Players to Watch: Edison at Chavez

Edison High quarterback Sean Buligon (right) runs in his team's win over Stagg Friday night. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

The eventual San Joaquin Athletic Association champion could very well be decided this Friday at Chavez High.

The Titans (4-2, 1-0 SJAA) host the Edison Vikings (2-4, 1-0 SJAA), in a battle of two offenses that seem to be peaking.

Chavez put up 42 points on Bear Creek last week, and has more points against unbeaten Sierra (24) than any team has scored against the Timberwolves this season. Edison, meanwhile, had 542 rushing yards in its 48-46 win over Stagg.

I’ll be at Chavez, it’s our Game of the Week, tweeting live, but for now, here are a couple Players to Watch for both teams:

PRIEST JENNINGS (Chavez RB, Sr.)

Chavez leads the Sac-Joaquin Section with 1,128 rushing yards, is averaging over 10 yards per carry, and most importantly, seems to have the proclivity for the big play.

Translation: when he gets some daylight, he’s gone.

The SJAA is a wildly offensive league this year, and Jennings is going to put up some monster numbers.

SEAN BULIGON (Edison QB, Sr.)

Speaking of monster numbers, the dual-threat Buligon had that against Stagg.

Buligon took 25 carries for 219 yards, that’s a whole lot of rushes for a quarterback, with five touchdown runs. Four of them were short, but he had a 41-yard TD dash, too.

Chavez needs to try and stifle him if not contain him if it wants to win and get into the SJAA driver’s seat.

DARRYL KAPULE (Chavez SS, Sr.)

Kapule leads the Titans with 47 total tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions.

He must disrupt Buligon in the passing game, and limit his rushing at the same time.

JA ‘QUAN WILLIAMS (Edison LB, Sr.)

Williams leads the Vikings with 44 tackles, and as a fellow running back, he’s going to need to sniff out Jennings’ runs before they unfold.

MORE NAMES TO WATCH

Devon King (Edison WR, Sr.)

Julius Davila (Chavez QB, Sr.)

Lamar Housely (Chavez WR, Sr.)

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Helmet Stickers: Prep Football Week 6

Chavez High tailback Priest Jennings (right) stiff arms Sierra's Marcos Castillo during their game Sept. 12. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

Priest Jennings has quietly, surely, and yet, explosively, powered Chavez High football’s offense.

The senior tailback leads the Sac-Joaquin Section with 1,128 rushing yards through Week 6, according to MaxPreps, and has 12 touchdowns to just one fumble.

He leads my Week 6 version of my “Helmet Stickers” blog, honoring the best in local prep football from last Friday.

This coming Friday, Week 7, our Game of the Week is Edison at Chavez in a potential battle for the San Joaquin Athletic Association. I’ll be there tweeting live, while Richard Estrada, a.k.a Black Hat Football, is at the Oakdale-Sierra war of unbeatens.

PRIEST JENNINGS (Chavez RB, Sr.)

The Titans outlasted Bear Creek 42-28 to open SJAA play, and Jennings went off for 232 yards and three touchdowns – his best performance at home thus far in his career.

Jennings is facing an Edison team that gave up 46 points and plenty of offense against Stagg in a 48-46 win last week.

SEAN BULIGON (Edison QB, Sr.)

As the Vikings won 48-46 and generated 542 rushing yards, Buligon was unstoppable, with 25 carries for 219 yards and five touchdown runs.

OSAI BROWN (McNair QB, Jr.)

Brown, the top junior passer at the section as of now with 2,164 passing yards, went 18 of 22 with 419 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-18 SJAA-opening win at Franklin Friday.

BENJAMIN REECE (Bear Creek RB/FS, Sr.)

Reece exploded for three long TD runs against Chavez, of 52, 52 and 59 yards. It’s his breakout performance this season, and he helped keep the Bruins in the game for quite awhile.

CONNOR HAMILTON (Calaveras RB, Sr.)

Hamilton  hammered Argonaut with 35 carries for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 Mother Lode League win Friday.

NATE JONES (Tracy RB, Sr.)

