Front Row Preps' Joe Cortez closed the gap this week on James Burns, who still holds a two-game overall lead in the 'Bold or just bald' standings.

Bold or just bald?: Small schools threaten to steal the spotlight this week

Joe Cortez

It's not often that two small-school programs can steal the spotlight away from the larger schools, but No. 10 Waterford and No. 9 Big Valley Christian are trying to do just that.

Coach Lonnie Statzer's Waterford club is off to a 2-0 start with lopsided wins against Johansen and Turlock Christian. Brian Berkefeld's Big Valley Christian squad also is 2-0, with lopsided victories against Harker (San Jose) and Le Grand. Both teams have star offensive players -- Waterford QB Michael Vivo and Big Valley RB Javyn Drobnick -- and defenses that fly to the football.

It's a game that figures to be so entertaining that Front Row Preps' James Burns will be on hand to report on this small-school biggie.

And even though Calaveras (0-2) has dropped out of the Front Row Preps' small-school top-10 rankings, it remains a very dangerous team. But Ripon also is a dangerous team, having pitched a shutout for its first 11 quarters of action this season. Only a fourth-quarter TD by Central Valley last week prevented the Indians from turning in a third consecutive clean sheet.

Not to be outdone, the large-schools remain the focal point for this week's Chicken Ranch Casino Game of the Week: Modesto (1-1) at Patterson (2-1). These teams have met the previous four seasons with each team winning one nail-biter and one blowout. Patterson has scored 51 and 53 points in its two victories this year, but the Panthers are well rested, having come off their bye week, and ready for what always figures to be a run-and-gun affair.

Enochs (1-2) travels to Central Valley (1-2) in a game between two evenly matched large-school teams. The Eagles drew praise from Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa, who said they were the best team he observed while scouting a summer scrimmage. Mistakes have cost Enochs dearly in both their loses. The Hawks, meanwhile, throttled crosstown rival Ceres 35-0 to start the season, then lost a close game to Sierra and then was blown out by Ripon, though they're the only team to score against the Indians. Both teams are looking for a win to build momentum as the league schedule fast approaches.

Here's a closer look at all of our picks for Week 3:

Friday, Sept. 7

Atwater at Pacheco, 7 p.m. Burns: Pacheco Cortez: Pacheco

Bret Harte at El Dorado, 7 p.m. Burns: Bret Harte Cortez: El Dorado

Calaveras at Ripon, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Ripon Cortez: Ripon

Ceres at West, 7 p.m. Burns: West Cortez: West

Downey at Johansen, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Downey Cortez: Downey

El Capitan at Modesto Chr., 7:30 p.m. Burns: Modesto Chr. Cortez: Modesto Chr.

Enochs at Central Valley, 7 p.m. Burns: Central Valley Cortez: Enochs

Golden Valley at Livingston, 7 p.m. Burns: G. Valley Cortez: G. Valley

Hughson at Summerville, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Hughson Cortez: Hughson

Kimball at Mountain House, 7 p.m. Burns: Mtn. House Cortez: Mtn. House

Le Grand at Linden, 7 p.m. Burns: Linden Cortez: Linden

Lincoln at Central Catholic, 7 p.m. Burns: Central Cath. Cortez: Central Cath.

McNair at Gregori, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Gregori Cortez: Gregori

Millennium at Riverbank, 7 p.m. Burns: Riverbank Cortez: Riverbank

Modesto at Patterson, 7 p.m. Burns: Patterson Cortez: Modesto

River City at Escalon, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Escalon Cortez: Escalon

Sierra at Lathrop, 7 p.m. Burns: Sierra Cortez: Sierra

Sonora at Hilmar, 7 p.m. Burns: Hilmar Cortez: Hilmar

Denair at Stone Ridge Christian, 7 p.m. Burns: Denair Cortez: Denair

Tracy at Manteca, 7 p.m. Burns: Tracy Cortez: Tracy

Turlock at Sheldon, 7:15 p.m. Burns: Turlock Cortez: Turlock

Vanden at East Union, 7 p.m. Burns: East Union Cortez: East Union

Waterford at Big Valley Christian, 7 p.m. Burns: Big Valley Chr. Cortez: Big Valley Chr.

Weston Ranch at Buhach Colony, 7 p.m. Burns: Buhach Colony Cortez: Buhach Colony

Bullard at Pitman, 7 p.m. Burns: Pitman Cortez: Pitman

Chaparral at Oakdale, 7 p.m. Burns: Oakdale Cortez: Oakdale

Gustine at Morro Bay, 7:30 p.m. Burns: Gustine Cortez: Gustine

Madera at Merced, 7 p.m. Burns: Merced  Cortez: Merced

Yosemite at Mariposa, 7:15 p.m. Burns: Yosemite Cortez: Yosemite

Saturday, Sept. 8

Turlock Christian at Valley Christian, 7 p.m. Burns: Turlock Chr. Cortez: Turlock Christian


Week 0: Burns, 29-6. Cortez, 26-9

Week 1: Burns, 22-10. Cortez, 21-11.

Week 2: Burns, 23-7. Cortez, 25-5


Burns, 74-23. Cortez, 72-25.