After weeks of preparation, the real fun starts Friday night.
The high school football season will kick off in unseasonably nice weather, a far cry from the oppressive heat a year ago. Four games feature eight teams ranked in the top 11:
No. 3 Elk Grove vs. No. 4 Inderkum
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When: Friday at Inderkum, 7 p.m.
Outlook: In a meeting of wing-T offenses, expect a fast-paced and high-scoring game. Elk Grove went 13-1 last season and Inderkum 12-1, and both return superb starting quarterbacks: Jayden Machado of the Thundering Herd and Trajon Cotton of the Tigers. Both squads are curious to see who steps up at running back after graduation took away nearly 6,500 combined rushing yards.
No. 5 Grant vs. No. 6 Rocklin
When: Friday at Grant, 7 p.m.
Outlook: This is the first meeting between these powers since Rocklin staged a memorable goal-line stand to thwart the unbeaten, defending CIF State champion Pacers in a 2009 Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game. Both teams are coming off 10-win seasons and usher in a host of new skill players. Grant is typically big and physical on the lines, headed by national recruit Orlando Umana. Rocklin’s defense is anchored by defensive back Trey Overton.
No. 7 Granite Bay vs. No. 8 Jesuit
When: Friday at Jesuit, 5 p.m.
Outlook: Jesuit’s new stadium has no lights – yet – but the Marauders gave the new digs a recent test run with a twilight scrimmage against Yuba City. Both teams are strong in the trenches, including Taylor “Tank” Tonda of Granite Bay and Myles Goudreau of Jesuit. Calvin Brownholtz returns as the Marauders’ starting quarterback, while Granite Bay must replace two seniors who shared the passing duties last season.
No. 10 Oak Ridge vs. No. 11 Vista del Lago
When: At Folsom, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Two playoff regulars from different divisions meet for the first time since 2012. Oak Ridge must replace quarterback Ian Book, now at Notre Dame, and the Trojans are strong on the lines with Parker Blomquist. Oak Ridge defensive backs Truman Andrus, Justin Poerio and Cameron Stone face a challenge from returning Vista quarterback Brent Schaeffer.
No. 1 Folsom vs. Coeur d’Alene-Idaho
When: Saturday at Folsom, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Folsom returns four starters from a team that won its fourth consecutive section championship and extended its winning streak against section teams to 50. The new quarterback is Joe Curry, who impressed in a scrimmage against Elk Grove, and he will pass to Austin Alvarez, Eric Davis and Drake Stallworth. The Bulldogs’ defense, led by linebacker Brad Jenner and end Ariel Ngata, will have to deal with versatile 6-foot-4 Oregon-bound quarterback Colson Yankoff and a program that has won three state championships since 2010.