Jones sure looked like a track star Friday, with 198 rushing yards and TD runs of 71 and 84 yards. As Tokay coach Louis Franklin said, after his team’s 34-7 loss to the Bulldogs, once Jones gets a crease, just a hint of daylight, it’s off to the races.

MARCELL SPADY (St. Mary’s RB, Sr.)

Spady, the workhorse for the Rams, had 16 carries for 143 yards (average of 9 yards per carry) with a touchdown run for St. Mary’s.

SHARIF VAN HOOK (McNair WR/DB, Jr.)

Van Hook was a menace to Franklin, hauling in TD receptions of 80 and 34 yards from Brown and nabbing two interceptions on defense.

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

Reed, a 6-foot-4 UCLA commit, made his debut for the Tigers, making a game-high nine catches for 118 yards. He’d probably have a couple touchdowns too if it weren’t for some well-timed pass interference penalties on the Bulldogs secondary that kept him out of the end zone.

DAKARAI CHARLES (Manteca QB, Jr.)

Charles is really coming into his own as the fleet-footed passer and playmaker that the Buffaloes want him to be. He went 7 for 14 with 118 yards and two touchdowns in the Buffaloes’ 42-21 loss to Oakdale at the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium Saturday afternoon in Santa Clara.

One of those was on a broken play, where he made all kinds of slippery cuts and found teammate Luis Reyes for a 67-yard TD pass.

MYLES CUNNINGHAM (St. Mary’s DL, Sr.)

Cunningham had two fumble recoveries in the first half of the Rams’ 46-14 win over West, leading to two 14-yards touchdown runs from quarterback Noah Righetti.

ANTHONY CRAVEN (Linden QB/DB, Jr.)

Craven was a versatile tool for the Lions in a 34-14 MLL win over Bret Harte Friday, throwing for 156 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown, and adding TD runs of 50 and 5 yards.

BRYANT BOWEN (Weston Ranch, So.)

Bowen’s 3-yard touchdown run gave the Cougars their first VOL victory, overcoming the Kimball Jaguars 18-14.

MICHAEL BROWN (Tracy QB, Sr.)

Brown did it all for the Bulldogs, passing for 90 yards and two touchdowns, and running for 95 yards with a 46-yard TD dash.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Phone: 209-546-8272

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Sierra climbs into Sac-Joaquin Section Top 10; St. Mary’s strong

Sierra High football is officially ranked higher than three-time Sac-Joaquin Section champion Oakdale heading into Friday’s battle at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium in Manteca.

The Timberwolves are into the top 10 of the SJSCIF Top 25, compiled by The Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson and Maxpreps.com, out today. Sierra hadn’t ever made the rankings until this year, and is in the upper echelon of them now.

Here’s a look at the top 25, including three local teams, with the rankings, the team, last week’s ranking in parenthesis and their overall record.

SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION TOP 25

1. Folsom (1) 7-0

2. Sacramento-Grant (2) 6-0

3. Rocklin (3) 6-0

4. Carmichael-Jesuit (5) 5-1

5. Elk Grove (4) 4-2

6. St. Mary’s (6) 5-1

7. Vacaville (10) 5-1

8. Sierra (16) 6-0

9. Oakdale (12) 6-0

10. Merced (13) 4-2

11. Sacramento-Inderkum (14) 6-1

12. Granite Bay (18) 4-2

13. Elk Grove-Franklin (18) 4-2

14. Elk Grove-Monterey Trail (7) 5-1

15. Loomis-Del Oro (11) 2-5

16. El Dorado Hills-Oak Ridge (9) 4-3

17. Modesto-Central Catholic (16) 4-2

18. Sacramento (19) 5-1

19. Turlock-Pitman 5-0

20. Roseville-Woodcreek (22) 5-1

21. Modesto-Downey (24)

22. Rio Linda (23) 5-1

23. Manteca (17) 4-2

24. Modesto-Gregori (NR) 5-1

25. Napa (NR) 4-2

  • St. Mary’s (5-1, 1-0 TCAL) is holding strong, and has a great chance to go 9-1 if it can stave off Tracy on the road Oct. 24. Khalil Hodge is one of the best linebackers in NorCal if not the state, statistically and otherwise.
  • Sierra (6-0, 3-0 VOL) is in uncharted territory for the program, five years removed from its last VOL championship. Nobody could’ve predicted this summer that the Timberwolves would be ranked higher than the Oakdale Mustangs heading into Friday.
  • Manteca (4-2, 1-2 VOL) has the toughest part of its schedule out of the way – not including the Halloween home game against rival Sierra – and will still be a force in the Div. III playoffs in November. Junior quarterback Dakarai Charles continues to develop and impress. He’s one to watch down the stretch.

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Phone: 209-546-8272

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Prep Football Power Rankings: Week 7

St. Mary's High linebacker Khalil Hodge (3) leads the state of California with 110 total tackles. (MICHAEL MCCOLLUM/THE RECORD)

As high school football season rolls along, the hierarchies become clear: on team depth charts, in leagues and in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Friday, the Tri-City Athletic League (TCAL) opened and a pecking order started to establish itself. Lincoln put a licking on Lodi, 30-6, St. Mary’s smothered West 46-14 and Tracy trampled Tokay 34-7. At least after a week, it seems the Trojans, Rams and Bulldogs could be the contenders for the TCAL crown.

Even in the Valley Oak League, which has three weeks already done, the top quartet of Manteca, Sierra, Oakdale and Central Catholic is 6-0 against Kimball, East Union, Weston Ranch and Lathrop.

My hierarchy, my weekly Prep Football Power Rankings, returns for Week 7, as we inch closer to November and the exhilarating season for section playoffs.

1. ST. MARY’S (1) 5-1, 1-0 TCAL

The Rams have a legitimate chance at contending in the Div. II playoff bracket this season.

St. Mary’s, after falling behind early, dropped 46 points on an upstart West (5-1, 0-1 TCAL) team on the road in Tracy.

Senior linebacker Khalil Hodge leads the state with 110 total tackles, and that mark is in the top 50 in the nation, according to MaxPreps.

ON FRIDAY: vs. Tokay (4-2, 0-1 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

Sierra High wide receiver Hunter Johnson (front) had a game-high eight catches for 134 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 win over Central Catholic Oct. 3 at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

2. SIERRA (2) 6-0, 3-0 VOL

Sierra’s matchup with Oakdale, also 6-0 and 3-0 in VOL, is a monumental one, at home at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium in Manteca.

The Timberwolves are so confident at this point that they’re playing around with different offensive packages, like they did when starting sophomore Marcos Castillo at quarterback last week in Lathrop. Castillo responded with a 30-yard touchdown run and by kicking a 31-yard field goal in the 37-7 win. Junior tailback Mark Paule Jr. doesn’t have stats registered for the Lathrop game, though through five games he had 1,005 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.

ON FRIDAY: vs. Oakdale (6-0, 3-0 VOL), 7 p.m.

Tracy High tailback Nate Jones (right) as a junior. (MICHAEL MCCOLLUM/THE RECORD)

3. TRACY (3) 4-2, 1-0 TCAL

Tracy, on a four-game winning streak, is tough, has speed, size, experience and is ready to challenge St. Mary’s and Lincoln in the TCAL.

Bulldogs quarterback Michael Brown isn’t a perfect passer, but is a good one, and is fast and gritty. Senior tailback Nate Jones is a highlight reel touchdown run waiting to happen. The secondary with corners William Alexander and Joshua Clarke, and safeties/linebackers Jake Alvarado, Jason Nelson and Brandon Russell is one of the best in the section.

ON FRIDAY: at Lodi (4-2, 0-1 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

Lincoln High defensive back Cameron Crump was tied for eighth in the Sac-Joaquin Section with three interceptions entering Friday. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

4. LINCOLN (5) 3-3, 1-0 TCAL

The Trojans got a convincing win over Lodi to open TCAL play, and will have the return of defensive lineman T.J. TiaTia, ranked one of the best in the section by Cal-Hi Sports preseason, back for at least some of the second half.

