Monache vs. Hoover is lone Thursday game

Matchups between Porterville High School and Division II programs have become one of the best parts about the preseason for Orange Belt football.

The Panthers (2-0) pulled off back-to-back comebacks against powerhouse Dinuba and now they’ll get a chance to take down Div. II Hanford (3-0) for the third year in a row.

If past scores are any indication of how this game will turn out, it’s safe to say it’ll be a close one and worth the watch Friday at Jacob Rankin Stadium.

Also on Friday, Lindsay (2-1) hosts Fowler (2-1) in the only other home game, while Granite Hills (1-2) heads to Fresno to play Roosevelt (0-3) and Strathmore (2-0) travels to Orosi (2-0).

Also on the road is Monache (0-3), who play Hoover (1-1) tonight in Fresno.

Monache (0-3) vs. Hoover (1-1) @ Sunnyside High, 7:30 p.m. Thurs.

It hasn’t been the best start to the season for Div. IV Monache and the team remains on a win watch after losing 52-13 to Div. III Kingsburg (3-0) on the road last week.

Kingsburg amassed 524 total yards and scored five of seven touchdowns from 55 yards or more out, including touchdown runs of 75 and 93 yards. The Marauders gave up four touchdowns in the third quarter alone but got on the board with a touchdown in the third and fourth quarter.

Tonight Monache takes on Div. IV Hoover, who came back to defeat Mt. Whitney 30-25 last week. The Patriots like to throw the ball but have allowed opponents over 300 yards on the ground. If Monache’s star running back Aidan Galvan can get some room, this might be a big game for him.

Hanford (3-0) vs. Porterville (2-0) @ Rankin Stadium, 7 p.m

Fresh off a bye week, Porterville’s faced with another Div. II challenge in the Bullpups of Hanford. In their last two meetings, the Panthers came out on top winning 8-7 in 2017 and 24-20 last season. 

Both teams are versatile offensively with quarterbacks that can throw and run the ball. Porterville’s Hector Nava comes into the game with 711 yards and seven touchdowns on 27 of 40 completions and no interceptions, while Juaron Watts-Brown has 613 yards and six touchdowns on 38 of 57 completions with one interception. Both quarterbacks are also second on their team in rushing yards with similar stats.

Hanford’s blown out lower division teams with a 79-0 win againstDiv. V Hanford West (1-2) and a65-0 win against Div. III Fresno (0-3) last week but slipped by Div. II Sanger (2-1) with a 38-31 win two weeks ago. With both teams having a multitude of offensive weapons, this game will likely come down to the defense.

Strathmore (2-0) @ Orosi (2-0), 7:15 p.m.

Through the first two weeks of the season, Div. V Strathmore’s proven they can do it all. Their passing game surprised some in their opening week and last week it was all about their run game. 

Sophomore running back Carlos Moreno showed that he could be a big, bruising back for the Spartans with 132 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in the team’s 45-6 win over Div. VI Parlier. Strathmore also scored four more rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown.

But as impressive was the team’s defense with six sacks, two apiece from Lee Naarro and Cutter Zeller, as well as four interceptions with two from Cristian Rodriguez, and a fumble caused by Zeller.

They look to match up well against Div. VI Orosi who defeated Granite Hills 48-21 last week. The Spartans focus will likely fall on stopping running back Dominic Martinez who is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. The junior rushed for 191 yards and six touchdowns against the Grizzlies.

Granite Hills (1-2) vs. Roosevelt (0-3) @ McLane High, 7:30 pm.

Granite Hills looks to bounce back after suffering a 48-21 loss at Div. VI Orosi last Friday, but their task this week is Div. IV Roosevelt who beat Granite 28-0 last season.

Against Orosi, Granite was just shy of 300 total yards with their passing game picking up despite quarterback David Ramirez throwing three interceptions. Wide receiver Max Jimenez accounted for 108 of the team’s 188 receiving yards but it was a 57-yard touchdown pass to Creston Goodgion who caught the team’s lone receiving touchdown.

When Roosevelt and Granite met last season, the Rough Riders shut the Grizzlies’ offense down allowing just 96 total yards. But Granite faces a different Roosevelt team that is on a three-game losing streak following a 7-6 loss to Div. V Firebaugh last week.

Fowler (2-1) @ Lindsay (2-1), 7:15 p.m.

Lindsay was off to a good start but hit a bump in the road with a 27-21 loss to Div. V Exeter (2-1) for their first loss of the season. The Div. VI Cardinals made it a one score game late in the final quarter but weren’t able to move the ball into scoring position to at least tie.

As usual, Daniel Trujillo accounted for most of the team’s run game with 131 yards and one touchdown on 39 carries but Lindsay did open up their passing game by getting the ball to Mario Diaz, who had 100 yards and one touchdown on four receptions. Elian Ibarra’s lone catch was also a 40-yard touchdown reception.

But the Cardinals inability to stop Exeter on fourth and long was what hurt them the most. Hopefully they’ll have that cleaned up by Friday when they take on Fowler who is coming off a 48-7 win against Div. VI Sierra. The Redcats beat the Cardinals 35-7 last season.

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