River Valley takes out Sac High to win first playoff game in school history
Rest and recovery is over. It’s go time now.
Teams with byes in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs were awarded a double luxury of healing any wounds or hurts and scouting their next opponent, as the top four seeds in Divisions I-VI had last week off.
Here’s a peek at games of note in Divisions I-V. Numbers are section seeds, not Bee rankings:
No. 8 Edison (9-2) at No. 1 Folsom (9-1) — The upstart, speedy and dangerous Vikings of Stockton take on the established Bulldogs, who have been to eight consecutive section finals, winning six. Edison has won playoff games in two seasons total, the last before this season coming in 2003. How Edison deals with Folsom’s offense led by QB Kaiden Bennett and a stifling defense headed by DL Tyler Hardeman, DeShawn Lynch, Caleb Freeland and Chandon Pierre is the key.
No. 6 Turlock (8-3) at No. 3 Oak Ridge (7-3) — The visiting Bulldogs won’t likely post a third successive shutout because the Trojans are prolific behind QB Matt Jenner and a fleet of terrific skill players. Turlock has been led by San Diego State-bound DE Garrett Fountain, who may lock up against Nevada-bound tackle Zac Welch.
No. 5 Sheldon (10-1) at No. 4 St. Mary’s (6-4) — The Rams of Stockton eliminated Sheldon in a thriller last season after Sheldon QB Francisco Salinas went out with an injury. Salinas is back, and also playing D, as he had an interception to help seal a 27-14 win over Modesto last week. Sheldon is led by RB Tyrell Smith, looking to reach a semifinal for the first time. St. Mary’s is looking to advance to the seminfinals for the fifth year in a row.
No. 7 Pitman (10-1) at No. 2 Monterey Trail (10-0) — The field finds out fast how strong the visiting Pride are as they brace for the speed and ferocity of the Mustangs, who have not been challenged this season behind QB ace Zach Larrier, WR Andre Crump and RB Jehiel Budgett.
No. 8 Tracy (9-3) at No. 1 Del Oro (9-1) — The host Golden Eagles are eager to get back on track offensively and figure to do so with QB Carson Jarratt, RB Sheldon Conde and WRs Matt Smart, Johnny Guzman and Dawson Hurst. Also, Del Oro aims to unleash DL Tatuo Martinson.
No. 5 Jesuit (7-3) at No. 4 Granite Bay (5-5) — The host Grizzlies, the defending D-II champion, beat the Marauders 27-12 on the road earlier this season, though both teams were thinned by injuries, including Jesuit competing without Notre Dame-bound DB/RB Isaiah Rutherford, who has been healthy and in a groove since the season’s fourth game. Jesuit stoppers Cade Browholtz and Laitu Latu have combined for 45 tackles for loss.
No. 11 Downey (7-4) at No. 3 Inderkum (10-0) — In beating Grant 57-27 last week, Downey became the first Modesto City Schools team to win a road playoff game since 1999. Now the visiting Knights brace for the skill, speed and force of OL Brandon Knott of the Tigers, who seeks a semifinal appearance for the seventh time in eight years.
No. 10 Elk Grove (6-5) at No. 2 Central Catholic (9-1) — In beating Vacaville 28-21 last week, Elk Grove received a stellar effort from DB Khalani Riddick, who had nine tackles and three interceptions. The visiting Thundering Herd face a different animal, though, in the Raiders of Modesto, who are a storied program with 19 section banners.
No. 8 Buhach Colony (9-2) at No. 1 Capital Christian (10-0) — The visiting Thunder of Atwater don’t just have to brace for the churning legs of RB D’Marcus Ross, but they have to deal with the force of the Cougars’ lines, including Will Buck, Shane Semeit and Jonathan Boyd.
No. 5 Manteca (8-3) at No. 4 Antelope (6-4) — The visiting Buffaloes have won section titles the past two seasons in different divisions and are riding a seven-game winning streak as it prepares for a Titans team led by QB Nathan Lucero.
No. 11 River Valley (6-5) at No. 3 Merced (10-0) — The upstart Falcons just won the playoff game in school history and now hit the road to take on the storied Bears, a power since the 1980s. QB Dawson McPeak, a 4.0 student headed to Northern Arizona, leads River Valley.
No. 7 Yuba City (6-4) at No. 2 Placer (10-0) — The Honkers survived an opening 30-28 win over Christian Brothers in an opener behind RB Erik Palmquist and now face a team loaded in the backfield as the Hillmen offer up 1,000-yard rushers Hans Grassman and Marshall Chapman.
No. 8 Pacheco (9-2) at No. 1 Rio Linda (8-2) — The visiting Panthers are coming off the program’s first playoff victory and brace for the Knights’ running attack of Cameron Skattebo and QB Tyson Ybarra.
No. 6 Patterson (7-4) at No. 3 Casa Roble (9-1) — The host Rams are rolling behind QB Marciano Huston and RBs Devin Carmona and Austin Gandy.
No. 10 Cordova (6-5) at No. 2 Vanden (7-3) — The visiting Lancers won a playoff game last week for the first time since 2003, thanks to QB Johnele Sanders and RB Raymond Fite.
No. 8 Los Banos (8-3) at No. 1 Colfax (10-0) — Los Banos has the highest enrollment in the field with 1,388 students and Colfax the smallest at 601, but the top-seeded Falcons fear no one under coach Tony Martello.
No. 5 Foothill (8-3) at No. 4 Sonora (6-4) — The Mustangs are giddy after winning a rare playoff game, their first since 2006 while the host Wildcats seek their fifth consecutive semifinal appearance.
No. 6 Center (8-3) at No. 3 Bear River (9-1) — Bear River beat Center 16-7 in a terrific game earlier this season behind QB Calder Kunde, RBs Tre Maronic and Hunter Daniels, and WR Dylan Scott.