#4 Antelope and #5 Inderkum Battle for Conference Crown
by Will James
It’s week eight of the high school football season, and contending teams striving to capture a league championship, or also-rans chasing a berth in the rapidly approaching CIF Sac-Joaquin Section (SJS) Playoffs, are playing with a far greater sense of seriousness and urgency heading down the stretch.
With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, top contenders will square-off with each other to see who’s left standing to claim a conference crown. That’s the case in Friday’s marquee match-up of Capital Valley Conference (CVC) leaders when #4 Antelope (4-0, 7-0) invades Natomas to attack 5th-ranked Inderkum (3-0, 5-1). The teams are tied for first place atop the CVC standings, making this game a winner-take-all confrontation.
Access Sacramento will televise the contest on the Hometown Sports Game of the Week. The live telecast begins at 7:00 pm and may be seen in Sacramento County on Comcast or Consolidated Communications Cable channel 17, and AT&T U-Verse channel 14. The game will also be streamed live from AccessSacramento.org and on the NFHS Network.
Adding further spice to the mix, newly installed head coaches have taken the helm for two highly successful programs of notable achievement. At Antelope, former Lincoln (Stockton) Head Coach, Mike Byerly, inherits a quality program developed by Matt Ray. And entering through the recent revolving door at Inderkum, well-traveled Reggie Harris takes control of the program Terry Stark guided into prominence.
Under Byerly’s leadership, the undefeated Titans boast a high scoring offense (45.5 points-per-game) and a stingy defense (15.5 points-per-game). Junior Quarterback Jasiah Bateman is having an impressive year at the offensive controls, passing for 631 yards and nine TDs with just one interception. Junior Running back Curron Borders is the Titans’ headliner. He leads the SJS with 1668 rushing yards and 25 TDs while averaging 11.6 per carry.
In direct contrast, and despite its solid 5-1 record, Inderkum has struggled on offense, scoring fewer than 22 points in half its games. Senior Quarterback Jayden Johnson has passed for eight TDs and thrown six interceptions. The Tigers’ run game has also suffered from malnutrition. Running backs Oshea Castleberry, Giovanni Jorlen, Jeremiah Tyes, and Terrell Dyson have combined for just 11 rushing TDs.
On defense, Linebacker Oshea Castleberry, Defensive Lineman Jeremiah Tuiileila, and Defensive backs Dexter Simmons and Miles Mitchell continue to make big plays; something the Tigers will need to continue with greater efficiency against Antelope.
With the CVC crown at stake, the atmosphere of this skirmish will resemble that of a playoff game. Fasten your seatbelts tighter for this one. It’s liable to be a bumpy night in Natomas.