Tracy’s Russell, McNair’s Brown, Calaveras’ Hamilton named State Stat Stars

Tracy High senior Brandon Russell (left) is one of the latest Cal-Hi Sports State Stat Stars of the week. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

Brandon Russell’s all-around week, Osai Brown’s aeronautical assault and Connor Hamilton’s ground gashing all deserved some props. And they all got it.

The Tracy senior Russell, the McNair junior Brown and the Calaveras senior Hamilton all made the latest Cal-Hi Sports State Stat Stars list for their Week 8 performances.

Russell, who plays wide receiver, linebacker and returns kicks for Tracy, had a 62-yard touchdown reception, a 35-yard TD run on a sweep and a 96-yard kickoff return for a TD in a 49-29 home loss to St. Mary’s.

Brown, the Eagles’ quarterback, fired five touchdown passes with 389 yards and ran for another in a 60-22 win over Stagg Friday.

Hamilton, who’s got 1,227 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground this season, ran for 220 yards and five touchdowns in a 50-44 slugfest win over Summerville.

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Recent History: Sierra-Manteca football rivalry

There's no love lost behind Sierra and Manteca High football. (FILE PHOTO FROM THE MANTECA BULLETIN)

For a rivalry that’s less than 20 years old, the football rivalry between Sierra and Manteca high schools feels incredibly deep-rooted.

The Buffaloes (6-2, 3-2 VOL) host the Timberwolves (8-0, 5-0 VOL) Friday night at 7 p.m. Sierra clinches a share of a Valley Oak League championship with a victory, puts itself in line to be a No. 1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs and keeps its bowl game hopes alive.

Manteca, a shoe-in for the postseason, would love to derail its rival’s unbeaten campaign. And earn a signature win heading into November and the playoffs.

Buffaloes coach Eric Reis, in his 13th year, has 109 wins and his Manteca teams have won three section titles and been an overall winner every time. Sierra coach Jeff Harbison, in his 10th year, has 72 wins, and the Timberwolves’ only losing season in his tenure was his first in 2005. He went 3-7 that year, taking over for a 3-7 2004 team.

Both Reis and Harbison went to Manteca High, and Reis was on Sierra’s varsity staff as an assistant while Harbison was a junior varsity assistant.

Manteca has beaten Sierra in three of four and seven of 10, and won at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium 35-14 last season behind running back Alex Laurel’s 144 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Laurel was a stud all season, and now plays at Butte College, the defending JC state champion.

Here’s a look at the Reis vs. Harbison era of Buffaloes-Timberwolves games:

Nov. 1, 2013: Manteca 35, Sierra 14

Oct. 5, 2012: Sierra 35, Manteca 26

Oct. 7, 2011: Manteca 28, Sierra 7

Oct. 8, 2010: Manteca 26, Sierra 20

Oct. 9, 2009: Sierra 23, Manteca 15

Oct. 10, 2008: Sierra 7, Manteca 6

Oct. 26, 2007: Manteca 28, Sierra 21

Oct. 27, 2006: Manteca 35, Sierra 0

Oct. 28, 2005: Manteca 41, Sierra 0

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Players to Watch/X-Factors: Sierra at Manteca

Former Manteca High tailback Alex Laurel (right) runs against Sierra last season. (PHOTO FROM THE MODESTO BEE)

Well, first things first. An X-Factor for our prep football Game of the Week, Sierra at Manteca? Well, how about 70 percent chance of rain, according to AccuWeather.com.

Considering the Buffaloes’ natural Guss Schmiedt Field is prone to have a bit of mud, at least on the sidelines, it could be a bad-weather, old-school football battle.

I’ll be live in Manteca tweeting updates from the Game of the Week Friday, but for now, here’s a player to watch for each team and a couple X-Factors for this matchup. With a win, the Timberwolves (8-0, 5-0 Valley Oak League) clinch a share of a VOL championship. The Buffaloes (6-2, 3-2 VOL) don’t want that to happen at their house.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

MARCOS CASTILLO (Sierra DB/K, So.)

