This is a week when teams that have been held back in the rankings for having a key head-to-head loss can come roaring in, especially if they’re still going in the semifinal round of the playoffs. Inderkum’s win over Sacramento and Capital Christian’s win over Sonora were the biggest shockers, but Merced’s win over Del Campo also was big.
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While most casual fans in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section are paying the most attention to this weekend’s showdown games in the Division I football playoff semifinals, there are other teams that are coming on strong in other divisions.
In that D1 bracket, it will be section No. 1 and playoff No. 2 seed St. Mary’s of Stockton hosting section No. 3 and playoff No. 3 seed Oak Ridge on Friday night on its home field. Section No. 2 and playoff No. 1 seed Folsom, meanwhile, is hosting No. 4 in both Elk Grove.
Since the eventual winner of the SJS D1 title is going be topping a strong field, it’s also likely that team will be playing at home in the CIF NorCal Division I-AA bowl game on Friday, Dec. 9 and also most likely against the runner-up of the CIF North Coast Section Open Division championship between De La Salle and unbeaten Freedom of Oakley. The winner of the DLS-Freedom game is expected to be placed directly into the CIF Open Division state final. DLS, after all, has won that title for six of the past seven years. It’s possible if the loser of that game only falls by a point or two then that team could play the SJS D1 champ at its home field instead of being on the road.
One aspect of the NorCal games that the CIF will no longer have to worry about is the possibility of Sacramento having to be higher-seeded than Folsom due to the Dragons having a head-to-head win over the Bulldogs. Sacramento was upset in Saturday’s SJS D2 playoffs, 35-33, by Inderkum and now it will be Inderkum taking on Jesuit in the semifinals. The other semifinal game pits defending champion Del Oro against unbeaten Antelope.
It wasn’t Inderkum’s season-opening loss to Elk Grove that had previously held back the Tigers in the section rankings. It was more the next loss to American Canyon, which then took a loss to Benicia. Head coach Terry Stark’s team is now up to No. 11, even ahead of American Canyon, because it now has a chance to win the D2 section title. American Canyon can go back in front if the Tigers lose.
Another team coming up is Merced. The Bears, who have been State Team of the Year before (in 1989), played both Turlock and Pitman close in league games, but had a head-to-head loss to Del Campo of Fair Oaks that was holding them down. They just avenged last loss last Friday with a 41-32 win in the D3 playoffs and now get to play Oakdale in the semifinals. The other D3 semifinal matches Christian Brothers against American Canyon.
Just as much of an upset as top-seed Sacramento losing in D2 would be top-seed Sonora falling in D5 to Capital Christian of Sacramento. The Wildcats, who had been ranked as high as No. 10 in the section overall (primarily because of having a head-to-head win over Oakdale), fell to the Cougars 33-30. Since Capital Christian now has to be in front of Sonora and was only able to get to No. 25 in this week’s rankings, the Wildcats fell to No. 26 and now are no longer in the Top 25 overall for the section.
(After games of Saturday, Nov. 19)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 11-1
2. (2) Folsom 11-1
3. (4) Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 10-2
4. (5) Elk Grove 11-1
5. (6) Del Oro (Loomis) 10-2
6. (7) Antelope 12-0
7. (14) Jesuit (Carmichael) 9-3
8. (9) Manteca 11-1
9. (11) Oakdale 10-2
10. (8) Turlock 9-3*
11. (24) Inderkum (Sacramento) 10-2
12. (3) Sacramento 10-2*
13. (12) Central Catholic (Modesto) 8-4*
14. (13) Pitman (Turlock) 10-2*
15. (15) Sheldon (Sacramento) 8-4*
16. (18) Grant (Sacramento) 8-4*
17. (21) American Canyon 11-1
18. (22) Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 10-2
19. (NR) Merced 9-3
20. (16) Napa 7-4*
21. (17) Vacaville 8-4*
22. (19) Roseville 9-2*
23. (20) Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove) 8-4*
24. (23) Davis 5-6*
25. (NR) Capital Christian (Sacramento) 10-2
Dropped Out: Previous No. 10 Sonora; No. 25 Monterey Trail (Elk Grove).