Right now, I think they’re a hair better overall, both in health and overall prowess, than No. 5.

ON FRIDAY: at West (5-1, 0-1 TCAL), 7:15 p.m.

Manteca High quarterback Dakarai Charles (right) threw for two touchdowns in his team's 42-21 loss against Oakdale at Levi's Stadium Saturday. (STAN OLSZEWSKI/SPECIAL TO THE RECORD)

5. MANTECA (4) 4-2, 1-2 VOL

The Buffaloes are a great team, but succumbed to Oakdale fullback Frankie Trent under the unrelenting Santa Clara sun on Saturday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium.

Manteca, though, will get back on track: its toughest game is hosting Sierra on Halloween. The Buffaloes are a talented, driven club, and will finish 8-2 at-best or 7-3 at worst heading into the Div. III playoffs.

ON FRIDAY: at Kimball (1-5, 0-3 VOL), 7 p.m.

ON THE BUBBLE: Chavez (4-2, 1-0 SJAA) has won two straight games and has a legitimate chance to win the SJAA running away if it beats Edison this week… Escalon (4-2, 1-0 TVL) took care of a tough Hughson team on the road, and will likely give coach Mark Loureiro his Sac-Joaquin Section record-breaking 262nd win Friday vs. Hilmar… West (5-1, 0-1 TCAL), Lodi (4-2, 0-1 TCAL) and Tokay (4-2, 0-1 TCAL) all still deserve a spot here as well.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Phone: 209-546-8272

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Stats and Breakdown: Manteca falls to Oakdale at Levi’s Stadium.

 

Manteca High quarterback Dakarai Charles (right) threw for two touchdowns in his team's 42-21 loss against Oakdale at Levi's Stadium Saturday. (STAN OLSZEWSKI/SPECIAL TO THE RECORD)

Manteca High football had an experience it wouldn’t soon forget at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium Saturday.

But the game, however, it would probably like to soon.

Oakdale outlasted and eventually ground down Manteca with its Wing-T rushing attack, winning 42-21 to improve to 6-0 and 3-0 in the VOL while Manteca drops to 4-2 and 1-2 in league.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter breakdown and a statistical look at both teams:

FIRST QUARTER

Manteca received the ball, and got two first down runs from senior Hector Soto. But in Mustang territory, he fumbled it away and Oakdale took over. From there, the Mustangs went on a 14-play, 67-yard drive, capped by senior fullback Frankie Trent’s 2-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

The Buffaloes’ quarterback Dakarai Charles took off running on the ensuing possession, and fumbled the ball. But teammate Luis Reyes scooped it up and dashed 62 yards for a broken-play touchdown to tie the game at 7 with 1:57 left in the first.

SECOND QUARTER

Oakdale got it back, and again, ground down Manteca with a 9-play, 69-yard drive as Trent scored again, this time from 7 yards for a 14-7 lead early in the second.

The Buffaloes scored yet again on another broken play. Charles, under pressure, scrambled right into a sea of Mustangs, then broke back to his left and lobbed a pass to a running Reyes, who sprinted down the left sideline for a 67-yard touchdown and a 14-all tie.

The Mustangs finished their half on their third straight scoring drive, with a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 5-yard Trent TD run. Oakdale led 21-14 with 5:03 to half.

Manteca earned the halftime tie, as in Oakdale territory, Charles hit tight end Greg Jones for a 14-yard first down to the 11. He then found Jones in the end zone, and Jones was a grown man: hammered by an Oakdale tackler but holding on. The game was tied at 21 at halftime.

THIRD QUARTER

Oakdale looked pretty similar to start the second half, with a 12-play, 80-yard drive, as Trent dashed in from 16 yards for his fourth touchdown of the afternoon and a 28-21 lead.

FOURTH QUARTER

The Buffaloes punted away their next possession, and the Mustangs drove inside the 15. That’s when Manteca’s Ronaldo Tijero intercepted Oakdale quarterback Adam Olsen.

But Manteca went three-and-out again, and after a poor punt, three plays later, Trent found the end zone from 10 yards for his fifth touchdown of the day. The kick missed and Oakdale led 34-21.

