We're reaching the half-way point and this is where we really start finding out if teams and prospects hit a second gear, stay neutral, or run out of gas.
Here's one prep game in California to highlight:
MISSION OAK-TULARE (4-0) VS. MT. WHITNEY-VISALIA (3-1)
The Hawks are now in the driver seat in the Division-III So Cal rankings. A school that has only had four years of varsity existence has now emerged as the best team in the city of Tulare. As for the Pioneers, this game can really determine how elite they are, especially after falling to inner-city rival El Diamante last Friday.
PROSPECT WATCH FOR MISSION OAK: Quarterback Corbin Quinnonez (photo) continues to impress with his delivery and even his legs. The 6-foot-4, rocket-armed passer is a threat to get a combined five to six touchdowns throwing and running each game. Another lethal threat is 2014 prospect Elijah Porchia, an electrifying game-breaker and return man. Tight end/outside linebacker Kevin Palma continues to draw intrigue from the likes of the PAC-12 and Mountain West. An interesting match up will be seeing Palma covering the speed the Pioneers have on their offense.
PROSPECT WATCH FOR MT. WHITNEY: Tucker Mendonca may turn peeople away with his size (only 5-foot-8, 155-pounds). But make no mistake, he has zip and he can run. He has 1,001 yards in the no-huddle spread offense attack and 247 rushing yards for the Pioneers. He also has a combined 11 touchdowns. Darius Armstead is putting together a great season. The 5-foot-9 senior is yet to have a game where he falls below 115 receiving yards. His feet, soft hands, straight-line speed and production is making him an under-the-radar prospect on the recruiting scene. One player on defense to look for is junior safety Abel Tavarez. The 5-foot-10 safety has a mean streak and his hits energize the Pioneers. He plays the safety spot like an outside linebacker and he'll blow up ball carriers. Tavarez versus Palma and Porchia on offense should be an entertaining one. Adam Franco is another top defensive back for Mount Whitney. The 6-foot-1 senior has a team-high three interceptions for 66 yards and one fumble recovery. Sophomore Demarea Joyce is also an emerging star in the Pioneer's aggressive secondary, with two interceptions and 13 total tackles, including seven in an upset over Sanger.
Junior College Football
SAN FRANCISCO CITY (4-0) AT AMERICAN RIVER COLLEGE (4-0)
Last year's state bowl champion San Francisco City goes toe-to-toe with a school now having aspirations for hoisting the state title. A huge statement game for the undefeated Beavers.
PROSPECT WATCH FOR THE RAMS: In the thrilling 35-31 comeback victory over Fresno City where they were down 28-0, SFCC got a big-time performance from Kristoffer Olugbode in the backfield. The former Bellarmine Prep-San Jose weapon is fast and elusive, but has also improved his power and determination. He's a threat to go the distance and his big plays breathed new life to a Rams team that was nearly embarrassed by Fresno City. He finished with 134 yards rushing and one touchdown on Saturday. Paving the way on offense is guard Ahongalu Fusimalohi (6-foot-3, 315-pounds). He's one nasty run blocker who won't pop you just once, he'll try to drive you to the ground. He's shown excellent hands and vision when picking up blitzes. He also seldom gets bull-rushed. He's usually the one bull-rushing the defensive linemen. Defensively, former quarterback Broughan Jantz (6-foot-2, 205-pounds) is starting to emerge with three interceptions, including two last Saturday.
PROSPECT WATCH FOR THE BEAVERS: Former Washington State and Fresno State commit Devontae Butler-Booker is starting to burst back as a productive running back. The now 6-foot, 200-pound Booker still has his blazing speed thanks to his 4.38 40-yard dash time. He has, however, begun to show some power and balance when running the rock. Helping him in the backfield is Antonio Bumpers (6-foot, 200-pounds), who's more of a power runner but has shown to run around defenders. He's averaging 4.7 yards per game. Former Colorado State commit Zane Petty leads the defense with a team-high four interceptions. Petty also has 26 solo tackles.