Three defending Northern Section football champions are expected to repeat as they were given the top ranking in the preseason edition of the Northern Section Prep Football Media Poll, which was released Tuesday.
Two of them, Enterprise and Winters, were unanimous selections, and Redding Christian received a simple majority of first-place votes for its No. 1 ranking. The other top teams were Sutter in Division III and Fall River in D-V.
The poll is voted on by media members from KRCR News Channel 7, the Chico Enterprise-Record, Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Redding Record Searchlight, Action News Now, KCNR 1460 AM and MaxPreps. First-place votes are worth five points, second-place votes are worth four and so on.
Enterprise went unbeaten in the regular season last year, securing a rare berth in the state playoffs for a section team and then beat Manteca 27-21 in the Northern California Division II Regional Bowl Game to advance to the state championship before falling to Chaminade of West Hills 41-9.
The Hornets are again the favorites in the section's top level, which is now Division II. The Northern Section realigned its football divisions to match the state, shifting each of the 11-man teams down one. Eight-man football teams remain in Division VI. What used to be D-I is now D-II, D-II teams are now D-III and so on.
So what used to be Division I is now Division II, D-II teams are now D-III and so on. There are no section teams that are D-I.
Enterprise is one of the few teams not in action Friday, which is designated as Week Zero thanks to its partial schedule of games. The Hornets open their season Sept. 5 by hosting Sac-Joaquin Section's Whitney of Rocklin. Returning standouts include section co-most valuable player on offense in running back Izzy Matthews, who ran for 2,220 yards and 32 touchdowns, both single-season school records. He is joined by tight end Alex Talladino, Izzy Perea, and defensive MVP Nick Tomasin, a linebacker, in trying to get the Hornets to a third straight section title and a second state playoff berth.
Winters also received all No. 1 votes, likely because the Warriors return quarterback Jacob Lowrie and running back Trevor Ray, who each rushed for more than 1,250 yards.
Behind Enterprise in D-II is second-ranked Paradise with 40 points, Chico was third with 37, Pleasant Valley was fourth (13) and Red Bluff fifth with 11.
Sutter fell one vote shy of a unanimous No. 1 ranking in D-III. The Huskies had 54 votes with West Valley, the defending champion, finishing with 43 and the other first-place vote. Orland was third with 23 points, Lassen was fourth with 16 and Central Valley ranked fifth with 12.
In Division IV, Durham and Hamilton tied for second behind Winters. Each team totaled 29 points. In fourth place was Trinity (21), and Colusa was fifth with 16.
Fall River received nine first-place votes for a total of 45 points. Maxwell, the defending champion, was second with 39 points. Biggs was third with 29, and Chester was fourth at 22. Portola, which received the other top votes, was fifth with 19 points.
Division VI, also known as eight-man football, saw Redding Christian gather seven firsts to Dunsmuir's four. The Lions had 51 points to the Tigers' 48. No other team was ranked first or second. Coming in third was Butte Valley with 21 points, and Hayfork had 16 for fourth. Big Valley was fifth with 13.
Northern Section Prep Football Media Poll – Preseason
First-place votes are in parenthesis, followed by record, voting points. T – tied.
1. Enterprise (11) 0-0 55
2. Paradise 0-0 40
3. Chico 0-0 37
4. Pleasant Valley 0-0 13
5. Red Bluff 0-0 11
1. Sutter (10) 0-0 54
2. West Valley (1) 0-0 43
3. Orland 0-0 23
4. Lassen 0-0 16
5. Central Valley 0-0 12
1. Winters (11) 0-0 55
T2. Durham 0-0 29
T2. Hamilton 0-0 29
4. Trinity 0-0 21
5. Colusa 0-0 16
1. Fall River (9) 0-0 45
2. Maxwell 0-0 39
3. Biggs 0-0 29
4. Chester 0-0 22
5. Portola (2) 0-0 19
1. Redding Christian (7) 0-0 51
2. Dunsmuir (4) 0-0 48
3. Butte Valley 0-0 21
4. Hayfork 0-0 16
5. Big Valley 0-0 13