Charles was sacked twice in a row for a turnover on downs on Manteca’s next possession. The Mustangs’ Trent scored his sixth and final TD on a 15-yard run on the only play of the next drive. Oakdale’s Brock Whiting ran in a trick two-point conversion.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

OAKDALE (6-0, 3-0 VOL)

Passing

Adam Olsen: 4 of 5, 69 yards, INT

Rushing

Frankie Trent: 32 rush, 220 yards, 6 TDs

Brock Whiting: 14 rush, 73 yards

Darus Nelson: 9 rush, 25 yards

Adam Olsen: 6 rush, 18 yards

Receiving

Bobby Depuy: 1 rec., 35 yards

Brock Whiting: 2 rec., 18 yards

Frankie Trent: 1 rec., 16 yards

Total Offense: 405 yards (336 rushing, 69 passing)

MANTECA (4-2, 1-2 VOL)

Passing

Dakarai Charles: 7 of 14, 118 yards, 2 TDs

Rushing

Luis Reyes: 2 rush, 63 yards, TD

Hector Soto: 8 rush, 50 yards

Dakarai Charles: 11 rush, 28 yards, 5 sacks

Hjalmar Sanchez: 4 rush, 16 yards

Darrion Kitson: 3 rush, 9 yards

Dom Pisano: 1 rush, 5 yards

Lechi Nkwocha: 2 rush, 5 yards

Carl Chandler: 4 rush, 4 yards

Total Offense: 301 yards (183 rushing, 118 passing)

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Phone: 209-546-8272

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Tracy-Tokay Player of the Game: Michael Brown

Tracy High quarterback Michael Brown (center) threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in a win over Tokay Friday. (CLIFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

Tracy High football coach Matt Shrout has a pretty even keel, but he can’t help but glow about his quarterback.

Michael Brown, the Bulldogs’ senior and dual threat, showed all of his skills Friday, as Tracy trounced Tokay 34-7 at the Grape Bowl in Lodi to open Tri-City Athletic League play.

“They beat the heck out of (Brown), and he never once winced,” Shrout said on an earlier-season game. “He’s super tough — that’s the reason he’s our quarterback. He can run, he can throw, he can take the hits. We’re really lucky to have a guy like him.”

Brown went 4 for 10 passing with 90 yard, but had an 8-yard TD strike to Brandon Russell and a 10-yard TD pass to Jason Nelson.

He also rushed 14 times for 95 yards and a touchdown on a 46-yard breakaway to virtually seal the win at 28-7.

That’s why Brown is my Player of the Game for Tracy’s win over Tokay.

HONORABLE MENTION

NATE JONES (Tracy RB, Sr.)

Jones showed off his Sac-Joaquin Section-championship track speed Friday, with touchdown runs of 71 and 84 yards, taking 17 carries for a season-high 98 yards.

JAKE ALVARADO (Tracy DB/WR, Sr.)

Alvarado, the Bulldogs’ senior, nabbed two interceptions against Tokay and is now tied for third in the Sac-Joaquin Section with five on the season.

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

Reed had a game-high nine catches for 118 yards in his Tokay debut, and although he lost two fumbles, he made some incredible catches in traffic. Tracy’s defensive backs did a great job keeping him out of the end zone, even when it was with pass interference. Tokay only found the end zone once, on quarterback Grayson Dillon’s 3-yard run.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Week 0: Mark Russell (Lincoln WR, Sr.)

Week 1: Marcell Spady (St. Mary’s RB, Sr.)

Week 2: Mark Paule Jr. (Sierra RB, Jr.)

Week 3: Nate Jones (Tracy RB, Sr.)

Week 4: Justin Rice (Central Catholic RB, Jr.) and Hector Soto (Manteca RB, Sr.)

Week 5: Hunter Johnson (Sierra WR, Sr.)

Week 6: Michael Brown (Tracy QB, Sr.)

