Joe Davidson

League championship races tighten in high school football

Brian Baer/Special to The Bee

Unlike last week’s high school football games played in wet and miserable conditions, the weather will be kind and dry, good news for those hosting homecoming games or expecting large crowds.

Teams that have won at least six games essentially have secured playoff berths, generally the bench mark in the Sac-Joaquin Section. The scramble from here is either for a league championship or to qualify for the postseason, where anything can happen on a given Friday night.

No. 3 Del Oro (7-1) vs. No. 7 Oak Ridge (6-1)

When: Friday at Del Oro, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Sierra Foothill League championship race boils down to three teams – Del Oro, Folsom and Oak Ridge – and two of those teams will meet Friday night with much at stake. Oak Ridge and Del Oro enter this showdown with losses to teams that are a combined 14-2, the Trojans to five-time Nevada state champion Reed of Sparks and the Golden Eagles to Folsom. Both have dual-threat quarterbacks, Del Oro with Stone Smartt and Oak Ridge with Marco Baldocchino. Both have good running backs, Del Oro with Cam Davis and Dalton Gee and Oak Ridge with Michael Pittman. How Oak Ridge handles the Golden Eagles’ strong defensive and offensive lines and the playmaking ability of all-purpose player Mason Hurst will decide this one. Waiting for Oak Ridge in a regular-season finale is Folsom.

No. 5 Grant (6-1) vs. No. 9 Sheldon (5-2)

When: Friday at Sheldon, 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: This Delta League tussle shapes up as fast and fun with run-heavy teams that also can throw deep, Grant with Cam Davis looking for Lawrence Hardy, and Sheldon with Chancellor LaChapelle going to Alex Cook. The coaches, Mike Alberghini of Grant and Joe Cattolico of Sheldon, have won multiple conference championships by running the ball. Grant features Tyree Marcelle, who has rushed for 924 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Sheldon has Graylon Lindsey, Vonathan Allen and Cook. Lindsey and Cook combined for six touchdowns last week at Jesuit, none more electrifying than Lindsey’s last-minute 79-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal a 43-32 victory. Both teams have lost to Elk Grove.

No. 8 Whitney (6-1) vs. No. 13 Roseville (6-1)

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

Outlook: The Capital Valley Conference championship could come down to a Week 10 showdown between Whitney and unbeaten Antelope, unless, of course, Roseville beats Whitney to remain in the race. Jake Cruz passed for 379 yards and four touchdowns to lead Whitney to a 35-14 win over Oakmont last week while Roseville rolled Bella Vista 57-0 behind a strong run game led by Brendan McMinn. The Tigers’ victory came a week after a 42-7 loss to Antelope.

El Dorado (6-1) vs. Cordova (5-2)

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

Outlook: The Sierra Valley Conference championship is on the line. The Lancers seek their first playoff appearance since 2006 and can get there if running back Deante McCullough – 824 yards, 11 touchdowns – continues to his hot pace. A team captain and converted wide receiver, McCullough rushed for 204 yards and four touchdowns in Cordova’s 53-26 win over Union Mine last week. El Dorado has enjoyed a program resurgence under coach Joe Volek, whose team seeks a fourth consecutive playoff trip. The Cougars have a prolific passing attack with Aaron Golmitz (1,190 passing yards, 12 touchdowns) and wide receiver Chris Volek, the coach’s son. Volek has 752 receiving yards and seven scores, including a one-handed game winner in the closing seconds to edge Liberty Ranch 27-24 last week.

Bear River (3-4) vs. Colfax (5-2)

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

Outlook: The Pioneer Valley League is still up for grabs with Placer 2-0 in league play and four teams 1-1. Bear River is a run-first team, a staple for a program seeking its 29th consecutive non-losing season under co-coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie. Colfax continues to be a pass-heavy program while the Falcons seek their 18th playoff appearance in 21 seasons under coach Tony Martello. Quarterback Ryland Heimann passed for 285 yards and three touchdowns in a thrilling 36-35 win over Lincoln. Bear River was defeated by Lincoln 27-14 and also has losses to Orland, Marysville and Sutter – teams that are a combined 18-4.

