Some quickie news, notes, themes and trends heading into tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section playoff football games, and a reminder that we will Tweet updates regularly on sb_joedavidson (also can be found on our Sacbee.com/preps blogs forum, too).
* In sizing up Bethel-Pleasant Grove, it's hard to bet against a Bethel team that has already toppled two area storied programs in Jesuit and Grant, including shutting out the Pacers in the second half, but it's even harder to bet against Pleasant Grove, which has played at a different level the last three months.
What could really hurt Bethel is the limited play of star RB/DB K'lan Anderson, who has been slowed by a high ankle sprain. In his place, DeAundray Taylor rushed for 188 yards on 14 carries against Grant, and keep in mind how fast Grant is on defense. Pleasant Grove returns to the title game if it runs like it has in the last, oh, 3 months, and it doesn't allow Bethel's speed demons to beat the Eagles to the corner.
* Lincoln-Stockton, top-seeded in Division I, has a potent 1-2 attack in QB Zack Greenlee and RB Justin Davis, combining for nearly 5,000 yards and 58 touchdowns. Davis, a national recruit junior with an offer from Oklahoma, has rushed for 2,380 yards and 36 scores, including 522 and 9 in two playoff routes. Greenlee had two interceptions against Grant and St. Mary's and has since gone seven successive games without a pick.
* Granite Bay topples Lincoln if QB Brandon Keeney is mobile and able to gut out a hip injury sustained last week against Oak Ridge, if HB Arik Bird adds to his 1,491 yards rushing - and especially if the defense can prevent Justin Davis from having his third successive monster rushing game. Davis had 322 against Sheldon and 187 against Franklin.
* Can 10-2 Folsom beat 12-0 Elk Grove? Absolutely, provided the Bulldogs protect Tanner Trosin, who was rattled only a time or two against Grant and Pleasant Grove by speed defenders who forced turnovers. Elk Grove offers a lot of speed defenders, and the sort of clock-chewing run game to keep Trosin, he of the 5,342 total yards this season, in check, and the Herd has been masterful in their 12-0 start in jumping on teams early and grinding away. Is there a better 1-2-3 backfield in the section than Elk Grove's Robert Frazier, Deon Ransom and Waddus Parker?
Great stat of note: Trosin's 5,342 yards are more than any team left in the section playoffs. Any TEAM.
* This is how amazing Vacaville's 10-game winning streak has been in carrying on the program's amazing tradition of ground success: left tackle Johnny Schupp is the lone returning starter in the trenches, and plenty big at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. He takes on a 12-0 Buhach Colony team that features three huge linemen, all national recruits. Vacaville is good enough this season that if RB Melvin Moore and the Bulldogs win, it's not some Earth-altering upset.
* Whitney will come out confident against Del Oro tonight in a D-III semifinal because it will mirror the mood of coach Mike Gimenez and sidelined QB Jake Rodrigues, who has told his pals all week to compete and defend. Connor Graves and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick have monster efforts. Del Oro wins if it continues to do what it has all season: run and pass with balance, salt away games with the run and defend like mad.
* Casa Roble upends the No. 1 D-III seed Oakdale Mustangs if QB Mitch Samson has time to set up and if his WRs get open and get yards after Vista del Lago receivers were handled and kept to minimal gains in a 49-7 Oakdale rout last week. Oakdale beat Casa Roble 41-19 in the semifinals last season, and a win here sends Oakdale to the section title game with the 10th time.
* Liberty Ranch takes down another D-IV power in Hilmar - a week after toppling 11-0 Colfax 33-32 - if John Wiernicki continues to run with power and purpose. He has 2,458 yards this season, including 226 annd four TDS against Colfax. He has 20 TDs in his last five games. Oh, and this: Liberty Ranch QB Jacob Tibbetts hasn't been intercepted in his last 10 games.
- Follow scores tonight on Twitter: sb_joedavidson
- I join Mike Finnerty on the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday on ESPN1320 from 9-10 a.m. to break all this down (show linked online at ESPN1320.net later in the day or weekend.