The three area football teams playing for CIF Northern California Regional Championships offer contrasting styles, but the games still come down to blocking, tackling and execution. And preparation. Area coaches have spent hours poring over film of their opponents, studying tendencies and potential weaknesses and how to attack. “That’s the fun part of it, and a lot of us coaches are lucky to have incredible wives who understand the time we put into this,” Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson said.
Division I-AA: Bellarmine (12-1) at Folsom (14-0)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m., CSNCA
What’s at stake: The winner advances to the CIF State Division I-AA Bowl at Sacramento State on Dec. 18.
When Folsom has the ball: The Bulldogs will spread the field and unleash senior quarterback Jake Jeffrey, who has dizzying passing numbers (3,755 yards, 48 touchdowns, six interceptions) and leads the team in rushing (891 yards, 10 touchdowns). His favorite targets are Eric Davis, Christian Huber and Drake Stallworth, who have combined for 25 touchdown catches. Tre Green has rushed for 683 yards and 16 scores.
48 Touchdown passes by Folsom’s Jake Jeffrey this season
When Bellarmine has the ball: The Bells of San Jose run teams ragged with an old-school single-wing offense. They rely on speed and power with backs Antonio Garcia (headed to Kansas to play baseball), Devon Buenrostro and Vincent Fernandez and crafty quarterback Troy Martig, who will go to Columbia to study economics and run track. His deep-ball threat is Kyle Macauley, who caught a 79-yard flea-flicker touchdown pass from Martig in a Central Coast Section Open Division title win over Milpitas. Bellarmine will be a challenge for Folsom’s standout linebacking trio of Brad Jenner, Roger Neal and Matt Torres, and vice versa.
Fast facts: Folsom is ranked fourth and Bellarmine eighth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports. In MaxPreps’ Northern California rankings, Folsom is second and Bellarmine third. … The Bulldogs have won 30 consecutive games, the longest such current streak in the state, and 43 in a row at home, second best ever in the region to Nevada Union (46, ending in 1995). … Folsom has won two CIF state bowls this decade, and Bellarmine has reached two bowls under coach Mike Janda, who needs t one victory to set the Central Coast Section record with 270.
Division II-AA: Del Oro (8-6) at Liberty (9-3)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
What’s at stake: The winner advances to the CIF State Division II-AA Bowl at Sac State on Dec. 19.
When Del Oro has the ball: The Golden Eagles will be eager to get off the bus and stretch after a 300-mile trek to Bakersfield, Liberty’s home. Del Oro will run the ball with Cam Davis and Dalton Gee and pass with steady Stone Smartt, who has deep threats in Trey Udoffia and Mason Hurst. Udoffia has been slowed by an ankle injury; he played just one down in a 30-20 Sac-Joaquin Section D-II title win over Rocklin. But it was a statement play; he blew up a passing play with a jarring hit from his defensive back position.
When Liberty has the ball: The Patriots have a formidable 1-2 punch with quarterback Jordan Love (headed to Utah State) and running back Quincy Jountti (Sac State). Love has passed for 1,960 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 709 yards and eight scores. Jountti has run for 1,559 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Fast facts: Liberty is ranked 10th and Del Oro 12th in Northern California by MaxPreps. … The last time Del Oro played a Central Section team in the playoffs, it lost to Bakersfield High in the CIF State Division II Bowl in 2013. … The Golden Eagles last week became the first team with six losses to win a Sac-Joaquin Section title; they’re also the first in the state to reach a Regional title game with six losses. They’ve won their past six games. … Liberty started 1-3 with losses to Mission Viejo and Ridgeview, both still unbeaten, but the Patriots have won eight straight since, scoring 40 or more each time.
6 Losses by Del Oro this season
Division V-AA: Bradshaw Christian (11-2) vs. Immanuel (10-2)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Reedley High School
What’s at stake: The winner advances to the CIF State Division V-AA Bowl, location to be determined.
When Bradshaw Christian has the ball: The Pride has relied on the wing-T since coach Drew Rickert started the program 10 years ago, and that means a lot of rushing yards. Bradshaw Christian has run for 4,672 yards and 63 scores this season. The Pride has two thousand-yard rushers: Mateo Bromstead (1,161 yards and 14 touchdowns) and Jared Kanipe (1,106 and 23).
When Immanuel has the ball: The Eagles like to throw the ball with quarterback Caleb Paulson (2,405 yards, 29 touchdown passes) and wide receiver Chris Rosedale (10 touchdown catches, 19.8 yards per catch).
Fast facts: Immanuel is ranked second and Bradshaw Christian third in the state in Division V by Cal-Hi Sports. … Bradshaw Christian’s only loss on the field was to Vista del Lago, a much larger school, in nonleague play. The other loss is a forfeit of a 61-0 season-opening victory over Big Valley Christian of Modesto because of an ineligible player.