High School Sports

What we have learned five weeks into the regional high school football season

Five weeks into the high school football season, and some themes and trends remain the same while others refreshingly shift for the better.

What we have learned so far:

The Bulldogs still bite

Folsom is still really good, sometimes great, undeniably dangerous and yet uncharacteristically vulnerable.

With a rousing 36-33 rally to beat rival Oak Ridge on Friday night, the Bulldogs extended their Sierra Foothill League winning streak to 37 and overall league winning streak to 42, dating back to their Delta League days in 2011.

No team in the Sac-Joaquin Section can match top-ranked Folsom’s 1-2-3-4 power punch of quarterback Jake Reithmeier, running back Daniyel Ngata, receiver Elijhah Badger and tight end/defensive end terror DeShawn Lynch. But the gap may have closed within the SFL ranks, and this is a good thing because predictability can be a bore in sports.

Folsom hosts a defending CIF State champion in Menlo-Atherton on Friday, then finishes the regular season against No. 6 Rocklin, No. 13 Granite Bay, Grant and No. 5 Del Oro, all eager to knock the Bulldogs down to size in what figures to be some tight and tense games.

Said Ngata, “We don’t get scared. We’ve been in a lot of big games before.”

Oak Ridge is No. 2

The Trojans are stinging from the Folsom setback, but coach Eric Cavaliere has a team that aims to roar into the Division I section finals opposite of Folsom, and wouldn’t that be a jolly good show at Sacramento State?

The Trojans look the part as rock-solid No. 2, though No. 3 Inderkum has flexed its muscle, none more than a 37-10 win at No. 5 Del Oro. Inderkum is the likely top seed in D-II if it runs the table from here under longtime coach Terry Stark.

Attendance has dropped for the section finals this decade at Sac State, in part due to what the section office deems, “Folsom Fatigue” – meaning, fans have tired of the Bulldogs winning so much, including seven section banners since 2010.

We imagine quite a crowd will show up if Folsom and Oak Ridge meet again, a good many on hand pulling for a new champion.

Bounce-back seasons

Teams can indeed recover from brutal seasons to rise again, and kudos to the student-athletes, rooting sections, coaches and administrators for sticking it out when it has become so easy to bail.

A year ago, Cosumnes Oaks, Foothill, Galt, Laguna Creek, Nevada Union, Oakmont, Pleasant Grove, Rocklin, Roseville, Vista del Lago and Whitney all endured varying degrees of frustration in long 2018 campaigns, undone by injuries and better teams.

Now all have barreled right back into relevance, each stressing momentum and the postseason as a viable goal.

Game balls to the coaches, please: Andrew Bettencourt of Cosumnes Oaks, Tim Cobleigh of Galt, Mervin Brookings of Foothill, Ryan Nill of Laguna Creek, Brad Sparks of Nevada Union, Tim Moore of Oakmont, Matt Costa of Pleasant Grove, Jason Adams of Rocklin, Joe Cattolico of Roseville, Mike Stuebing of Vista del Lago and Zac McNally of Whitney.

Spiritual grit at Union Mine

The mark of a good program is how it recovers from loss, and none was more profound and saddening than Union Mine losing coach Chic Bist early this season to a long bout with pancreatic cancer.

The Diamondbacks, coached by Bist’s son Jacob, are 3-2. It all came together beautifully Friday in El Dorado in a 36-21 victory over powerhouse Colfax.

Loyalty and running love

Coaches and teams remain loyal to what works, specifically offensive schematics.

In an era of wide-open passing with spread teams the norm, a number of area programs still lean on the run, including No. 3 Inderkum with its wing-T, No 4 Monterey Trail with its veer, No. 7 Elk Grove with its triple-option and No. 15 Rio Linda with a bevy of backs, none more daunting than Cameron Skattebo.

Multi-sporting works

It’s OK to play more than one sport, no matter what the specialty guru coach insists.

The NFL Draft is proof, with 85 percent of first-year NFL players having played more than one sport in high school.

Take a look at Daniel Susac at Jesuit. A projected high-round pick in next spring’s Major League Baseball Draft as a catcher, Susac played his first game this season at quarterback and triggered a must-have 45-15 win over Rio Americano by passing for three touchdowns.

The area’s best teams are chock full of players who dabble in various sports.

Numbers crunch

Successful teams must have decent roster numbers to be able to conduct productive practices, not to mention surviving arduous games.

Low numbers this season have plagued Burbank, Florin, Kennedy, McClatchy and Mira Loma. Though each has had football success in the past, these programs are a combined 0-20.

And each coach vows to stick it out.

At Bella Vista, the Broncos seek their first win since 2016 but have the right close in place in first-year man Justin Reber, who has 33 players and bounds of optimism.

Volleyball update

Nevada Union leads the area in victories with 21.

The Miners recently traveled to the Bay Area for the Jacket Tournament in Berkeley and went 6-0.

