Joe Davidson

High school football preview: Three Sacramento-area league champs could be determined

Highland’s Isaiah Tenette (1) runs for a touchdown against Natomas on Sept. 18.
Highland’s Isaiah Tenette (1) runs for a touchdown against Natomas on Sept. 18. Special to The Bee

As our unseasonably warm autumn cools a bit this weekend, area high school football league races continue to run hot. Championships could be decided in the Tri-County Conference, Capital Valley Conference and Golden Empire League this week. And teams must win at least two league games to become eligible for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Some area legends could be on the sideline again at Cordova when the Lancers host Liberty Ranch in a Sierra Valley Conference game. The Rancho Cordova Sports Hall of Fame’s first class, inducted Saturday, includes the 1975 Cordova team that was ranked No. 1 in the country; Max Venable and Reggie Young, members of that team; Jerry Manuel, who later managed in the majors; Seneca Wallace; and brothers Kevin and Gerald Willhite.

Here are five games to keep an eye on:

No. 5 Inderkum (7-0) at No. 17 River Valley (6-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Inderkum seeks its eighth TCC championship since 2007. The Tigers have won 18 consecutive league games and 45 of 46 overall with seven perfect league runs. Raekwon Turner has rushed for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns, Derrick Henderson – the school’s career tackling leader – has gone for 570 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Jimmie Johnson makes plays as a runner, receiver and return specialist with 12 total touchdowns. River Valley needs one victory to become the program’s most successful team. Following River Valley’s only loss, 35-21 against unbeaten Pleasant Valley of Chico, the Falcons have responded with big wins over Rio Linda (52-7), Woodland (53-6) and Pioneer (76-12). Avery Gould has passed for 1,290 yards, and Dante’ Love has rushed for 1,063 yards and 17 touchdowns.

18 Consecutive league wins by Inderkum

No. 6 Antelope (6-0) at No. 14 Cosumnes Oaks (4-2)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: Antelope already has nonleague wins over Elk Grove Unified School District teams Monterey Trail (28-0), Sheldon (28-7) and Laguna Creek (42-7), but the Titans should be tested in this game. The Titans beat Roseville 40-35 last week, with Montel Aaron passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and Elijah Dotson and Davaughn Silver combining for three rushing touchdowns. Cosumnes Oaks opened the season with a 20-0 win over powerhouse Marin Catholic and is coming off a 35-0 win over Roseville and a 21-14 loss to Del Campo. Dante Davis (94.5 rushing yards per game) has scored 10 touchdowns, and the defense has been led by Keoni Stallworth, Xavier Forbes and Hunter Lunsford.

No. 20 Capital Christian (6-0) at Dixon (6-1)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: Defending GEL champion Capital Christian, which has routed its past four opponents, should expect a battle against the Rams, who have won six in a row behind running backs D’Lornn McMullen (104.0 yards per game) and Bryce Nakamura (99.5 yards). Jacob Norville has passed for 933 yards and 15 touchdowns for Capital Christian, which averages 230.0 rushing yards with a committee approach.

Highlands (4-2) at San Juan (3-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Neither team can afford to lose if it wants to keep up with Bradshaw Christian and Golden Sierra in the Sierra Delta League race. Highlands is led by dynamic quarterback Isaiah Tenette, who has passed for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns and run for 1,316 yards and 23 scores. San Juan’s Tony Murphy has passed for 1,639 yards and 14 touchdowns, and wide receiver Romeo Johnson has 34 catches for 521 yards and eight touchdowns.

Highlands is led by dynamic quarterback Isaiah Tenette, who has passed for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns and run for 1,316 yards and 23 scores.

Liberty Ranch (2-4) at Cordova (4-2)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: Cordova was 6-0 at this point last season before losing 41-0 to Liberty Ranch and finishing the season 6-4. Cordova quarterback Unique Perez has passed for 1,838 yards and 24 touchdowns and run for 290 yards and five scores, and Seth Trujillo has rushed for 400 yards and four touchdowns. Liberty Ranch is coming off wins over Rio Americano (40-21) and El Dorado (34-25). Saul Lomeli rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns against El Dorado.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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