The Bee’s Joe Davidson previews five of Friday night’s Sac-Joaquin Section playoff games (all start at 7 p.m.)
JESUIT (9-3) AT FOLSOM (12-0)
This Division I semifinal is a rematch of Delta River League opponents, and Jesuit must control Folsom quarterback Jake Browning to avoid a repeat of its 56-14 loss in October. Defensive stoppers Malcolm Harvey, Austin Gates and Cole Wilbourn have to put pressure on Browning, and the Marauders need long running drives behind quarterback Jason Elenberger (582 rushing yards, nine touchdowns) and running backs Ben Parietti (1,228 yards, 17 TDs) and Beau Bisharat (814 yards, 10 TDs). Top-ranked Folsom will prevail if Browning (4,710 yards, 68 TDs) and receivers Will McClure, Josiah Deguara and Troy Knox have their way again, and running backs Tre Green, Bryan Weldy and Bailey Laolagi stretch Jesuit’s defense.
PLEASANT GROVE (10-2) AT OAK RIDGE (11-1)
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
The other Division I semifinal also is a DRL rematch. Oak Ridge beat Pleasant Grove 28-14 on Nov. 1 despite playing without injured running backs Josh Wellman and Tanner Hughes. Both are back, and they played a key role in last week’s 28-17 victory over two-time defending section champion Granite Bay. Oak Ridge also has quarterback Ian Book (2,271 passing yards, 30 TDs) and receivers Justin Priest and Jacob Sipes. Pleasant Grove is led by quarterback/defensive back Dre Terrell, who will be passing to Esley Simmons and Wyatt Demps and handing off to workhorse back Ian Broom (1,214 yards, 13 TDs).
ELK GROVE (11-1) AT RIO LINDA (11-1)
These teams haven’t met since a nonleague game in 1976, and this one is for a spot in the Division II championship game. Both teams rely on the run, though both have capable passers in Stephen Andrews of Rio Linda and Tommy Arnold of Elk Grove. Despite a nagging high ankle sprain, Wadus Parker has rushed for 1,636 yards and 24 TDs for the Thundering Herd, and Spencer Sheff has added 673 yards and nine TDs. Rio Linda counters with the speed and power of Marcel Brown (1,850 yards, 25 TDs) and power and burst of Leo Skattebo (913 yards, 14 TDs). Two defensive linemen who might have an impact are B’won Canada of Elk Grove and Vaughn Hingano of Rio Linda.
YUBA CITY (11-1) AT DEL ORO (10-2)
Running the ball will be the key in this Division II semifinal. Del Oro is led by Dylan Kainrath (1,440 yards, 23 TDs) and Yuba City counters with Omar Herrera (1,642, 23 TDs). Del Oro quarterback Michael Moore passed for three touchdowns in last week’s 35-11 victory over Whitney. Last week, Yuba City posted a 27-12 victory over Grant, which Del Oro beat 38-35 in overtime this season. Del Oro and Yuba City also met in the playoffs last season, with Del Oro winning 45-21 on the road behind 302 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 55 carries.
CENTER (9-3) AT HILMAR (12-0)
Center has beaten two powerhouse programs in Division IV – Modesto Christian and Placer – and takes on another one in Hilmar. Center features one of the state’s most electrifying players in Tyrell Anderson, a quarterback and cornerback who also can break open games on special teams (his 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown helped beat Placer). But Anderson, who also leads the section with 12 interceptions, said the keys for the Cougars are running back Joe Swen (1,683 yards, 23 TDs) and the defense. Hilmar is led by quarterback Jonathan O’Brien (1,826 yards and 24 TDs passing, 509 yards and eight TDs rushing). The Yellowjackets have 47.5 sacks and 18 interceptions by 12 different players.