The Sac-Joaquin Section had a good showing in the first Northern California Regional football championship games, with three of four teams advancing to this weekend's CIF State Bowl games in Carson.
In Division I, Granite Bay plays Long Beach Poly at 8 p.m. Friday. Oakdale, the section Division III winner, plays in the Division II Bowl against Serra-Gardena on Saturday, and Central Catholic of Modesto is in the Division IV game against Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach on Friday.
Folsom, the section Division II winner with a 14-0 record, lost to national powerhouse De La Salle of Concord 49-15 in the NorCal Open game Saturday at Sacramento State. But almost everyone loses to the Spartans, who stretched their unbeaten streak against Northern California opponents to 238 games since 1991. De La Salle has won the last three State Open Bowls.
Despite the loss, Folsom is No. 1 in The Bee's final rankings, beating out Granite Bay.
Fifteen journalists and coaches who were at Sac State and have seen both De La Salle and Granite Bay agreed that the Spartans would have beaten the Grizzlies, too.
"This doesn't take anything away from our guys," Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson said after the loss. "I'm proud of how we competed. We'll be back."
De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur said applying pressure on Folsom quarterback Jake Browning was key. Browning was sacked six times in the first half, but he still passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Browning finished his sophomore season with a state-record 5,248 passing yards and 63 touchdowns, second-most in state history.
"You can't just let that kid sit back there and pick you apart," Ladouceur said. "He's a phenomenal quarterback. He really is. He's really special."
More De La Salle Spartans coaches used the crowd cheering against them as motivation for their players in the program's first game in Sacramento. The announced crowd was 10,197, though longtime stadium officials thought it was closer to 14,000.
"I think they all came here to watch us lose," Ladouceur said.
Added defensive coordinator Terry Eidson on the crowd: "Of course we (brought it up). We were going to play in front of a big crowd against a great team. A lot of people around here felt that had we played some teams up here, we might not have completed the streak (a national-record 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2004)."
Optimist banquet Seniors competing in the 56th Optimist All-Star Football Classic on Dec. 22 at Del Oro will meet at a banquet at the Dante Club at 7 p.m. today.
Notable players for the North include Del Oro running back Brandon Monroe, Grant safety Trayvon Henderson, Antelope wide receiver Tyler Winston, Nevada Union quarterback Kyle Cota and linebackers Hank Humphers, and Tanner Vallejo, Inderkum defensive end Dedric Allen and Placer defensive linemen Stone Sander and Eddie Vanderdoes.
The South will be led by quarterbacks Jason Samuels of Oak Ridge and Josiah Johnson of Sacramento; running backs Robert Frazier of Elk Grove, Isaiah Williams of Burbank and Kyran Harris of Franklin; defensive linemen Quincy Capel of Folsom and Zack Claiborne of Oak Ridge; and defensive backs Jalen Walker of Christian Brothers, Marcus Green of Franklin and Phillip Carter of Folsom.