In facing out-of-area teams, the Miners only dropped one set. They enter Foothill Valley League this week in what figures to be a four-team race along with No.4 Lincoln, No. 12 Oakmont, and No. 19 Ponderosa.

No. 13 Pioneer won the CIVT tournament at El Camino with a 6-0 showing, beating River City, Union Mine, Elk Grove, Mira Loma, El Dorado and El Camino.

Paige Rudi leads Pioneer with 186 kills. Isabella Fuentes leads the team in assists with 556.

No. 5 Rocklin opened up Sierra Foothill League play with a sweep of Folsom. Earlier in the week, the Thunder beat No. 6 Nevada Union in four sets. Kennedy Crane and Ivana Erlandsen in that game combined for 30 kills.

The Bee’s Top 20

Football

Regional Rankings

1. Folsom (3-1)

2. Oak Ridge (3-1)

3. Inderkum (4-0)

4. Monterey Trail (3-1)

5. Del Oro (4-1)

6. Rocklin (4-1)

7. Elk Grove (3-1)

8. Davis (4-1)

9. Capital Christian (3-2)

10. Vacaville (3-2)

11. Pleasant Grove (4-0)

12. Cosumnes Oaks (4-1)

13. Granite Bay (2-3)

14. Center (5-0)

15. Rio Linda (3-1)

16. Bear River (4-0)

17. Lincoln (3-2)

18. Whitney (2-3)

19. Placer (2-2)

20. Oakmont (4-0)

Dropped out: Christian Brothers, Sheldon

Bubble teams (alphabetical order): Casa Roble (2-3), Christian Brothers (3-2), Colfax (2-2), Del Campo (3-1), Foothill (4-0), Franklin (2-4), Grant (1-3), Highlands (4-0), Jesuit (1-3), Laguna Creek (3-2), Liberty Ranch (2-3), Nevada Union (3-1), Ponderosa (3-2), Rosemont (5-0), Roseville (3-2), Sheldon (2-3), Union Mine (3-2), Vista del Lago (4-1).

Sac-Joaquin Section

Large School

1. Folsom (3-1)

2. Oak Ridge (3-1)

3. Buhach Colony (5-0)

4. Inderkum (4-0)

5. Monterey Trail (3-1)

6. Del Oro (4-1)

7. Rocklin (4-1)

8. Elk Grove (3-1)

9. Turlock (3-2)

10. Davis (4-1)

11. Capital Christian (3-2)

12. Vacaville (2-2)

13. Edison (3-1)

14. Sierra (5-0)

15. St. Mary’s (1-3)

16. Oakdale (3-2)

17. Vacaville (3-2)

18. Pleasant Grove (4-0)

19. Central Catholic (1-4)

20. Cosumnes Oaks (4-1)

- Joe Davidson/Julian Lopez

Small Schools

1. Escalon (4-0)

2. Hilmar (5-0)

3. Center (5-0)

4. Bear River (4-0)

5. Ripon (4-1)

6. Ripon Christian (3-1)

7. Highlands (4-0)

8. Woodland (2-2)

9. Colfax (2-2)

10. Denair (3-1)

- Joe Davidson/Julian Lopez

Volleyball

THE BEE’S TOP 20

1. St. Francis (15-0)

2. Oak Ridge (16-2)

3. Cosumnes Oaks (12-3)

4. Lincoln (7-3)

5. Rocklin (13-8)

6. Nevada Union (21-3)

7. Christian Brothers (15-6)

8. Del Oro (10-6)

9. Rio Americano (15-7)

10. Vacaville (13-2)

11. Whitney (9-7)

12. Oakmont (8-3)

13. Pioneer (17-4)

14. Woodcreek (12-5)

15. Vanden (5-1)

16. Vista Del Lago (3-4)

17. Pleasant Grove (3-5)

18. Bear River (10-5)

19. Ponderosa (8-6)

20. Granite Bay (7-8)

- Cameron Salerno

Football

Week 6

All games start between 7-7:30 p.m.

Thursday

Capital Christian at El Camino

Friday

Capital Valley Conference

Antelope at Roseville

Bella Vista at Woodcreek

River Valley at Yuba City

Delta League

Cosumnes Oaks vs. Pleasant Grove

Sheldon at Elk Grove

Jesuit vs. Franklin

Sierra Foothill League

Granite Bay at Grant

Oak Ridge at Rocklin

Del Oro at Whitney

Nonleague

Amador at El Dorado

Argonaut at Dixon

Big Valley Christian at Delta

Pioneer at Highlands

Burbank at Inderkum

Kennedy vs. Florin

McClatchy vs. Valley

San Juan at Mira Loma

Natomas at Lindhurst

Nevada Union at Fairfield

Cordova at Oakmont

Rio Linda at Foothill

Woodland Christian at Vacaville Christian

Woodland vs. Wood

Wheatland at Colfax, 7:30pm

East Nicolaus at Golden Sierra

Menlo-Atherton at Folsom

Marysville at Gridley

Monterey Trail vs. Paraclete

Bishop O’Dowd at Placer

Western Sierra at University Prep

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