This is the second in a series of posts comparing two local rivals who both may be toward the top of the preseason state football rankings. We’ll write up what we think these teams will be like heading into the season, then we hope to see what their fans have to say through comments, reaction.
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What The Teams Accomplished Last Season: It was a down year for both CIF Sac-Joaquin Section schools. St. Mary’s (7-4) was runner-up to Stagg of Stockton in the Tri-County Athletic League after dominating the league for many years. Lincoln (4-7) also was second in its league, but played one of the toughest schedules in Northern California. Among the teams Lincoln played and lost to were Elk Grove, Vacaville, Granite Bay and Folsom.Shapshot of St. Mary’s: Based on a conversation with head coach Tony Franks at the local 24-Hour Fitness, a new schedule, being in a new league (this year’s game against Lincoln will be a league game) and a solid group of players has him thinking it may be a better season. Not having a zero week game also will put the team on a more familiar schedule. New schools on the schedule include Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa in the opener, Los Gatos and a trip to the Sunset District in San Francisco to play St. Ignatius. The defense could be very good with LB Khalil Hodge (6-1, 220) leading the way. He has an offer from Sacramento State and had 102 tackles last season.
Shapshot of Lincoln: That 4-7 record was sub-par for Lincoln standards and head coach Brian Gray, but it came against a strong schedule and there are only a handful of seniors who departed. Junior QB Colby Dickson gained valuable experience as a starter, the offensive line is gigantic and hopefully improved and the defense has some impact returnees as well. The Trojans start out against Stagg of Stockton in what will be an intriguing first game. Vacaville and Elk Grove are still on the schedule but Granite Bay is not.
More Top Players for St. Mary’s: QB Noah Righetti; WR/DB Demetrius Ferguson (30 catches, 529 yds); RB Marcel Spady (5-9, 225); WR/DB Javonte Norman.
More Top Players for Lincoln: DE Jordan McMiller (all-league); OL/DL Tony TiaTia (6-0, 320); LB Yates Hunter (88.29 SPARQ Rating); RB Mark Russell; RB John McDonald (transfer from Weston Ranch, 96.84 SPARQ Rating); WR/DB Cameron Crump.
Recent History Between These Two: It hasn’t been much of a rivalry for the last five seasons as St. Mary’s always seems to find a way to win. Lincoln’s last win came in 2008 in the regular season, but the Rams won later in a playoff game. St. Mary’s won last year 22-8.
Hunch As To Where Each Team Should Be Ranked In The Preseason: Both teams will need to post some early wins to get ranked. The southern part of the Sac-Joaquin Section is wide open so almost all of the teams from the section that will be considered for the preseason State Top 50 will be from the north.
Next Preseason Duel: Valley Christian (San Jose) vs. Serra (San Mateo).