High School Sports

Should Rocklin be No. 2 since it beat Oak Ridge? Making sense of our football rankings

Rocklin has made a jump in The Bee’s high school football rankings.
Rocklin has made a jump in The Bee’s high school football rankings. Lenie's Pictures

The rankings are easy when teams win. They become a bit congested and confusing when highly ranked teams fall to lower-ranked squads.

Then again, what’s a season without upsets? Boring. Who wants that?

Of course, rankings mean zip in the big scheme of things, but they are good for conversation and debate, and we’re always ripe for plenty of both.

We moved Rocklin up from No. 6 to No. 2 because the Thunder beat previous No. 2 Oak Ridge 28-22 a week after Oak Ridge nearly derailed top-ranked Folsom before falling 36-33.

Is this Rocklin rankings jump unfair to the teams that were in front of the Thunder? We counter with this: It’s not about being fair, it’s about doing what makes sense.

If Rocklin were to upset Folsom on Friday in a Sierra Foothill League contest, then the Thunder would have justified the jump and would become the logical move to No. 1.

We can understand the argument that Inderkum is the region’s second-best team and is worthy of The Bee’s No. 2 rank. But this view is not shared by any of the Inderkum coaches, who, like all coaches, are masterful at sandbagging, downplaying their teams and wondering how in the world they can possibly compete with such young and injured rosters, and then going, “Aw, shucks” after blasting opponents into submission.

Whitney also pulled a stunner, beating Del Oro for the program’s first SFL victory.

But how far does it make sense to drop Del Oro in the Top 20? And how high feels right for Whitney? Above Del Oro? Sure, if Whitney hadn’t lost to Lincoln.

Friday was also a milestone moment for Inderkum coach Terry Stark, one of a number of Sac-Joaquin Section coaches who have over the years achieved 200 or more wins, and kudos to the coaches who stick with a job that doesn’t get easier over time.

The Sacramento Bee’s Top 20

1. Folsom (4-1)

The Bulldogs belted defending CIF State Division III-AA champion Menlo-Atherton 49-0 in a nonleague game as Dylan Richard led the defensive charge.

2. Rocklin (5-1)

From 2-8 a year ago to rolling Thunder, Rocklin has QB play, line play, special teams and defense.

3. Inderkum (5-0)

The Tigers’ biggest win was by two over Elk Grove in an opener, and the team is still not completely healthy.

4. Oak Ridge (3-2)

The Trojans are suddenly 0-2 in the SFL and wins are paramount now for a young team with championship potential.

5. Monterey Trail (4-1)

The Mustangs have a bevy of backs, including Caleb Ramseur, who ran for 197 yards in a 21-13 win over Paraclete.

6. Elk Grove (4-1)

Say hello to the “Hammerheads,” the stout offensive line that led the Thundering Herd’s 55-0 rout over Sheldon.

7. Davis (4-1)

The Blue Devils had a bye but are rolling otherwise, falling only by a touchdown to Elk Grove in Delta League play.

8. Capital Christian (4-2)

The Cougars have looked the part of defending Capital Athletic League champions with line play the key.

9. Vacaville (3-2)

The Bulldogs have early losses to Liberty and Oak Ridge, and have a win over Granite Bay.

10. Cosumnes Oaks (5-1)

The Wolfpack rejoiced in a resounding win over Pleasant Grove and visit Jesuit on Saturday in a Delta duel.

11. Del Oro (4-2)

The Golden Eagles are smarting from the loss at Whitney but can do something about it: get on a roll.

12. Pleasant Grove (4-1)

The Eagles took a hit when star quarterback Nathan Valencia went down in the loss to Cosumnes Oaks.

13. Granite Bay (3-3)

The Grizzlies showed some championship grit with a 17-3 SFL win over Grant.

14. Center (5-0)

The Cougars opened the season with a win at Rio Linda and this week host Bear River in a battle of small-school heavies.

15. Rio Linda (4-1)

Memo to opponents: Don’t kick off to Abraham Banks. Or do, he’s fun to watch.

16. Bear River (5-0)

The Bruins open Pioneer Valley League fun on Friday at Center in what figures to be a thriller.

17. Lincoln (3-2)

The Zebras have losses to Oak Ridge and Center, and a big win over Whitney. Oakmont looms.

18. Whitney (3-3)

The celebration was earned after beating Del Oro, but it only pays off with maintained momentum as Granite Bay looms.

19. Placer (3-2)

The Hillmen have close losses to Cardinal Newman and Whitney. They begin defense of the Foothill Valley League on Friday at Nevada Union.

20. Oakmont (5-0)

The Vikings have a quarterback leader to lean on and a team around him.

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

This week’s schedule

All games start Friday between 7-7:30 p.m., unless noted.

Capital Athletic League

Sacramento at El Camino (Thursday)

Capital Christian at Del Campo (Thursday)

Rio Americano at Vista del Lago

Capital Valley Conference

Antelope at Bella Vista

Roseville at River Valley

Woodcreek at Inderkum

Delta League

Davis at Sheldon

Pleasant Grove at Elk Grove

Cosumnes Oaks at Jesuit (2 p.m. Saturday)

Foothill Valley League

Oakmont at Lincoln

Placer at Nevada Union

Ponderosa at Rio Linda

Golden Empire League

Casa Roble at Mira Loma

Mesa Verde at Pioneer

Woodland at Dixon

Greater Sacramento League

Florin vs. Valley

Johnson at Cordova

Metropolitan League

Laguna Creek at Burbank

McClatchy vs. Kennedy

River City at Monterey Trail

Monticello Empire League

Armijo at Vanden

Fairfield at Wood

Vacaville at Rodriguez

Pioneer Valley League

Bear River at Center

Foothill at Colfax

Lindhurst at Marysville

Sacramento Metro

Delta at Woodland Christian

Western Sierra vs. Foresthill

Valley Christian vs. Encina (Saturday)

Sierra Delta League

Golden Sierra at Linden

Rio Vista at Highlands

San Juan at Vacaville Christian

Sierra Foothill League

Oak Ridge at Grant

Rocklin at Folsom

Whitney at Granite Bay

Sierra Valley League

El Dorado at Galt

Liberty Ranch at Bradshaw Christian

Union Mine at Rosemont

Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.