The missing piece is a new blue championship banner, and the coaches are saving room in the trophy case, just in case.
The football résumé at Inderkum High School in Natomas otherwise reveals sustained success with eight consecutive 10-win seasons, including a 13-1 effort in 2009 capped by a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title game appearance. The 2008 Tigers were the first to reach the D-III finals.
Veteran coach Terry Stark doesn’t waver in his effort to bring a title to the school located across from Sleep Train Arena. Football and family are his life.
“I don’t fish, I don’t golf, so this is it,” said Stark, an area coach since the 1980s. “This is what I’ve done for years. It’s still fun.”
Stark said his current group could emerge as his finest, with wins its ultimate barometer. The third-seeded Tigers (10-2) play at No. 2-seed Manteca (11-1) in a D-III semifinal on Friday. In tow will be Stark’s former coach at Mira Loma, Gerry Kundert. The retired coach has been a fixture on the Inderkum sideline as Stark’s friend and adviser.
“I love this team,” Stark said. “We’re not very big, and I’ve had faster teams, but (quarterback) C.J. Spencer distributes, executes and produces as well or better than anyone in our section.”
Spencer has passed for 1,435 yards and 22 touchdowns with four interceptions out of the wing-T that has also featured spread-option looks. Marcus Gilbert has rushed for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Tyler Dean has 831 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. But the backs are not gaining first downs on ability alone, Stark said. Deondre Burns, a three-year starter, is Inderkum’s “most dominant offensive lineman,” the coach said. Ken Pettis has excelled at left tackle and nose guard and has also been “really dominant at times,” Stark said.
The defense is anchored by defensive back Jordan Thomas, an Arizona State commit who has 23 tackles in two playoff games.
Fan from afar – Soaking up any bits of information from his home in Kristianstad, Sweden, via social media, texts and Bee online updates, Tyson Guillen followed Christian Brothers’ D-III upset of top-seeded American Canyon last Friday from the edge of his couch. Guillen is the father of CBS quarterback Chris Guillen, who passed for 317 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score in the Falcons’ 30-27 triumph. Chris Guillen is a foreign exchange student at CBS, though his father graduated from McClatchy in 1981 and still has family in Land Park.
Proud to be Pride – Bradshaw Christian is back in a championship game, facing Ripon Christian this Saturday in Lodi for the D-VI title. Three players have led the way for the Pride in all-purpose athlete Kyle Betts, quarterback Kevin Williams (1,688 passing yards, 25 TDs) and running back Jakobe Hawkins (1,228 yards, 12 TDs). Betts is the team’s best player, a senior who has rushed for 477 yards and nine scores, caught 43 passes for 946 yards and 17 touchdowns and has six interceptions.
First of two – Rio Linda hosts Elk Grove in D-II play, the first of two meetings for the coaches. Rio Linda coach Mike Morris will head the North team in the 57th Optimist All-Star Game on Dec. 28 at Folsom, and he could pick any number of his own players for the senior showcase, including fullback Leo Skattebo, center Matthew Morris (his son) and two-way lineman Vaughn Hingano. Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon will lead the South team and could have a roster that features such Thundering Herd standouts as linebacker Noah Letuligasenoa, running back Wadus Parker, defensive end B’won Canada and quarterback/linebacker Tommy Arnold.
Go to charactercombine.com for ticket information.
Notes – Folsom has outscored the opposition 354-88 in seven home games, including Oak Ridge 35-0 and Jesuit 56-14.
• The last losses for the section’s top-seeded D-I (Folsom) and D-II (Del Oro) teams were to De La Salle. Folsom fell to the Spartans in the 2012 NorCal Open and Del Oro on Sept. 20.
• De La Salle and Jesuit have discussed an early-season game next fall. The teams have met quite a few times in NorCal basketball playoff games but not in football.
SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION SEMIFINALS
Games played on Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted
• No. 12 Jesuit at No. 1 Folsom
• No. 7 Pleasant Grove at No. 3 Oak Ridge
• No. 4 Yuba City at No. 1 Del Oro
• No. 3 Elk Grove at No. 2 Rio Linda
• No. 8 Christian Brothers at No. 5 Sacramento, Saturday at 1 p.m.
• No. 3 Inderkum at No. 2 Manteca
• No. 4 Ripon at No. 1 Central Catholic
• No. 6 Center at No. 2 Hilmar
In Lodi at Grape Bowl,
• No. 1 Le Grand vs. No. 3 Golden Sierra, 6 p.m.
In Lodi at Grape Bowl,
• No. 1 Bradshaw Christian vs. No. 3 Ripon Christian, 1 p.m.