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Local Prep Football Scoreboard/Schedule for Week 6/7

Edison High quarterback Sean Buligon (right) runs in his team's win over Stagg Friday night. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

Hi folks, here’s your local football scoreboard from Week 6, and a schedule for Week 7:

WEEK 6 SCORES

Edison 48, Stagg 46

Modesto-Central Catholic 52, East Union 0

St. Mary’s 46, West 14

Tracy 34, Tokay 7

Lincoln 30, Lodi 6

Chavez 42, Bear Creek 28

Escalon 35, Hughson 20

Linden 34, Bret Harte 14

Calaveras 28, Argonaut 14

McNair 42, Franklin 18

Weston Ranch 18, Kimball 14

Sierra 37, Lathrop 7

Ripon 49, Hilmar 21

Ripon Chr. 28, Waterford 27

Elliot Chr. 20, Stone Ridge Chr. 13

WEEK 7 SCHEDULE

Big Valley Christian at Brookside Christian @ Lincoln High (Stockton), 7 p.m.

Elliot Christian at Turlock Christian, 7 p.m.

Lathrop at East Union, 7 p.m.

Oakdale at Sierra, 7 p.m.

Central Catholic at Weston Ranch, 7:15 p.m.

Edison at Chavez, 7:15 p.m.

Franklin at Bear Creek, 7:15 p.m.

Lincoln at West, 7:15 p.m.

Manteca at Kimball, 7:15 p.m.

McNair at Stagg, 7:15 p.m.

Tokay at St. Mary’s, 7:15 p.m.

Tracy at Lodi, 7:15 p.m.

Hilmar at Escalon, 7:30 p.m.

Ripon Christian at Gustine, 7:30 p.m.

Riverbank at Ripon, 7:30 p.m.

Sonora at Linden, 7:30 p.m.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Phone: 209-546-8272

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Midseason Football Report, Part III: League Predictions

St. Mary's High quarterback Noah Righetti (right) and the Rams will win the Tri-City Athletic League. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

The summer’s over. The lopsided preseason matches are over. The time of having any room for error is over.

It’s league football season in the high school ranks.

Some leagues have already started, like the VOL, CCAA, MLL and SL, while the powerful TCAL, all-Stockton SJAA and TVL get going tonight in Week 6.

This is the final chapter of my Midseason Football Report blog series, after Part I (Local Offensive Leaders) and Part II (Local Defensive Leaders) were released Thursday.

Here’s a look at each league, with a champion and a runner-up. I’m focusing on the TCAL, SJAA and in-progress VOL. Remember, in this area, leagues send two guaranteed teams to the postseason.

TRI-CITY ATHLETIC LEAGUE

Champion: St. Mary’s

The Rams (4-1) have one of the best defensive front seven and eight in the Sac-Joaquin Section, and the playmakers on offense (QB Noah Righetti, WRs Demetrius Ferguson and Javonte Norman, RB Marcell Spady) to get it done.

The defense should keep progressing, and having longtime Stanford assistant David Tipton running it is immensely important. St. Mary’s survives despite tough tests on the road at Tracy Oct. 24 and home against arch rival Lincoln Nov. 7. Linebacker Khalil Hodge is going to be all-state for at least one media outlet, I’m calling it now.

Runner-up: Tracy

This was not an easy decision. Lincoln, Lodi, West and Tokay could all argue for this.

If the Bulldogs can manage an upset over St. Mary’s, they have a shot. Because I think they’ll finish 4- in the rest of their league schedule. I can’t wait for the St. Mary’s-Tracy game or when Tracy hosts Lincoln on Halloween.

SAN JOAQUIN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Champion: Chavez

The Titans are 3-2, the only winning SJAA team thus far, and senior tailback Priest Jennings is second in the section with 906 rushing yards to go with nine touchdowns.

Chavez has the offensive firepower to beat its top competitors, Stagg and Edison, and just enough defense to get it done.

Runner-up: Stagg

The Delta Kings start their SJAA slate with a crucial win over Edison, and do just enough to return to the playoffs after a brutal 0-4 preseason.

