Joe Davidson

How the area’s football pecking order is taking shape, plus games to watch this week

Folsom Bulldogs’ Daniyel Ngata (4) catches a seven-yard touchdown pass while defended by Jesuit Marauders’ Spencer Vigil (11) on Aug. 24, 2018.
Folsom Bulldogs’ Daniyel Ngata (4) catches a seven-yard touchdown pass while defended by Jesuit Marauders’ Spencer Vigil (11) on Aug. 24, 2018.

The best league in regional high school football is a no-brainer. So who comes after the Sierra Foothill League?

The Delta League, again, with a collection of Division I and II programs, each of them with their own degree of pedigree.

Monterey Trail is no longer a Delta member, realigned to the Metropolitan, but the Elk Grove Unified School District is still well represented with No. 8 Sheldon and No. 14 Elk Grove. No. 10 Jesuit went unbeaten in the Delta a year ago and is the favorite again.

The Delta also includes Bee bubble-ranked teams Cosumnes Oaks, Davis and Franklin.

The SFL is loaded, with top-ranked Folsom, No. 2 Del Oro, No. 6 Oak Ridge, No. 9 Granite Bay, No. 13 Grant and No. 17 Rocklin leading the pack. Grant was realigned from the Delta to the SFL for football only this fall.

Head-to-head, the SFL has clobbered the Delta over the years, including this season.

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Folsom rolled Jesuit 50-14, Granite Bay beat Jesuit 27-12, Rocklin trounced Franklin 44-7 and Grant crushed Davis 59-28.

Once the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs start in November, expect to see crossover showdowns in Divisions I and II. The Delta winner will be classified as a D-I playoff team since the Delta is a D-I league.

If Jesuit repeats as the Delta champion, it will surely have to go through Folsom again, having lost to the Bulldogs in the 2017 D-I semifinals, 27-14.

No. 14 Elk Grove (2-2) at No. 8 Sheldon (4-1)

The host Huskies have come of age since opening with a 41-6 loss to Monterey Trail, winning four straight while averaging 42.75 points behind good line play and the hard running of Tyrell Smith (34 carries, 256 yards, three touchdowns). Elk Grove has won two in a row after losses to powerhouse Inderkum and Serra of San Mateo, led by option QB Carter Harris, who had a 92-yard touchdown sprint against Davis last week.

No. 13 Grant (2-2) at No. 9 Granite Bay (2-3)

The Pacers are coming off a bye and got a peek at Granite Bay during its 42-7 loss to Del Oro. The Grizzlies are formidable, though young, much like Grant. This is Grant’s first SFL game after years of good living in other leagues over the decades.

No. 17 Rocklin (2-3) at No. 6 Oak Ridge (3-1)

Rocklin is coming off an inspired 31-21 win over rival Whitney in an SFL opener as Cade Wyant was again stellar (23-of-33 passing, 313 yards, three touchdowns, two to Mason Becker). Oak Ridge finds out in a hurry how it will respond from a 62-6 shelling at Folsom as QB Matt Jenner vows to get the Trojans back on track.

Yuba City (2-3) at No. 11 River Valley (3-1)

The host Falcons will usher in their sparkling new football field, as QB ace Dawson McPeak and RB Nico Tejada lead a wing-T offense into this Capital Valley Conference contest of city rivals. Bryce Rogers has led Yuba City as a dual-threat quarterback.

Foothill (4-0) at Rio Linda (3-1)

Decadeslong rivals meet in this nonleague contest, and both are off to their best start in years. Rio Linda has surged since opening with a loss to Center, now 5-0, and Foothill faces its stiffest test after beating teams that are a combined 3-15.

This week’s schedule

All games kick off between 7-7:30 p.m. Friday, unless noted.

Top 20

Whitney at No. 2 Del Oro

Paraclete at No. 3 Monterey Trail

No. 5 Inderkum at Lincoln-Stockton

No. 17 Rocklin at No. 6 Oak Ridge

El Camino at No. 7 Capital Christian

No. 14 Elk Grove at No. 8 Sheldon

No. 13 Grant at No. 9 Granite Bay

Franklin at No. 10 Jesuit, 4:30 p.m.

Yuba City at No. 11 River Valley

Roseville at No. 16 Antelope

No. 20 Lincoln at Eureka

Byes — No. 1 Folsom, No. 4 Placer, No. 12 Bear River, No. 15 Ponderosa, No. 18 Center, No. 19 Casa Roble

Other games

Rio Americano vs. Christian Brothers at Del Campo

Bradshaw Christian at Woodland Christian

Dixon at Argonaut

Florin at Kennedy

Foothill at Rio Linda

Galt at Franklin-Stockton

Highlands at Pioneer

Colfax at Wheatland

Del Campo at Vista del Lago

Pleasant Grove at Cosumnes Oaks

Woodcreek at Bella Vista

Johnson vs. Encina at Rosemont

Lindhurst at Natomas

Nevada Union at Fairfield

Oakmont at Cordova

Valley vs. McClatchy at Hughes Stadium

Rio Americano vs. Christian Brothers at Del Campo

Mira Loma at San Juan

Woodland at Wood

University Prep vs. Western Sierra at Mahaney Park

Gridley at Marysville

Golden Sierra at East Nicolaus

Winters at Esparto

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