You never know which role Castillo is going to play.

He can run. He can catch. He can kick. Seriously, the underclassman hit a 31-yard field goal this year. And, Sierra has thrown him into a running quarterback spot just for fun. That was in a 37-7 win over Lathrop.

Who knows what he’ll be doing against in-town rival Manteca.

DAKARAI CHARLES (Manteca QB, Jr.)

In order for Manteca to succeed in this game, its offense can’t be plain, no matter how good the power rushing trio of Soto, Lechi Nkwocha and Darrion Kitson can be.

Charles must keep the Timberwolves’ and their great pass rushers off-balance. Ideally, he should watch tape of the way 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had the Packers spinning — literally in one linebacker’s case — in the playoffs a couple years ago. Not that he’s a run-first quarterback, he’s been quite accurate passing recently, but that element of surprise could be pivotal Friday.

X-FACTORS

POURING

If it does rain, the emphasis falls even heavier on ball control. Especially because neither of these teams has played in any real inclement weather this season. And they both do quite a bit of rushing the football. Maybe Sierra played in some rain at Kimball, but that’s probably it.

Both defenses can lay some jarring hits that pop footballs loose. And both offenses should keep that in mind.

RIVALRY RUNS DEEP

Both Manteca coach Eric Reis and Sierra coach Jeff Harbison are Manteca High graduates. These programs know each other well, and there are a lot of friendships there between players, but there’s also no love lost.

As with a rivalry in any sport, that can’t be the focus Friday. As cliche as it is, wrapping up tackles is far more important than the rabid student sections or high stakes. Manteca is the big brother in town. It’s been around forever, and Sierra’s been here since 1994. It’s got four Sac-Joaquin Section titles to Sierra’s zero.

If Sierra wins Friday, Manteca might’ve lost its grasp, for the time being, on that moniker. At least for this season. But it will be a long, contentious 48 minutes of football or more.

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NorCal Bowl Rankings (Cal-Hi Sports and MaxPreps): Week 9

Sierra High football is ranked third in the latest NorCal Division II bowl rankings from Cal-Hi Sports. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

Sierra High football remained strong in the NorCal Division II bowl rankings, after topping East Union 35-21 at home.

The Timberwolves are 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Valley Oak League, and moved up a spot in Cal-Hi Sports’ rankings, after No. 1 Concord-Clayton Valley beat No. 3 Concord.

Here’s a look at both sites’ bowl rankings. MaxPreps is done with a computer point system, while Cal-Hi Sports, though it uses several similar factors, has a more human model.

CAL-HI SPORTS BOWL RANKINGS

DIVISION II NORTH

1. (1) Clayton Valley (Concord) 8-0
2. (2) Los Gatos 6-1
3. (4) Sierra (Manteca) 8-0
4. (3) Concord 6-1*
5. (5) Enterprise (Redding) 7-1
6. (6) Inderkum (Sacramento) 7-1
7. (7) Oakdale 7-1
8. (8) Manteca 6-2
9. (NR) Sacramento 7-1
10. (NR) Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 7-1
*Win by forfeit not included.

Dropped Out: Previous No. 9 Wilcox (Santa Clara); No 10 Windsor.

Bubble Teams: Alvarez (Salinas) 6-1, Chico 6-2, El Dorado (Placerville) 8-0, Pacheco (Los Banos) 7-2, Paradise 5-3, Pleasant Valley (Chico) 6-2, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 5-3, Shasta (Redding) 7-2, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 5-2, Windsor 7-1.

