Joe Davidson

Prep football: Regular-season finale is no time to lose for area teams in playoff hunt

Del Oro’s Logan Hurst passes the ball during the third quarter as the Del Oro Golden Eagles host the Oak Ridge Trojans on Friday, October 17, 2014.
Del Oro’s Logan Hurst passes the ball during the third quarter as the Del Oro Golden Eagles host the Oak Ridge Trojans on Friday, October 17, 2014. sabeephotos@sacbee.com

Urgency is a prevailing theme as the high school football regular season ends Friday.

Some teams are competing for league championships. Others – even those used to chasing such prizes – are scrambling just to slip into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, which start Nov. 14.

All first- and second-place teams qualify for the playoffs, with the Sierra Foothill and Delta leagues advancing a minimum of three teams but perhaps as many as five, given the strength of the league and schedules. There will be 28 at-large berths spanning all divisions – small, medium and large – meaning a flood of seven- and eight-win teams and probably all six-win teams will muscle in.

Though no 5-5 teams made the section playoffs last season, some could this season, particularly those from power leagues such as the SFL and Delta. This includes SFL member Oak Ridge, which at 5-5 has a big nonleague win over Metropolitan Conference champion Burbank. Oak Ridge has a bye this week.

A closer look:

▪  Second-ranked Grant (9-0) visits No. 3 Jesuit (8-1) on Saturday for the Delta championship in a first-time meeting as league foes, though the teams have met in the postseason, the last time in 2002. Both teams are 6-0 in league.

A Jesuit victory could result in a No. 2 seed in the Division I playoffs behind Folsom, provided the Bulldogs beat struggling Woodcreek in an SFL finale Friday. Jesuit’s loss came against De La Salle.

A Grant win could bring the Pacers the No. 1 seed in Division II or a No. 2 seed in D-I. Grant is on the bubble for D-I entry in terms of enrollment. To translate, if there are 16 qualifying playoff teams with larger enrollments than Grant, the Pacers slip into D-II. Otherwise, Grant is D-I. Also in the Delta, No. 4 Elk Grove (7-2) is in the playoffs as a third-place team, leaving No. 9 Franklin (5-4) and No. 10 Monterey Trail (5-4) needing wins to enhance their playoff hopes, though each could get in at 5-5.

▪ No. 8 Del Oro needs a victory at rival and sixth-ranked Granite Bay (7-2) to clinch a playoff berth at 5-5. The Golden Eagles won section titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013 with two CIF State Bowl appearances in that span.

A Del Oro victory would place the Golden Eagles at 4-2 and a second-place tie with Granite Bay in the SFL. Rocklin also will be 4-2 if it wins at Nevada Union (3-6) on Friday, with point differential used as the tiebreaker. Del Oro has nonleague losses to non-section powers De La Salle, Kamehameha of Hawaii and Helix of La Mesa in the San Diego area.

“If we can’t place in the top three in our league,” Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said, “then we don’t deserve the playoffs.”

▪ No. 11 Christian Brothers and No. 16 Vista del Lago meet at Hughes Stadium on Friday for the Capital Athletic League championship. CBS (8-1) and Vista (6-3) are 4-0 in league and assured of playoff spots. At stake Friday is a league banner and a better seed in the Division III playoff bracket.

▪ No. 15 Cosumnes Oaks (7-2) has locked up the Capital Valley Conference title, but there’s still a race for second place.

Antelope (6-3), Del Campo (6-3) and Roseville (5-4) are 4-2 in league with Ponderosa (5-4) one game back. Friday, Ponderosa hosts Cosumnes Oaks, Del Campo hosts Bella Vista (3-6), Roseville hosts Oakmont (1-8), and Antelope visits Whitney (1-8). If the favored teams win, it will result in a three-way tie for second.

▪ No. 18 Placer (7-2) clinched at least a tie for its third consecutive Pioneer Valley League title, and Bear River hopes for at least a share. For that to happen, Colfax (6-3) must beat visiting Placer, and host Bear River (7-2) must defeat Lincoln (1-8) on Friday.

To spice things up, Colfax is selling “Beat Placer” shirts, and Placer is selling “Beat Colfax” shirts.

▪ No. 12 El Dorado (9-0) has clinched at least a share of its first league title since 1983 and can win the Sierra Valley Conference with a home victory Friday over Union Mine (5-4), which is 3-1 in league play. If Union Mine wins and Rosemont (5-4) defeats visiting Cordova (6-3) on Friday, El Dorado, Union Mine and Rosemont will share the CVC title at 4-1.

▪ No. 20 Capital Christian (9-0) can win the Golden Empire League with a home victory over Marysville (7-2) on Friday, but Marysville will tie for the title at 5-1 with a victory. In that scenario, Dixon (5-4) also can share the crown with a home victory over Natomas (6-3) on Friday, and four GEL teams could make the playoffs.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

THE BEE’S FOOTBALL TOP 20

Last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. Folsom (1) 9-0

2. Grant (2) 9-0

3. Jesuit (3) 8-1

4. Elk Grove (5) 7-2

5. Inderkum (6) 8-1

6. Granite Bay (7) 7-2

7. Rocklin (4) 7-2

8. Del Oro (9) 4-5

9. Franklin (8) 5-4

10. Monterey Trail (11) 5-4

11. Christian Brothers (12) 8-1

12. El Dorado (15) 9-0

13. Burbank (17) 6-3

14. Rio Linda (13) 7-2

15. Cosumnes Oaks (16) 7-2

16. Vista del Lago (18) 6-3

17. Sacramento (10) 7-2

18. Placer (19) 7-2

19. Roseville (-) 5-4

20. Capital Christian (20) 9-0

Joe Davidson

THE BEE’S SOCCER TOP 20

Final regular-season rankings; last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. Jesuit (1) 22-1-1

2. Christian Brothers (2) 14-1-4

3. Granite Bay (3) 17-1

4. Davis (4) 14-5

5. Grant (14) 11-9-3

6. Pleasant Grove (8) 8-5-5

7. Galt (6) 17-3-4

8. Capital Christian (7) 15-3

9. Cosumnes Oaks (9) 12-2-5

10. Bella Vista (11) 10-5-4

11. Del Oro (12) 11-3-3

12. Oak Ridge (13) 11-4-1

13. Franklin (14) 8-7-4

14. Whitney (10) 9-4-6

15. Rio Americano (15) 11-6-2

16. Natomas (16) 13-4-3

17. Placer (17) 14-1-4

18. Monterey Trail (18) 10-10-3

19. Ponderosa (20) 9-8-2

20. Liberty Ranch (19) 12-8-3

Mike Finnerty

THE BEE’S VOLLEYBALL TOP 20

Final regular-season rankings; last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. El Camino (1) 42-3

2. Oak Ridge (4) 24-6

3. St. Francis (5) 27-11

4. Granite Bay (3) 24-11

5. Rocklin (2) 23-13

6. Christian Brothers (8) 23-11

7. Pleasant Grove (7) 26-7

8. Oakmont (8) 27-3

9. Davis (9) 24-8

10. Roseville (10) 27-11

11. Bella Vista (11) 18-9

12. Yuba City (12) 25-8

13. Rio Americano (13) 24-13

14. Whitney (14) 20-13

15. Elk Grove (16) 19-12

16. Placer (15) 14-11

17. Ponderosa (17) 17-18

18. Bear River (-) 18-10

19. Franklin (19) 17-14

20. Nevada Union (18) 13-17

Mike Finnerty

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