It used to be that league championships were the only attainable seasonal goal for regional high school football.
Then the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs started in the 1970s, which extended seasons. And then there was the introduction of the CIF State playoffs in 2006, which really extended seasons.
But league banners still matter, and that’s the prize on hand Friday in Rosemont when No. 4 Capital Christian hosts No. 14 Vista del Lago in a Capital Athletic League rumble.
“Since we’ve been here, that’s been our focus – winning league championships,” Capital Christian third-year coach Casey Taylor said. “We haven’t had any league losses, and we take a lot of pride in that. There’s a lot of value in that.”
Here’s added value: Capital Christian is 16-0 in league play under Taylor and is riding a 44-game league winning streak overall, dating back to 2011 and spanning different conferences.
Previous Capital Christian coaches Phil Grams and Ron Gerringer set the program in motion at the small-school level and Taylor and his staff have elevated it to the larger-school status, punctuated by a Division III section championship and a 13-1 season in 2018.
Capital Christian (7-2) is unbeaten against Northern California competition this season, falling to nationally ranked teams from Vista Murrieta in Southern California and Chandler of Arizona. The Cougars opened the season with a 32-7 victory over Cosumnes Oaks, which has since responded with its best season and has moved up to No. 5 in The Bee’s rankings.
“Chandler got on us early (winning 56-0), and we were shell shocked,” Taylor said. “That was a great experience for us. Our guys have responded.”
Vista del Lago (8-1) lost only to Placer, 45-34.
Both teams rely on the run in an era heavy on passing the ball, though both teams have talented quarterbacks – Austin Amador for CC and Aydan Edwards and Nik Goodwin of VDL.
Vista del Lago features seasonal area rushing leader Ethen Menezes, who has 1,484 yards and 16 touchdowns. Zeke Burnett has rushed for 785 yards and nine scores for Capital Christian and Isaiah Bass has gone for 559 and five.
Capital’s most versatile player is Max Rodarte, who has impacted games by throwing for touchdowns, running for them, catching them, playing on returns and on defense. He’s one of the few seniors on the team, “a quiet leader and a great player,” Taylor said.
Davis vs. CO; Roseville vs. Inderkum and more
No. 7 Davis visits No. 5 Cosumnes Oaks for the Delta League championship in what has been a remarkable upswing season for both programs.
In Steve Smyte’s second tour as head coach, Davis fields its best team in more than 20 years. It last won the Delta in 1995. Cosumnes Oaks wasn’t ranked by The Bee at the start of the season but has surged under first-year coach Andrew Bettencourt.
Roseville must defeat No. 2 Inderkum at home Friday to clinch a share of the Capital Valley Conference crown. Inderkum has won 40 consecutive league games and 70 of 71 overall, spanning different conferences, under coach Terry Stark.
Placer has clinched at least a share of its eighth consecutive league championships under coach Joey Montoya. Rio Linda can gain a share of the Foothill Valley League if Lincoln beats Placer and the Knights defeat Nevada Union.
Casa Roble and coach Chris Horner can repeat as Golden Empire League champions with a Friday win over Mesa Verde. Johnson and coach Alex Gomes-Goelho will clinch its first league title since 2001 if it beats Natomas on Saturday in a Greater Sacramento League contest. Doreion Akins has rushed for 1,188 yards and 19 touchdowns for Johnson.
In the Pioneer Valley League, Colfax visits Center for the title. Center at 9-0 under coach Digol J’Beily is off to the best start in school history. Center opened in 1982.
In the Sierra Valley Conference, Rosemont visits Bradshaw Christian for the title.
Folsom’s Hutton is hauling
C.J. Hutton is a guy you may not want to kickoff to, and he’s one you’d surely want to cover.
The Folsom senior has returned two kickoffs of 95 or longer yards this season, and he’s gone deep on scoring strikes of 90 yards.
He’s also a good baseball player, which is why he has committed to playing two sports at UC Davis.
Cameron Skattebo of Rio Linda is second in the region in rushing, according to statistics on MaxPreps, with 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. Zion Gedeon of Rosemont has 1,264 and 15 and Abraham Banks of Rio Linda has 1,218 and 16.
Chrichion Brown of Highlands is the area touchdown passing leader with 27, followed by Jake Reithmeier of Folsom, Ethan Medders of Rio Vista, Kaiden Pennington of Foresthill and Nathan Valencia of Pleasant Grove – each with 23.
Sean Myles of Oakmont is the section tackling leader with 115. Ben Pau of Rio Linda has 106 stops and Mason Brown of Casa Roble has 102.
Harim Reynolds of Highlands, Mujahid Samad of Oak Ridge and Isaiah Dunn of Capital Christian lead the area with six interceptions each. Reynolds is the area’s touchdown reception leader with 15, one more than Elijhah Badger of Folsom.
Cole Becker of Rocklin has made a section-best 12 field goals.
Selection show Sunday
The Bee’s Joe Davidson will join Will DeBoard of the Sac-Joaquin Section office at 2 p.m. Sunday to announce and break down the seven divisions of the football playoffs.
The show can be viewed on the section website, www.cifsjs.org/sports/fball/index.
THE BEE’S TOP 20
1. Folsom (8-1)
2. Inderkum (9-0)
3. Oak Ridge (7-2)
4. Capital Christian (7-2)
5. Cosumnes Oaks (7-2)
6. Monterey Trail (8-1)
7. Davis (8-1)
8. Del Oro (6-3)
9. Rocklin (6-3)
10. Elk Grove (6-3)
11. Vacaville (7-2)
12. Center (9-0)
13. Placer (7-2)
14. Vista del Lago (8-1)
15. Pleasant Grove (6-3)
16. Lincoln (5-4)
17. Granite Bay (4-5)
18. Whitney (3-6)
19. Rio Linda (7-2)
20. Casa Roble (6-3)
Bubble teams (alphabetical order): Amador (8-1), Antelope (4-5), Bear River (6-3), Bradshaw Christian (7-2), Christian Brothers (6-3), Colfax (7-2), East Nicolaus (7-1), Foothill (6-3), Franklin (3-5), Golden Sierra (7-2), Highlands (8-1), Jesuit (4-4), Johnson (7-2), Laguna Creek (6-3), Mesa Verde (5-3) Nevada Union (4-4), Oakmont (6-3), Pierce (6-2), Rosemont (8-1), Roseville (6-3), Sutter (7-1), Union Mine (5-4), Wheatland (5-3), Woodland (6-3), Yuba City (5-4).