Ripon Christian's football team made a huge statement with its 40-0 zero-week victory over Big Valley Christian, a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI semifinalist last year.
East Union High's sophomore squad kicked off its season with a 28-15 win over visiting Orestimba Friday at Dino Cunial Field.
Anthony Cota scored four touchdowns to help lead Sierra High past Grace Davis Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Few in the area match the pregame ambiance of East Union High home football games.
Manteca High opened its season Friday with a lopsided 55-7 non-league win at Galt.
LINDEN - With 1:37 remaining Friday night and visiting Ripon clinging to a seven-point lead and facing a fourth down and 15 yards to go from the Linden 28-yard line, Kyle Wengel spotted Cole Herrin with a touchdown pass to put the game out of reach and give the Indians a 42-28 win.
There are similarities between the East Union and Orestimba 2010 football teams.
RIPON – Ripon Christian High's colors are blue and gold.
After putting together a solid team effort in its season-opener against Enochs, Sierra High was forced to cope with a 33-20 loss to the Eagles on its home field Friday.
Games such as the one played at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium Friday are labeled "defensive struggles," but the defenses weren't doing the struggling.
RIPON – It was far from perfect, but good enough. Ripon High pushed across its third touchdown just before halftime, jumping out on the Ceres Bulldogs 21-7 and never looked back in a 28-7 victory to open the season.
Three area squads got a head start in the 2010 season when the Sac-Joaquin Section revamped the football schedule to include Week Zero contests, but they combined for zero wins going into Week 1.
The Manteca Junior Buffaloes varsity squad opened its 2011 season with a 14-6 victory over the Denair Lions Saturday in the Trans Valley Youth Football League.
Week after week there was a growing belief in Lancer Land that East Union High's football team could actually make a run at a postseason berth.
The Valley Oak League's top two offensive players of 2010 graduated from Manteca High's co-championship team last May.
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.