MAXPREPS BOWL RANKINGS

Division II

1. (1) Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), 8-0, 49.2
2. (3) Milpitas, 7-0, 43.4
3. (2) Enterprise (Redding), 7-1, 43.2
4. (4) Sierra (Manteca), 8-0, 35.6
5. (5) Los Gatos, 6-1, 35.4
6. (6) Concord, 6-1, 34.6
7. (9) Oakdale, 7-1, 33.4
8. (8) Saint Francis (Mountain View), 4-3, 33.3
9. (NR) Chico, 6-2, 33.1
10. (10) Inderkum (Sacramento), 7-1, 32.4

****

St. Mary’s (7-1, 3-0 TCAL) continued to advance in the NorCal Div. I rankings, moving up to ninth from 10th in Cal-Hi Sports’ list. Tracy remains a bubble team at 5-3 overall. Escalon (6-2) and Ripon (3-5) are both Div. III bubble teams out of the Trans-Valley League. They play each other at Escalon Friday.

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Footballpalooza: Week 8 Scoreboard, Week 9 Schedule, League Standings

Bear Creek running back Noah Faatau (left) carries the ball in the Bruins' win over Stagg Friiday. (ROGER WOO/THE RECORD)

WEEK 8 FOOTBALL SCORES:

Sierra 35, East Union 21

Oakdale 49, Kimball 2

Central Cath. 55, Lathrop 14

Manteca 49, Weston Ranch 7

Chavez 22, Franklin 8

McNair 60, Edison 22

St. Mary’s 49, Tracy 29

Bear Creek 44, Stagg 37

Tokay 22, Lincoln 21

Lodi 29, West 20

Sonora 54, Amador 0

Escalon 55, Riverbank 12

Argonaut 31, Linden 13

Mod. Chr. 44, Ripon 30

Ripon Chr. 31, Denair 0

Calaveras 50, Summerville 44

WEEK 9 SCHEDULE

THURSDAY: Bear Creek (3-5, 2-1 SJAA) at Edison (2-6, 1-2 SJAA), 7:15 p.m.

FRIDAY

Franklin (1-7, 0-3 SJAA) at Stagg (2-6, 1-2 SJAA), 5 p.m.

Central Catholic (6-2, 4-1 VOL) at Kimball (1-7, 0-5 VOL), 7 p.m.

Oakdale (7-1, 4-1 VOL) at Lathrop (2-6, 1-4 VOL), 7 p.m.

Sierra (8-0, 5-0 VOL) at Manteca (6-2, 3-2 VOL), 7 p.m.

Sierra Ridge/Rite of Passage (4-4, 3-1 CCAA) at Brookside Christian (4-4, 3-1 CCAA), 7 p.m. at Lincoln High

Weston Ranch (2-6, 1-4 VOL) at East Union (3-5, 2-3 VOL), 7 p.m.

Chavez (6-2, 3-0 SJAA) at McNair (3-5, 2-1 SJAA), 7:15 p.m.

Lincoln (4-4, 2-1 TCAL) at Tracy (5-3, 2-1 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

Lodi (5-3, 1-2 TCAL) at St. Mary’s (7-1, 3-0 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

West (5-3, 0-3 TCAL) at Tokay (5-3, 1-2 TCAL), 7:15 p.m. (Grape Bowl)

Linden (2-6, 1-3 MLL) at Calaveras (4-4, 3-1 MLL), 7:30 p.m.

Mariposa County (6-2, 5-0 SL) at Ripon Christian (6-2, 3-2 SL), 7:30 p.m.

Ripon (3-5, 2-1 TVL) at Escalon (6-2, 3-0 TVL), 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY: Elliot Christian (7-1, 4-0 CCAA) at Big Valley Christian (4-4, 1-3 CCAA), 7 p.m.