VALLEY OAK LEAGUE

Champion: Sierra

Sierra gets an Oakdale team on short rest at home Oct. 17, and does travel to Manteca on Halloween. But I think while 2013 was certainly the Buffaloes’ year, there’s something funny about this Timberwolves team. I think it’s time for an outright championship.

Runner-up: Oakdale

The Mustangs have a battle on their hands with Manteca Saturday at Levi’s Stadium, and should close the season by beating Central Catholic at home. I have yet to see Oakdale, so they could beat Sierra on the road for all I know.

For the record: In my preseason VOL media poll that I submitted to the Manteca Bulletin, I had Oakdale, Central Catholic, Manteca and Sierra first through fourth.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Friday Prep Football Predictions: Week 6

The sun sets on Lincoln High's Spanos Stadium during a Sept. 26 game between Millennium and Elliot Christian. (CRAIG SANDERS/THE RECORD)

Why, Buffaloes, why?

If it wasn’t for Amador beating Linden 27-21 in a Mother Lode League battle, I would’ve been perfect on my prep football predictions for the second straight week. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

Last week I went 11-1 to improve to 64-21 this season, a winning percentage of .753.

We’re back for Week 6 prep football predictions, as the Tri-City Athletic League (TCAL), Trans Valley League (TVL) and San Joaquin Athletic Association (SJAA) join the already in-progress MLL, Central California Athletic Alliance (CCAA) and Southern League (SL).

Tonight, I’ll be at our Game of the Week, Tracy-Tokay at the Grape Bowl tweeting live starting at 7 p.m., and tomorrow I’ll be at the Oakdale-Manteca VOL battle at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium.

For now, here are my predictions:

TRACY 38, Tokay 22

Including 6-foot-4 wide receiver L.J. Reed will be a huge boost to the Tigers’ offense, but the Bulldogs have one of the best secondaries in the area and have a more complete punch as a roster at this point.

Tracy was built to hit its peak once league play starts, and  behind healthy senior tailback Nate Jones and underrated quarterback Michael Brown, will put up some points tonight, too.

Beware Reed, though, it is amazing how he stands out just in practice. If the Tigers and quarterback Grayson Dillon can get him the ball and often, it could make me look silly.

STAGG 35, Edison 33

The Delta Kings have every reason to be miserable after an 0-4 start, their player suspension earlier this year, and the Fairfield cancellation. But they’ll have enough offense to get it done and outlast the Vikings in an SJAA battle.

Beware Edison and quarterback Sean Buligon, though, they’re a contender to win their first league championship in 37 years.

LINCOLN 42, Lodi 20

The Trojans have won eight in a row and nine of 10 over the Flames, and their gauntlet of a preseason schedule starts to pay off tonight at Spanos Stadium.

Lodi tailback Chance Trammell puts forth another admirable effort, but Lincoln’s speed guys like Mark Russell and Chris Cannady run wild.

MORE PREDICTIONS

ST. MARY’S over West

The Wolf Pack are a great story, a perfect 5-0 in preseason and off to the school’s best start this millennium. But St. Mary’s (4-1) is a NorCal power and with its defensive prowess and offensive balance wins by at least a couple scores.

CHAVEZ over Bear Creek

The Titans (3-2) are the only winning team thus far in the SJAA for a reason, and senior tailback Priest Jennings is second in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 906 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

MCNAIR over Franklin

Both teams are on four-game losing streaks and have trouble keeping points off the scoreboard, but the McNair aerial duo of quarterback Osai Brown and wide receiver Sean Hamilton will get it done at Verner Field.

SIERRA over Lathrop

This has trap game written all over it. Sierra is coming off an emotional 17-14 win over small-school power Central Catholic, Lathrop is much improved this season and this is a road game.

But this version of the Timberwolves is too focused to falter. Sure, Lathrop might make things interesting early, but Sierra’s defense will clamp down and its zone read rushing game will persevere.

WESTON RANCH over Kimball

The Cougars edge the Jaguars as both teams vie for their first VOL win. This is a toss up, but Weston Ranch stayed within reach of Lathrop and wants to avoid the cellar of this league.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC over East Union

The Lancers are having their best season in a few years, and are 2-3 and 1-1 in the VOL, but the Raiders should be angry after their loss at Sierra.

