When the Sac-Joaquin Section announced its last league realignment three years ago, it emerged with two especially strong leagues in football: the Sierra Foothill and Delta.
Consequently, it was immediately approved that those two leagues would have at least four playoff entries each.
On Friday, champions will be crowned in both leagues, and the results will affect the selection committee’s seedings for the playoffs, which start next week.
Folsom, The Sacramento Bee’s No. 2-ranked team, hosts No. 3 Oak Ridge. Both are 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the SFL. In the last realignment, the Bulldogs and Trojans were added to the SFL, which already was strong, headed by Del Oro, Granite Bay and Rocklin.
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2,547 Passing yardage by Folsom’s Joe Curry
The Delta League and Delta Valley Conference merged at the same time as the SFL expansion. The Delta champion will be decided when upstart No. 5 Sheldon, 4-2 in league, hosts defending champion and fourth-ranked Elk Grove, which leads at 5-1..
There is plenty of argument that the SFL winner should earn the No. 1 seed in the Division I field over St. Mary’s of Stockton (8-1) based on league strength alone. Folsom seeks a section five-peat, having been seeded No. 1 in each of those seasons.
If Elk Grove wins the Delta, it will return to the D-I playoffs, where it lost a section title thriller last season to Folsom. If Sheldon wins the Delta, it will be in the D-I field, and Elk Grove, which has D-II enrollment, will go to to that division. The section mandates that teams that win D-I leagues advance at that level.
Passing fancy - Folsom and Oak Ridge are led by first-year starting quarterbacks.
Folsom senior Joe Curry has passed for 2,547 yards and 36 touchdowns , and Oak Ridge junior Marco Baldacchino has thrown for 1,282 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 677 yards and 13 scores.
In the Delta, Elk Grove and Sheldon are throwback run teams, though each also can pass. The Thundering Herd’s Jayden Machado had six first-half touchdown passes Friday in a rout of Franklin. Overall, the senior has passed for 1,368 yards and 21 touchdowns, nine to Gavin Reinwald. Sheldon is fueled by 1,000-yard running back Graylon Lindsey, though quarterback Chancellor LaChapelle has passed for 1,325 yards and 12 scores.
Elk Grove seeks its 15th league title since 1990, the past three under coach Chris Nixon. Sheldon seeks its second title since opening in 1997 and first since 2006.
CAL clash – For the third consecutive season, the Capital Athletic League title will come down to Christian Brothers and Vista del Lago. The teams meet Friday at Hughes Stadium.
7 Consecutive wins by Christian Brothers
Both teams are led by strong-armed quarterbacks coming off big games: No. 11 Vista del Lago with Brent Schaeffer, who threw for six touchdowns in a win over El Camino, and No. 12 Christian Brothers with Tyler Vander Waal, who accounted for four touchdowns in a victory over Casa Roble.
Block party – Christian Brothers’ Matthew DeSimone blocked a punt against Casa Roble, and Daniel Simoes scooped up the ball and returned it for a touchdown. The entire Falcons team raced into the end zone to congratulate them.
They are two of the unsung performers on a team that has won seven consecutive games.
Urgent time – Granite Bay has a shot at an 18th consecutive playoff berth if it can beat Rocklin, which has lost four consecutive games.
With a win, Granite Bay would be 4-6 but would have a 3-3 league record and be in fourth place in the SFL. Del Oro went 4-6 in the 2015 regular season and won the CIF State Division II-AA championship.
In the Delta, Elk Grove, Sheldon, Grant and Jesuit have secured playoff spots. Davis and Monterey Trail are trying to get in, and they meet Friday with the winner advancing and the loser hoping to get selected.
Placer, which leads the Pioneer Valley League at 4-0, can take the title outright with a win over Lincoln, which is 3-1 in league.
The Bee’s Top 20
With last week’s ranking
1. Sacramento (1) 8-1
2. Folsom (2) 8-1
3. Oak Ridge (3) 8-1
4. Elk Grove (4) 8-1
5. Sheldon (5) 7-2
6. Antelope (6) 9-0
7. Del Oro (7) 7-2
8. Grant (8) 7-2
9. Jesuit (9) 6-3
10. Roseville (10) 8-1
11. Vista del Lago (14) 7-2
12. Christian Brothers (16) 7-2
13. Cosumnes Oaks (–) 6-3
14. Whitney (11) 6-3
15. Inderkum (15) 7-2
16. Davis (13) 4-5
17. Monterey Trail (12) 5-4
18. Capital Christian (17) 7-2
19. Placer (–) 5-4
20. Bradshaw Christian (–) 9-0
Dropped out: No. 18 Woodcreek, No. 19 Burbank, No. 20 Rocklin
On the bubble: Burbank (5-4), Center (6-3), Colfax (6-3), Cordova (6-3), Dixon (6-3), El Dorado (7-2), Liberty Ranch (7-2), Marysville (7-2), Woodcreek (4-5), Yuba City (7-3)
This week’s schedule
All games start between 7-7:30 p.m.
No. 3 Oak Ridge at No. 2 Folsom
No. 4 Elk Grove at No. 5 Sheldon
No. 6 Antelope at No. 14 Whitney
Woodcreek at No. 7 Del Oro
Oakmont at No. 10 Roseville
No. 11 Vista del Lago vs. No. 12 Christian Brothers at Hughes Stadium
No. 13 Cosumnes Oaks at Ponderosa
Rio Linda at No. 15 Inderkum
No. 16 Davis at No. 17 Monterey Trail
No. 18 Capital Christian vs. Mesa Verde at San Juan
No. 19 Placer at Lincoln
Highlands at No. 20 Bradshaw Christian
Bella Vista at Del Campo
Center at Bear River
Colfax at Foothill
Cordova at Rosemont
Delta vs. Valley Christian at Highlands
Dixon at Argonaut
Foresthill at Woodland Christian
Kennedy at Burbank
Liberty Ranch at Galt
Lindhurst at Natomas
Mira Loma at El Camino
Pleasant Grove at Franklin
Rio Americano at Casa Roble
River Valley at River City
Rio Vista at Golden Sierra
Rocklin at Granite Bay
Turlock Christian at Western Sierra
Union Mine at El Dorado
Valley vs. Florin at Cosumnes River College
West Campus at Marysville
Woodland at Pioneer
McClatchy at No. 1 Sacramento, 1 p.m.
No. 8 Grant at No. 9 Jesuit, 1 p.m.
Laguna Creek at Johnson, 1 p.m.