One thing about football coaches - they’re loyal to their schematic roots.
It’s not always a copy-cat profession. In the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, different offensive sets dot the brackets, a change from earlier eras.
In the 1980s and ‘90s, a good number of regional teams ran the wing-T, which was ideal for teams that were not big in the trenches but were enormous in effort. Mira Loma introduced the deception-based look in the 1960s, and Nevada Union popularized it in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.
This decade, the spread offense has taken the game by storm. Folsom ditched its power football scheme in the 2000s when the Bulldogs wound up getting blasted up and down the field. So they went spread under coaches Kris Richardson and Troy Taylor (now the offensive coordinator at Utah in the Pac-12) in an effort to have a better chance to compete.
And then the Bulldogs took off, winning six section and three CIF State titles this decade. Folsom (9-1) is the top seed in the Division I bracket, led by Boise State-bound quarterback Kaiden Bennett, who picks defenses apart as the Bulldogs line up athletes all over to stretch the defense.
Bennett has tossed 44 touchdowns with no interceptions during Folsom’s nine-game winning streak. The Bulldogs host upstart Edison of Stockton, a spread team coming off its first league championship since 1977.
No. 2 seed Monterey Trail (10-0) seeks its third D-I title-game appearance under coach T.J. Ewing on the strength of the run-heavy veer offense. Zach Larrier has passed for 16 touchdowns and rushed for 13 more, and Jehiel Budgett has scored 17 times on the ground.
The veer is what De La Salle has used for decades to crush all comers up and down the state. And it’s what Jesuit, seeded fifth in Division II, uses under coach Marlon Blanton, a De La Salle graduate and one-time assistant coach.
Sheldon, seeded fifth in D-I, is riding a 10-game winning streak behind coach Joe Cattolico and the I-back offense that features Tyrell Smith, who has rushed for 1,561 yards and 22 scores. The Huskies (10-1) take on No. 4 St. Mary’s next, the Rams shredding teams for years with the spread under coach Tony Franks.
No. 3 Oak Ridge uses the spread under coach Eric Cavaliere, who recently won his 100th game with the program and relies on quarterback Matt Jenner to lead the way. The Trojans host No. 6 Turlock in D-I.
D-II top seed Del Oro is 9-1 on the strength of its spread under coach Jeff Walters. Carson Jarratt has tossed 16 touchdown passes and Sheldon Conde has rushed for 14 scores.
Also in D-II, No. 3 seed Inderkum is 10-0 for the second successive season and third time in four years under coach Terry Stark, who ran the wing-T 40 years ago at Mira Loma as a quarterback and still uses it now. Inderkum averages nearly 400 yards rushing a game and has rushed for 60 touchdowns this season, 18 from Raymond Brown and 14 from Johnny Williams.
Downey’s spread buckled Grant 57-27 in a D-II opener, setting up a Friday meeting at Inderkum.
No. 10 Elk Grove pulled a D-II upset at No. 7 Vacaville as 5-foot-6 quarterback blur Carter Harris and the Thundering Herd’s triple-option offense prevailed 28-21, setting up a matchup at No. 2 seed Central Catholic in Modesto.
In D-III, Capital Christian is 10-0 as it has relied on its multiple pistol offense under coach Casey Taylor, who utilizes a power back with speed. D’Marcus Ross has rushed for 1,650 yards and 17 touchdowns, and Cooper Crick has passed for 1,447 yards and 18 scores.
D-III second seed Placer has rolled to a 10-0 mark behind a power wing-T under coach Joey Montoya, who learned the offense while working as an assistant coach at Nevada Union in 2000. The Hillmen have rushed for 4,457 yards and 68 touchdowns, including 1,342 yards and 20 scores by Hans Grassman, 1,006 and 22 from Marshall Chapman and 811 and 12 from Brad Bishop.
In D-IV, top-seeded Rio Linda is a power running team that operates out of multiple formations. Easier put, it’s a Skattebo Offense, as in running back star Cameron Skattebo, who has rushed for 2,152 of his team’s 4,030 yards. He has 25 of his team’s 48 rushing touchdowns.
In D-V, Colfax will always air it out under coach Tony Martello, whose 10-0 top seed is led by Alex Weir (1,810 yards passing, 27 touchdowns).
Third-seeded Bear River (9-1) has gone with a variation of looks under co-coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie, and sometimes that’s a relentless running game with Tre Maronic, who has played hurt and inspired and has 1,032 yards and 12 scores for the defending D-V champions.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.
Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs
No. 3 Golden Sierra at No. 2 Big Valley Christian