Game of the Week Williams vs Pierce

Williams and Pierce are set to lock horns once again in the latest installment of the ‘Rice Bowl,’ Colusa County’s longest-running football rivalry.

This year marks the 88th time the two schools have faced off. Pierce holds a 50-33-4 advantage in the series, and won 49-24 at home last year, snapping a three-year Rice Bowl drought. From 2014-2016, Williams won three straight contests – each by a single possession. A period of Pierce dominance – from 2011-2013 – preceded the Yellowjackets’ most recent winning streak.

This year’s rendition of the Rice Bowl will take place in Williams at McCarl Field. Williams (1-1) is coming off of a 27-12 loss to Durham on the road last week. Williams’ pass-heavy offense – plagued by turnovers and sacks – struggled to stay on the field against the Trojans, and repeatedly put their defense in tough spots. The Yellowjackets will need to get their offense back on track at home, where they defeated Live Oak to open the season. As senior quarterback Hunter Povlsen goes, so goes the Yellowjackets’ offense this season. Povlsen will have to make quick decisions and good reads, as the Bears defensive line – particularly explosive junior Elijah Diaz – has been tough on opposing quarterbacks so far this season.

Pierce enters this week’s rivalry game with a perfect 2-0 record, with a 36-26 win against University Prep in Week 1, and a 26-0 victory over Clear Lake on Friday. Pierce has leaned heavily on its running game this season – which isn’t exactly a recent development for the Bears. But Williams’ front seven were stout against the run for most of the game against Durham last week, despite being without two key players in the middle of their defense. The sledding could be even tougher for Pierce this week: assistant coach Armando Bautista said he expected those players to be healthy for Friday’s game against the Bears. Pierce will either have to out-muscle Williams up front or – as Durham did with some success in the second half last week – figure out a way to spread the Yellowjackets’ defense out to open some running lanes.

The 88th Annual Rice Bowl kicks of at 7:30 PM on Friday at Williams High School. The junior varsity game is scheduled for 5:30 PM.

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net