The Sierra football team awaits its Valley Oak League battle with Oakdale on Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium in Manteca. THOMAS LAWRENCE/THE RECORD
I have to admit, it’s fun being bulletin board material.
When the Tracy football team, a No. 7 seed, shocked No. 2 Carmichael-Jesuit in the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals, I had picked Jesuit like the rest of the media outlets. Bulldogs senior Jake Alvarado called me on it during the fourth quarter, and it cracked me up.
Good for them — they proved me wrong.
Certainly, East Union (26-14 over Lathrop), Lodi (40-24 over Edison) and McNair (30-13 over Tokay) did so last week, with statement wins. For East Union, it was a coveted Valley Oak League victory after losing all seven VOL contests last year.
Week 5 features one of the lightest slates of games, especially because the majority of teams from the SJAA and TCAL have finished their preseason slate and have a bye before league play begins.
Here are my picks for this week:
Stagg 27, Christian Brothers 26
The Falcons (2-2) present a mighty challenge for the Delta Kings (2-2), highlighted by Ball State commit and quarterback Tyler Vander Waal. Stagg, though, has a linebacker in Jalend Dinwiddie and defensive back in Cutrell Haywood to disrupt what Christian Brothers is doing.
Christian Brothers was higher-touted and has more talent on paper, but Stagg has been tough against out-of-area teams in the past few preseasons. Delta Kings win in an upset.
The Timberwolves nip the rival Lancers, for their 13th consecutive win in the series. East Union’s defense has been stout and the offense is improved, but Sierra’s defense is built to stop that rushing attack more than a team with a more prolific passing game. If East Union quarterback Jack Weaver has a career night, then I could easily see this script being flipped.
Lodi 34, Bear Creek 22
The Flames are riding high after dispatching of Edison, and senior tailback Cole Carouba is surely prepared for another big night and to help Lodi control the clock and tempo.
McNair senior tailback Austin Sith, left, is on pace for over 1,000 rushing and 500 receiving yards this season. CLIFFORD OTO/RECORD FILE 2016
Austin Sith has a trait that many teenagers have not, especially in this age of instant gratification.
Sith has considerable patience.
The McNair football senior running back was used consistently, but in measured amounts, for a pass-happy offense when Sith was a sophomore and junior. It was understandable from McNair’s part, behind the record-setting trio of quarterback Osai Brown and wide receivers Derrion Grim and Sean Hamilton.
But Sith is a senior leader now for a team that wants to run the ball more under second-year coach Terry Hampton, who attended Lincoln in the ’90s when it was known as “Running Back High.”
Sith could deliver 1,000 rushing and 500 receiving yards in the same season. And though he’s a smaller, shifty running back, he’s not afraid to take a heavy workload.
Sith posted 32 carries for 145 yards, with touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards, in McNair’s 30-13 victory over Tokay on Friday at home. That’s why Sith is The Record’s Prep Football Week 4 MVP.
Read up on Sith:
Weight: 160 pounds
Position: Running back and cornerback
What’s your best football memory? “It has to be last year’s homecoming game against Chavez. It was just the atmosphere of the game. Our student section was amazing. Derrion scored the winning touchdown and the whole crowd went wild. We were all juiced.”
What’s your funniest football memory? “We were ending practice, and this kid said he had a choir concert to go to. And coach Hampton said, ‘OK, hit me with a note.’ (As in a paper note to prove he needed to leave, not a musical note). He sang coach Hampton a note and that was pretty funny.”
How would you describe coach Hampton? “He’s a really great guy. He’s really respectful to us players. I see him as a role model.”
How tough was it to be a running back in such a pass-heavy offense the past couple years? “It was pretty difficult. At the same time, I had the mentality that if I get the chance, I’m going to do what I can.”
End nonleague play with a win over Tokay. Is this the year you win the SJAA? “Definitely. I believe that. I believe that. This year, I’ve come to want it (badly). I’m trying to get the whole team to understand that, and I think they’re getting to understand that now. I want to leave my last year winning a league title.”
