Saturday’s title game between Hughson and the Summerville has every possible storyline that a fan could ever dream of -- the bracket's top seeds, two teams in a section final for the first time in more than two decades, and perhaps best of all, a rematch of a regular season game.
Although the Bears (11-1) got the best of the Huskies (10-2) in their first meeting on Sept. 9, two months might as well be two years in the eyes of the coaches.
Teams improve and game plans change. Since falling to the Bears 23-14, Hughson has gone 7-1, finishing second in the thorny Trans-Valley League with a signature victory over Escalon, a Division V finalist.
“Since that game, we went through the brutal (Trans Valley League) schedule, and we feel like we’re seasoned now,” said Huskies head coach Shaun King. “Every situation football can give you, we’ve been through – and we’ve come out on top. We’ve been down in games; we were down 10 last Friday against Orestimba. We didn’t panic, and we prevailed. We feel pretty good about (Saturday).”
On the Bears sideline, head coach Sean Leveroos feels the exact same way.
“(The Hughson game) was a long time ago, as far as the football season goes; that might’ve well been last year in our minds. That previous game was something to learn from, but absolutely we prepare differently.”
The Summerville offense averages more than 32 points per game, led by dual threat quarterback Braylon Leveroos. In comparison, the Huskies defense surrenders around 21 points per game.
“Well, we have to bottle up their quarterback,” King said. “Their quarterback is a very good athlete – they have a very good quarterback/running back combo. We have to figure out a way to bottle up. ... We do believe we play in a tougher league. We’ll do a better job than we did back in Week 4.”
Coach Leveroos plans to utilize his team’s electric offense. Leveroos, understandably, didn’t want to reveal too much of his game plan, but vows that as long as the Bears play like themselves, they’ll be just fine.
“We’re just going to be us," he said. "I’m trying not to disclose too much of how we’ll try and attack, but we’ll just be us and try to find space.”
The top two teams in the Division VI bracket are set to battle it out on Saturday at 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Sanguinetti Field in Stockton.
Lucas Stackpole is an intern reporter for FrontRowPreps.com. He is a senior at Sierra High School in Manteca and hopes student sports journalism in college.