Friday night in Loomis marks the 20th year of a great high school football rivalry and one of the region’s most spirited.
What a way to kick off the Sierra Foothill League schedule.
Del Oro leads Granite Bay 11-9 in a series that has revved up Placer County as both programs have produced SFL champions, Sac-Joaquin Section crowns and even CIF State titles.
Top-ranked Folsom remains the favorite in the SFL, having won all 18 games in league play since coming aboard via realignment before the 2014 season.
But a Folsom four-peat is no gimmie, given the strength and depth of the best league in Northern California.
Granite Bay is ranked second by The Bee and Del Oro fifth, with No. 3 Oak Ridge and No. 7 Rocklin also expecting a run at the title. The SFL teams are a combined 18-2 with the losses coming to out-of-section or out-of-state competition.
The Delta League is the region’s second-best league, and it offers a whopper of an opener with No. 8 Grant playing No. 10 Franklin where speed and skill will be in abundance.
Five games to watch Friday
All kickoffs are between 7-7:30 p.m.
No. 2 Granite Bay (4-0) at No. 5 Del Oro (3-1) – Few home settings are as festive and fun as what Del Oro offers in Loomis, and may the best defensive stops earn game balls in what figures to be a fight to the finish.
No. 8 Grant (2-1) vs. No. 10 Franklin (3-0) – Playing at Cosumnes Oaks, Franklin coach Mike Johnson challenged his squad to grow up fast, to grow whiskers, or get plowed under even faster against the size of Grant, heavy in the trenches and in facial hair across the roster.
No. 20 Bear River (4-0) at El Dorado (2-1) – Luke Bagett has quietly been effective at quarterback for surging Bear River, which faces a promising one in sophomore Danny Bell under first-year coach Justin Reber.
Cosumnes Oaks (0-3) at Oakmont (3-0) – If a winless team is going to topple an unbeaten, it happens here, as Cosumnes Oaks is talented and eager, and that has veteran Oakmont coach Tim Moore stressing opportunity and focus.
Placer (3-1) at Vista del Lago (2-2) – Would the over-under for points scored here be 70, 84, 100? The defensive coordinators are urging for stops and low point totals as Vista officially dedicates its new home field.
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, Kennedy forfeit
Rio Vista at Harker-San Jose