NORCAL REGIONAL MATCHUPS
The Bee's Joe Davidson previews the NorCal Regional championship football games this weekend:
De La Salle (13-0) vs. Folsom (14-0), Saturday, Sacramento State, 7:30 p.m.
Welcome to perhaps the biggest high school event in area history, and welcome the national superpower Spartans of Concord, who have not lost to a Northern California team since 1991 (235-0) and are 31-0 lifetime against Sac-Joaquin Section teams since Bob Ladouceur became the coach in 1979. So does Folsom have a shot? With its coaching staff, offensive line, skill players and sound defense, absolutely. But Folsom can't expect to go for it on fourth and nine from its 30 against De La Salle. Folsom's Jake Browning (4,906 passing yards, 61 touchdowns) is closing in on state passing and touchdown records, but he will face a defense with four college Division I recruits, including linebackers Michael Hutchings (bound for USC) and Victor Egu (headed to Cal).
Granite Bay (11-3) vs. St. Ignatius (10-3), tonight, Sacramento State, 7:30 p.m.
Never mind the combined six losses; what's most telling is how these teams have done in the playoffs. Granite Bay is the two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion, thanks to strong line play, the fly offense and a physical defense anchored by linebackers Beau Hershberger, Cameron Smith and Mason Conen. St. Ignatius of San Francisco, which won the Central Coast Section Open title for the first time, has a storied history; quarterback Dan Fouts led the Wildcats to the national No. 1 ranking in 1967.
Sutter (13-0) vs. Marin Catholic (13-1), Saturday, Oroville, 7:30 p.m.
This showdown is nearly in Sutter's backyard, thanks to a favorable Harrison Stadium bid. Marin Catholic, led by Cal-bound quarterback Jared Goff (3,244 passing yards, 34 touchdowns) and running back Akili Terry (1,691 yards, 25 touchdowns), has won 11 consecutive games since falling to Vacaville 28-24. Sutter, a longtime small-school power in the Northern Section, has excelled with its wing-T behind Nathan Ahlers (1,369 yards, 25 touchdowns), Mat Sanders (1,014 and 10) and quarterback Trent Little (1,349 passing yards, 16 touchdowns).