Hobbies outside of football: Staying home and watching Anime
Pregame meal: Sandwich from Subway and water
Pregame ritual: “I get my ankles taped up, and before it’s done, I take a picture of it on Snapchat and post it on Snapchat.”
Funniest teammate and why? “It has to be Armando Martinez, he’s the funniest. He does impersonations of everybody and he gets us dead on, like exactly how that person is. Armando – he’s a character.”
Most of the East Union football team’s headlines go to its three-year starting quarterback Jack Weaver. And he’s earned them.
But several more of his teammates are stepping up this season, including the offensive line and the other guys running the ball.
One of those is Isaiah Sholund, a junior fullback, who tallied 28 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Lancers’ 26-14 win on Friday at Lathrop High.
Sholund kicks off Week 4 of my “Helmet Stickers” honors: celebrating the best in prep football from Stockton, San Joaquin County and the Mother Lode.
AARON THOMAS (Linoln QB, senior)
Thomas not only three six touchdown passes in the Trojans’ 49-0 win over Chavez, but five came in the first quarter. He now has 10 TD passes the past two weeks, after throwing for four and running for two in a win over Modesto-Downey on Sept. 16.
DEWEY COTTON (St. Mary’s WR, senior)
Cotton got the Rams rolling with a 51-yard touchdown catch via quarterback Jake Dunniway, a 7-0 lead in what turned into a 55-16 loss at national power Bellflower-St. John Bosco on Friday. Cotton, whom coach Tony Franks predicted would show strong, didn’t finish the game with a minor injury/pain but paced the Rams with four catches for 65 yards.
MICHAEL RAMOS (Lathrop RB, junior)
Ramos, a guy who’s shown big play capability for the Spartans, tallied 10 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown in the loss to East Union.
JACOB PETERSON (Sierra WR, junior)
Peterson posted a career night in a 28-25, Valley Oak League loss to Oakdale, with game-highs with 10 catches for 124 yards. He had a potential touchdown catch from Mark Vicente nullified due to a penalty. Peterson was second-team All-Area Baseball for The Record last season.
JAMES WALKER (Weston Ranch WR/DB/KR, senior)
Weston Ranch couldn’t muster an offensive touchdown in a 45-7 loss to Central Catholic, but Walker (our Week 2 Prep Football MVP and Male Athlete of the Week) returned a second-half kickoff 99 yards for a TD.
MERLE BASS (Lincoln WR/RB, senior)
Bass delivered his premier game of the season, with six catches for 106 yards and two touchdown grabs of 43 and 4 yards from Thomas.
MIQUAN MAXEY (Lincoln TE, senior)
Maxey got in on the fun, too, with seven catches for 94 yards, including TD grabs of 13 and 10 yards.
KAMERON BEAMON (Manteca RB, senior)
Beamon lit up Kimball, with 14 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns in the Buffaloes’ 42-0, VOL-opening win in Tracy.
JUSTIN WILLIAMS (Brookside Christian WR, senior)
Williams went off with seven catches for 140 yards and three touchdowns via sophomore quarterback Quincy Glasper, in a 33-26 loss to Merced-Stone Ridge Christian at Lincoln’s Spanos Stadium. The close loss shows potential for Brookside, against the two-time defending section Division VII champion.
IZAIAH CELESTINE (Lincoln WR, senior)
The Trojans’ experienced wideout only had four catches, but made them count. Celestine had four receptions for 80 yards and a team-high three total touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in the win over Chavez.
COLE CAROUBA (Lodi RB, senior)
Carouba was a true workhorse, with 28 carries for 183 yards and three touchdowns as Lodi downed Edison 40-24 at the Grape Bowl for its first victory of the year.
AUSTIN SITH (McNair RB/WR, senior)
Sith had even more carries, with 32 touches for 145 yards, with TD runs of 1 and 3 yards, to highlight McNair’s 30-13 victory over Tokay. The Eagles have beaten the Tigers in each of the past two seasons.
This blog may not include all of its worthy candidates. If coaches or assistants do not call in statistics or place them on MaxPreps.com, their players may not get the publicity and accolades they deserve.
