The bye week is finally here for a number of top area teams, and no wonder so many coaches are exhaling.
Four of The Bee's top five teams and 11 total are off this weekend, an ideal opportunity to regroup, heal and prepare for league openers beginning Oct. 5.
Top-ranked Elk Grove, fresh off a 43-19 win over then-No. 3 Nevada Union, has some banged-up bodies. The Herd opens Delta Valley Conference play as the defending champion against Laguna Creek (2-2).
Second-ranked Franklin, coming off a 28-7 win over then-No. 13 Jesuit, opens DVC play at No. 13 Grant on Oct. 5. The Wildcats are looking for their first win over the Pacers.
No. 4 Oak Ridge hosts No. 5 Folsom on Oct. 5 in a Delta River League opener. Both teams are idle this week.
The winner could take the DRL, though No. 10 Pleasant Grove and No. 15 Jesuit will have a say.
No. 3 Burbank, which had its bye earlier this month, will host Sacramento High (3-1) on Friday in a Metro Conference game.
Revving up Vega Jorge Vega didn't have easy cleats to fill as Grant's kicker this season.
He took over for Charlie Vue, the Pacers' all-time scoring leader at kicker who is now a UC Davis student.
When Grant lined up for a 32-yard field-goal attempt with one second to play last Friday against visiting Del Oro, Vegas took the field to chants of "Vuuuuu" the norm when Vue took the field the previous three seasons.
Apparently, the Pacers faithful didn't realize this was a Vega, not a Vue. Vega made the field goal for a 31-30 victory, and players mobbed their new hero. Grant coaches now hope fans work on their "Veeega" chant.
QB control Does any area team equal Rocklin's quarterback depth? The Thunder, making its season debut in The Bee's rankings at No. 14, has a promising passer in senior Daniel Kniffin, who has missed most of the past four games with a shoulder injury.
Logan Webb, a junior, has filled in admirably. He had a touchdown pass to beat then-No. 18 Whitney 6-0 in the Quarry Bowl on Sept. 7. Friday, he tossed four touchdown passes, two to Dominic Giampaoli, to stun No. 9 Inderkum 31-22.
Front and Center Center debuts in The Bee rankings at No. 20 after a 16-14 victory over then-No. 14 Rio Linda in which D'Juan Bellaire and Tyrel Anderson each rushed for touchdowns.
The Cougars (3-1) have won three in a row since their 30-19 loss to Chico (3-1).
Bist patrol Ponderosa (4-0) has equaled its win total from the last two seasons combined. Ponderosa was 3-7 in 2009 after going a combined 16-7 the previous two seasons. Senior Jake Bist has thrown seven touchdown passes in the past two games. He has 11 this season with no interceptions. Bist is the son of longtime Bruins coach Chic Bist, now the program's freshman coach. Ponderosa hosts No. 16 Rio Linda on Friday.
Bruins rising Bear River is 4-0, thanks partly to backup quarterback Cameron Barrios, who tossed a touchdown pass in Friday's 28-14 victory over River Valley. Cody Heard rushed for three scores, Austin Dowling had two interceptions and Tevyn Kimble one, and J'Sean Harwood blocked a punt for the Bruins, who play Saturday at Scotts Valley.
Victory at last River City's 13-9 win over Union Mine gave coach Steve DaPrato his first victory since returning to the high school ranks this season. DaPrato spent most of the past 25 seasons in college athletics as a coach or administrator. He led Elk Grove High to the 1984 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship.
THE BEE'S TOP 20
PR Previous ranking
School W-L PR
1. Elk Grove 5-0 1
2. Franklin 5-0 2
3. Burbank 4-0 5
4. Oak Ridge 5-0 6
5. Folsom 5-0 8
6. Placer 4-0 7
7. Nevada Union 3-2 3
8. Granite Bay 1-3 4
9. Inderkum 3-1 9
10. Pleasant Grove 3-2 10
11. Del Campo 3-2 11
12. Cosumnes Oaks 3-1 12
13. Rocklin 2-3
14. Grant 2-3 17
15. Jesuit 3-1 13
16. Rio Linda 3-1 14
17. Antelope 4-1 15
18. Monterey Trail 3-1 18
19. El Camino 4-1 19
20. Center 3-1