All the more reason for the Big Cats to bring playoff intensity and heavy motivation to win the league opener; a highly coveted victory that will separate one half of the CVC from the other.

The outcome of the league opener is crucial, and will set the tone for the remainder of another fierce race to secure a playoff berth from a conference that will likely launch just three of the five CVC contenders into the post-season.