Now the real fun starts.
It’s league season time with numerous teams completing four games. High school teams in California are allowed 11 weeks to play 10 regular-season games, so a bye week is not just for the college and NFL guys.
And bye weeks at this level are needed to rest, recover, recoup and prepare. The most fortunate programs expect to play four extra weeks, meaning a Sac-Joaquin Section championship game, and the elite programs expect to stretch seasons to 16 weeks, meaning a state title-game appearance. Too many contests? Not for those strong enough and willing enough to endure it all.
It was a relatively light week in The Bee rankings as the following had byes: No. 8 Grant, No. 9 Capital Christian, No. 11 Sheldon, No. 12 Jesuit, No. 13 Elk Grove, No. 14 Antelope and No. 18 Whitney.
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The best game was as good as advertised, and it allowed Folsom to remain steady at No. 1, and it prompted Sacramento to inch up a spot to No. 6. How does that happen despite the Bulldogs beating the Dragons 28-19 Friday at Hughes Stadium? We factor in strength of opponent and results, and Sacramento was every bit as good as Folsom for much of the game.
What’s more, Rocklin dropped a spot to No. 7 after falling to Central Section powerhouse Clovis West 42-12, as the Thunder used reserves in the second half of the road rout to prepare for the Sierra Foothill League. The league races will sort out these rankings in quick order.
We are also introducing a Sac-Joaquin Section Top 20 rankings below the regional list for a deeper look at how strong the area is.
The Bee’s Top 20
(With last week’s ranking in parentheses.)
1. Folsom (1) 4-0
The Bulldogs have impressive wins over Coeur d’Alene of Idaho, then No. 2-ranked Jesuit, Modesto Bee No. 1 Oakdale and Sacramento. Folsom sizzled in all except the Sac win, so there’s more work to be done as Sierra Foothill League plays looms.
2. Granite Bay (2) 4-0
The Grizzlies won four games last season and sputtered in the playoffs – and the bounce-back tour continues at top rival Del Oro in prime SFL showdown.
3. Oak Ridge (3) 4-0
Austin Jarrad had himself a game against Reed-Nevada: a touchdown catch and 10 tackles on defense, including five sacks in a wow effort.
4. Inderkum (4) 4-0
Davion Ross’ three interceptions Friday extended his school-record to 18 in his career. Keep throwing, foes.
5. Del Oro (5) 3-1
The Golden Eagles overwhelmed Monterey Trail, winning the trenches, which is always a good sign heading in to the rigors of the SFL.
6. Sacramento (7) 2-1
The Dragons can compete with anyone, as Folsom found out for the second successive season. Two-way talents Anthony Bradley and Jamie Cousey are two of the very best players in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
7. Rocklin (6) 3-1
The Thunder had its vaunted defense twisted, torqued and mangled at Fresno Bee No. 4 Clovis West, and the SFL does not allow for defensive lapses.
8. Grant (8) 2-1
The Pacers set aim on the Delta League championship, having just watched next opponent Franklin devour Lathrop 56-0.
9. Capital Christian (9) 2-1
The Cougars are slowly healing – pass the ice bags, please – and this inspired bunch will unleash on all comers in overmatched Golden Empire League.
10. Franklin (10) 3-0
The Wildcats are big on potential and speed, if not overall size. They need to grow more and recognize the magnitude of the size and ferocity of Grant or pay a dear price.
11. Sheldon (11) 2-1
Old coaching pals meet on Friday when Joe Cattolico and the Huskies host Monterey Trail and T.J. Ewing a year after a classic won by Sheldon.
12. Jesuit (12) 1-2
The Marauders, eager to get rolling again, will once again try a 4:30 p.m. Friday kickoff against Pleasant Grove after an earlier game against Folsom was moved due to excessive heat.
13. Elk Grove (13) 1-2
A year after getting stunned in Davis in the closing seconds, the Thundering Herd welcome the Blue Devils with the promise of many triple-option looks.