LEAGUE STANDINGS

SAN JOAQUIN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

1. Chavez 3-0 (6-2)

T2. Bear Creek 2-1 (3-5)

T2. McNair 2-1 (3-5)

T4. Edison 1-2 (2-6)

T4. Stagg 1-2 (2-6)

6. Franklin 0-3 (1-7)

TRI-CITY ATHLETIC LEAGUE

1. St. Mary’s 3-0 (7-1)

T2. Lincoln 2-1 (4-4)

T2. Tracy 2-1 (5-3)

T4. Lodi 1-2 (5-3)

T4. Tokay 1-2 (5-3)

6. West 0-3 (5-3)

VALLEY OAK LEAGUE

1. Sierra 5-0 (8-0)

T2. Central Catholic 4-1 (6-2)

T2. Oakdale 4-1 (7-1)

4. Manteca 3-2 (6-2)

5. East Union 2-3 (3-5)

T6. Lathrop 1-4 (2-6)

T6. Weston Ranch 1-4 (2-6)

8. Kimball 0-5 (1-7)

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Sac-Joaquin Section football Top 25 Rankings: Week 9

(CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

The Rams, Timberwolves, Buffaloes and Bulldogs are all back. MaxPreps.com and The Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson released their Week 9 edition of the Sac-Joaquin Section Top 25 football rankings today. And St. Mary’s, Sierra, Manteca and Tracy all return. Here’s a look at the Top 25, with local teams bolded. It goes ranking, team, last week’s ranking in parenthesis followed by overall record.

SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION TOP 25

1. Folsom (1) 8-0

2. Sacramento-Grant (2) 8-0

3. Carmichael-Jesuit (4) 7-1

4. Rocklin (3) 7-1

5. Elk Grove (5) 6-2

6. St. Mary’s (6) 7-1

7. Sierra (8) 8-0

8. Merced (9) 6-2

9. Oakdale (10) 7-1

10. Sacramento-Inderkum (11) 7-1

11. Napa (22) 6-2

12. Vacaville (10) 6-2

13. Granite Bay (12) 6-2

14. Elk Grove-Franklin (13) 5-3

15. Loomis-Del Oro (14) 3-5

16. Modesto-Central Catholic (16) 6-2

17. Sacramento (17) 7-1

18. Modesto-Downey (18) 7-1

19. Rio Linda (19) 7-1

20. Elk Grove-Monterey Trail (15) 5-3

21. Manteca (23) 5-2

22. Modesto (21) 7-1

23. El Dorado Hills-Oak Ridge (24) 5-4

24. Tracy (23) 5-3

25. Turlock-Pitman (25) 6-1

  • St. Mary’s handled Tracy 49-29 on the road Friday, and has what must be one of the most balanced offenses in the section. If sophomore wide receivers Keaton Hampton and Dewey Cotton can perform in the playoffs like they did Friday (9 catches, 207 yards, 3 TDs combined), Division II is in trouble.
  • Sierra almost surprised us by not beating in-town foe East Union by more, as the Timberwolves topped the Lancers by two touchdowns. This week, though, it should be in its best form, playing an enormous game at rival Manteca on Halloween. Manteca coach Eric Reis told me today it’s more than a 90 percent chance of rain. That could be interesting.
  • Manteca was quite frustrated after losing two games in three weeks to VOL foes Central Catholic and Oakdale. So the Buffaloes took it out on Weston Ranch and Kimball, outscoring them a combined 104-14 the last two weeks.
  • Tracy didn’t want Friday’s outcome, but the Bulldogs showed a lot of grit and athleticism in that loss to the Rams. They can comfortably earn that second seed and a 7-3 record in beating Lincoln at home and West on the road. It won’t be easy, but they’re quite capable.

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“If They Started Today” – Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs

Manteca High football won last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship. (PHOTO FROM THE MODESTO BEE)

 

On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Sac-Joaquin Section office in Lodi will be abuzz with compiling the football playoff brackets for Divisions I-VII.

For now, eight weeks in, I’ve come up with who would be in the postseason if it started today, with some notes about local teams and their future. Who’s probably in? Who could drop out?

Format: There are 72 playoff teams for Div. I-VI (Division VII takes the top three teams from the Central California Athletic Alliance and the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League). Of those, 44 are automatic bids and 28 are at-large bids.

