Youlas Dickson highlighted Buhach Colony's 35-21 victory over Tracy on Aug. 30, 2019, with a 51-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. (Merced Sun-Star)

Hear that? Thunder roll to top of large-school poll after whipping Tracy

James Burns

Large Schools

Editor’s note: Comprised of teams from the Central California Athletic League, Central California Conference, Valley Oak League and Western Athletic Conference. Last week’s ranking and current records in parenthesis.

1. (5) Buhach Colony (2-0): The Thunder take advantage of the rock slide at the top of the large-school rankings. The top four teams in last week’s poll suffered losses Friday, clearing the way for Buhach Colony. Youlas Dickson and company capitalized with a 35-21 victory over Tracy and its Cal Poly-bound quarterback Logan Fife. The Thunder have impressed since a four-way scrimmage with Turlock, Central Catholic and Calaveras, and there’s reason to believe they can break the hex at No. 1. In the win over the Bulldogs, Dickson opened the scoring with a 51-yard run and Cal-bound corner Trey Paster sent the Thunder racing into the break with an interception and a 27-7 lead. Friday: vs. Edison (Stockton).

2. (1) Turlock (1-1): The Bulldogs hung with Clayton Valley Charter for a half, but they were outscored 14-0 over the final two quarters in 21-7 loss. The Ugly Eagles, one of the Bay Area’s top programs, sealed the victory with a touchdown by standout running back Mahki Gervais, a reigning league MVP, and a late interception. It’s not a terrible loss for Turlock, considering Clayton Valley Charter now keeps company with De La Salle and San Ramon Valley in the East Bay Athletic League. Thursday: vs. Tracy.

3. (2) Central Catholic (0-2): The Raiders dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 2010 with a 49-14 loss to De La Salle in one of the most anticipated games in recent regional memory. Central Catholic entered the game with serious injury concerns and the lack of depth became a factor in the first half. Trailing 7-0 after one quarter, the Raiders yielded touchdowns on four consecutive drives as the mighty Spartans checked into halftime ahead 35-0. There were bright spots in the loss, though: quarterback Dalton Durossette and Sithri Price connected on a 59-yard touchdown strike and hard-charging Minaya Olivo capped his evening with a 31-yard scoring run. Friday: at St. Mary’s.

4. (4) Oakdale (1-1): The Mustangs pushed defending CIF State champion Liberty of Brentwood and its Oregon-bound quarterback Jay Butterfield (10 of 14, 184 yards, three TDs) to the brink in a 19-14 loss. Cameron Snow gave Oakdale a 14-7 lead late in the first half, but Butterfield, the San Jose Mercury News’ top-ranked prospect, silenced The Corral with a go-ahead 58-yard touchdown pass. On a night when the region’s top football teams stumbled, Oakdale’s performance against a large-school state champion was impressive. Leo Ayala (135 yards, TD) and Zeke Saffar (124 yards) combined for 259 yards. Friday: at Aptos.

Downey wide receiver Lawrence Harris had nine receptions for 264 yards and five touchdowns in a come-from-behind victory over Manteca on Aug. 30, 2019. (Daniel Harris Photography)

5. (6) Downey (2-0): The Knights won a wild seesaw affair with Manteca that saw both teams combine for 102 points and require extra time. Lawrence Harris stole the show in a riveting comeback. He had nine receptions for 264 yards and five touchdowns, and his interception helped set up Robert Rivera's game-winning 1-yard run in overtime. Downey trailed by 14 points with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Knights have won two straight against the Buffaloes, a perennial VOL title contender, by a combined eight points. Friday: at Merced.

6. (3) Manteca (1-1): The Buffaloes were doomed by a slow start and catastrophic finish. Downey scored the first 15 points of the game and then clawed back from a 14-point deficit in the final eight minutes of regulation. Jacob DeJesus triggered Manteca’s early comeback. He totaled three touchdowns for the Buffaloes, including a 76-yard scoring run. Friday: at Granada (Livermore).

7. (7) Patterson (1-1): The Tigers were burned by returns in a 63-42 loss to Capital Christian. Logan McCleery was intercepted three times, each resulting in a pick-six touchdown, and the Cougars’ Mohamed Feika answered Obidiah Godbolt’s third-quarter scored with a 65-yard kickoff return. Godbolt shined in the absence of junior running back Jordan Imada, who missed the game with an ankle injury. Godbolt rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Friday: at Los Banos.

8. (8) Gregori (1-1): Titus Rhiney completed a 25-yard pass-and-catch from Baker Melendez for the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime as the Jaguars gave coach Lamar Wallace an exciting first win. Rhiney’s playmaking ability -- he also returned the opening kick of the second half for a score -- and Gregori’s ball-hawking defense were the catalysts. The Jaguars forced three turnovers, negating the Bears’ overwhelming advantage in play (84-64). Friday: vs. Beyer.

9. (9) Merced (1-1): The Bears trailed 21-7 in the third quarter, but forced overtime with a bold play call on fourth down. Desmond Thompson scored the game-tying points on a double pass with about seven minutes left in regulation. Friday: vs. Downey.

10. (nr) Sierra (2-0): The Timberwolves make their debut in the top-10 after clobbering Central Valley, 42-13. Sierra is 2-0 for the first time since 2016 -- and the first time under head coach Chris Johnson. Junior running back Kimoni Stanley scored the first three touchdowns for the Timberwolves, including an 81-yard gallop through the heart of the Hawks defense. Friday: at Pacheco.

Others to watch: Atwater (2-0), Davis (2-0).

Dropped out: Los Banos (0-2).