Ripon Christian made its statement loud and clear Friday.
Oakdale ran two plays in the fourth quarter - a punt to get the running clock going, and a kneel-down from quarterback Spencer Thomas on the Mustang 5-yard line as time expired at Sierra's Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium Friday.
Oakdale High has captured at least a share of eight of the last 10 Valley Oak League championships, including the previous five in succession.
The Trans-Valley League season kicks off tonight with four undefeated teams, one other with a winning record and two sitting at the .500 mark.
The Southern League championship still goes through Le Grand, the three-time reigning titlist.
Anthony Cota and the rest of the Timberwolves from Sierra High have unfinished business to attend to on a Friday night jam-packed with marquee matchups.
Things did not work out well for the visiting East Union Lancers sophomore football team, as Modesto High handled them thoroughly in a 41-7 loss on Friday.
After scoring on its opening possession for the second week in a row Manteca High watched Stagg answer its opening score with a 55-yard touchdown run of its own. That would be the only answer Stagg would find in the 62-6 drubbing last Thursday in freshman football.
Last week, a pulverizing ground-game plagued the Manteca Buffaloes.
LATHROP – The Lathrop Spartans had a variety of incentives to post a win in their final non-league matchup Friday night.
SALIDA - Jarad Mora was the first of three Modesto Christian defenders to pile on top of East Union quarterback Aaron Ramos in the end zone as time expired in Friday's nonleague tilt at Roy Blakeley Field.
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch High coach Mike Hale wasn't leaving anything to chance Friday against Bear Creek.
For Ripon Christian it was a perfect bounce-back performance.
This Friday marks a special moment in Lathrop High history.
The Manteca High sophomore team put together an impressive showing, hanging tough with a talented Los Banos squad before pulling away with a 47-30 win Friday at Manteca High.
Zak Burden made big plays with his arms and legs, and on the game's final sequence it was he who fittingly punctuated No. 10 Rio Linda's 49-44 upset of No. 2 Sierra in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinal at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
SACRAMENTO -The better athletes won out on this day.
Down to their final play, Dakarai Charles threw toward the corner of the end zone with confidence.
Fade to black.
A year ago, Manteca put an emphatic stamp on its fourth Sac-Joaquin Section championship with a runaway victory over a first-time finalist.
Ripon Christian is well aware of what it's up against tonight.
Sophomores have long been a part of Sierra's winning formula this season, but when Brandon Arreola burst around the corner and into the end zone this was something new.
Behind the goal posts, shagging footballs blasted through the uprights during warm-ups, Sierra's Marissa LaQuaglia makes no illusions about her role on Friday nights.
Ripon Christian appeared to have an Andrew Brown clone in the form of junior tail back Brian Sytsma.
The third time was the charm for Eric Reis and his Manteca High football team.
Confetti wafted in the air above the home bleachers and players were met with hugs and high-fives at every turn.
GARDEN VALLEY – The Ripon Christian Knights relied on a strong second-half surge to roll past Golden Sierra in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff opener.
It was the kind of moment that can take the air out of a stadium.
By now, the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoff brackets have been dissected and analyzed by anyone with a rooting interest or a job to do.
Eric Reis has been known to share stories of Manteca High's grid-iron glory of years past with his players.