Hughes Stadium is back in the game.
The Sacramento City College facility will host its first playoff game since undergoing renovations when Christian Brothers plays Pacheco of Los Banos in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III opener.
Hughes for years hosted high school playoff games before the section left following the 2005 season because the field often became too muddy. The section eventually may return, but for now CBS has the place to itself.
Assistant coach Dan Carmazzi, the CBS quarterback in 1970, recalled spirited games at Hughes in the Metro League against rivals Sacramento and McClatchy.
“Playing at Hughes was a blast, and I have a lot of great memories,” Carmazzi said. “Our players and coaches are excited about returning to the ‘new’ Hughes.”
CBS, which won Division I titles with 13-1 teams in 1981 and 1983, is in the postseason for the 16th time, and Pacheco is in for the second time.
CBS coach George Petrissans grew up in Los Banos and played on the lines for Los Banos High.
Homecoming – Bill Sherman doesn’t need directions to Loomis.
River Valley’s first-year coach, who graduated from Del Oro, was The Bee’s 2005 Defensive Player of the Year, and he was on the Golden Eagles’ coaching staff in recent seasons. Now his upstart team takes on top-seeded Del Oro tonight in a D-II opener.
And the Falcons are shorthanded with leading rusher T.J. Dove (1,555 yards, 17 touchdowns) out with a broken leg suffered last Friday against Yuba City.
“T.J. was as good as there is in the area, and honestly about as good as I have seen since I have been around the game,” Sherman said. “That’s a tough
one to swallow, but I’m excited that we’ll have a great opportunity to compete with the finest program in the area. As far as going home, I’m excited.
It’s going to be different on the other side of the field.”
Maxed out – Max Miller, whose Cordova teams led the region in victories in the 1980s, including the section’s first 14-0 team in 1985, has stepped
down after 1 1/2 years coaching Rio Americano. He is the section’s winningest coach with 262 victories.
Miller hadn’t planned on coaching again when he was called by Rio administrators midway through last season while golfing in Tahoe. The Raiders went 3-7 this season.
Quick hits – Only three of the 64 teams in the playoffs are undefeated: Folsom in D-I, Hilmar in D-IV and Le Grand in D-V.
• Granite Bay has a 10-game playoff winning streak, including the last two section D-I titles, the first NorCal D-I bowl and a victory over Long Beach Poly in the CIF State Bowl.
• Lincoln of Stockton, 4-6, is the only team with a losing record. The Trojans were second in the San Joaquin Athletic Association. Their reward: an opening game against Folsom.
• Del Oro, in the playoffs for the 24th time, is 42-15 in the postseason, including eight section titles, three since 2005 under coach Casey Taylor.
• Grant is in the playoffs for the 29th time; the Pacers are 45-23 with six section titles.
• Elk Grove is in the postseason for the 28th time with a 36-22 record and five D-I titles.
• Sacramento is in the playoffs for the fifth successive season, but the Dragons are 0-6 lifetime in the postseason
. The Metro League title teams of the 1960s were before the addition of the playoffs.
The Bee’s Joe Davidson previews five Sac-Joaquin Section playoff games tonight (all 7 at p.m.):
Jesuit (7-3) at Merced (8-2)
Despite a combined 36 appearances, this is the first time these storied Division I programs have met in the playoffs. Jesuit, 15-15 in the playoffs, had a big halftime lead last Saturday but lost to Oak Ridge 45-42 in overtime. The Marauders feature a prolific backfield with quarterback Jason Elenberger and running backs Beau Bisharat and Ben Parietti, who have accounted for 53 touchdowns. Merced has lost only to Central Section powers Edison of Fresno and Clovis North.
Rocklin (7-3) at Vacaville (7-3)
The Division II opener features traditional powers who have combined to win three section titles since 2006. Both teams rely heavily on the run, Rocklin with Evyn Holtz, though quarterback Logan Webb is a deep-ball threat. Vacaville shares the ball – seven backs have 29 or more carries, led by David Mewborn (1,091 yards, 16 TDs), and Chad Hekking has thrown for 15 touchdowns.
Whitney (7-3) at Cosumnes Oaks (7-3)
Both schools started slow this season but came on strong to make the Division II field. Whitney has a balanced attack, led by quarterback Drew Romo (1,557 yards, 18 TDs) and running backs Kwane Wilkinson (588 yards, two TDs) and Zuhair Mirza (513 yards, four TDs). Cosumnes Oaks counters with Alex Kropp and Alex Van Dyke. Kropp has 21 touchdown passes, and his only two interceptions were in the opener in August. Van Dyke has 962 yards overall and has scored 14 touchdowns, 10 on passes from Kropp. Whitney beat Cosumnes Oaks 35-0 in the 2011 playoffs, but the Wolfpack was still in the early stages of developing its program.
Lincoln (7-3) at Inderkum (8-2)
If the visiting Zebras think the Pioneer Valley League has loads of talent, wait until they see the speed and skill the Tigers will show in this Division III opener. Lincoln is led defensively by Jesse Clay, who has 18 sacks, and running backs Eddie Cobleigh (842 yards, 12 TDs), Dane Stimbert (1,228 yards, 14 TDs) and Landon Croisant (551 yards, 10 TDs) could give Inderkum fits. The Tigers counter with a wing-T attack led by QB C.J. Spencer (1,183 passing yards, 19 TDs) and backs Terrence White (670 yards, seven TDs), Marcus Gilbert (670 yards, eight TDs), Tyler Dean (609 yards, seven TDs) and Austin Thurman (416 yards, six TDs).
Placer (5-5) at Capital Christian (9-1)
The Division IV field is so competitive that two league champions play in this opener. Capital Christian features Stanford-bound lineman Nifae Lealao and all-purpose junior Justice Shelton-Mosley (1,369 rushing yards and 24 TDs, 483 receiving yards and eight TDs, eight interceptions). Placer runs the wing-T, led by running back Todd Valliere (1,124 yards, 13 TDs) and quarterback Logan Strange (1,115 passing yards, 13 TDs).
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
NICK BONNIKSEN, EL DORADO
After being challenged by El Dorado coach Joe Volek to step up his game, Bonniksen completed all eight of his passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Cougars to a 64-0 victory over Galt last Friday in the Sierra Valley Conference finale and a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time since 1987. The performance earned Bonniksen The Bee’s Player of the Week honor in fan voting on sacbee.com. On the season, Bonniksen has passed for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns and run for 10 more. Said Volek: “He has really emerged as a leader and a student of the game. He can sling it.”
WHERE’S JOE D?
The Bee’s Joe Davidson will be at Cosumnes Oaks tonight for the Wolfpack’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff game against Whitney.