The fall 2021 season hasn’t always been ideal for the Jesse Bethel High football team.
The Jaguars started the season with the cancellation of their opener against Fairfield due to COVID-related concerns. Bethel couldn’t make up for that game, but was able to fill the void in the schedule with a game against Concord in his original week off.
Just last week, Bethel (4-3, 1-1) couldn’t accommodate Albany, who had to cancel his college season due to lack of players. It was a forfeit victory for the Jaguars as only the junior college teams of the teams played instead.
Despite those hurdles, the Jaguars can end the regular season on a high note with three potential field wins, starting with Friday’s home game against Richmond at Corbus Field. Bethel concludes the regular season with a Week 9 date at St. Mary’s and a Corbus Field showdown with Vallejo in the Mayor’s Cup in Week 10.
The Oilers, Friday’s opponent, are 0-7 and have been limited to six points or less five times this season.
Bethel and Vallejo are still in contention for the North Coast Section playoff spots as well as the Stone Division crown of the Tri-County Athletic League. Vallejo is inactive this week.
Here’s how the other local clashes stack up:
Benicia (5-2) at Acalanes (4-3)
It should be another solid test from the Diablo Athletic League’s Foothill division for the Panthers, who recorded shutouts against Campolindo and Miramonte to start the league campaign.
The Dons are 0-2 in the DAL game, but one of those losses was a one-point loss to Las Lomas. They are led by quarterback Luke Souza (2,035 yards, 23 touchdowns) and his top two receivers Dante Montgomery (760 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Will Berrien (700 yards, 9 touchdowns).
Acalanes, coached by former Solano boss Floyd Burnsed, struggled with Benicia last spring in a 27-21 win.
The question for the Dons will be: can they slow down Benicia quarterback Tyson Wallace? The senior southpaw threw for 1,108 yards and 15 touchdowns despite missing long minutes due to lopsided scores. His main target, Simeon Harris, received 446 yards and six touchdowns.
American Canyon (4-3) at Casa Grande (5-2)
After a week off, Wolves travel to Petaluma to face the Gauchos, who are 3-0 in the Vine Valley Athletic League.
American Canyon’s last contest was a 34-12 loss to Vintage two weeks ago, and Casa Grande looks even more formidable than the Crushers.
Gauchos quarterback is 6-foot-4 signalman Jacob Porteous, who threw for 2,330 yards and 29 touchdowns. His first target is Shane Runyeon, who has 703 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In the loss to Vintage, American Canyon full-back Kapono Liu scored from two yards and landed a touchdown pass to James Aken.
Pinole Valley (3-4) at St. Pat’s (3-4)
On paper, it could be a close Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division game for the Bruins, who withdrew last week against De Anza.
St. Pat’s last decision on the field was a 32-6 victory over Kennedy on October 8. Running back Darryl Pouncey ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Wyatt Smith was 5-for-8 for 78 yards with a touchdown pass to Nando Cisneroz. The Bruins’ defense played well in that win as well as a win over St. Mary’s the week before.
Pinole quarterback James Gordon II is a dangerous threat, both in the air and on the ground, so the Bruins will have to slow him down. Gordon shot a 44-yard touchdown winner against Ellis Shamsid Deem in the fourth quarter against Vallejo earlier this season.