The Bee's Joe Davidson breaks down four Sac-Joaquin Section Friday playoff football games:
Granite Bay (9-3) vs. Franklin (12-0) at Cosumnes Oaks, 7 p.m.
The defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion Grizzlies have played the role of favorite in winning eight consecutive games, including playoff routs of Napa and Downey-Modesto by a combined score of 108-20. Franklin is enjoying its best season in school history. The Wildcats have three good backs in Christian Fonbuena (884 yards, 11 touchdowns), Kyran Harris (944, seven TDs) and Steven Rogers (652, eight TDs) and a steady quarterback in Trent Spallas. The Grizzlies counter with three running backs who have combined for 2,406 yards and 25 scores in Johnny Cooley, Taft Partridge and Tony Ellison, and quarterback Grant Caraway. Despite all this firepower, it could be a defensive slugfest as both teams field strong units.
Del Oro (7-5) at Elk Grove (11-1), 7 p.m.
Having combined to win 13 section titles since 1984, this Division II semifinal is the first playoff game between the two storied programs. Both run the ball relentlessly: Del Oro with red-hot Brandon Monroe (907 yards, 12 touchdowns in his past four games) and Elk Grove with Robert Frazier (1,969, 21 TDs) and Wadus Parker (1,184 and 20 TDs). Each team features defensive line standouts: Del Oro's Tanner Woods and Elk Grove's Bwon Canada. Elk Grove lost only to Franklin 17-7 in the Delta Valley Conference title game, and Del Oro last lost to Granite Bay 21-7 in the Sierra Foothill League championship bout.
Buhach Colony (10-2) at Folsom (12-0), 7 p.m.
In a D-II semifinal, pass-happy Folsom seeks its second section title in three seasons and the run-dominant Thunder of Atwater seeks its first. The Bulldogs are led by Jake Browning (4,523 passing yards, 55 touchdowns), and their defense is headed by seniors: lineman Quincy Capel, linebacker Derek Stiles and defensive back Phillip Carter. Buhach averages 347 rushing yards a game and has scored 56 touchdowns, 19 from Stefon Gold and 15 from Leon Miles. The Thunder has 22 1/2 sacks and 12 interceptions, and it will need plenty of both to derail Browning and his friends.
Center (10-2) at Central Catholic-Modesto (10-2), 7 p.m.
Central Catholic has won a section-record 15 small-school titles. Center seeks its first as it navigates through a competitive D-IV field. Center's last loss was to Placer 15-14 in the Pioneer Valley League title game in Week 10. The Cougars have since bounced 9-1 Dixon and 11-0 Argonaut from the playoffs, thanks to strong line play and senior tailback D'Juan Bellaire (2,081, 27 TDs). The Raiders counter with two running backs in Ray Lomas IV (1,528, 23 TDs) and Rey Vega (876, 18 TDs). Central Catholic has 41 sacks, 14 1/2 by Oregon-commit defensive end Johnny Mundt.