By Joe Davidson
How did Oak Ridge climb off the proverbial canvas Saturday afternoon in Carmichael to post a rally for the ages?
Several things, and Trojans coaches are hoping they don't have to make such a dramatic comeback any time soon. It's brutal on the blood pressure.
Trailing Jesuit 28-7 after the first quarter and 42-21 at the half, Oak Ridge charged back to win it in overtime 45-42 in a Delta River League thriller that was as stimulating for the winners as it was demoralizing for the victims. Both teams advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Oak Ridge rallied behind Ian Book, who tossed three of his five touchdown passes in the second half, and Adam Walter won it with a 20-yard field goal in overtime. The kick was set up by the defense, a unit headed by Thomas Mahlman and Trent Buenzli. Oak Ridge held Jesuit on downs three times in the second half, including in overtime.
Book at one point in the game asked media, "isn't this fun?" And his team was down two touchdowns. Book completed 27 of 39 passes for 394 yards. He hit Justin Priest 12 times for 188 yards and touchdowns of 50 and 12 yards, and he found Buenzli, a tight end, twice for scores of 6 and 40 yards.
Oak Ridge was able to bottle up the Jesuit run game in the second half and overtime after the Marauders devastated the Trojans defense with handoffs. Ben Parietti rushed for four touchdowns in the first half and 167 yards. Beau Bisharat's first carry went for 75 yards, his second for 25 and third for 78. He had 198 at the half and finished with 255. Parietti finished with 207.
Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs
(All games kickoff Friday at 7 p.m., unless noted)
No. 16 Lincoln-Stockton (4-6) at No. 1 Folsom (10-0)
No. 9 Pitman (7-3) at Franklin, Saturday
No. 12 Jesuit (7-3) at No. 5 Merced (8-2)
No. 13 Edison (7-3) at No. 4 Tracy (9-1)
No. 14 Napa (6-4) at No. 3 Oak Ridge (9-1)
No. 11 Granite Bay (7-3) at No. 6 Tokay (8-2)
No. 7 Pleasant Grove (8-2) at No. 10 Modesto (7-3)
No. 15 Modesto (6-4) at No. 2 Stagg (9-1)
Outlook: Folsom is the overwhelming favorite, having already beaten two-time defending champion Granite Bay (30-14), Oak Ridge (35-0), Jesuit (56-14) and Pleasant Grove (63-39 after leading 42-18). Not doubt, each of those clubs wants a rematch with the Bulldogs, who have a better run game and defense than any of its playoff juggernauts of recent years. Oak Ridge's resolve and rally against Jesuit on Saturday, trailing 42-21 at the half and winning 45-42 in overtime, could do wonders for an already confident team.
No. 16 River Valley (6-4) at No. 1 Del Oro (8-2)
No. 9 Whitney (7-3) at No. 8 Cosumnes Oaks (7-3)
No. 12 Downey (7-3) at No. 5 Grant (7-3)
No. 13 St. Mary's (7-3) at No. 4 Yuba City (9-1)
No. 14 Atwater (6-4) at No. 3 Elk Grove (9-1)
No. 11 Wood (7-3) at No. 6 Burbank (8-2)
No. 10 Rocklin (7-3) at No. 7 Vacaville (7-3)
No. 15 Antelope (7-3) at No. 2 Rio Linda (9-1)
Outlook: This is the section's most competitive field, so who's the favorite? Del Oro, unbeaten in section play and winners of the Sierra Foothill League and wins over Logan, Grant, St. Mary's, Rocklin and Granite Bay? Or Elk Grove with the fast defense and hard-charging Wadus Parker, perhaps the section's top running back? Maybe Rio Linda, with the section's top 1-2 running back set in Leo Skattebo and Marcel Brown? Or is it Grant, Burbank, Vacaville, Rocklin, Cosumnes Oaks, Yuba City?
No. 16 El Dorado (6-4) at No. 1 American Canyon (9-1)
No. 9 Pacheco (7-3) vs No. 8 Christian Brothers (7-3) at Hughes Stadium
No. 12 Benicia (7-3) at No. 5 Sacramento (8-2), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 13 Oakdale (6-4) at No. 4 Patterson (9-1)
No. 14 Lincoln (7-3) at No. 3 Inderkum (8-2)
No. 11 Vista del Lago (7-3) at No. 6 Vanden (7-3)
No. 10 Casa Roble (7-3) at No. 7 Rosemont (8-2)
No. 15 Central Valley-Ceres (6-4) at No. 2 Manteca (9-1)
Outlook: The top seeds hail from out of area, but this field is ripe for No. 3 Inderkum, No. 5 Sacramento, No. 10 Casa Roble and No. 11 Vista del Lago to make a charge. Vista reached the finals a year ago and has key players back, including quarterback Matt Jimison.
No. 16 Marysville (6-4) at No. 1 Central Catholic (9-1)
No. 9 Sierra (7-3) at No. 8 Colfax (8-2)
No. 12 Hughson (6-4) at No. 5 Calaveras (8-2)
No. 13 Dixon (6-4) at No. 4 Ripon (9-1)
No. 14 Placer (5-5) at No. 3 Capital Christian (9-1)
No. 11 Modesto Christian (6-4) at No. 6 Center (7-3)
No. 10 Escalon (6-4) at No. 7 Amador (9-1)
No. 15 Liberty Ranch (6-4) at No. 2 Hilmar (10-0)
Outlook: Another stackeed field heavy on small-school powers from the southern part of the section, the favorite is defending state champion Central Catholic. Capital Christian and Placer is a terrific opener, and Center looms as a scary darkhorse, having tied for the Pioneer Valley League with Placer.
No. 5 Waterford (5-5) at No. 4 Rio Vista (6-4)
No. 6 Delhi (5-5) at No. 3 Golden Sierra (5-5)
First-round byes: No. 1 Le Grand (10-0), No. 2 Mariposa (8-2)
Outlook: The teams with the byes are the clear favorites.
No. 5 Foresthill (6-4) at No. 4 Brookside Christian (7-3)
No. 6 Stone Ridge (5-5) at No. 3 Ripon Christian (8-2)
First-round byes: No. 1 Bradshaw Christian (8-2), No. 2 Woodland Christian (9-1)
Outlook: A Bradshaw-Woodland Christian final would be great entertainment value.
VIDEO: The Bee's Joe Davidson breaks down how Oak Ridge rallied from a huge deficit to stun Jesuit. The entire playoff schedule and outlook for each division is also included.