Joe Davidson

Why the Sierra Foothill League is intriguing beyond Folsom (and other games of note)

Oak Ridge’s Truman Andrus, left, tackles Del Oro’s Camrion Davis on Oct. 21, 2016.
Oak Ridge’s Truman Andrus, left, tackles Del Oro’s Camrion Davis on Oct. 21, 2016. Sacramento Bee file

If you look beyond the top dog, the Sierra Foothill League features plenty of intriguing games and rivalries.

Oak Ridge and Del Oro have squared off since the 1980s, with the Trojans owning an 8-6 advantage over their rivals from Loomis over the last 14 seasons.

“It’s been a good series, very competitive,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “It should be a great game.”

They embody a rivalry at its finest — competitive games and bragging rights up for grabs.

Folsom High School, in that regard, has no real rival as the Bulldogs continue to plow through the SFL unbeaten since arriving in 2013.

A closer look at five area games of note:

No. 6 Oak Ridge (5-1) at No. 2 Del Oro (6-0)

Del Oro needs a win to keep pace with Folsom in the SFL as the teams meet in Week 10 in what could be the title match. The Golden Eagles, with 17 starters back from a Sac-Joaquin Section championship runner-up squad, has scored on offense, defense and special teams in dominating the early schedule, including Johnny “Rocket” Guzman, one of the fastest and most versatile players in the state. Oak Ridge has bounced back strong from its 62-6 loss at Folsom by beating Rocklin 38-14 and Grant 33-6 as Matt Jenner has found his groove again at quarterback.

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No. 4 Placer (6-0) at No. 17 Rio Linda (5-1)

Neither team can afford a loss if it expects to win the newly created Foothill Valley League championship. Placer has scored 69, 70, 70 and 63 points in its last four contests behind a devastating wing-T ground game that includes Marshall Chapman (798 yards, 19 touchdowns), Hans Grassman (828, 13) and Brad Bishop (482, six). Rio Linda has a power back with speed in Cameron Skattebo (1,230 yards, 16 TDs). Is passing the ball even allowed here?

River Valley (4-2) at No. 5 Inderkum (6-0)

The Capital Valley Conference includes front runner Inderkum, which has the league’s most prolific offense and most stingy defense, and upstart River Valley, led by standout QB Dawson McPeak. Inderkum had had 15 players rush for a combined 2,527 yards and 40 touchdowns, including 11 scores from Johnny Williams and nine from Raymond Brown.

No. 11 Jesuit (4-2) at No. 13 Elk Grove (3-3)

The Marauders roar into this one as the defending Delta League champions riding a four-game winning streak after injuries cast a shadow over losses to Folsom and Granite Bay. Jesuit is healthy now, including RB Isaiah Rutherford, who has scored seven times in the last three games. Elk Grove is young but promising with QB Carter Harris, who has rushed for 907 yards and nine touchdowns, and RB Tre’von Frazier, who has gone for 436 and six.

No. 18 Ponderosa (5-1) at No. 20 Lincoln (3-3)

The Foothill Valley League isn’t just about Placer and everyone else, but Ponderosa and Lincoln need a win here to keep pace. The Bruins last won a league title in 2007 (under then-coach Jason Tenner) and the host Zebras last did so in 2009 (under then-coach Ken Lowe). One of the best QB-WR duos in the state is Lincoln’s Tommy Turner and Harry Rounds.

This week’s schedule

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

Top 20

Whitney at No. 1 Folsom

No. 6 Oak Ridge at No. 2 Del Oro

Kennedy at No. 3 Monterey Trail

No. 4 Placer at No. 17 Rio Linda

River Valley at No. 5 Inderkum

No. 7 Capital Christian vs. Sacramento, Saturday

Rocklin at No. 9 Grant

No. 11 Jesuit at No. 13 Elk Grove

Lindhurst at No. 12 Bear River

Woodcreek at No. 14 Antelope

Foothill at No. 15 Center

Marysville at No. 16 Colfax

No. 18 Ponderosa at No. 20 Lincoln

No. 19 Casa Roble at Pioneer

Byes: No. 8 Sheldon, No. 10 Granite Bay

Other games

Christian Brothers at El Camino

Rio Americano at Del Campo

Yuba City at Bella Vista

Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks

Oakmont at Nevada Union

Florin at Cordova

River City at Burbank

Encina at Foresthill

Delta at Western Sierra

Golden Sierra at Highlands

San Juan at Rio Vista

El Dorado at Rosemont

Galt at Bradshaw Christian

Union Mine at Liberty Ranch

Mesa Verde vs. Dixon at San Juan

Natomas vs. Valley at Cosumnes River College

McClatchy vs. Laguna Creek at Hughes Stadium

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