TITLE GAME MATCHUPS
The Bee's Joe Davidson previews three Sac-Joaquin Section football championship games:
Oak Ridge (12-1) vs. Granite Bay (10-3), at Sacramento State, today, 7:30 p.m.
The defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion Grizzlies have won nine consecutive games since a 1-3 start caused in part by a challenging schedule. The surge is linked to strong line play; a deceptive, big-play offense; and a physical defense that has shut down three successive playoff teams by scores of 52-0 (Napa), 56-20 (Downey-Modesto) and 37-7 (Franklin). Oak Ridge averages 178.7 yards passing behind Jason Samuels (2,290 yards, 26 touchdowns) and 180.8 rushing behind backs Blake Martin (914 yards, 12 touchdowns), Josh Wellman (886, 11) and Tanner Hughes (379, three). The Trojans have won seven consecutive games since losing to Folsom.
Oakdale (12-1) vs. Vista del Lago (12-1), at Lincoln High School-Stockton, today, 7:30 p.m.
The Mustangs are in their 11th section championship game and third consecutive in D-III, and they take on a Vista team making its first section title game appearance. The Eagles lost at Oakdale in the 2011 playoffs and have one loss since, the season opener against Oak Ridge. Vista runs the spread offense, led by quarterback Matt Jimison (2,490 yards, 37 touchdowns) and running back Josh Pfeffer (1,093 yards, 17 TDs). Oakdale is led by three-year starting quarterback Spencer Thomas, who can run, pass and catch. The Mustangs' only loss this season came against San Diego-area No. 1 Oceanside.
Folsom (13-0) vs. Elk Grove (12-1), at Sacramento State, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
The area powers, with a combined eight section championships, meet in a title game for the first time. Folsom seeks its second D-II title in three years and Elk Grove its first after taking five D-I titles from 1984 through 2001. The Thundering Herd's ground game, led by Robert Frazier (2,071 yards, 22 touchdowns) and Wadus Parker (1,316 yards, 21 TDs), could be the best defense vs. Folsom by keeping Bulldogs sophomore quarterback Jake Browning (4,763 yards, 58 TDs) on the sideline. Folsom's defense, however, already has quieted two running teams (Vacaville and Buhach Colony) en route to the championship game.