The Sierra, in blue, and East Union, in white with red helmets, football teams meet in 2010: the last time the Lancers posted a winning season. Sierra hosts East Union at 7 p.m. Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium in Manteca. RECORD FILE 2010
These are also available on recordnet.com.
In the past, the full explanations of these rankings have been in my blog only, but I’m trying to expand to our newspaper print edition when possible. Grab a copy of Monday’s Record to get it in print.
How the East Union football team fares in its final six regular-season games is uncertain.
But their story of pain from 2015 won’t repeat itself.
A year ago, East Union delivered a perfect preseason before losing all seven Valley Oak League games. The Lancers entered VOL play at 3-0 again, and their defense shined in downing upstart Lathrop 26-14 Friday on the road.
With that, East Union surges into The Record’s large-school power rankings. Joining them in a fourth-place tie is rival Sierra, which stood strong and lost 28-25 to four-time Sac-Joaquin Section champion Oakdale on Friday at home. With that, the Timberwolves’ nine-game winning streak ended.
Sierra and East Union have a tiebreaker right away, as the Lancers entertain the Timberwolves at 7 p.m. Friday at Dino Cunial Field in Manteca.
Here are The Record’s power rankings entering Week 5.
Author’s note: The large-school rankings draw from teams in the SJAA, TCAL and VOL, and the small-school rankings come from teams in the CCAA, MLL, SL and TVL. The Record does not cover Oakdale and Modesto-Central Catholic in the VOL or Tuolumne-Summerville and Sonora in the MLL. The Record only covers San Joaquin County teams in the CCAA, SL and TVL.
1. St. Mary’s (1) 4-1
For the Rams to drop in this hierarchy, they would’ve needed to forfeit Friday’s game. That’s because St. Mary’s – top-ranked in the section and No. 7 in the state last week – traveled to play national powerhouse Bellflower-St. John Bosco at Whittier College. Bosco was ranked No. 10 in the nation entering the game.
St. Mary’s led 7-0 and 10-7 early, but made some costly turnovers and couldn’t stifle the Braves’ offense in the second half. The Rams also lost junior tailback Dusty Frampton to a leg injury sustained on his first carry.
This Friday: Bye
2. Manteca (2) 4-0, 1-0 VOL
A week off didn’t mean a rusty start to VOL play for the Buffaloes, as they blasted the Kimball Jaguars 42-0 on the road. Kameron Beamon rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns, according to The Modesto Bee.
This Friday: vs. Weston Ranch (3-1, 0-1 VOL)
3. Lincoln (3) 2-3
The Trojans have won two consecutive games, and have averaged 52 points in those games. Lincoln pitched its first shutout in coach Anthony Martinez’s tenure, blanking Chavez 49-0 as quarterback Aaron Thomas threw for six touchdown passes – including five in the first quarter. That’s 10 TD passes the past two weeks for Thomas.
This Friday: Bye
T4. East Union (NR) 4-0, 1-0 VOL
T4. Sierra (NR) 3-1, 0-1 VOL
East Union is seeking a landmark win against a rival and defending section and state champion. Plus, one more victory means East Union clinches a .500 record or better in regular-season play, for the first time in six years. Sierra led Oakdale 7-0 and 10-7, and quarterback Mark Vicente threw for over 300 yards. The Timberwolves have beaten the Lancers 11 consecutive times in coach Jeff Harbison’s tenure, and 12 consecutive times overall.
Dropped from rankings: Weston Ranch, former No. 5, lost 45-7 to Central Catholic. Tracy, former No. 4, lost 41-14 to Brentwood-Liberty.
The Cougars trailed 17-0 at halftime and couldn’t put a dent in the Raiders’ defense, with no offensive touchdowns and 37 passing yards from their starting quarterback. Weston Ranch has shown improvement the past two years, nearly making the playoffs in 2015. But the Cougars haven’t beaten an eventual playoff team since 2008 (Brookside Christian) or a VOL playoff team since 2007 (Sonora).