Every league gets two automatic bids, and the Delta Valley and Sierra Foothill Leagues, filled with Sacramento-area powers, get three each. The at-large bids are decided by overall W-L. If that’s a tie, then it’s up to head-to-head. If the teams haven’t played each other, then it goes to opponents’ wins. If that doesn’t work, then it goes to defeated opponents’ wins.

Right now, not every team has played the same amount of games – most have eight and some have nine. So I know this is imperfect and won’t look like the actual bracket. But this is fun, and a good indicator of where local teams might be headed.

NOTE: I am not laying out the seeds of these teams, merely which team would be in which playoff bracket by division.

DIVISION I

Elk Grove-Franklin

Modesto

Chavez 

Roseville-Woodcreek

Turlock

Tokay

Elk Grove-Monterey Trail

Turlock-Pitman

Granite Bay

Carmichael-Jesuit

Modesto-Gregori

Merced

Lodi

Folsom

Tracy

Elk Grove-Cosumnes Oaks

  • Chavez is a favorite to win the SJAA, but has a scary test against McNair this week. The Eagles offense is incredible when it’s rolling, like it was last week in a 60-22 win over Stagg. Still, the Titans are already in no matter what, by my calculations. The worst they could finish would be tied for second in the SJAA with McNair or Bear Creek, in which case, they’d have the better head-to-head.
  • Tokay got a crucial, crucial win at Lincoln last week, and has the best shot of staying a playoff team of the TCAL’s bottom three of Tokay, Lodi and West. That’s because Tokay is already done with St. Mary’s, Tracy and Lincoln. It could very well beat West and Lodi, and finish the season 7-3 and 3-2 in the TCAL.
  • Lodi probably won’t win at St. Mary’s this week, which makes that final game with Tokay at the Grape Bowl one with some monumental meaning beside just the rivalry.
  • Tracy had a rough week against St. Mary’s, but hanging in that game they showed just how much potency seniors like Brandon Russell, Jake Alvarado and Nate Jones have in their games. This is not a Division I favorite, especially with Folsom, Granite Bay and Jesuit hanging around, but it’s not a fun team to play. In my mind, Lincoln-Tracy is a battle for a playoff spot (this week in Tracy).
DIVISION II
West
Napa
Grant
Modesto-Downey
Vacaville
Napa-Vintage
Elk Grove
Fair Oaks-Del Campo
Rocklin
Shingle Springs-Ponderosa
Antelope
McNair
Sacramento-Burbank
Vacaville-Wood
Modesto-Grave Davis
St. Mary’s
  • West had an amazing 5-0 preseason, and nearly beat Lincoln, losing 14-6 at home a couple weeks ago. The thing is AND THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN THIS BLOG, is any playoff team must have two league wins to qualify. The Wolf Pack must beat Tokay and Tracy to do this. Other teams who I have qualifying for playoffs who would be in trouble of missing: Cordova, Lodi, Grace Davis, Tokay, Woodcreek, Hughson, Vacaville Christian and Colfax.
  • McNair may be peaking at the right time. Heck, its offense has put up incredible numbers and it even hung with a fellow team in this bracket, Downey, losing 61-46 Week 1. The Eagles, though, are in a more precarious spot because they must beat Chavez and Bear Creek, the best other two teams in this league. That’s why Bear Creek, which plays at Edison and then at McNair, is a contender for a playoff spot (the Bruins would also be in Div. II).
  • St. Mary’s has the talent to play in any division, but the Div. II bracket is loaded. That means the Rams need a high seed and the right side of the bracket. Because having Grant, Elk Grove and Rocklin around is no joke.
DIVISION III
Cordova
Ceres-CV
Patterson
Rio Linda
Fairfield-Vanden
Oakdale
Sacramento-Inderkum
American Canyon
Manteca
Los Banos-Pacheco
Folsom-Vista del Lago
El Dorado
Sierra
Auburn-Placer
Sacramento-Christian Brothers
Sacramento
  • Manteca, the defending Div. III section champion and NorCal bowl finalist, is 6-2 after back-to-back poundings of Kimball and Weston Ranch and on its way back the playoffs as an at-large (likely).
  • Sierra moved to to No. 3 in Cal-Hi Sports’ most recent NorCal Div. II bowl rankings, and plays a monumental game at Manteca Friday. This could be the Timberwolves year for something historic if they keep on winning.
DIV. IV-VII
  • There are no local teams in D-IV as of now (closest would be Modesto-Central Catholic). Remember, D-IV-VI are eight-team brackets, D-VII is six teams, while D I-III are each 16-team brackets.
  • Escalon, which is rolling right along at 6-2 and 3-0 in the Trans-Valley League, should be headed to the Div. V bracket with Amador (which has the edge over Calaveras right now as its opponents have 38 wins while Calaveras’ has 36. Both teams are 4-4 and 3-1 in the league but haven’t played each other yet), while Ripon Christian could be on its way in Div. VI.
  • Elliot Christian leads the CCAA at 4-0 with Sierra Ridge/Rite of Passage, while Brookside Christian is third at 3-1 and would be into the playoffs if they started today.

