Joe Davidson

Breaking down the area’s top teams and why three struggling programs are celebrating

Watch the top highlights from area high school football, Aug. 24

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Watch highlights from Friday, Aug. 24 high school football games and vote for your favorite in our Highlight of the Week poll at

Two weeks in and the Sierra Foothill League has answered the call.

It comes as no surprise that Folsom, Oak Ridge and Del Oro occupy the top three spots in this week’s rankings, meaning the SFL continues to stand for “Superior Football League.”

This is clearly the best league in the Sac-Joaquin Section and if it isn’t the best collection of teams in Northern California, then it’s on the shortest list with the West Catholic Athletic League of the Central Coast Section and the Bay Valley League of the North Coast Section.

Expect some cross-sectional showdowns when the CIF NorCal playoffs arrive in November.

Folsom recovered nicely from its opening-night 14-0 loss at national power De La Salle to clobber previous No. 2-ranked Jesuit 51-14 as Kaiden Bennett tossed four first-half touchdowns in regaining his familiar form. CJ Hutton returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a score for the Bulldogs.

Oak Ridge steamed past storied Vacaville 42-0 behind quarterback Matt Jenner and playmaker Avant Jacobs, who had 174 all-purpose yards.

Del Oro crushed Oak Grove of San Jose in an Honor Bowl showcase in Mountain View as quarterback Carson Jarratt sparkled again. So did a guy nicknamed “Rocket,” as Johnny Guzman returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score. Also, for good measure, Kal Lunders returned an interception 100 yards for a score.

Folsom hosts No. 10 Antelope as coach Kris Richardson seeks win No. 150. Oak Ridge visits Nevada power Reed in what has been a terrific series. Del Oro hosts Windsor of Sonoma County.

Two SFL heavies for years are No. 11 Rocklin and No. 12 Granite Bay, though the Grizzlies stalled offensively in its 0-2 start, scoring just three points. Granite Bay plays at Jesuit on Friday in a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.

Rocklin bounced back from a last-play opening-night loss to Antelope to roll previously ranked Franklin 44-7 as Cade Wyant dazzled at quarterback again with a nice boost from running backs Sawyer Skerl and Cole Douglas, who each rushed for two touchdowns.

Rocklin on Friday hosts Damonte Ranch, ranked fourth in Nevada. Damonte Ranch beat Granite Bay 28-0 last week.

Winters wonders — He helped propel the baseball team to a 30-1 season last spring and a Northern Section championship, and here comes Daniel Carrion again.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior quarterback passed for 138 yards and two touchdowns to Atlas Martinez, rushed for 216 and a score and made five tackles on defense to key a 21-14 victory over Dixon. Evan Judd and Gary Molina combined for 26 tackles for the Warriors.

Winters has been a North Section power since the 1970s, first under famed coach Jack Delbar and in recent years under Daniel Ward, an alum of the school in his 11th year at the helm. He guided a 12-1 team in 2014.

Streak Busters I — Johnson ended a 14-game losing streak with a 42-15 victory over Western Sierra Academy, giving coach Alex Gomes-Coelho his first win in his second year with the program. Johnson went a combined 3-26 the previous three seasons.

The Warriors were a Metro League power off and on during the late 1980s, throughout the 1990s and up until 2001 before declining participation numbers (in part due to nearby West Campus becoming its own athletic program in 2002).

Streak Busters II — Davis emphatically halted a 12-game losing streak by routing Cordova 69-20 as junior running backs Payne Barksdale and Taylor Vaughn combined to rush for more the 350 yards and seven touchdowns as Steve Smyte won his first game in his second tour as head coach.

He coached Davis from 2010-12 and accepted the job again during the offseason.

The versatile Barksdale rushed for 212 yards on seven carries in the first half, including five touchdowns, tying a school record held by Marc Hicks, Davis’ all-time greatest player, and Courtney Williams. He finished with 214 yards as Davis pulled starters in the second half.

Davis was a powerhouse in the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s, much of that under famed coach Dave Whitmire, who addressed these Blue Devils before this season and stressed teamwork and resolve.

Next is Woodland, a decades-long rivalry within Yolo County. The series stalled in the 2000s due to bad blood between the programs.

Streak Busters III — In the North Section, Wheatland ended a 12-game skid for a first-year coach, Larry Hulen, by topping Marysville 24-15.

The Pirates, a power in recent decades, attempted two passes but rushed 56 times for 303 yards, including 131 and two scores from Tariq Parker.

Tigers time — Roseville and Oakmont have been rivals since 1973. Both have produced players of NFL note, including linebackers Dan Bunz of Oakmont, who won Super Bowls with the 49ers, and Tedy Bruschi of Roseville, who did the same with the New England Patriots.

Any notion to “throw the records out the window” only works to maintain order before games. For the record, Roseville’s 20-6 win Friday moved the Tigers to 21-3 against Oakmont since 1989.

Alex Nicholas hit Terrell Williams for a touchdown pass, and Aaron Shima and Stephen Sparks each scored rushing touchdowns for Roseville (2-0), which has doubled its win total from 2017.

Home cookin’ — Chico beat Sacramento 15-14 on a last-second field goal by Atticus Mikles for the school’s first on-campus victory in 66 years. Chico had played off campus.

Mikles had two extra points blocked earlier.

Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson:, @SacBee_JoeD,

This week’s schedule

All games kickoff between 7-7:30 p.m., unless noted.

Top 20

No. 10 Antelope at No. 1 Folsom

No. 2 Oak Ridge at Reed

Windsor at No. 3 Del Oro

Bishop Manogue at No. 4 Placer

No. 5 Inderkum vs. No. 19 Sacramento at Hughes Stadium

No. 6 Monterey Trail at Spanish Springs

No. 12 Granite Bay at No. 7 Jesuit, 4:30 p.m.

No. 8 Capital Christian at No. 9 Grant

Damonte Ranch at No. 11 Rocklin

No. 13 Sheldon at Kennedy

Franklin at No. 14 River Valley

No. 16 Christian Brothers at Vanden

No. 17 Bear River at Pershing County

No. 19 Casa Roble at Vista del Lago

Other games

Argonaut at Hughson

Burbank at Vacaville

Central at Whitney

Del Campo at McQueen

Douglas at Union Mine

Esparto at Woodland Christian

Foresthill at Portola

Galt at Linden

Golden Sierra at Orestimba

Laguna Creek at Dublin

McClatchy at Foothill

Liberty Ranch at Amador

Natomas at Rio Vista

Oakmont at Bella Vista

Pitman vs. Pleasant Grove at Sheldon

Ponderosa at El Dorado

Rio Americano at Roseville

Rio Linda at Cordova

River City at Cosumnes Oaks

Rosemont at Dixon

Vacaville Christian at Delta Valley

Christian at Fort Bragg

Valley vs. Vallejo at Cosumnes River College

Western Sierra at Maxwell

Woodcreek at El Camino

Woodland at Davis

Yuba City at Fairfield

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