Tracy (1-4) has one of the toughest nonleague schedules among San Joaquin County teams. But the Bulldogs have suffered double-digit losses to Oakley-Freedom, Turlock and Liberty. Tracy’s lone win is against Kimball, a young program which has never reached the playoffs. Tracy can re-enter the rankings if it takes care of business in TCAL play.
On the Bubble: Weston Ranch, Tracy, Lathrop (1-3, 0-1 VOL).
1. Calaveras (1) 4-1, 0-1 MLL
Calaveras hung with Sonora, The Modesto Bee’s top-ranked small-school team, before losing 28-14 at home in San Andreas.
This Friday: at No. 4 Argonaut (4-0, 1-0 MLL)
2. Ripon (2) 2-3
The Indians had a 115-mile trip, and a brutal matchup on Friday, losing 45-7 to Northern Section power Sutter. That’s the same Sutter which Sierra beat 17-13 in last year’s CIF NorCal Division IV-A bowl game.
This Friday: Bye
3. Amador (3) 4-0, 1-0 MLL
The Thunder Herd throttled Linden 61-7 to open MLL play. But Amador’s biggest test yet awaits this week.
This Friday: at Sonora (5-0, 1-0 MLL)
4. Argonaut (4) 4-0, 1-0 MLL
The Mustangs ended Bret Harte’s unbeaten run, winning 27-13 on Friday in Angels Camp.
This Friday: vs. No. 1 Calaveras (4-1, 0-1 MLL)
5. Escalon (5) 2-3
The Cougars have to deliver in Trans-Valley League play to avoid missing the playoffs for the third time in coach Mark Loureiro’s now 28-year tenure. Patterson outlasted Escalon 23-13 on Friday.
On the Bubble: Millennium (3-1, 1-0 CCAA)
— Contact reporter Thomas Lawrence at (209) 546-8272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him atrecordnet.com/sportsblog and on Twitter @RecordPreps
Sierra running back Marcos Castillo, left, carries the football against Calaveras during a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal on Nov. 13, 2015, in San Andreas. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/ RECORD FILE 2015
Marcos Castillo has been impacting all three phases of Sierra’s varsity football team for three years now.
Castillo, a senior, is a running back, kicker and linebacker who can even play a run-first quarterback when need be.
On Friday, Castillo had two rushing touchdowns, a 2-point conversion run and hit a 25-yard field goal in Sierra’s tough 28-25 Valley Oak League loss to Oakdale at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium in Manteca.
The overall top player was Oakdale’s Cameron Cherry, to be sure after he put up over 160 rushing yards with four total touchdowns. But we cover Sierra, not Oakdale for The Record.
Castillo, one of three, three-year varsity players on the team with Seu Alofaituli and Nashon Tamiano, is my Player of the Game.
Chavez quarterback John Michael Supangan, left, throws a pass against Lincoln on Friday at Spanos Stadium in Stockton. Lincoln won 49-0. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD
Welcome back to your weekly source for Stockton, San Joaquin County and Mother Lode high school football results. Here are all of your Week 4 scores, sorted first by leagues then by nonleague contests:
The Sierra football team entertains Oakdale in The Record's Game of the Week at 7 p.m. today at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium in Manteca. RECORD FILE 2014
The last two times the Sierra football team has hosted Oakdale, times have been good for the Timberwolves.
In 2014, Sierra has recently stunned Modesto-Central Catholic 17-14, and beat Oakdale en route to sharing the Valley Oak League championship with the Mustangs. This time around, as Sierra hosts Oakdale in The Record’s Game of the Week at 7 p.m. today, the Timberwolves are reigning CIF State Division IV-A champions and on a nine-game winning streak.
Sierra (3-0) blasted Lodi 49-7 on Sept. 9 at the Grape Bowl, had last week off as a bye and is fresh for four-time section champion Oakdale (2-1)
Here’s my Gameday Preview, with two X-Factors, a Player to Watch for each team and a prediction:
Seuseu vs. Semone: The enticing matchup of the night are Sierra’s veteran defensive players trying to plug up Oakdale’s menacing Wing-T rushing attack. That means Timberwolves senior linebackers Seuseu Alofaituli and Nashon Tamiano against Oakdale’s Will Semone. Alofaituli has a team-high 35 total tackles.
