These are the Sacramento-area high school football players to watch for in 2019
Kal Lunders returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown, Logan Shepard booted three field goals and T.J. Willson and Aidan Mack scored touchdowns to lead No. 7 Del Oro to a 32-19 win over Northern Section power Pleasant Valley of Chico in a high school football season opener Friday night in Loomis.
The game was a battle of teams that reached last year’s CIF state bowl championships.
Pleasant Valley won last year’s Division 4-AA state final and is the top-ranked team in the Northern Section this year. Del Oro lost 21-14 to Grace Brethren of Simi Valley in the 2-AA final.
The Golden Eagles held a pregame ceremony naming their new grounds Fletcher-Christiansen Field in honor of John Fletcher and Bob Christiansen, co-coaches and best friends who led Del Oro to 10 Sierra Foothill League championships and four Sac-Joaquin Section banners from 1979 to 1994.
Fletcher died of cancer last year at age 68.
No. 1 Folsom, which has been top ranked by The Bee every week except once since the start of 2012, had an opening-round bye Friday and will open its season this Friday against No. 10 Jesuit at Sacramento State.
In other games:
No. 2 Monterey Trail 42, No. 13 Sheldon 14 at Sheldon - Caleb Ramseur accounted for two scores and Otha Williams rushed for three touchdowns to lift the Mustangs over the Huskies following a 12-1 season.
No. 3 Oak Ridge 41, Lincoln 6 in El Dorado Hills – Justin Lamson completed 20 of 28 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns; Avant Jacobs had 9 receptions for 111 yards and three touchdowns; and Dylan Warfield carried 19 times for 84 yards and rushed for two scores to lead the Trojans over the Fighting Zebras.
Liberty 49, No. 4 Vacaville 28 in Vacaville – Darrion Bartley rushed for two touchdowns and caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jay Butterfield to lead the defending CIF state Division 1-A champions from Brentwood past the Bulldogs.
No. 5 Capital Christian 32, Cosumnes Oaks 7 in Sacramento - The defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champions stormed to a 29-0 lead and coasted behind strong defense and Austin Amador’s three touchdown passes.
Center 48, No. 6 Rio Linda 40 in Rio Linda - Michael Wortham accounted for four touchdowns and the defense kept record-setting running back Cameron Skattebo in check as the Cougars upended the Knights for the second successive season.
No. 8 Inderkum 34, No. 15 Elk Grove 32 in Elk Grove – Gabriel Britschgi’s two-yard touchdown run with four minutes to go and a Tigers’ fumble recovery six yards from their end zone with under a minute to play enabled Inderkum to hold off the Thundering Herd.
Elk Grove, trailing 21-6 early in the third quarter, took a 31-28 lead on Carter Harris’ 68-yard touchdown burst with eight minutes to play in the game. Harris also had a 72-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Britschgi ran for a 52-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Monte Vista 27, No. 9 Granite Bay 22 in Danville – Nate Rutchena caught three touchdown passes from Jack Stewardson, including the go-ahead score with 1:32 to play, then secured the win with an interception in lifting the Mustangs over the Grizzlies. Ty Peterson (45 yards) and Christian Perry (30) returned interceptions for touchdowns for Granite Bay.
No. 12 Davis 35, No. 11 Grant 6 in Davis - Taylor Vaughn rushed for 155 yards and two scores and Ben Bussano caught touchdown strikes of 70 and 23 yards to power the Blue Devils over the Pacers.
Rocklin 35, No. 14 Antelope 7 in Antelope – Richie Watts passed 31 yards to Grayson Barnes for a touchdown and Christian Awward returned an interception for a touchdown and had two sacks as the Thunder topped the Titans in Jason Adams’ head-coaching debut.
No. 16 Placer 40, Eureka 27 in Eureka – Hans Grassman rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns; Jesse Wigham added 89 rushing yards and three scores and the Hillmen broke a 27-27 tied with two fourth quarter touchdowns to top the Loggers in a battle of two teams that finished 12-1 in 2018.
No. 18 Bear River 21, Truckee 7 in Lake of the Pines – Tre Maronic rushed for three touchdowns, blocked a punt, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, all despite a second half ankle sprain, to lead the Bruins past the Wolverines, a perennial Nevada state power .
No. 19 Colfax 35, Golden Sierra 13 in Garden Valley – John Beckman caught two touchdown passes, David Martinez rushed for two touchdowns and Pete O’Brien’s interception set up Wyatt Neumann’s two-yard touchdown pass to Juliono Martello as the Falcons opened their 60th season of football by topping the Grizzlies.
It was coach Tony Martello’s 213th win at his alma mater. The Falcons are coming off a 13-1 2018 season in which they reached the CIF State Division 5-A championship.
No. 20 Casa Roble 55, Bella Vista 15 in Fair Oaks – Coming off an 11-2 2018 season, the Rams look every bit as formidable this season in coasting past the neighboring Broncos, looking for their first win since 2015.
Rio Americano 42, Woodcreek 35 at Del Campo – Mitchell Dixon threw three touchdown passes, including 76-yard and 10-yard strikes to Savion Ponce, to lead the Raiders past the Timberwolves in Fair Oaks.
Ponderosa 49, River City 3 in West Sacramento – Ty Uber passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two scores, and Colin Taylor rushed for two touchdowns and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass as the Bruins crushed the Raiders.
Pleasant Grove 56, Kennedy 6 in Greenhaven – Nathan Valencia threw six touchdown passes and ran for another to help the Eagles soar past the Cougars and snap a 12-games losing streak dating back to 2017.
Vista del Lago 58, Cordova 0 in Rancho Cordova – The Eagles jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead and continued to roll in belting the Lancers as Jaxson Hansen and Ethan Menezes each scored two rushing touchdowns, and Ryan Tung had an interception for a score.
Franklin 34, McNair 19 at Cosumnes Oaks – The Wildcats exploded for 27 second half points to top the visitors from Stockton as Brandon Rundgren and Reagan Fonbuena each scored touchdowns.
Merced 13, Del Campo 7 in Merced – Raheem Choyce returned a blocked punt 8 yards for a touchdown and Desmond Thompson had a 42-yard rushing touchdown to lead the Bears past the Cougars.