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The top two teams in Northern California's DII league face off as the Sacramento Blackhawks (4-0) take on 4-0 Vacaville.
It's going to be rainy and sloppy Saturday, as Winter Storm Titan moves in. That's going to make scoring a difficult proposition.
"We'll really need to keep the unforced errors to a minimum and remain relentless on defense," said Vacaville Head Coach Chris Motes. "We've selected 15 players who are capable of making plays at any given time and it has truly been a team effort in each of our matches this year."
The Blackhawks have been something of a revelation for a relatively new club. Veteran forwards Rich Knight, Kali Afu, Fis Latupum, and Bo Kaihau lead by example. Running off that solid platform has been the youthful backline finishers Sione Latu, Rob Carter, and Kali Tavake. Brothers Ofa and David lead the team in tackles and points scored, respectively.
"Having moved up from DIII to DII this year and conceding the least points in the first four games is really satisfying," said Blackhawks Head Coach Ben Parker. "We expect a well coached Chris Motes Vacaville team will be a real test."
NorCal DII Standings
Meanwhile in Arizona Tempe continues their solid run after their big victory over rivals Red Mountain and then following up on beating Scottsdale. Tempe takes on Northern Arizona and Red Mountain plays Camelback this weekend - the DII and DIII teams in Arizona play each other to expand the schedule, but keep separate standings.
Arizona DII Standings
In Southern California, all the top teams are playing teams they are expected to beat. But Oceanside, which went into last weekend's clash with 1-2 San Fernando Valley undefeated and were upset 29-22, will want to bounce back.
"Communication and discipline is what killed us," lamented Oceanside Coach Harry Tarrant. The club didn't get any cards, but "my players still find a way to mouth off to the ref."
The players were rewarded some hard trainings this week.
"We've been working on our players studying our formations and play patterns along with the play calls and just trusting our system, and most importantly getting mentally focused on what we do best," said Tarrant.
Oceanside is talented - they just have to relax a little bit.
So. Cal. DII Standings
|Las Vegas Irish||3||2||0||115||93||22||3||1||16|
|San Fernando Valley||2||2||0||107||88||19||3||0||11|
|Back Bay Sharks||2||3||0||87||149||-62||2||0||10|
|South Bay Rhinos||1||3||0||49||85||-36||0||1||5|
And in the Pacific Northwest, they can handle the rain, as they restart the season.
It's a huge weekend for Idaho club Snake River, who are 2nd in the PNW South with a 5-1 record. They play 5-2 ORSU (3rd) on Saturday and then 5-2 Portland (1st on points difference) on Sunday. A sweep will push them into 1st.
In the North, the 7-0 Axemen play one of their chief rivals in Chucaknut.
Tacoma plays the Tsunami, and Valley plays the Rovers in a game with playoff implications.
PNW DII Club Standings