If you're going to play with a chip on your shoulder, it might as well be boulder.
The 2009 season marked the end of Sierra and Patterson's annual non-league meeting.
RIPON – It was the first Sac-Joaquin Section appearance in school history for Venture Academy. Unfortunately Ripon High is on a quest to reach the Division-IV final for the fifth consecutive season, and the difference was obvious in a 25-5, 25-5, 25-10 first-round Indians win Tuesday.
The close to the Valley Oak League season played a major role in the formation of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III Football Championships bracket, but nothing could alter the extended seasons for Manteca, East Union and Sierra high's football programs once the brackets were revealed Saturday evening.
Manteca High had little trouble coming back from a close loss to the Oakdale Mustangs, taking care of business in the Valley Oak League finale with a convincing win over the East Union Lancers Friday.
MANTECA – Although Manteca freshman football coach Jon Shaefer was concentrating on his team's 40-8 win over visiting East Union on Thursday in the Valley Oak League finale, he couldn't help but look over the Lancers' bleachers to the east at Guss Schmiedt Field and wonder what was happening up the hill at Dunlavy Field where Oakdale was visiting Sonora.
Manteca High and East Union were locked in a classic battle Friday at Dino Cunial Field.
NEWMAN - Almost everything went right for Ripon High in the first half Friday against Orestimba in a game that both teams needed for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff berth.
WESTON RANCH - The Sierra Timberwolves had one opportunity to close out their season with a win and continue into the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason, and they didn't forfeit the chance, jumping out to a seven-touchdown first half lead on their way to a 53-6 win Friday over Weston Ranch.
RIPON – The Knights closed out the season in spectacular fashion Friday at Stouffer Field.
TRACY – Lathrop came out in the third quarter and got two scores via the no-huddle offense and take a one-point lead, but an 80-yard scoring run by Kimball's Zack Johnson put the Jaguars ahead to stay in the 26-21 Valley Oak League win for Kimball at Don Nicholson Stadium.
Fourteen Sac-Joaquin Section playoff tickets have already been punched.
It's been a long time since the East Union-Manteca game, the oldest rivalry in the area, has meant something for all parties involved.
For Sierra it's for the right to continue its season.
Things were looking bleak for Ripon High's football team a month ago.
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.