Paradise, Sutter meet for Division III crown

The Paradise High School varsity football team will get a chance to do something Saturday night that it couldn’t do in 2019 — beat the Sutter High Huskies in the Northern Section Division III Championship.

Paradise lost to Sutter at River Valley on Nov. 30, 2019 in the section final 20-7. That was the only meaning between the storied programs in the MaxPreps era.

It was a very rainy evening, and despite having two running backs run for more than 100 yards in the game, Paradise simply couldn’t match the running game of the Huskies which averaged 8.4 yards per carry in the game.

With a win Saturday, the Bobcats can clinch their first ever appearance in the state playoffs.

The Bobcats enter into tonight‘s game with a 9-1 record facing a 10-1 Huskies team that has lost only to Foothill, which is playing in the Division II section championship tonight at Chico High.

The Bobcats have also only lost to one team, Eastern Athletic League D-II school Enterprise.

Sutter is led by quarterback Trevor Eck who has thrown for 1,108 yards on the year with 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. He has completed 61-of-105 passes on the season.

The Huskies do not have a 1,000-yard rusher on the year, but they have ran for more than 300 yards as a team on three different occasions and have rushed for more than 170 yards in nine of their 10 contests this year.

Senior Nic Fisher leads Sutter’s ground game with 738 yards on 105 carries on the year in 10 games.

While Fisher has led the team in carries, only once all year has he had more than 13 carries in a game. That was in a win over Wheatland in October 24 when he had 24 caries for 134 yards.

Since then he has carried the ball just 37 times. The Huskies have scored at least 42 points in each of the last five games, allowing just a single touchdown in those five games.

Following Fisher are junior running backs Troy Brucie and Luke Miller. Brucie has run for 520 yards this season, and he and Fisher led the team with eight touchdowns each on the ground.

Miller is third on the team and rushing with 320 yards on 50 carries and has scored five touchdowns.

While the Bobcats will be trying to hold down a Huskies ground game that averages 7.4 yards per carry, they will bring their own dangerous run game to Sutter.

The Bobcats boast a two-headed monster in their backfield with seniors Tyler Harrison and Daquan Lamar Simmons.

Harrison leads the way with 1,583 yards on 141 carries, he’s averaging 11.2 yards per carry and has scored 22 touchdowns.

Harrison had 100 yards rushing in every game this year for the Bobcats.

Lamar Simmons is on the cusp of a 1,000-yard season which would give the Bobcats two 1,000 yards rushers as he enters into Saturday’s game with 997 yards on 113 carries.

He’s also second on the club with 13 touchdowns.

The Bobcats don’t throw much. Starting quarterback Braden Gonzales has thrown the ball just 36 times in 10 games this year, however the senior quarterback is a threat to score on the ground.

Gonzales has carried the ball 46 times this year for 338 yards and has scored seven touchdowns this year.

But when Gonzalez has thrown the ball, his favorite target has been Kyle Ricker, who has caught eight passes for 120 yards on the year and two of the three Gonzalez touchdown throws on the season.

But much like their opponent, Paradise has been dominant in the last half of the season.

The Bobcats have won nine straight since their season opening loss, including the last five. In the last five games Paradise has scored at least 42 points in every game. In fact on two other occasions, the Bobcats topped 60 points.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Sutter High School at 2665 Acacia Ave. in Sutter.

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