Zak Burden, who accounted for six touchdowns, threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Hampton with 11 seconds left to rally No.10 Rio Linda to a 49-44 victory over No. 2 Sierra of Manteca in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs and advance the Knights to the semifinals at No. 3 Oakdale on Friday.
For the second week in a row the Knights defeated a higher seed in dramatic fashion. Last week they defeated No. 7 Placer 62-51 behind Marcel Brown’s five touchdown, 349-yard rushing performance.
Brown set up the winning score with a 20-yard run to the Sierra 5 after the Timberwolves (10-2) had gone ahead 44-42 on a 10-yard touchdown run by Mark Paule with 2:24 to play.
Brown finished with one rushing touchdown and caught a 78-yard TD pass from Burden, who finished with four touchdown passes for the Knights (10-2) and also caught a touchdown pass and rushed for a score.
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No. 1 Folsom 56, No. 9 Franklin 13 in Folsom – Quarterback Jake Browning continued his march to the national prep high school touchdown record by passing for six touchdowns, two to Cole Thompson, in leading the Bulldogs (12-0) past the Wildcats (7-5) and into the semifinals on Friday at home against No. 12 Monterey Trail, an upset winner over No. 4 Merced.
Browning came into the game having thrown for 202 career touchdowns. He is in pursuit of Maty Mauk’s all-time record of 219 set from 2008-2011. Browning was 20 for 30 for 354 yards.
No. 3 Granite Bay 28, No. 6 Napa 13 in Granite Bay – Lucas Baiocchi rushed for two touchdowns; Cameron Smith caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Justin Yeaton and Sam Cusano returned a punt 86 yards for a score as the Grizzlies (9-3) downed the Indians (9-3) to advance to next weekend’s semifinals against the winner of today’s Tracy-Jesuit game.
No. 12 Monterey Trail 51, No. 4 Merced 45 in Merced – Trey Nahhas rushed for five touchdowns and 394 yards to lead the Mustangs (8-4) to the upset of the Bears (9-3).
No. 1 Grant 63, No. 8 Downey 21 in Del Paso Heights – Donovan Brown completed 10 of 15 passes for 285 yards and five touchdowns, three to Ariyon Huff, as the Pacers (12-0) blasted the Knights (10-2) of Modesto. Huff had four receptions for 134 yards, and Mike Green rushed for 104 yards and a score. Deondre Whittington-Grays and DeShawn Collins combined for three touchdowns, and Grant had 12 sacks, four by Carl Granderson.
No. 5 Vacaville 35, No. 4 Del Oro 28 in Loomis – The Bulldogs (10-2) stopped the Golden Eagles (6-6) on the 1-yard line with less than 2 seconds to play to knock off the defending D-II section champions and advance to Friday’s semifinals at Grant. Logan Hurst’s 5-yard run gave the Golden Eagles a 28-21 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Mykal Walker and Kane Cunningham rushed for touchdowns to rally the Bulldogs.
No. 3 St. Mary’s 56, No. 6 Rocklin 14 in Stockton – Marcell Spady rushed for four touchdowns; Noah Righetti threw three touchdown passes, two to Stephen Gudino; and the Rams (11-1) forced five turnovers to defeat the Thunder (9-3) and advance to Friday’s game at No. 2 Elk Grove.
No. 1 Inderkum 49, No. 9 Benicia 14 in Natomas – Larry Hardy rushed for two touchdowns and caught 67- and 23-yard touchdown passes from Jonathan Henry, and Tyrique Carter returned an interception 75 yards to lead the Tigers (11-1) over the Panthers (7-5) and move into Friday’s semifinals. The Tigers will host Sacramento.
No. 5 Sacramento 34, No. 4 Manteca 28 in Manteca – Caden Voges had four touchdown passes, including an 89-yarder in the fourth quarter that secured the victory, and George Green returned a fumble 12 yards for a score as the Dragons (10-2) defeated the Buffaloes (9-3) to advance to the semifinals against top-seeded Inderkum.
No. 1 Bear River 37, No. 4 Hughson 14 in Lake of the Pines – Kyle Uclaray rushed for three touchdowns and made a tackle for a safety to lead the Bruins (10-2) over the Huskies (8-4) and into Friday’s championship game against Pioneer Valley League rival Colfax. Austin Baze and Kyle Kragman also had fumble recoveries and Ryan Wagner caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Jason Voter.
No. 2 Colfax 28, No. 3 Mariposa County 21 in Colfax – Tim Rawlins rushed for four touchdowns to lead the Falcons (8-4) over the Grizzlies (8-4).
No. 1 Capital Christian 56, No. 5 Ripon Christian 13 in Rosemont – Justice Shelton-Mosely rushed for five touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass from Jacob Norville to lead the Cougars (12-0) over the Knights (11-2).
No. 2 Modesto Christian 42, No. 3 Bradshaw Christian 14 in Modesto – Kyle Wilburn rushed for a 7-yard touchdown and threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Grant Dragmire, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride (8-4) fell to the Crusaders (11-1).
The Bee’s Joe Davidson contributed to this report.