As the second seed, Cosumnes Oaks had a bye in the Sac-Joaquin Section D 2 football playoffs last week.
Tonight, the Wolfpack will take to its home field to start its journey against Granite Bay, which earned the seventh seed. The Grizzlies defeated 10th seed Downey last week, 30-22.
The Wolfpack, who enter the playoffs with a 7-3 regular season record this year, is stocked with talent including Christian Ridgway, who leads the team and is 30th among SJS leaders in rushing with 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns, Brandon Jennings, the Wolfpacks’s receiving leader (774 yards, seven touchdowns) and junior quarterback Anthony Grigsby Jr., who is ninth in the SJS with 2,334 passing yards as well as 29 touchdown passes and 276 rush yards for an additional three touchdowns.
They have never played Granite Bay in the playoffs and hope to reach the semifinals for the first time in school history.
The Mustangs defeated Pleasant Grove in the first round and will be a challenging match against fourth seeded St. Mary’s in Stockton.
The two teams have never met in the playoffs. Monterey Trail is in the second round for the second consecutive season. St. Mary’s is looking to advance to the semifinals for the sixth straight year. The Rams are in the quarterfinals for the 12th time in 13 years. St. Mary’s won the D1 championship in 2016 and was the D1 runner-up in 2017; both times it faced off against Folsom.
The Metro League Champions have an array of offensive and defensive resources, including but not limited to Caleb Ramseur, who has rushed for 1,016 yards and nine touchdowns, Otha Williams, who leads the Mustangs with 16 touchdowns, quarterback Viktor Timonin (542 passing yards and nine touchdown passes), Prophet Brown (11 combined touchdowns including runs and receptions) and running back/linebacker Marcus Jones Jr. (108 tackles).
Elk Grove, seeded sixth in the D II playoffs, will play third seed Vacaville on the road and is led offensively by Carter Harris, who has rushed for 1,413 yards and 19 touchdowns and Hunter Hall (1,017 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. The Thundering Herd will be down several players after three players were ejected from the first round game against Oakmont and should have a good match up against the Monticello Empire League Champions.
Elk Grove and Vacaville have played one another four times in the playoffs, with Elk Grove going 3-1 in those games. One of those games was last year in the D 2 first round, which ended in a 28-21 win for the Thundering Herd.
Bradshaw Christian is also starting the playoffs tonight, as the Pride had a first-round bye in the D 5 playoffs.
The Pride, which won the Sierra Valley Conference Championship, are stocked with the all-around ability of running back/linebacker Evan Zeppieri (36th among SJS rush leaders with 954 yards), senior Nate Grant (838 rush yards and a team-leading 15 touchdowns in eight games), running back Jeremiah Bonner-Hayes, who suffered an injury earlier in the year but rushed for 779 yards for nine touchdowns in seven games, along with 90 receiving yards for an additional touchdown, and Jaylen Patterson, who leads the team in receiving yards (272) and touchdown receptions (four) in six games.
This will be the teams’ first time meeting in the playoffs. The Tigers last made their way to the semifinals in 2012, which was a 42-35 loss in four overtimes to Escalon. The Pride are in the second round for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Twelfth seed Los Banos will be making the 116-mile drive to Bradshaw Christian after it upset number five Woodland (which was missing a few starters who had been in a fight during their week 10 game against Pioneer) last week, 48-21.
All seven eventual SJS Champions will participate in the CIF State Football Bowl Northern California Regional Championships to be played on Dec. 6 and 7 at sites to be determined. Winners of select regional games will play in the State Championships on Dec. 13 and 14 at Cerritos College in Norwalk. A CIF State committee will place all Section champions into the regional games according to ‘competitive equity,’ according to the SJS. The two open division teams (one north and one south) will not play in regional contests and will go straight to the state game.
The D 1-6 championships will be held at sites across the Section on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30. The SJS anticipates the D 1 and 2 championships to be at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College.