The Sierra Foothill League had a collection of talented football teams even before realignment.
Now the league is even better and deeper with the additions of Folsom and Oak Ridge.
And, in a first for The Bee, every team in one league is ranked in the Top 20. The Bee expanded from the Top 10 to the Top 20 six years ago to keep up with the explosive growth in the region.
Folsom is ranked No. 1, followed by No. 3 Oak Ridge, No. 5 Granite Bay, No. 6 Rocklin, No. 7 Del Oro, No. 17 Woodcreek and No. 18 Nevada Union.
Del Oro is 0-2, but the losses have been to Hawaii power Kamehameha, 25-17, and Helix, the top-ranked team in the San Diego Section, 34-10.
Folsom also has had a challenging schedule, beating San Diego power Cathedral Catholic 55-10 and Central Section power Clovis North of Fresno 49-13. In the second game, Bulldogs quarterback Jake Browning accounted for seven first-half touchdowns and sat out the second half with his fellow starters.
Outside of Del Oro, SLF teams are a combined 10-1.
Woodcreek is 2-0 after victories over Vintage (27-3) and Casa Roble (34-7).
A year after going 0-10, Nevada Union opened with a 41-20 victory over then-No. 14 Placer before losing to No. 16 Pleasant Grove 49-21.
Falcons soar – No. 12 Christian Brothers has a triple dose of speed with quarterback Chris Guillen, running back Jamarri Jackson and wide receiver Jalen Swanigan.
In CBS’ 46-23 victory over Laguna Creek on Friday, Guillen ran for 106 yards, passed for 163 and accounted for three touchdowns. Jackson ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns, returned a punt 70 yards to set up a score and had an interception in the end zone. Swanigan caught five passes for 86 yards and a score, and ran for one.
CBS plays No. 9 Jesuit on Saturday in the Holy Bowl at Hughes Stadium. The Marauders counter with quarterback Cole Brownholtz, running back Beau Bisharat and wide receiver Isaiah Bailey.
New leader – With starting quarterback Micah Gunter out for the season with leg injuries, Grant Woodside made his first varsity start Saturday and found Chance Murphy with a touchdown pass with 27 seconds remaining to lift Valley Christian of Roseville past Livermore Valley Charter 22-19. Woodside had three touchdown passes, two to Murphy, who also blocked a field goal and an extra point. Woodside passed for 183 yards and made 15 tackles as a linebacker to help coach Alex Hernandez earn his first victory.
Gunter, also a top baseball player for his coaching father Brad Gunter Jr., suffered a fractured tibia, a partially torn MCL and a strained ACL in a season-opening loss to Kennedy.
Around the region – Little more than a year after breaking his leg in his first varsity start at wide receiver for Franklin, Brandon Johnson showed he’s fully healed. He caught four passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns from Lamar Jackson in a 42-28 loss to Bellarmine of San Jose. The Wildcats, however, were outscored 28-0 in the second half, leading to coach Mike Johnson’s simple text: “Ugh!”
• Isaac Lessard, who transferred to Jesuit after starting at quarterback for Yuba City last season, returned to his old school Friday. Before Jesuit’s 42-28 victory, Lessard, who plays linebacker for the Marauders, exchanged handshakes and hugs with former teammates and coaches.
• Vanden High of Fairfield started the Larry Hogue/Sean Murphy coaching era with a 44-0 rout of Dixon. Hogue and Murphy replaced longtime coach LeVon Haynes, who is on administrative leave after his arrest for allegedly embezzling school funds. Tony Terry III raced 73 yards for a score on the opening kickoff, Isaiah Hamilton rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns, and Jadon Brisendine accounted for two scores.
• Defending Northern Section Division III champion Winters helped boost its CIF State Bowl hopes with a 34-21 home victory over longtime small-school power Colfax in the first meeting between the programs since 1966. Jacob Lowrie accounted for three touchdowns for Winters, which won North Section titles in 1976, ’78, ’80 and ’81.