Joe Davidson

Prep preview: Del Oro-Folsom highlights week of league showdowns

This one has been circled on the calendar since the high school football schedule was released: Del Oro vs. Folsom.

It happens Friday night in Loomis, where Del Oro prepares for the Bulldogs with the Sierra Foothill League title potentially in the balance, not to mention Sac-Joaquin Section playoff positioning.

Folsom started the season top-ranked by The Bee, a spot it had held since the start of the 2012 season. Del Oro was ranked second. Del Oro grabbed the top spot after Folsom lost to Sacramento in Week 3, and the Bulldogs have since inched back up to No. 3.

“If you’re a fan of high school football, this is as good as it gets for a regular-season game,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “Two teams who have had a ton of success, and there’s a lot of mutual respect.”

No. 1 Del Oro (6-0) vs. No. 3 Folsom (5-1)

When: Friday in Loomis, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The programs have combined to win eight section championships – in different divisions – since 2010 and 17 total in 23 title-game appearances since 1989. Del Oro prefers to run the ball, though Stone Smartt is a very effective passer, averaging 176.2 yards a game with nine touchdowns, and wide receiver Mason Hurst is one of the top all-around players in the state. Camrion Davis and Dalton Gee have combined for 16 rushing touchdowns for Del Oro, which averages eight yards a carry and has 21 rushing scores. Folsom prefers to pass behind quarterback Joe Curry, who has 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns, though the Bulldogs can run with Davin Simmons (102.2 yards a game, five scores). Eric Davis and Drake Stallworth are terrific deep-ball threats, combining for 11 touchdowns for Folsom.

No. 6 Rocklin (4-1) vs. No. 9 Oak Ridge (4-1)

When: Friday at Rocklin, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Thunder slid three spots in The Bee’s rankings this week despite being idle. The move was prompted by Elk Grove beating Grant, which beat Rocklin and remains in front of the Thunder. Rocklin players are eager to regain lost footing while also not looking ahead to playing Del Oro next week in yet another SFL super clash. Cade Wyant has been strong at quarterback for Rocklin, engineering a late drive to beat Whitney 18-17, and Brenden Rakela has emerged as a reliable back, rushing for 514 yards and four TDs. Oak Ridge’s loss was to Nevada power Reed of Sparks. Marco Baldacchino has stepped up as the next star quarterback for the Trojans, passing for 782 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushing for 280 and five. Michael Pittman has rushed for 394 yards and six scores for Oak Ridge.

No. 12 Franklin (4-1) vs. No. 14 Monterey Trail (4-1)

When: Friday at Monterey Trail, 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: The Delta League is deep, including playoff-seeking Elk Grove, Grant, Jesuit, Sheldon and Davis. Most games have gone down to the wire. Monterey Trail bounced back from a 27-22 setback to Sheldon with a 35-16 victory over Pleasant Grove last week as Robert Holt rushed for 130 yards and two scores. The senior quarterback and team leader also makes plays on defense in the secondary. Franklin recovered quickly from a 56-0 loss to Grant by defeating Sheldon 20-17 as Jalen Lampley rushed for 101 yards and a score and Kaderro Tamondong, John Montgomery and Eugene Lopez combined for 35 tackles. Those defenders will have their hands full with the Mustangs’ veer run game.

Rio Americano (3-2) vs. El Camino (3-2)

When: Friday at Del Campo, 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: The Capital Athletic League race is wide open, and these two teams want a piece of the action even if defending champion Vista del Lago and Christian Brothers are the favorites. Under third-year coach Michael Willis, Rio Americano has already exceeded the win total of the previous two seasons combined, when the Raiders went 2-18, and they seek their first winning season since 2008. Quarterback Sam Adams, wide receiver Zach Lewin and all-purpose player Logan Wheeler lead Rio. Wheeler is one of the region’s top kickers, having booted two 45-yard field goals in a 24-12 win over Highlands last week. The Eagles average 383.8 rushing yards a game and have scored 27 times on the ground, including 17 combined by Dale Armstrong (99.2 rushing yards a game) and William Horne (61.2).

No. 4 Elk Grove (4-1) vs. No. 7 Jesuit (4-1)

When: Saturday at Jesuit, 1 p.m.

Outlook: Elk Grove bounced back from its 16-14 loss at Davis in a Delta opener to beat previous No. 2 Grant 24-17, thanks to a strong defense, the 121-yard rushing effort of Zion Thomas and the passing of Jayden Machado, who hit Gavin Reinwald for two touchdowns. Now the Thundering Herd prepares for Calvin Brownholtz, who had his best outing of the season when he completed 20 of 25 passes for 260 yards and two scores in a 26-16 victory over Davis. Lorenzo Burkes also has been exceptional for Jesuit, running the ball and playing defense at linebacker. Jesuit lost to Folsom 42-28 in allowing a season-high point total. Coach Adam Reinking, an El Camino alum, seeks his fifth consecutive winning season. The loser here will have two league setbacks, likely costing it a chance at the Delta title.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

Friday night football

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The Bee’s Davidson will be in Loomis on Friday night as the No. 1 Del Oro Golden Eagles host the No. 3 Folsom Bulldogs.

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Bee photographers will be at No. 1 Del Oro vs. No. 3 Folsom and El Camino vs. Rio Americano at Del Campo High School on Friday night.

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