NOTE: Remember these are purely from my estimations, and they are for fun. These final two weeks of the season will tell us a whole lot more.

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Helmet Stickers: Prep Football Week 8

Bear Creek High senior Craig Perkins (right) had four touchdown runs in the Bruins' 44-37 Friday win over the Stagg Delta Kings. (ROGER WOO/THE RECORD)

My weekly prep football “Helmet Stickers” blog isn’t just here to celebrate statistical wonders. It’s here to celebrate heroics and clutch moments too.

CULLEN CORNAGA (Tokay K, Jr.)

Tokay junior Cullen Cornaga had lost his starting kicker job. And with Tokay down 21-19 at Lincoln Friday, teammate Modesto Cruz missed a potential game-winning field goal, but the Trojans were hit with a roughing the kicker penalty. Cruz, subsequently, was banged up on the play, giving Cornaga a chance.

And Cornaga, the native New Zealander, booted in the game-winning 31-yard field goal for a shocking 22-21 Tokay victory on Lincoln’s senior night.

NOAH RIGHETTI (St. Mary’s QB, Sr.)

Righetti looked on-point in the Rams’ 49-29 win over Tracy, going 12 for 16 for 240 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He’s now got 14 touchdowns to four picks this year, a good mark.

OSAI BROWN (McNair QB, Jr.)

Brown was absolutely on fire for the Eagles Friday, firing seven touchdown passes via 350 passing yards, and running in another touchdown in McNair’s 60-22 win over Edison.

LAVANTE BUSHNELL (Stagg QB, Jr.)

Bushnell leaves no doubt that he’s now a quarterback, not just a converted wide receiver. He went 17 of 30 for 397 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 44-37 loss at Bear Creek, and ran for another TD.

L.J. REED (Tokay WR/QB, Sr.)

Reed, a UCLA-bound wide receiver, stepped in as the Tigers’ fifth, yes, fifth, string quarterback Friday, going 10 of 21 for over 150 yards. And Tokay stunned Lincoln. Those numbers aren’t staggering, but considering the bizarre situation, it’s impressive.

MARK PAULE JR. (Sierra RB, Jr.)

Paule Jr. ran for 188 yards and four touchdowns, and threw a touchdown to Hunter Johnson. He now has 32 rushing touchdowns and a Sac-Joaquin Section-best 1,517 rushing yards this season. Sierra topped East Union 35-21.

DOMINIC SPADAFORE (Elliot Christian RB, Sr.)

Dominic Spadafore was the workhorse for the Eagles (7-1, 4-0 CCAA), gaining 135 yards on 23 carries with a 1-yard touchdown run and two conversion runs.