14. Antelope (14) 3-0
Back-to-back 12-1 seasons have the Titans thinking back-to-back-to-back, or better.
15. Del Campo (15) 3-0
The student rooting section has been as good as the Cougars, with Marshaun Hunter among the players to cheer for.
16. River Valley (16) 4-0
Trailing 21-6 to defending state champion Pleasant Valley, the Falcons roared back to win as Eric Sandoval electrified with a 97-yard pick-six.
17. Monterey Trail (17) 2-1
The Mustangs were stymied at Del Oro but can right themselves with a payback win at Sheldon as the Delta League fun begins.
18. Whitney (18) 1-2
The Wildcats have a player in Nick Eaton who can block, catch, tackle and inspire as a two-way terror.
19. Christian Brothers (19) 1-2
The Falcons gleefully presented first-year coach Tyler Almond with the game ball after he won his first game, meaning this is one united group despite an 0-2 start.
20. Bear River (20) 4-0
The Bruins are consistent in one thing in particular over the decades: They hit, they compete, they care.
Bubble teams (alphabetical order): Colfax (4-0), Cordova (2-2), El Dorado (2-1), Lincoln (3-1), Nevada Union (2-2), Oakmont (3-0), Placer (3-1), Pleasant Grove (2-1), Rio Americano (3-1), Rio Linda (2-1), River City (4-0), Vista del Lago (2-2), Woodland (4-0).
The Bee’s Sac-Joaquin Section Top 20
(From 190 schools in the second-largest of California’s 10 sections.)
1. Folsom (4-0)
2. Granite Bay (4-0)
3. Oak Ridge (4-0)
4. Del Oro (3-1)
5. Manteca (3-0)
6. Central Catholic-Modesto (2-0)
7. St. Mary’s-Stockton (3-1)
8. Inderkum (4-0)
9. Sacramento (2-1)
10. Oakdale (2-1)
11. Rocklin (3-1)
12. Grant (2-1)
13. Capital Christian (2-1)
14. Franklin (3-0)
15. Sheldon (2-1)
16. Vacaville (2-2)
17. Jesuit (1-2)
18. Elk Grove (1-2)
19. Antelope (3-0)
20. Del Campo (3-0)
This week’s schedule (Sept. 22-23)
All games start between 7- 7:30 p.m., unless noted.
No. 1 Folsom at Woodcreek
No. 2 Granite Bay at No. 5 Del Oro
Pioneer at No. 4 Inderkum
Nevada Union at No. 7 Rocklin
No. 8 Grant vs. No. 10 Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks High
No. 9 Capital Christian at Marysville
No. 17 Monterey Trail at No. 11 Sheldon
Pleasant Grove at No. 12 Jesuit, 4:30 p.m.
Davis at No. 13 Elk Grove
No. 14 Antelope at Ponderosa
No. 15 Del Campo at Roseville
No. 18 Whitney at Bella Vista
No. 19 Christian Brothers at Winters
No. 20 Bear River at El Dorado
Byes: No. 3 Oak Ridge, No. 16 River Valley
Cosumnes Oaks at Oakmont
Dixon at Natomas
Lindhurst vs. Mesa Verde at San Juan High
Florin vs. McClatchy at Monterey Trail High
Johnson vs. Burbank at Rosemont High
Valley vs. Laguna Creek at Cosumnes River College
Argonaut at Bret Harte
Linden at Amador
Encina at Golden Sierra
San Juan at Bradshaw Christian
River City at Rio Linda
Yuba City vs. Woodland at Pioneer High
Casa Roble at Lincoln
Foothill at Cordova
Liberty Ranch at Hughson
Mira Loma at Galt
Placer at Vista del Lago
Rosemont at El Camino
Esparto at Delta
Incline at Foresthill
Portola vs. Valley Christian at Highlands High
Sutter at Ripon
Western Sierra at Hamilton
Wheatland at Colfax
Kennedy at No. 6 Sacramento, 1 p.m.
Rio Vista at Harker-San Jose