These make-or-break moments are often defined by big, imposing aces with even larger personalities, rocket arms and legitimate college and pro prospects.
LODI - Do not bet against Manteca with Jake Corn on the mound – or if you do, do not let Corn know about it.
TURLOCK - Manteca High teammates Carl Chandler and Marcus Montano were the top two seeded high jumpers going into Thursday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Trials at Cal State Stanislaus' Warrior Stadium.
One of the season's indelible moments is of Sierra's Sydnee Canales lacing a deep left-footed shot on goal to earn a draw at Oakdale.
Clay Cuneo's mind was made up.
STOCKTON – She came. She saw. She conquered.
STOCKTON – Abby Buitrago calmly stepped to the penalty stripe, spotting the ball and her place in Ripon Christian's storied athletic history.
ELK GROVE – Manteca's opportunity to win a first-ever girls soccer section championship slipped away after an overpowering shot by Nici Lopez found the back of the net for Christian Brothers in the 61st minute Saturday.
Three Ripon Indians competed in varsity events during Saturday's Sac-Joaquin Section swimming finals at Tokay High in Lodi, but Sierra's Scott Tolman winning a pair of frosh-soph section titles certainly turned some heads as well.
STOCKTON - They aren't as imposing as Allie Walljasper inside the pitching circle. They don't have the stuff to collect strikeouts by the dozens, nor do they have a spot reserved on an NCAA Division I program.
East Union High will have a special guest for its spring sports awards social tonight.
Manteca could potentially be two wins away from a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV baseball championship after it knocked off Cosumnes Oaks-Elk Grove 5-2 in the opener of Saturday's best-of-three semifinal series at Lodi's Zupo Field.
STOCKTON - Friday night marked the end of an era for Sierra's softball program.
A banner season for local girls soccer culminates today with three Sac-Joaquin Section championship games at two sites.
STOCKTON – The third inning of Friday's elimination game in Sac-Joaquin Section Division V softball action with Hughson is one Ripon would like to forget.
After giving up the lead in the fourth quarter Thursday, Sierra bounced back with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Caden Worth to Brandy James with 4:53 showing on the clock and held on for the 12-7 win over visiting Ripon in non-league freshman football action at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Weston Ranch successfully defended its Stagg Brown and Gold Cup crown on Saturday, securing the championship with a 2-0 win over the host team.
The Ripon and Sierra football teams will rekindle their rivalry in the marquee Zero Week game tonight.
LODI - Leagues are realigned.
Manteca and East Union are out for revenge, while Lathrop's second-year head coach returns to his hometown to lead the Spartans onto familiar grounds.
Brooke Riley stood shoulder to shoulder with a teammate, both staring down the third fairway at Manteca Park Golf Course.
LATHROP – Alfredo Reynaga hasn't wasted any time putting his stamp on the Lathrop High boys soccer program.
Weston Ranch isn't going to surprise anybody this year.
Ripon Christian has re-established itself as a force among Sac-Joaquin Section small-school powers following eight straight losing seasons.
The Ripon High boys soccer team didn't just lose the area's top player from a year ago.
Kevin Mendiola wheeled back with his right foot and took the ball off a bounce, sending it crashing into the back of the net.
An undefeated league record and a playoff win would be seen as successful for most teams. Ripon Christian did that in the 2013-2014 season, and for the Knights it was an off year.
In this her 10th year in the Sierra volleyball program, Timberwolves coach Trinity Johnson is looking to improve on last year's 1-13 Valley Oak League record – 3-19 overall – and she is not afraid to think outside the box to do it.
The Manteca Futbol Club Flash under-12 girls soccer team might not have a flashy Northern California ranking, but that could soon change.
It is not often that a team has momentum after graduating its core players, but the East Union volleyball team is riding high going into this year's Valley Oak League campaign.