CRAIG PERKINS (Bear Creek RB/LB, Sr.)

Perkins, who played quarterback while fellow senior Brice Weber recovered from injury, had four touchdown runs from inside the 10-yard line as the Bruins outslugged the Delta Kings on their senior night.

CONNOR HAMILTON (Calaveras RB, Sr.)

Hamilton never stops running for the Redskins, taking 30 carries for 220 yards and five touchdowns in Calaveras’ 50-44 home win over Summerville in San Andreas. The Redskins are now 4-4 and 3-1 in the Mother Lode League after a tough start.

ANTHONY JORY (Lodi RB, Sr.)

The Flames’ senior led the way with 14 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns in Lodi’s close 29-20 TCAL win over West at the Grape Bowl.

DEWEY COTTON (St. Mary’s WR, So.)

Cotton, much like Darren Sproles for the Rams, is a 5-foot-4, lightning-quick menace, with six catches for a game-high 124 yards and a 9-yard touchdown run against the Bulldogs.

BRANDON GROGAN (Escalon Sr.)

The Cougars’ senior shined in a 55-12 Trans-Valley League win at Riverbank, with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 55-yard touchdown reception. Escalon is cruising at 3-0 in the TVL and 6-2 overall, but has Modesto Christian and Ripon left on its schedule.

HECTOR SOTO (Manteca RB/LB, Sr.)

The Buffaloes’ bruising back took 15 carries for 181 yards and touchdown runs of 22 and 62 yards in Manteca’s 49-7 thrashing of Weston Ranch Friday.

JULIUS DAVILA (Chavez QB, Sr.)

Davila was on-point in a 22-8 win at Franklin, going 13 for 17 for 177 yards and a touchdown. Chavez has a pivotal game against McNair Friday, trying to stay alone atop the SJAA.

BRANDON RUSSELL (Tracy WR/LB, Sr.)

Russell was the Bulldogs’ heart and soul Friday night, taking a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 62-yard touchdown reception and a 35-yard TD run. Unstoppable in every phase.

MARCELL SPADY (St. Mary’s RB, Sr.)

Spady, coming back to his Tracy hometown, was tough to bring down, with 23 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns.

MARCEL DANCY (West RB/DB, Jr.)

Dancy has been a huge part of the Wolf Pack’s resurgence after a brutal 2013, and he had seven catches for 106 yards in Friday night’s loss at Lodi.

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Prep Football Power Rankings: Week 9

 

Tokay High senior L.J. Reed (right), a converted wide receiver, played quarterback for the Tigers Friday. (JERRY R. TYSON/LODI NEWS-SENTINEL)

St. Mary’s High football proved it’s still very much dog top in my local power rankings.

The Rams dismantled host Tracy High 49-29 at Wayne Schneider Stadium. And with Tokay’s stunning 22-21 win over Lincoln, St. Mary’s has sole possession of first place in the Tri-City Athletic League.

Here’s a look at my latest rankings, with ranking number, team, last week’s ranking in parenthesis and their overall records.

1. ST. MARY’S (1) 7-1, 3-0 TCAL

St. Mary’s is 7-1 overall, on a five-game winning streak, senior quarterback Noah Righetti is peaking and sophomore wide receivers Dewey Cotton and Keaton Hampton are downright lethal.

ON FRIDAY: vs. Lodi (5-3, 1-2 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

2. SIERRA (2) 8-0, 5-0 VOL

It was surprising that Sierra only won 35-21 at home against East Union Friday, but not only are the Lancers improved, that game was their absolute Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Sierra’s Halloween road game at rival Manteca could mean everything to the Timberwolves.

Sierra is a machine this season, and hasn’t let an opponent score more than 24 points – that’s how much Chavez scored in the Timberwolves’ 63-24 at the Titans’ house in September.

ON FRIDAY: at Manteca (6-2, 3-2 VOL), 7 p.m.

