Nine local high school football teams will try to keep their seasons alive following the Thanksgiving holiday
Denair High School will play in its first Sac-Joaquin Section championship since 2006 on Saturday afternoon at a neutral field in Galt, while eight other teams from the Front Row Region will see action Saturday night in a six-game slate.
The top-seeded Coyotes (10-01), whose only loss this year came against undefeated D-VI semifinalist Ripon Christian in Southern League action, will take on No. 3 Golden Sierra (8-4) on Saturday at Liberty Ranch High School at 1 p.m.
Friday's game, which all kick off at 7 p.m. feature four Trans-Valley League teams (Ripon, Modesto Christian, Hilmar, Escalon), two from the Valley Oak League (Central Catholic and Oakdale), one from the Mother Lode League (Sonora) and one from the Southern League (Ripon Christian).
No. 3 Inderkum (11-0) at No. 2 Central Catholic (10-1) -- Despite the higher seed, the Raiders are a one-touchdown underdog by CalHiPreps.com. A win Friday would advance Central Catholic to a 22nd championship game where its would seek to extend its own record with a 20th blue banner. The Raiders only Division II title came in 1982 under head coach Chris Wilkinson. Burns: Central Catholic. Cortez: Central Catholic
No. 5 Oakdale (9-3) at No. 1 Rio Linda (9-2) -- Rio Linda gave up an disturbing 63 points in a win over Pacheco, the fourth time this season the Knights have yielded more than 30 points in a victory. The Mustangs are looking to reach a section championship game for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. Burns: Oakdale. Cortez: Oakdale.
No. 4 Sonora (7-4) and No. 1 Colfax (11-0) -- The Wildcats aren't your typical No. 4 seed. After losing four games to start the season, Sonora has ripped off seven in a row and are playing as well as any team in the playoffs. Colfax defeated Sonora last 56-55 in the same round last season, when Sonora was the No. 1 seed.. Burns: Colfax. Cortez: Sonora
No. 3 Bear River (10-1) at No. 2 Ripon (10-1) -- Like Sonora, the Indians were eliminated by this week's opponent in the same round of last year's playoffs. Bear River won a 14-7 defensive struggle and would go on to beat Colfax 30-27 in the final. Burns: Ripon. Cortez: Ripon
No. 4 Ripon Christian (11-0) at No. 1 Modesto Christian (10-1) -- This is a big step up in class for the unbeaten Knights, who raced through the Southern League, but will have to beat two consecutive Trans-Valley League foes to win the school's first section football crown. The Crusaders are heavy favorites to reach the D-VI title game for a second consecutive season. Burns: Modesto Christian. Cortez: Modesto Christian
No. 3 Escalon (9-2) at No. 2 Hilmar (9-2) -- Yet another rematch. Hilmar ended Escalon's season, and the career of section's all-time winningest coach, Mark Loureiro, on the way coach Frank Marques' third career section banner. Burns: Hilmar. Cortez: Hilmar.
No. 3 Golden Sierra (8-4) vs. No. 1 Denair (10-1) -- CalPreps.com picks the Coyotes to win by 11 points and bring home the program's first section banner and Northern California regional bowl game. Burns: Denair. Cortez: Denair