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Football practices begin as Aug. 18 kickoff approaches
First fall practices
Manteca assistant coach Josh Farris looks on as Kaden MacDannald follows fullback Tommy Perea during the first official practice of the season for the reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champion Buffaloes. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

The 2023 football season began Monday with the first official day of practices for member schools in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

The five-day acclimatization period has kicked off for teams that began football practice on Monday. After two days of non-contact practices, with helmets only for equipment, shoulder pads may be included starting Wednesday. Full-contact, full-equipment practices are allowed starting on Saturday.

Girls flag football debuts in the Section, joining cross country, girls golf, girls tennis, girls volleyball and water polo in the fall.

Most of the rest of the fall sports are in the final week of the preseason Dead Period. Their practices start next Monday, July 31. Water polo practices begin Aug. 14.

Aug. 11 is the first scrimmage date for all sports except for water polo (Aug. 18). The regular season begins seven days later.

Among the zero-week football contests on Aug. 18 is a clash between Manteca Unified schools Sierra and Lathrop. It will be the first game for Lathrop coach Ryan Teicheira against his alma mater, which he helped win a state championship as the Timberwolves’ offensive coordinator in 2015.

All other games for area schools are on the road.

Reigning SJS Division II champion Manteca kicks off its challenging non-league schedule in Folsom where it takes on Vista del Lago. Ripon Christian, coming off its SJS Division VII title run, takes on large-school competitor Central Valley Christian out of Visalia.

East Union will face Armijo in Fairfield, and Ripon travels to Linden.

Ripon Christian’s reigning state champion girls volleyball team is also making the trip to Visalia on Aug. 18 in what is a rematch of the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV final. It’s the second straight year that CVC and RC are holding this volleyball-football doubleheader.

In another championship rematch, Ripon’s heads to Sonora on Tuesday, Aug. 22 for its season opener. The Indians won the SJS Division IV title match in four games.