Protecting the football: Sierra quarterback Mark Vicente has been exceptionally accurate this year, completing 71 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Timberwolves, never mind their home field or winning streak, are undeniable underdogs in this game. And underdogs have to win the turnover battle. As in, no freebies for Oakdale.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
WILL SEMONE (Oakdale RB, senior)
Semone has taken over admirably for talented tailbacks of the past couple years like fullback Frankie Trent and running back Brock Whiting.
He went off in a 28-21 win at Moraga-Campolindo last Friday, with 34 carries for 234 yards and four touchdowns. Sierra can only hope they’ll be refreshed and he’ll be a bit banged up on regular rest. Sierra, at the very least, has plenty of players well-versed in the Wing-T. That’s what they beat in last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV finals (Galt-Liberty Ranch) and NorCal Division IV-A finals (Sutter). Even Chowchilla, in the state title game, basically ran the Wing-T out of the shotgun.
MARCOS CASTILLO (Sierra RB, senior)
Castillo is one of three, three-year varsity players with Alofaituli and Tamiano who have the experience of beating Oakdale. Sierra hasn’t ran it as much as it did with Mark Paule Jr., and Castillo is getting just 12 carries per game. But he’s averaging over 6 yards per carry.
Sierra needs a healthy dose of Castillo. The Timberwolves must sustain some lengthy drives, even if they’re not scoring drives, to keep the ball out of Oakdale’s hands. If the Mustangs dominate time of possession, then opposing defenses get worn down by the second half.
A prime example: Oakdale’s 42-21 win over Manteca at Levi’s Stadium in 2014. That game was a virtual dead heat at half.
Lincoln senior quarterback Aaron Thomas, center, throws during a scrimmage on Aug. 20 at Spanos Stadium. Thomas is The Record's Prep Football Week 3 MVP. CLIFFORD OTO/RECORD FILE 2016
Aaron Thomas and the Lincoln football team were just plain tired of losing.
And the Trojans corrected that problem, beating Modesto-Downey 54-38 last Friday at Spanos Stadium in Stockton.
Thomas delivered his best game of the season, going 17 of 30 passing for 344 yards and four touchdowns, and taking 26 carries for 109 yards and two more TDs.
As a result, Thomas is The Record’s Prep Football Week 3 MVP, joining St. Mary’s Dusty Frampton from Week 0, Calaveras’ Noah Preuss from Week 1 and Weston Ranch’s James Walker from Week 2.
Lincoln hosts Chavez (0-4) at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Read up on the senior Thomas:
Weight: 165 pounds
Best football memory: “Scoring my first touchdown of my high school career.”
Funniest football memory: “Watching our linemen challenge each other in a 7 on 7.”
How would you describe Anthony Martinez? “A fun and understanding coach.”
Hobbies outside of football: “I play video games in my free time.”
Funniest teammate and why? “Quinton Gaines, my cousin, because he always makes jokes that me and him only understand, and he’s the one who always points something funny out.”
HASSANI ZACKERY (Edison QB/WR/KR, junior)
Zackery was the ultimate team player for Edison (0-3) last week, in a 35-18 home loss to Brentwood-Heritage. Zackery, originally the Vikings’ third-string quarterback, took over and went an admirable 12 of 28 passing for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also took 11 carries for 92 yards and a TD. Edison goes to Lodi (0-3) at 7:15 p.m. Friday at the Grape Bowl.
HUNTER WHITE (Linden RB/S, senior)
White was exceptional for Linden (1-3), in a 39-7 drubbing of Le Grand last Friday at home. He had 19 carries for 190 yards and a touchdown, and three catches for 75 yards and two TDs via quarterback Clinton Sizuela. White also had a fumble recovery on defense, and was named The Record’s Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 12-17.
Sierra linebacker Seu Alofaituli, 9, is pictured on the night his team beat Chowchilla 20-15 for the CIF State Division IV-A championship. RECORD FILE 2015
Dylan Byrd was a 2-point conversion pass away from shocking the Mother Lode League.