Friday night football

The Bee’s print edition will feature expanded coverage every Sunday, including insight from Joe Davidson, highlights of the top weekend games, how The Bee’s Top 20 fared, scores and more. Can’t wait until Sunday? Go to sacbee.com after the games on Friday nights for highlights, scores, photo galleries and more.

Live chat

Join us every Friday night at 6:30 p.m. to discuss that night’s games before they start and as they are played. sacbee.com

Where’s Joe D?

The Bee’s Davidson will be in Loomis on Friday when No. 3 Del Oro hosts No. 7 Oak Ridge in a Sierra Foothill League showdown.

Photo galleries

Bee photographers will be at the Del Oro-Oak Ridge game on Friday night. sacbee.com/high-school

Sports Night newsletter

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Calling on coaches

Area high school football coaches are encouraged to report results immediately after games. Call 916-441-4100 or email preps@sacbee.com.

The Bee’s Top 20

With last week’s ranking

1. Sacramento (1) 6-1

2. Folsom (2) 7-1

3. Del Oro (3) 7-1

4. Elk Grove (4) 6-1

5. Grant (5) 6-1

6. Antelope (6) 7-0

7. Oak Ridge (7) 6-1

8. Whitney (10) 6-1

9. Sheldon (14) 5-2

10. Jesuit (8) 4-3

11. Rocklin (9) 4-3

12. Monterey Trail (11) 5-2

13. Roseville (13) 6-1

14. Davis (20) 3-4

15. Franklin (12) 4-3

16. Vista del Lago (15) 5-2

17. Inderkum (16) 5-2

18. Christian Brothers (18) 5-2

19. Capital Christian (19) 5-2

20. Burbank (–) 4-3

Dropped out: Liberty Ranch

On the bubble: Bear River (3-4), Bradshaw Christian (8-0), Cordova (5-2), Cosumnes Oaks (4-3), El Camino (5-2), El Dorado (6-1), Kennedy (5-2), Liberty Ranch (5-2), Marysville (6-2), Placer (3-4)

Joe Davidson

This week’s schedule

Thursday’s game

No. 18 Christian Brothers at El Camino

Friday’s games

No. 7 Oak Ridge at No. 3 Del Oro

No. 12 Monterey Trail at No. 4 Elk Grove

No. 5 Grant at No. 9 Sheldon

Del Campo at No. 6 Antelope

No. 8 Whitney at No. 13 Roseville

No. 10 Jesuit vs. No. 15 Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks

No. 11 Rocklin at Woodcreek

Pleasant Grove at No. 14 Davis

Rio Americano vs. No. 16 Vista del Lago at Del Campo

River Valley at No. 17 Inderkum

Dixon at No. 19 Capital Christian

No. 20 Burbank vs. Florin at Monterey Trail

Other games

Bear River at Colfax

Cosumnes Oaks at Bella Vista

El Dorado at Cordova

Foothill at Placer

Foresthill at Delta

Golden Sierra at Bradshaw Christian

Kennedy vs. Laguna Creek at Cosumnes River College

Liberty Ranch at Rosemont

Lincoln at Center

Marysville vs. Mesa Verde at San Juan

Mira Loma at Casa Roble

Nevada Union at Granite Bay

Ponderosa at Oakmont

Rio Vista vs. Encina at El Camino

San Juan at Highlands

Union Mine at Galt

Valley vs. McClatchy at Hughes Stadium

Valley Christian at Western Sierra

West Campus at Natomas

Woodland at Rio Linda

Yuba City at Pioneer

Saturday’s games

Johnson at No. 1 Sacramento, 1 p.m.

Lindhurst at Irvington-Fremont, 1 p.m.

Bye: No. 2 Folsom

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