A new era looms after this weekend's Sac-Joaquin Section football championships with the introduction of the Northern California Regional Playoffs.
In short, the Section D-I, II and III champions will be in the discussion to advance to NorCal Regional games the following weekend - perhaps all at Sacramento State - and take on Bay Area heavies for a shot to play in a CIF State Bowl game in Carson.
This section has become so strong over the years that the Regional games will finally allow us all to see how this region fares against the Bay Area. If Folsom beats Elk Grove in the D-II section title game Saturday night at Sac State, and De La Salle of Concord wins its 21st North Coast Section D-I title, then the NorCal Open game will likely pit Folsom against the longtime national powers.
If Elk Grove beats Folsom, would the Thundering Herd face De La Salle, should the Spartans beat Logan of Union City (consider that DLS has not lost to a NorCal foe since 1991, some 238 games ago)? Stay tuned.
The winner of Friday's D-I section title tilt between defending champion Granite Bay and Oak Ridge will in all probability land in the NorCal D-I game, perhaps against Bellarmine of San Jose, which has lost only to De La Salle in a season opener. Would Granite Bay with three losses (including to Pittsburg on a last-play 2-point conversion, with Pitt getting shelled by DLS in the playoffs) get a shot at the Open over Elk Grove?
Hard to say. Consider that Elk Grove's only loss was 17-7 to Franklin, which suffered its lone loss to Granite Bay in a D-I semifinal 37-7.
In short, we have to play it out before too many frontal lobe headaches in trying to crunch scenarios.
The Bee's Top 25
1. Folsom 13-0
Rolled Buhach Colony 49-22 after it was 49-6; aim to go 14-0 for first time; loaded team.
2. Elk Grove 12-1
Tremendous 1-2 set with backs Robert Frazier and Wadus Parker beat Del Oro 35-32.
3. Granite Bay 10-3
Grizzlies have mauled 3 success playoff foes, including Franklin 37-7; seek D-I repeat.
4. Oak Ridge 12-1
Trojans won 4 D-II titles and now seek 1st in D-I; took out 12-0 Burbank 24-6.
5. Vista del Lago 12-1
Tough team to keep down; 2nd straight rally to win in dramatic fashion; seek 1st section.
6. Franklin 12-1
Dream season came to nightmarish end at hands of Granite Bay.
7. Burbank 12-1
School-record best 12-0 start buckled to Oak Ridge; lots of talent returns for new run.
8. Del Oro 7-6
Gritty, courageous 4th quarter rally fell short at Elk Grove; farewell superback Monroe.
9. Placer 11-1
Season ended a few weeks premature to heavies known as Escalon Cougars.
10. Center 10-3
School's best team fell to loaded Central Catholic in D-IV semifinals; lot of talent returns.
11. Inderkum 9-2
Lost in final, frantic moments to Inderkum; lot of key players will return for another run.
12. Del Campo 9-3
Two losses to Elk Grove; won the Capital Valley Conference; lot of guys return.
13. Antelope 10-2
Best team in brief school history with a host of talent coming back.
14. Pleasant Grove 7-5
Good season amid injuries, brutal schedule; pushed Burbank to the end.
15. Cosumnes Oaks 9-3
Crushing loss to American Canyon stings; a wealth of talent returns.
16. Yuba City 9-2
Honkers lost only to Placer and Del Oro; YC's best team since 1987 group.
17. El Camino 8-3
Won 1st playoff game since '93; 4th quarter rally for Vista ended season.
18. Rocklin 5-6
Lost D-II quarterfinal to Antelope; will return a ton, including ace QB Logan Webb.
19. Whitney 8-3
Lost thriller to Del Campo in D-II; close losses to Rocklin and Antelope, too.
20. Grant 5-6
Lost battle royale at Bubank in opener; return a ton and elevate 10-0 JV stars.
21. Rio Linda 8-3
Lost D-II opener at Vacaville; lot of key players back for another run.
22. Capital Christian 10-2
Best start in school history ended with loss to 10-1 Los Banos.
23. Nevada Union 5-6
Battled Franklin for a half before falling 35-14 in D-I opener; top teams always return.
24. Foresthill 10-1
Play for D-VI title on Saturday after losing title last year.
25. Highlands 6-5
Lost to top-seeded D-V Waterford; other losses to larger schools.
Others: Ponderosa (6-5), Monterey Trail (5-5), Christian Brothers (6-5), Sacramento (8-3), Bear River (8-3), Dixon (9-2), Lincoln (5-5), Rosemont (6-5), River Valley (6-5), Davis (5-5).
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
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