Byrd, then the Calaveras quarterback, was not able to convert that pass, and Sonora beat Calaveras with no time on the clock last September in Sonora.
Now, Dylan’s younger brother is in command. And he’s one of six Players to Watch in The Record’s coverage area for Prep Football Week 4.
KYLE BYRD (Calaveras QB, junior)
The younger Byrd may be peaking, and he had a superb game in a 42-7 victory on Friday at El Dorado-Union Mine. Byrd was 8 of 16 passing for 203 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He has to help Calaveras’ dynamic rushing attack of Noah Preuss and Anthony Giangregorio, against a Sonora offense that’s proven more dynamic than years past. Sonora is the No. 1-ranked small-school team by The Modesto Bee, and Calaveras is The Record’s No. 1 small-school team as of Week 4. The Record does not circulate to Sonora.
SEUSEU ALOFAITULI (Sierra LB, senior)
Alofaituli is a middle linebacker with the talents of a safety, and is an incredibly important piece of the Timberwolves’ defense as a third-year varsity starter. Sierra (3-0) entertains Oakdale (2-1) in their Valley Oak League opener at 7 p.m. Friday. And Alofaituli has been all over the field, with a team-high 35 tackles, and two sacks and one interception. He must be a battering ram up the middle to try and subdue Oakdale’s Wing-T attack.
JAKE DUNNIWAY (St. Mary’s QB, senior)
Dunniway, as he guides the No. 7-ranked team in the state and seeks recruiting attention from college programs, goes up against the defense of the No. 10-ranked team in the nation (USA TODAY) in Bellflower-St. John Bosco. Bosco hosts St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. Friday at Whittier College. Dunniway has been the pinnacle of accuracy in his prep career, with 39 touchdowns to five interceptions. This season, that ratio is 13:1.
POPO AUMAVAE (St. Mary’s OL/DL, senior)
Aumavae gets the ultimate test, as the 6-foot-4, 315-pound prospect with 21 NCAA Division I offers and counting. Nowhere else this season will Aumavae battle with as many D-I guys as facing Bosco.
LEO GAYLES (Chavez WR, senior)
Gayles has been a revelation for the Titans’ offense, with 22 catches for 397 yards and seven touchdowns. He trails only Johnnie Lockridge (24) in receptions. Lincoln (1-3), which entertains Chavez (0-4) at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Spanos Stadium in Stockton, is by far the best test for Gayles thus far. It would be a blast to see Trojans senior cornerback Isaiah Downes on Gayles — a great test for Gayles. Certainly, he’s learning from the right person, as Chavez coach La Te’f Grim was a star receiver for Franklin High, Delta College and the University of Pittsburgh.
KEONNEE LINNELL (Lathrop QB, junior)
Linnell had a breakout performance as the Spartans (1-2) 38-32 to Elk Grove-Franklin in a nearly-stunning upset last Friday. Linnell went 22 of 39 passing for 256 yards, four TDs and two picks.
St. Mary’s (4-0) moved up after beating Elk Grove-Cosumnes Oaks 42-20, and after Sacramento High upset former No. 8 Folsom 32-27 on the Bulldogs’ blue turf. Folsom, consequently, was dropped all the way out of the rankings.
Here are some more notes from the state rankings, plus NorCal and Sac-Joaquin Section hierarchies:
St. Mary’s is one ahead of Loomis-Del Oro (No. in the state Top 25, which makes sense, as Cal-Hi moved St. Mary’s to No. 1 in its section rankings.Manteca is No. 11, Lincoln is No. 25 and former No. 25 Sierra was dropped out to make room for Sacramento, which vaulted from unranked to No. 6.
Bob Highfill has been with The Record sports department since 1990. He started as a part-time reporter/agate clerk then covered the high school sports beat before taking on the Pacific athletics beat. In 2006, he was named sports editor. Bob was ... Read Full
Linesburgh has been a member of The Record's sports department since 1988. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., he covers the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League, and has spent more than a quarter century reporting various other sports on the high ... Read Full
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