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High school football: Placer game may have bearing on a Regional playoff berth

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2C

Friday's matchup between No. 8 Placer and Northern Section power Foothill of Palo Cedro will be more than just the marquee game of the two-day, seven-game Football for Families Showcase in El Dorado Hills.

A potential berth in the inaugural CIF Northern California Regional playoffs could also be at stake when the two teams play at Oak Ridge High School at 6 p.m.

Placer is ranked No. 1 and Foothill No. 4 in this week's Cal-Hi Sports' Division II NorCal State Bowl rankings. Both are coming off impressive season-opening wins last Friday.

Behind its quick wing-T offense, Placer defeated small-school power Central Catholic 48-30 in Modesto, a program that has won more Sac-Joaquin Section football championships (15) than any other school.

Foothill posted a 50-33 victory over Reed of Sparks, Nev., the returning Nevada large- school runner-up, as Cougars junior quarterback Ryan Pollard (15 for 17, 251 yards) set a single-game school record with five touchdown passes.

In the past two seasons, Foothill has gone 20-4 and lost twice to Paradise in the Northern Section Division I championship game.

Eastern League rivals Foothill, Paradise and Enterprise of Redding have upgraded their schedules to try to improve their chances of playing in the NorCal playoffs Dec. 7-8 at sites to be determined.

Paradise opened the season with a 28-7 loss to No. 7 Grant, followed by a 49-12 win over Napa. Enterprise gained 444 total yards in beating No. 13 Del Campo 45-14 in Redding last Friday.

For the defense – Jesuit quarterback Thomas Sperbeck says he played more at free safety in Saturday's 45-7 win over Rio Americano than he did on defense all of last season.

And he had a blast. Midway through the third quarter, he shot past the line of scrimmage to drop a Raiders ball carrier for a one-yard loss.

"I love playing defense – I love hitting," Sperbeck said.

First-year coach Marlon Blanton has no problems with his quarterback making tackles.

"Our goal is to put our best athletes on the field to have success," Blanton said. "Thomas is one of those guys."

Section teams in bowls – The Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I and Division II football champions are guaranteed spots in the NorCal Regional playoffs, either in the Open Division or the D-I North final. The Central Coast Section Open Division and North Coast Section D-I champions (traditionally De La Salle of Concord) also will qualify.

The only decision for the section commissioners will be which two teams play in the Open Division game.

Winners will advance to the State Bowl games Dec. 14-15 at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Return to Sac State – Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner Pete Saco says the D-I and D-II section title games and, possibly D-III (depending on the teams), will return to Sacramento State for the next three years, via contract.

Saco says Hornet Stadium is preferable to Hughes Stadium at this time because of field security issues.

Family act – Ponderosa quarterback Jake Bist threw two touchdowns to his brother Josh in a 63-0 win over Valley. They are the sons of Ponderosa freshman coach Chic Bist.

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