Who’s who?

Although I photograph a lot of sports, I don’t follow the teams that closely. Often I’ll shoot a game and not know who’s favored to win. Recently I shot a match of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I volleyball playoffs at Lincoln High and I knew exactly who would win even before the contest started – the Trojans. It was between the Trojans of Lincoln and Oak Ridge High of El Droado Hills whose mascots are also the Trojans.

There are a number of teams in the Sac-Joaquin section with the same school symbol. Manteca and Amador share the Buffaloes, Chavez and Antelope both are the Titans, the Bulldogs are the namesakes of Tracy and Vacaville. And these are but a few examples. The Tokay Tigers share their name with four other schools (There are even two schools with the same school name – our own Franklin in Stockton and Franklin of Elk Grove and Lincoln of Stockton and Lincoln of Lincoln in Placer county).

It’s a wonder that the meeting of two teams with the same mascot doesn’t happen more often, but not every team in the section is in the same division, and not everyone is at the same level of play, so playoff matchups of teams with the same name is a fairly rare occurrence.

The match was a close back-and-forth battle with outstanding performances on both sides. The outcome could have gone either way and after five hard-fought sets the Trojans prevailed. Unfortunately for Lincoln, it was the Trojans of Oak Ridge.

Although I didn’t cover it, a few days later Lincoln Trojans met Oak Ridge Trojans again, but this time in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I football playoffs. By halftime Lincoln, a perennial section powerhouse, had built a 10-point lead over the El Dorado Hills team. The game was cut short by a power outage and would have to be continued the next day.

I was sent out to Lincoln the following day, and optimism was in the air for Lincoln when the game restarted. It felt like the beginning of a whole new game with Lincoln being spotted 10 points. It was a whole new game, but just not in Lincoln’s favor. Oak Ridge played strong and consistently and whittled down Lincoln’s lead. Near the end of the fourth quarter not only did they catch up, but they went ahead, 35-31. With only 3:41 left in the game and with Oak Ridge in possession of the ball, it didn’t look good for Lincoln.

The Lincoln defense held and forced Oak Ridge to punt. On the final drive Lincoln quarterback JoJo Bones scored with 14.2 seconds remaining.  Lincoln had won the game 37-35, avenging their volleyball sisters. Like the volleyball match it was predestined that the Trojans would prevail, but it was to the relief to all in the stands who were holding their breaths that it was the Trojans from Stockton.

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