The temperatures will drop to football weather on Friday and Saturday, but the action will heat up in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The story lines are plentiful. Can Folsom maintain its momentum in Division I as it seeks a section four-peat? Can Cosumnes Oaks pull another D-I upset on the road? Can Grant stop the area’s most explosive running back in a D-II showdown? Del Oro hosts Vacaville, the only team to beat the Golden Eagles in a home playoff game (2014) in the past 15 seasons under coach Casey Taylor. Sacramento worked hard to get its home field ready for Saturday, but will rain reduce the field to mush and muddy the Dragons’ title hopes?
Folsom (10-1) vs. Sheldon (8-3)
When/where: Friday at Folsom, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Scoring in bunches in the postseason is old hat for Folsom. The Bulldogs have scored 35 or more points in every playoff outing since 2008 – 29 games – and they take on a Sheldon team that gives up points but also can be prolific on offense. Coach Joe Cattolico knows Folsom’s system well from his coaching days at Pleasant Grove, including a victory over the Bulldogs in 2011. Sheldon must deal with Folsom quarterback Joe Curry, who has passed for 2,852 yards and 42 touchdowns and a running game that averages 178.6 yards. The Huskies are powered by running backs Graylon Lindsey, Vonathan Allen and Alex Cook.
Oak Ridge (9-2) vs. Cosumnes Oaks (8-3)
When/where: Friday at Oak Ridge, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Oak Ridge is used to deep playoff runs, having won titles in D-II and D-III and reached the D-I finals. Cosumnes Oaks has yet to win a second-round game in six consecutive playoff appearances, but has a shot here after beating upstart Davis 28-25 in the first round. Austin Greer passed for 277 yards and three touchdowns for CO, and Marco Baldacchino of Oak Ridge threw two of his three touchdown passes to Cameron Stone in a 44-14 playoff win over River City. Oak Ridge beat Cosumnes Oaks 30-7 in the playoffs last season, but both rosters have turned over.
Grant (8-3) vs. Antelope (11-0)
When/where: Friday at Antelope, 7 p.m.
Outlook: This will be a battle of running backs. Antelope’s Elijah Dotson has rushed for 1,883 yards and 22 touchdowns. His father, Robert, was a star running back for Grant in 1992. Grant is led by Tyree Marcelle, who has rushed for 1,842 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Pacers will try to get after Antelope quarterback Nick Spagnola, who has passed for 1,773 yards with just one interception. The Pacers have 40 sacks, 11 by Viliami Niupalau.
Del Oro (9-2) vs. Vacaville (8-3)
When/where: Friday at Del Oro, 7 p.m.
Outlook: These programs have combined to win 12 section titles since 1989. Del Oro, the defending champion, is coming off a 79-0 rout of Laguna Creek and features a potent pass-catch threat with quarterback Stone Smartt and wide receiver Mason Hurst. Vacaville, which beat Roseville 52-20 last week, has rushed for 3,585 yards and 42 touchdowns, 11 by Timothy Jackson.
Sacramento (10-1) vs. Inderkum (9-2)
When/where: Saturday at Sacramento, 1 p.m.
Outlook: These teams met two years ago in the semifinals, with Inderkum prevailing 51-34, and the Tigers are in the second round for the 11th consecutive season with another prolific wing-T attack. Sacramento has found success with quarterback Derek Shelton hooking up with wide receiver Davon Owens on long strikes and by utilizing running back Tariq Hollandsworth, who is likely to crash into nationally recruited linebacker-defensive end Josh Falo a few times.