3. TRACY (3) 5-3, 2-1 TCAL

Tracy has to be frustrated after last night, but their resiliency, sticking around after going down 28 points in the third quarter, can’t be questioned. Senior Brandon Russell is a threat in every phase, with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 62-yard touchdown reception and a 35-yard TD run on a sweep.

The Bulldogs will likely beat Lincoln and West to finish the season 7-3 and 4-1 in the TCAL.

ON FRIDAY: vs. Lincoln (4-4, 2-1 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

4. MANTECA (5) 6-2, 3-2 VOL

Manteca has taken out its frustrations on the VOL after losing two games in three weeks to Central Catholic and Oakdale, outscoring Kimball and Weston Ranch by a combined 104-14. Junior quarterback Dakarai Charles is hitting his stride and they will be frothing at the mouth to face Sierra.

ON FRIDAY: vs. Sierra (8-0, 5-0 VOL), 7 p.m.

5. TOKAY (NR) 5-3, 1-2 TCAL

Tokay stunned former No. 4 Lincoln with a 22-21 win on a last-second field goal Friday. Plus, it was the Trojans’ senior night at Spanos Stadium. L.J. Reed, Tokay’s UCLA-bound wide receiver and the fifth-string quarterback, actually played QB and did pretty darn well: 10 for 21 for 164 yards. Not bound considering the circumstances.

Cullen Cornaga, a New Zealand native and the backup kicker, won it with a 31-yard field goal as time expired.

ON FRIDAY: vs. West (5-3, 0-3 TCAL), 7 p.m.

On the Bubble: Lincoln (4-4, 2-1 TCAL) might’ve seen its playoff hopes come to an end Friday. Their preseason schedule was brutal, and they lost to section-ranked Turlock-Pitman, Vacaville and Elk Grove. They might finish third in the TCAL, in which case, they need to get an at-large bid to the playoffs. But those are decided by won-loss record, and the best it can finish is 6-4. And that’s if it sweeps at Tracy and at St. Mary’s … Escalon (6-2, 3-0 TVL) is the best small-school team in The Record’s coverage area, rolling past Riverbank Friday to stay unbeaten in Trans-Valley League play... Chavez (6-2, 3-0 SJAA) is the class of the league, but beware McNair Friday, which dropped 60 points on Edison… Lodi (5-3, 1-2 TCAL) hung tough and in the hunt for a playoff bid, topping West 29-20 Friday. It’s likely going to lose at St. Mary’s, and the Tokay rivalry game Nov. 7 is a must-win.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Stagg’s Taylor commits to Eastern Washington

Stagg High offensive lineman Tristen Taylor (center) verbally committed to Eastern Washington Friday. (PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK)

The first of the top local prep football players have chosen their college.

Tristen Taylor, Stagg High’s 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive lineman, verbally committed to Eastern Washington yesterday, an NCAA Division I FCS program in the Big Sky Conference with schools like Sacramento State, UC Davis and Cal Poly. Eastern Washington has produced plenty of NFL talent, and in the sports media side of things, ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. Taylor will be on scholarship, he said in a message Friday.

Taylor, listed as one of the top 5 OLs in the Sac-Joaquin Section earlier this season by Cal-Hi Sports, has helped keeped Stagg’s offense flying despite a difficult 2-6 start to the season.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment
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    Bob Highfill

    Bob Highfill has worked in The Record's sports department since 1990. He has covered a variety of sports, including high schools, Pacific and professional sports. In 2006, he was named sports editor. Bob is a graduate of Lincoln High and the ... Read Full

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    Linesburgh has been a member of The Record's sports department since 1988. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., he has covered the Stockton Thunder hockey franchise since its inception in 2005 and has spent more than two decades reporting on motorsports and ... Read Full

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    Lawrence became a prep and general assignment sports reporter for The Record in August 2014. He has covered high school, college and professional sports and more in his career. From November of 2011 through summer 2014, he covered college and prep ... Read Full
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