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In the last trip to see a CIF Northern Section football final in 2008, it was so stormy the game was postponed for more than an hour and then Paradise knocked off an undefeated team from the Redding area.
On Saturday night, it was Enterprise and not Foothill of Palo Cedro that was sitting in the unbeaten catbird seat heading into the Division I championship to play Paradise on its home field.
But this time, it was a much different atmosphere and result. On a pleasant night in which a few sideline fans were wearing shorts, Enterprise didn’t get upset and put down a solid Paradise squad 40-14.
The Hornets wrapped up a 12-0 season and stamped a ticket to be on the board to be considered for the CIF Northern California Division II bowl game. The selection of teams that will play in that game will be on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the StubHub Center in Carson.
Although it was only 14-7 at halftime, Enterprise dominated the action. Paradise (8-4) did not have a first down, but the Bobcats did get an 80-yard touchdown run from Mat Machado and came up with two interceptions in the end zone by D.J. Norton that halted possible Enterprise touchdowns.
In the second half, after the teams traded scores, the Hornets struck gold when a pass from Bobby Luken was tipped and ended up right into the hands of receiver Jordan Deppe, who then raced down the sidelines for a 64-yard touchdown.
Paradise tried to answer on its next possession, but was stopped on a fourth down play at its own 35-yard line. Two plays later, Izzy Matthews iced it for Enterprise with a 26-yard run to increase the margin to 33-14
Matthews, a junior who is one of two players who seem like the top contenders to be the Redding Record-Searchlight Player of the Year (the other is running back Austin Clark from West Valley of Cottonwood), finished with 34 carries for 230 yards and had five touchdowns. His earlier scores were from 24, 50 and 1 yard. He later added an 8-yard TD in the closing seconds.
“We left some things out there and didn’t put points on the board like we should have,” said Enterprise head coach Darren Trueblood, whose team also repeated as a section champion. “But the kids stayed the course, worked through it and in the second half I was very happy how we played.”
Trueblood clearly hopes his team will get a favorable vote of the CIF section commissioners on Dec. 8 and knows the Northern Section’s reputation around the state is not strong.
“I don’t know how we compare to all those other teams or not,” he said. “But we’re 12-0 and I don’t know what more we can do. We’ve been winning games by 30 points for many weeks now. I can’t ask anything more of our kids.”
Trueblood was then asked if his team ended up in a comparison with Manteca of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section (the Buffaloes still have to win their section title) and if the voters only looked at his team’s one-point win over Oakdale (last year’s NorCal D2 bowl game winner) compared to Manteca with an 15-point win over the same team.
“That would be really unfair to our team to just cherry pick that one score,” he said. “We also have beaten Paradise twice by at least four touchdowns compared to Grant (of Sacramento) which beat them by just two touchdowns.”
Regardless of the outcome of the bowl game vote one week from Sunday, the Hornets and their fans made local history with a second straight section championship including an unbeaten season.