PREP FOOTBALL: Three section championships still to be decided
Teams from the Pioneer Valley League flexed their gridiron prowess last Saturday with Bear River and Placer both earning Sac-Joaquin Section championships in their respective divisions.
Now, its time for the Sierra Foothill League to show its strength.
The SFL, which had five of its seven teams earn spots in the playoffs, has three squads that will be competing for section titles this Saturday at Sacramento’s Hornet Stadium. Folsom will be chasing its fourth Division-I championship, and Granite Bay and Del Oro will duke it out for the D-II title.
Folsom, which won the SFL for the fourth straight time, is facing No. 3 seed St. Mary’s (11-2) in the D-I Section Championship for the second straight season.
Folsom (13-0) comes into the contest as the No. 1 seed and having dismantled its playoff foes so far, knocking off River City (76-9), Tracy (56-21) and Jesuit (27-14).
The Bulldogs are led by their junior dual-threat quarterback Kaiden Bennett, who has passed for 3,400 yards and 45 touchdowns, and has rushed for 986 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Playing in a section title game is familiar territory for the Bulldogs, who have played for a championship every year since 2010, winning five times along the way.
St. Mary’s, which beat Folsom 56-25 in last year’s D-I title game, comes into the bout on the heels of a 38-31 victory over No. 2 seed and SFL power Oak Ridge. The Rams also edged Sheldon, 31-28, in the quarterfinals and crushed Edison, 58-20, in the first round.
St. Mary’s is led by senior running back Dusty Frampton’s 24 rushing touchdowns and 1,648 yards.
The Bulldogs and Rams are set for a 1:45 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Sacramento State.
It’s an All-SFL D-II Championship Game this season as No. 1 seed Granite Bay (11-2) faces off with No. 7 Del Oro (8-5).
The two-time defending champion Golden Eagles from Del Oro are in their third straight D-II title game, but first under head coach Jeff Walters.
Del Oro punched their ticket to the playoffs in the final week of the regular season then proceeded to turn the bracket upside down with upset wins over previously undefeated and No. 2 seed Inderkum in the quarterfinals and No. 3 seed Central Catholic in the semifinals.
The Granite Bay Grizzlies roared into the D-II title game with a tight, 9-7, win over Del Campo in the semifinals. Granite Bay hadn’t been tested before that, knocking off Burbank 42-20 in the opening round and Antelope, 37-0, in the quarterfinals.
When Granite Bay and Del Oro met up earlier this season, it was the Grizzlies clawing out a 28-21 victory in September.
The Golden Eagles and Grizzlies are set to kickoff at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Sacramento State.
Of the top five divisions in the Sac-Jaoquin Section, D-III is the only one without an SFL or PVL team in it and will feature No. 1 seed Oakdale taking on No. 2 seed Manteca.
Oakdale has yet to be tested in the playoffs, topping McNair (56-12), Vanden (41-16) and Patterson (63-27) on its way to a fourth straight D-III title game. Oakdale won D-III in 2014 and 2016.
Manteca is into the championship with wins over Rio Americano (62-21), American Canyon (62-32) and Christian Brothers (43-38). Manteca last claimed the D-III title in 2013.
Manteca and Oakdale will settle D-III at 7 p.m. tonight at Lincoln High School in Stockton.
TITLES IN HAND
Section crowns have already been claimed in D-IV, D-V, D-VI and D-VII.
Placer topped PVL foe Center, 42-32, in the D-IV Championship to claim its first section title since 1981.
Bear River grabbed its second D-V championship in the last four years with a 30-27 victory over PVL rival Colfax.
The D-VI championship went to Hilmar after a 42-13 victory over Modesto Christian.
And, the D-VII title went to Rio Vista after a 56-28 drubbing of Ripon Christian.
Bear River and Placer, as well as the winners in the D-I, D-II, and D-III brackets, will be heading to NorCal Regional Bowls Dec. 8-9. The NorCal Bowl Game matchups will be announced Sunday.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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