Joe Davidson

Five high school football games to watch Friday night

The Bee’s Joe Davidson previews

five key area games tonight.

No. 1 Folsom (7-0) at No. 3 Rocklin (7-0)

▪ When: 7:30 p.m.

▪ Outlook: The Sierra Foothill League championship is on the line with these teams also targeting Sac-Joaquin Section titles – Folsom in Division I and Rocklin in D-II. Folsom, rested after a bye, is more than just a passing team with quarterback Jake Browning, who has thrown for 2,624 yards and 43 touchdowns with just two interceptions. The Bulldogs also can run with speed and power, having amassed 996 yards (6.8 yards per carry) with seven running backs reaching the end zone. Rocklin counters with Will Floyd, who has stepped up admirably at quarterback for injured starter Max O’Rourke. The rushing game is led by Riley Clark and Evyn Holtz. Rocklin’s defense, among the best in the section, has been led by linebacker Dusty Howenstine and tackle Chase Hatada. Folsom has dominated on defense, too, led by defensive end Sam Whitney and linebackers Bailey Laolagi and Sam Whittingham.

No. 4 Jesuit (6-1)

vs. No. 8 Franklin (5-2)

▪ When: 7:15 p.m. at Cosumnes Oaks

▪ Outlook: Franklin needs a victory over the Marauders to stay in the title hunt, while the Marauders need a win to set up a possible final-weekend showdown with No. 2 Grant for the Delta League championship. Jesuit has won six consecutive games behind quarterback Cole Brownholtz, who is accurate and also can scramble. He is flanked by running back Beau Bisharat, wide receivers Luke Bagley and Isaiah Bailey, tight end Kori Collons and linebacker Isaac Lessard. Franklin, whose lone local loss was to Grant, has come of age lately with the efforts of quarterback Jake Lopez, running back Lamar Jackson, wide receiver Brandon Johnson and defenders Bryce and Reid Abshear, Mitchell Bullough and Patrick Walker.

No. 16 El Dorado (7-0) at Cordova (6-1)

▪ When: 7:30 p.m.

▪ Outlook: A one-time winning program that had fallen on rough times, El Dorado last season qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Thanks to balanced offense in quarterback Nick Bonniksen (1,648 passing yards, 20 touchdowns) and running back Tyler Clanin (973, 13 TDs), the Cougars are enjoying their best season since El Dordao won its lone Sac-Joaquin Section title in 1983. Cordova got off to a 6-0 start for just the second time since 1990 behind quarterback Unique Perez (15 TDs), who is eager to bounce back from his team’s 41-0 loss to Liberty Ranch, in which he was intercepted three times.

Natomas (5-2) at Capital Christian (7-0)

▪ When: 7:30 p.m.

▪ Outlook: Entering this season, this wasn’t the Golden Empire League contest circled on Capital Christian’s schedule since Natomas was riding a 32-game losing streak. But Natomas is having its best season in years, thanks to playmakers such as Dejon Glover, one of the state’s best all-purpose threats. He will go against another in the Cougars’ Justice Shelton-Mosley, who can hurt teams as a runner, receiver, punt returner, kick returner and at cornerback. Sophomore quarterback Jake Norville has thrown 15 touchdowns with just one interception for Capital Christian, off to a school-record start that includes 32 rushing touchdowns by nine players.

Bear River (6-1) at Placer (5-2)

▪ When: 7:30 p.m.

▪ Outlook: First place is on the line in the Pioneer Valley League between rivals in what is also “The Bee Preps Show" showcase game. Bear River is led by brothers Jason Voter at quarterback and John Voter at running back (11 TDs) and linebacker. The Hillmen average 281 yards rushing out of the wing-T formation with 34 touchdowns, nine by Cole Blackwell and eight by Jared Halbert. Few area high school venues are more historic or have the atmosphere as Placer’s LeFebvre Stadium.

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