by Will James
The Jesuit Marauders continue their second half push through the perilous Delta League, still hoping to earn a ticket to the post-season. The only absolute assurance of securing a playoff berth lies in their ability to run the table during the remainder of the regular season and thereby control their own destiny.
Such control was in jeopardy of slipping through their fingers at mid-season when the Marauders were blasted in back-to-back games to see their competitive 3-1 record slip to 3-3, substantially reducing their chances of making the playoffs.
Undefeated #2 Elk Grove and once beaten #6 Grant sit atop the Delta League standings. With two games remaining in the regular season Jesuit finds itself in a 3-way tie for third place with Franklin and Pleasant Grove, all holding 3-2 records. With four Delta League teams likely to be invited to the playoffs, one of these excellent squads will sit out the post-season.
Franklin faces #2 Elk Grove and Pleasant Grove in its final two games. Pleasant Grove lines up against Sheldon and Franklin. And that brings us to Jesuit, and its ultra-tough road to hoe.
In the regular season finale next week, Jesuit must face #6 Grant on the road. But before their journey to Del Paso Heights, Marlon Blanton‘s 15th-ranked Marauders trek to Elk Grove Friday evening where they’ll tangle with Monterey Trail, perhaps the toughest spoiler in the area.
This key match-up is Access Sacramento‘s Home Town Sports Game-of-the-Week and may be seen at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 17, Consolidated Communications channel 17, AT&T U-Verse channel 14, and on the Internet at accesssacramento.org.
After trailing 20-7, Marlon Blanton’s 5-3 Marauders escaped with a 27-20 win over Franklin last week when Calvin Brownholtz connected with Jonah Allman on a 47-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining to edge the Wildcats and stay in the playoff hunt.
Marauders’ star RB Beau Bisharat is still hobbled by a foot injury and his status is uncertain for Friday’s game, making it even more vital that Jesuit underclass RBs Dalvin Jamal-Milton and Lorenzo Burkes continue to pack the pigskin effectively for the third straight week.
Mustangs’ Junior QB Robert Holt has registered an impressive 101 QB Rating and has emerged as an exciting double threat, accounting for more than 500 yards and 15 TDs. All-Metro TE/LB Neville Bood is an imposing force on both sides of the football.
On paper, this game appears to be a contest between a playoff contender and an also-ran. Beneath the surface however, a more accurate assessment reveals that this match-up is a confrontation between a playoff contender and a dangerous underdog playing the threatening role of playoff spoiler.
Adding further attraction to this uniquely provocative match-up is the uncommon element of the area’s only two VEER offenses meeting face-to-face. These offenses, particularly Monterey Trail’s, feature tricky, deceptive backfield execution that confuses opponents and spectators alike. See if you can locate the football. Good luck.