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SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

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POSTED November 19, 2009 2:13 a.m.
Division III

• Frontrunner: No. 1 Inderkum (10-0) … The Tigers are ranked eighth overall in the section according to MaxPreps.com. Defense has four shutouts and allows just nine points per game, and offense features two terrific backs in Antonio Bumpers (1,682 yards, 27 TDs) and Devin Hartley (858 yards, seven TDs). Inderkum is one of just seven teams section wide with a perfect record.
• Contenders: No. 2 Del Campo (9-1), No. 3 Sierra (9-1), No. 5 Oakdale (9-1) … Del Campo went undefeated in the Capital Athletic League, which has four teams represented in the D-III playoffs, but lone loss was to 4-6 Woodcreek — a tough team with a tough schedule …Oakdale was a field goal away from earning a top two seed but lost to fellow Valley Oak League co-champion Sierra, 44-42.
• Dark horses: No. 4 Vanden (9-1), No. 8 Manteca (7-3) … Vanden was in position to finish the season undefeated but was upset by 5-5 Rodriguez … Manteca had chances to beat Sierra, Oakdale and Tracy, the section’s top-seeded Division I team.
• Best first-round matchup: No. 9 Casa Roble (6-4) at No. 8 Manteca (7-3) … Manteca could face both of last year’s Division-III finalists in back-to-back weeks but will first have to get past the defending champion. The winner between the tradition-rich programs will likely meet 2008 runner-up Inderkum.
• Potential upset: No. 11 Patterson (6-4) at No. 6 Benicia (8-2) …Benicia has beaten just one team (Fairfield) with a winning record. Patterson had the tougher schedule, with its losses coming against playoff teams with at least seven wins apiece to go with a big win over Western Athletic Conference foe Hilmar to end the regular season.

Division IV A/B
• Frontrunner: No. 2-B Central Catholic (9-1) … Ranked No. 3 on CalHiSports.com’s CIF Bowl Division III-North rankings and lost only to No. 1 St. Mary’s of Stockton in the annual Holy Bowl. Began rugged non-league schedule with victories over powerhouse programs —  Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) and Sutter. … Owns the most Sac-Joaquin Section titles with 15, and Escalon has the next most with seven.
• Contenders: No. 1-B Modesto Christian (10-0), No. 1-A Lincoln (10-0) … Modesto Christian, the top-ranked small school in Northern California, is led by one of the section’s most dynamic players in QB/DB Isaiah Burse (1,090 passing yards, 17 TDs, one INT; 909 rushing yards, 14 TDs). … Lincoln holds the title in the traditionally tough Pioneer Valley League, which includes 2008 Division IV champion Whitney.
• Dark horses: No. 3-A Placer (9-1), No. 4-B Escalon (9-1) … Placer upset league champions Oakdale and Dixon last year to advance to the Division IV finals, where it lost to conference rival Whitney. … Escalon’s only loss came against Modesto Christian, 21-16. Escalon kicks off postseason with Hilmar, which snapped Central Catholic’s section playoff win streak at 29 in the D-V final last year.
• Best first-round matchup: No. 5-A Whitney (7-3) at No. 4-A Sonora (8-2) … New school vs. old school matchup should be a doozy between teams representing tough medium-school conferences. Both squads rely on their ground games for offensive success, while the defenses yield less than 20 ppg.
• Potential upset: No. 6-B Ripon (7-3) at No. 3-B Summerville (9-1) ... Would it be an upset if Ripon wins? The Indians already beat Summerville 32-23 in non-league play, but Summerville won eight straight and the Mother Lode League title to end the season. Summerville did beat league foe Argonaut, which shut out Ripon, 24-0.
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