Suddenly, it’s the ninth week of the high school football season, meaning the urgency to secure a playoff spot — or a league championship — is in the air.
A headliner game Friday night is in Placer County, where small-school heavies with perfect records meet for the Pioneer Valley League banner.
No. 13 Colfax hosts No. 11 Bear River, pitting 200-game winners in Terry Logue of the visiting Bruins and Tony Martello of the Falcons.
Martello is a sharp offensive mind, as is Logue, for years Bear River’s defensive coordinator now calling the shots on offense.
On Saturday, No. 8 Sheldon plays at No. 9 Jesuit for the Delta League championship. Sheldon has won seven consecutive games and Jesuit six.
We break down the Top 20 year with an emphasis on strength of schedule:
The Bee’s Top 20
Last week’s ranking is in parentheses.
1. Folsom (1) 7-1 — The Bulldogs roll on, crushing Granite Bay 63-10. How does a team cover Elijhah Badger and Joe Ngata? It doesn’t.
2. Del Oro (2) 8-0 — The Golden Eagles held off Grant 22-21 and needed a tough game after rolling in the previous seven outings.
3. Monterey Trail (3) 8-0 — The Mustangs devoured a talented and quick Burbank club 41-6 as Arturo Pantoja and Marcus Jones combined for 23 tackles.
4. Placer (4) 8-0 — The Hillmen led 45-0 before beating Oakmont 45-20. Defensive lineman Colton McElroy got into the end zone on a fumble return.
5. Inderkum (5) 8-0 — It took eight games, but the Tigers were finally challenged, beating Antelope 37-28 as Shamar Brown and Savien Pressley made plays in the fourth quarter.
6. Oak Ridge (6) 6-2 — The Trojans had a team-wide effort in beating Whitney 49-6 as Gage King caught a touchdown and Mujahd Samad scored on a punt return.
7. Capital Christian (7) 8-0 — The Cougars had a bye. All the better to rest and prepare for what they expect to be a 10-0 season and a real run to the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game.
8. Sheldon (8) 7-1 — Tyrell Smith is a player — a fast one who finds the end zone as he had five touchdowns, including two 80-yarders.
9. Jesuit (11) 6-2 — The Marauders host Sheldon on Saturday for the Delta League championship. Cade Brownholtz was monstrous against Davis.
10. Grant (9) 4-4 — The Pacers agonized over a game they felt was theirs, falling to Del Oro 22-21 Now it’s Folsom time.
11. Bear River (12) 8-0 — Tre Maronic is a beast of a player, a grinder on a team full of them.
12. Elk Grove (13) 4-4 — The Thundering Herd received big scoring plays from Matthew Horn (a pick-6) and Khalani Riddick (85-yard punt return) to race past Franklin 28-0.
13. Colfax (14) 8-0 — It’s been a dream season for the Falcons at a school that continues to thrive across the sporting landscape.
14. Center (15) 6-2 — The Cougars bounced back from a loss to Foothill to throttle Marysville 35-0.
15. Antelope (18) 5-4 — The Titans have suffered three frustrating defeats: 35-27 to Lincoln, 26-19 to Capital Christian and 37-28 to Inderkum.
16. Granite Bay (10) 3-5 — The Grizzlies are not out of the playoff race just yet/ They finish with Oak Ridge and Rocklin.
17. Rio Linda (16) 6-2 — The Knights score a ton and often give up a ton, but the wins are there.
18. Ponderosa (19) 6-2 — The Bruins can turn the Foothill Valley League for a tremor with a win over Placer in a flashback game from the 1970s and early ‘80s when both ruled Division II.
19. Casa Roble (20) 7-1 — The Rams steamed past Woodland 63-6 but expect a much more difficult game against Dixon in a battle of 3-0 Golden Empire League teams.
20. Christian Brothers (-) 5-3 — The Falcons are right back in the playoff hunt after a 33-28 win over Vista del Lago, thanks to a Jacob Stewart touchdown to Tyler Green for the winner.
Dropped out — Lincoln
Bubble teams (in alphabetical order) — Burbank (4-4), Cosumnes Oaks (4-4), Davis (4-4), Dixon (5-3), East Nicolaus (7-0), Foothill (5-3), Lincoln (4-4), Rio Vista (7-1), River Valley (5-3), Rocklin (2-6), Sacramento (3-5), Vista del Lago (4-4), Winters (7-0), Woodcreek (6-2), Yuba City (5-3).
This week’s schedule
All kickoffs between 7-7:30 p.m. Friday, unless noted.
No. 1 Folsom at No. 10 Grant
No. 2 Del Oro at Rocklin
No. 3 Monterey Trail vs. Laguna Creek
No. 18 Ponderosa at No. 4 Placer
No. 5 Inderkum at Yuba City
No. 16 Granite Bay at No. 6 Oak Ridge
Rio Americano at No. 7 Capital Christian
No. 8 Sheldon at No. 9 Jesuit (1 p.m. Saturday)
No. 11 Bear River at No. 13 Colfax
No. 12 Elk Grove at Cosumnes Oaks
Lindhurst at No. 14 Center
Oakmont at No. 17 Rio Linda
Dixon at No. 19 Casa Roble
No. 20 Christian Brothers vs. Del Campo
Bye: No. 15 Antelope
Bella Vista at Roseville
River Valley at Woodcreek
Franklin at Davis
Lincoln at Nevada Union
Mesa Verde vs. Woodland at Pioneer High School
Pioneer vs. Mira Loma at El Camino High School
Florin vs. Johnson at Monterey Trail High School
Natomas at Cordova
River City at Kennedy
McClatchy at Burbank
Marysville at Foothill
Rio Vista at Golden Sierra
San Juan at Linden
Vacaville Christian at Highlands
El Dorado at Bradshaw Christian
Galt vs. Union Mine
Liberty Ranch at Rosemont
Delta at Foresthill
Western Sierra at Valley Christian
Whitney vs. Paraclete at Littlerock High School
Woodland Christian at Encina (11 a.m. Saturday)
Vista del Lago vs. Sacramento (7:15 p.m. Saturday)