Three Manteca-Ripon area teams are hosting first-round playoff football games next Friday, and another is heading to Placer County.
The Sac-Joaquin Section released its postseason brackets Saturday afternoon in an online show broadcasted by NFHS Networks.
Valley Oak League champion Manteca High (9-1) was awarded the No. 2 seed in Division III, guaranteeing the Buffaloes home-field advantage until the final round, which takes place Dec. 6 or 7 at a neutral site yet to be determined.
The Buffs open with No. 15 Central Valley (6-4) of Ceres, a team they beat 47-20 in Week Zero.
The winner faces No. 7 Rosemont or No. 10 Casa Roble, the team that started Manteca’s string of four straight first-round defeats in 2009.
There’s a potential semifinal showdown between Manteca and third-seeded Inderkum, which warded off the Buffaloes in a 30-21 first-round win last season. American Canyon and Patterson are the highest-seeded teams at No. 1 and 4, respectively, on the opposite side of the bracket. Defending section and Northern California (Division II) champion Oakdale will look to upset Patterson in the opening round at the 13 seed.
In Division IV, fourth-seeded Ripon (9-1) welcomes No. 13 Dixon (6-4). Ripon is one of five Trans-Valley League teams in this bracket, including undefeated Hilmar at the No. 2 spot. Ripon could face TVL foe Hughson in the second round should the Huskies get past Mother Lode League champion and No. 5 seed Calaveras.
Sierra (7-3) of the VOL is the largest school represented in Division IV. Seeded ninth, the Timberwolves travel to Colfax (8-2) for an intriguing duel of prolific passing offenses. The victor gets a likely date with top-seeded Central Catholic, the state’s defending small-schools champion.
Ripon Christian (8-2) was a candidate to get a first-round bye in Division VI. That changed when Southern League rival Delhi qualified in Division V and Vacaville Christian was knocked out of the running in Division VI. That allowed Bradshaw Christian (8-2) to slide down a division and face smaller schools. The Pride went from Division V underdog to Division VI favorite. Two years ago, Bradshaw outlasted Ripon Christian in a 61-40 semifinal shootout en route to capturing the title.
Ripon Christian was tagged with the third seed and hosts No. 6 Stone Ridge Christian (5-5) of Merced. Both teams have wins over Jim Elliot Christian, which beat second-seeded Woodland Christian. The Cardinals from Woodland await the Ripon Christian-Stone Ridge winner.
There are five Southern League teams in Divisions V and VI. Le Grand, which defeated RC for the SL crown last Friday, is a heavy favorite to four-peat at Division V. Of the six Division V qualifiers, four come out of the SL.