Previewing some intriguing games within the Sac-Joaquin Section this week (all games Friday, unless noted):
Serra-San Mateo (2-0) at Buhach Colony (3-1), tonight
(Shown live on Comcast Hometown Network on Comcast channel 104)
The Padres of the Bay Area are a longtime power and present a terrific test against The Modesto Bee No. 1-ranked Thunder, which has a Bay Area victory this season against San Ramon Valley. Can Serra handle Buhach's fleet of backs?
No. 3 Nevada Union (3-1) at No. 1 Elk Grove (4-0)
The Miners and Thundering Herd are traditional wing-T powers, and both sport prolific offenses and good defenses. Who buckles first?
No. 6 Oak Ridge (4-0) at Vacaville (3-1)
Fresh off a rousing 42-14 rout of Grant, the Trojans now take in the defending Division II section champion Bulldogs, a group smarting from its 47-21 blowout loss to Granite Bay, though Vacaville still rushed for nearly 300 yards. Oak Ridge is a balanced team with a top-tier quarterback in Jason Samuels (10 touchdowns, 1 pick, 1 sack).
No. 20 Yuba City (4-0) at No. 7 Placer (3-0)
The Hillmen have a ferocious defense well beyond lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, and the wing-T is especially good on the ground as it crushed Casa Roble 63-21. The Honkers are 4-0 for the first time since 1998 and present a balanced attack.
No. 16 Del Oro (0-3) at No. 17 Grant (1-3)
Hilarious to hear so many "fans" revel in Del Oro's misery of a slow start, never mind the brutal competition - few teams in the state have faced a tougher schedule than Westlake, Oaks Christian and Burbank. The Golden Eagles are desperate for a win. So is Grant, reeling from the shocking news of assistant coach Ed Coleman. The Pacers have lost to No. 3 Nevada Union, No. 5 Burbank and No. 6 Oak Ridge.
No. 13 Jesuit (3-0) at No. 2 Franklin (4-0)
(Shown live on Access Cable Sacramento on Comcast and Surewest Cable Channel 17 and AT&T U-verse cable channel 99).
The Marauders have a do-all marvel in Thomas Sperbeck, who accounted for four touchdowns to beat CBS in the Holy Bowl. He'll now take on a team of balance and speed in the Wildcats, headed by backs Steven Rogers and Christian Fonbuena and playmaker Tre Lampley.
No. 9 Inderkum (3-0) at Rocklin (1-3)
The Tigers face a major trap game in a dangerous Thunder team that has lost agonizingly close games to Pleasant Grove (35-21), Oak Ridge (16-6) and Del Campo (21-20). Inderkum is coming off a spirited 42-28 rout of previous Bee No. 3 Pleasant Grove.
No. 10 Pleasant Grove (2-2) at Roseville (1-3)
A year ago, Pleasant Grove rolled. This should be a more physical game as the Eagles come in irked that they trailed 34-6 at the half at Inderkim. Roseville has improved since opening the season with a big loss at Cosumnes Oaks, falling 24-20 to No. 14 Rio Linda, losing 24-7 to No. 8 Folsom and beating Oakmont 21-7.
St. Mary's-Stockton (2-2) at Lincoln-Stockton (3-1)
The visiting Rams have owned this series of late, but if there's a year for that trend to stall, it's now. The host Trojans sport as good a team as they've ever had, and they've had some great clubs. St. Mary's hung tough with the machine that is De La Salle, falling 21-13. Lincoln is rested and eager after a bye, losing only its opener to Bee and MaxPreps Section No. 1 Elk Grove.
Christian Brothers (3-1) at Whitney (2-1)
The Falcons are smarting from a 28-23 loss to Jesuit in the Holy Bowl, and the Wildcats are still peeved that they were shutout 6-0 to rival Rocklin on Sept. 7 before a bye. Both teams have breakaway players.
Davis (2-2) at Woodland (0-4)
Record wise, this isn't the most alarming game on the schedule, but Woodland has been competitive despite the losses amid a rash of injuries. And this: it's the first time in six years the teams have played after years of spirited battles.
Laguna Creek (2-1) at Sheldon (2-2)
The visiting Cardinals beat Rosemont 21-14 behind Davonte Castex and Cecil Williams II. Sheldon is eager to get back on the field after getting plowed by top-ranked Elk Grove, though the Huskies this season also edged Rosemont. This one is shaping up to be a good finish.
Amador (3-0) at Capital Christian (4-0)
A nice small-school battle of unbeatens with both teams rolling up scores. Capital is led by Quinton Kirk, fresh off a 179-yard, 3-touchdown rushing effort against McClatchy.
El Camino (3-1) at Bella Vista (3-1)
El Camino has balance, including quarterback Jonah Lessard and a strong defense, and the Broncos were off to a 3-0 start under first-year coach Tom Ingle before getting blasted by Yuba City.
Central Catholic (2-2) at Los Banos (4-0)
Los Banos, ranked No. 1 by The Modesto Bee in its small-school Splendid Seven, is coming off strong outings against Escalon and Manteca. Central is beyond battle tested, losing to loaded Placer and seething from a 45-42 shootout loss to Downey. Translation here: instant classic.
Oakdale (2-1) at Sierra-Manteca (3-0)
Another 209 thriller in the making here with the Mustangs losing only to SoCal power Oceanside in a scheduled meeting designed to encounter speed. Sierra has a lot of it in what Modesto Bee prep guru Rich Estrada calls the Stanislaus District's most entertaining rivalry.
Ripon (4-0) at Escalon (3-1)
The small-school programs in the 209 never slow down, and this season offers more heavies. Could be the biggest game in school history for the visiting Indians, according to The Modesto Bee's Rich Estrada. For Escalon, big games are old hat.
- Joe Davidson
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