Now is when the playoff showdowns arrive.
The Sac-Joaquin Section football brackets for this week’s second-round games offer a whopper of a menu across the divisions, including 11-0 Gregori of Modesto playing at Oak Ridge (10-1) in Division I on Friday.
Star quarterback Marco Baldacchino is expected to play after he sat out the opener against Lincoln of Stockton with a knee strain, though backup Matt Jenner was up to the task, passing for 302 yards and six touchdowns in a 63-12 rout.
Also Friday, top-seeded Folsom hosts Tracy, and the rest of the field is pulling for the visitors to at least make it a game.
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In the section’s only Saturday contest, Jesuit hosts Vacaville (7-3), which lost one-point games to Oak Ridge and Granite Bay this season.
In Division II, 11-0 Inderkum has a shot at redemption against two-time defending division champion Del Oro, which beat the Tigers in the finals last season.
Sacramento (10-1, not including three forfeited losses) plays at 11-0 Del Campo in a classic matchup of the Dragons’ speed against the Cougars’ defensive muscle.
While Folsom and Oak Ridge, The Bee’s top-ranked teams, occupy the top seeds in D-I, two other Sierra Foothill League teams have daunting challenges in D-II after the league went 5-0 in openers. Rocklin plays at Central Catholic of Modesto and top-seeded Granite Bay hosts 10-1 Antelope.
In D-V, Colfax and Bear River of the Pioneer Valley League expect to keep turning the bracket into their own party after pulling upsets. Colfax plays at top-seeded Sonora after bouncing 10-0 Orestimba, and Bear River hosts Ripon after eliminating Capital Christian.
PVL champion Placer, the heavy favorite in D-IV, hosts Woodland.
El Dorado was the surging surprise winner of the section volleyball tournament, winning D-III honors as a 10 seed by toppling No. 1 Sonora 3-2.
The Cougars bounced higher seeds at every turn: No. 7 El Camino 3-0, No. 2 Woodland 3-0, No. 3 and two-time defending champion Christian Brothers 3-1 and Sonora.
It was El Dorado’s first championship since 1998 and ninth overall, all since 1982, moving the Cougars past Davis into sixth place all-time on the section list, regardless of division.
Top players for El Dorado include Kendall Curtis, Caitlin Dillon, Ella Harm, Danae Ford, Shelby Mahaffey, Julia Somera, Mirella Talavera, Karey Valencia and Holly Wold.
Tenth-seeded El Dorado plays Wednesday at No. 7 Shasta in Redding to open D-III Northern California Regional play (for full NorCal brackets, visit cifstate.org).
▪ In other divisions, No. 3-seed Turlock beat top-seeded St. Francis 3-1 in D-I, top-seeded Ponderosa beat No. 2 Nevada Union 3-0 in D-II, No. 1 Hilmar beat No. 2 Bret Harte 3-0 in D-IV, No. 1 Colfax beat No. 2 Capital Christian 3-0 in D-V and Woodland Christian three-peated in D-VI with a 3-1 win over No. 2 Big Valley Christian.
McClatchy won the D-I team boys championship, edging powerhouse Jesuit as Jonah Wiener-Brodk led the way with a third-place showing in 16 minutes, 10.1 seconds. Jesuit’s Matt Strangio won the race in 15:59.3. Amos Karlsen was sixth for McClatchy, as Stephen Crocker finished 16th and Marco Fredrickson 30th.
McClatchy’s 180 points tied Placer for most overall combined team scoring for all divisions behind D-II champion Rocklin’s 178.
Rocklin was paced by Shane Burton, Bennett Woodward, Justin Ferraro and Andrew Craft.
Collin Ullrich of D-IV Liberty Ranch had the fastest course time of the day for any division in 15:58.4, just ahead of Strangio and Garrett Gough of Nevada Union (16:05.6).
Damian King of Bella Vista won the D-II race in 16:11.1 and Jesus Reyes of Placer took the D-IV race in 16:11.1.
Olivia O’Keeffe of Davis was the overall girls winner in 17:49.7 with Elena Denner of Oak Ridge second (17:57.0), Alize Hartke of Oakmont third (18:09.7) and Sydney Vandegrift of St. Francis fourth (18:33.4).
Vista del Lago scored the most combined team points with 167 behind leading runners Sydnee Kizziar, Anna Vogtmann and Rachel Burgoyne, followed by Oak Ridge (170 points), St. Francis (179) and Davis (217).
For full results, visit cifsjs.org.
Top-seeded Jesuit beat No. 2 Davis 7-5 to win the D-I section championship, the program’s 10th banner.
Vanya Soshnikov had three goals for Jesuit, which plays Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton in a NorCal Regional opener on Tuesday (for NorCal brackets: cifstate.org). A sophomore, Soshnikov has 35 goals and 48 points this season. Kyle Webster had two goals against Davis.
No. 1 Rio Americano beat Buhach Colony 9-3 to win in D-II, the program’s ninth title. As the No. 3 seed in NorCal D-II, they’ll host No. 6 Alameda on Tuesday.
Top-seeded Christian Brothers beat Sonora 6-4 in overtime to defend its D-III section title. In the NorCal D-II bracket, the eighth-seeded Falcons travel to No. 1 St. Francis of Mountain View.
In girls, top-seeded Davis beat St. Francis 14-2 in D-I, the program’s eighth in nine years and 14th overall. Seeded fifth in NorCals, Davis faces No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep in the opener.
D-II top seed Rio Americano beat Bella Vista 6-5 in overtime for the program’s 11th banner. The Raiders are sixth in the NorCal bracket and will play No. 3 Drake.