ESCALON over Hughson

A small-school, TVL battle. Escalon coach Mark Loureiro gets his 261st win, tying the Sac-Joaquin Section career record, and setting him up with a chance to break it at home against Hilmar Oct. 17.

HILMAR over Ripon

The Yellowjackets and Indians, Div. IV playoff teams a year ago, are a combined 3-7 through the preseason.

Ripon hasn’t got a home win, though, and Hilmar wins a close one.

STONE RIDGE CHRISTIAN over Elliot Christian

RIPON CHRISTIAN over Waterford

CALAVERAS over Argonaut

LINDEN over Bret Harte

THIS WEEK’S PREP FOOTBALL BLOG COVERAGE

Monday: Central Catholic-Sierra Player of the Game, Central Catholic-Sierra Stats and Breakdown, Prep Football Power Rankings – Week 6

Tuesday: “Helmet Stickers” for Week 5, Scoreboard and Football League Standings, Sac-Joaquin Section Top 25 Rankings

Wednesday: Cal-Hi Sports NorCal  Bowl Rankings, Players to Watch: Tracy at Tokay, The Record’s Prep Football Player of the Year Expanded Watch List

Thursday: Midseason Football Report, Part I: Offense, Midseason Football Report, Part II: Defense, X-Factors: Tracy at Tokay

Today: Friday Prep Football Predictions: Week 6

THIS WEEK’S PREP SPORTS COVERAGE IN THE RECORD

Thursday: Column on a Midseason Football MVP Watch; Second-Half Thoughts

Today: High School Football Games of the Week preview and capsules

Saturday: Manteca football Levi’s Stadium showcase preview

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

X-Factors: Tracy at Tokay

Tracy High quarterback MIchael Brown (left) will be an item of interest for host Tokay Friday. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

Quite possibly, the fastest running back and the most talented wide receiver in Sac-Joaquin Section football will share the same field Friday night.

Let’s dig in.

Tokay High football (4-1) hosts red-hot Tracy (3-2) at the Grape Bowl in Lodi to open Tri-City Athletic League action. Across the TCAL, Lodi goes to Lincoln and St. Mary’s heads to undefeated West.

I’ll be there tweeting updates live, but for now, here are three X-Factors for the game:

A MYSTERY IN A 6-FOOT-4 FRAME

Finally, L.J. Reed’s debut is here.

Reed, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver, UCLA commit and transfer from Elk Grove-Cosumnes Oaks, is done with his CIF-mandated sitout period and ready to play for the Tigers.

I’m fascinated to see how Tokay incorporates him into their offense, especially needing to win right away since it’s league season. I also can’t wait to see how the Bulldog secondary copes with him. Jake Alvarado,  Joshua Clarke, William Alexander and Brandon Russell are very talented, but do they have the frame to get in Reed’s way?

Time will tell.

TO RUN OR TO PASS? 

Tracy runs a veer offense, and typically, likes to move the football on the ground. But senior quarterback Michael Brown can sling it when he needs to, like when he went 14 for 20 for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-41 win at Turlock Week 4.

So we’ll see how Tracy attacks Tokay, considering its best assets are linebackers Nick Arnaiz and Bradley Kazmierczak. Also look out for Tigers safety Chris Sanchez, tied for eighth in the section with three interceptions (along with Tracy’s Alvarado).

That speedy running back I was talking about is Tracy senior Nate Jones, the defending section 100-meter dash champion who’s in his third game back from injury.

KEEPING THEM OFF-GUARD

Grayson Dillon, the Tigers’ senior quarterback, has had increased success under center this season because of his ability to run the ball effectively, too.

Even though he has Reed, that Tracy secondary is too good to have a predictable offensive attack with. Dillon must be on the move when he sees an opening, and feed it to junior Jeffery Evans, who has 257 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Also look for Tokay wide receiver T.J. Gotelli, who has 249 receiving yards and three TDs.

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
  • Blog Authors

    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

    Scott Linesburgh

    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

    Thomas Lawrence

    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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