Granite Bay players celebrate their Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship Saturday at Sacramento State. With blue banner in hand, the Grizzlies head into the NorCal regional title game. Brian Baer Special to The Bee
Granite Bay players celebrate their Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship Saturday at Sacramento State. With blue banner in hand, the Grizzlies head into the NorCal regional title game. Brian Baer Special to The Bee

Joe Davidson

A unique perspective on sports in the Sacramento region, from high schools to the pros

Joe Davidson

Comparing first and final football rankings, see where we scored and where we fumbled

By Joe Davidson

jdavidson@sacbee.com

December 04, 2017 04:00 AM

UPDATED 8 HOURS 59 MINUTES AGO

The blue banners have been hoisted as four weeks of Sac-Joaquin Section tournament play now gives way to the CIF Northern California Regional rounds for those still standing.

Folsom is used to this sort of thing, having won six section titles this decade, including Saturday’s 50-21 win over St. Mary’s of Stockton in Division I play at Sacramento State after leading 41-7 at the half.

The Bulldogs are 14-0 for the fifth time this decade, meaning they have been in five NorCal title games. Folsom will host Central of Fresno on Friday night in the Division I-AA Regional, taking on a 12-1 Central Section heavy that lost only to De La Salle this season.

Granite Bay (12-2) is the Division II section champion, having downed rival Del Oro 22-0 in Saturday’s nightcap at Hornet Stadium. The Grizzlies host North Coast Section power Pittsburg on Saturday in a Division I-A game. Granite Bay is looking to win the program’s second NorCal title since 2012.

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Even the smaller schools are getting into the NorCal Regional act.

Placer, the section D-IV champion, will take a hearty bus trip to Central Section powerhouse Salinas (11-2) on Friday in the Division IV-AA final.

Bear River, the section D-V champion, plays at Fortuna (12-2) on Saturday in the Division V-A game. Bear River hails from the Pioneer Valley League, won by Placer.

Sutter, winners of 10 Northern Section titles since 2001, play at three-time defending Central Coast Section D-III champion Half Moon Bay (13-0) on Saturday in Division III-A. The Huskies (12-1) have lost only to Utah power Orem.

And in Division V-AA, East Nicolaus (13-0) is in its third consecutive NorCal title game, this time hosting McClymonds of Oakland (12-0) on Friday. The Spartans of Sutter County won a CIF State title in 2015 and are collectively amazed at this season.

These are the final rankings of the season. The challenge is where to put teams that defeated other ranked teams but were eliminated in the playoffs.

Here’s a peek at how our preseason rankings looked. How did we do?

We were spot-on with Folsom at No. 1, had a good feeling about Jesuit and Granite Bay and lumped them at No. 2 and 3 because the teams faced off in an opener, and missed a bit on Elk Grove, which was undone by injuries. Grant earned the preseason nod, labored through injuries and battled teams that were not intimidated. As a result, the Pacers went 4-6 and their section record of consecutive playoff appearances was snapped at 26 seasons.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

THE BEE’S FINAL 2017 TOP 20

With last week’s ranking in parentheses.

1. Folsom (1) 14-0

Preseason rank: 1

The Bulldogs are six-time section champions and are now in their fifth NorCal title game since 2012, a testament to good health as rest and recovery has worked wonders here.

2. Oak Ridge (2) 11-2

Preseason rank: 4

The Trojans lost to St. Mary’s 38-31 in a D-I semifinal but remain ahead of Granite Bay here, having won that meeting 14-7 in overtime.

3. Granite Bay (3) 12-2

Preseason rank: 3

The Grizzlies are six-time section champions now, and it’s always sweet to beat a rival for a milestone. Granite Bay isn’t done yet.

4. Del Oro (4) 8-6

Preseason rank: 5

The Golden Eagles’ wild and twisting season came to an end, but the foundation is there for more title pursuits.

5. Jesuit (5) 10-3

Preseason rank: 2

The Marauders lost twice to Folsom, including 27-14 in the D-I semifinals, and 31-21 to Granite Bay. That’s a great season.

6. Del Campo (6) 12-1

Preseason rank: 18

A record season came to a halt at Granite Bay in the D-II semifinals, 9-7. Great career for Tyler Dimino, son of a very proud coach Mike Dimino.

7. Sacramento (7) 10-2*

Preseason rank: 13

The Dragons lost 28-19 to Folsom and 49-48 in four overtimes to Del Campo, and now it’s over. A great season for a terrific team.

8. Christian Brothers (8) 10-3

Preseason rank: 16

The Falcons started the season with a close loss to Manteca and ended the same way in D-III semifinals. Christian Brothers also lost to Jesuit this year.

9. Sheldon (9) 9-3

Preseason rank: 12

The Huskies pushed defending champion St. Mary’s to the wire in D-I before falling. This program is here to stay.

10. Placer (10) 12-1

Preseason rank: 19

The Hillmen brought a banner back to the hilltop for the first time since 1981, a credit to tireless coach Joey Montoya, and now they seek a NorCal title with a team that has very few seniors.

11. Inderkum (11) 11-1

Preseason rank: 7

The Tigers smoked teams for much of the season and then flamed out against a Del Oro defense that had the wing-T solved. Still a great year.

12. Rocklin (12) 7-5

Preseason rank: 9

The Thunder lost to powerhouse Central Catholic in D-II, and had league losses to Folsom, Oak Ridge and Granite Bay.

13. Lincoln (13) 8-3

Preseason rank: N/A

The season ended on a booming field goal in a D-II opener, but the Zebras are ready for another run in 2018.

14. Antelope (14) 10-2

Preseason rank: 14

The Titans lost only to Del Campo and Granite Bay this season and expect another title run next season and every season.

15. Franklin (15) 7-4

Preseason rank: 11

The Wildcats lost a D-I opener to 11-0 Gregori, which lost at Oak Ridge. Coach Mike Johnson bows out proud.

16. Bear River (17) 10-3

Preseason rank: Bubble

The season continues for the plucky Bruins, in a NorCal final for the first time.

17. Colfax (16) 9-4

Preseason rank: Bubble

The gritty efforts of Garren O’Keefe, Mason Aherns and Ryland Heimann speaks of the pride of a great program.

18. Monterey Trail (18) 6-5

Preseason rank: Bubble

The Mustangs lost a D-I opener at Vacaville and own a big early win over previously ranked Vista del Lago.

19. Center (19) 7-6

Preseason rank: Bubble

The Cougars fell to Placer in a fun D-IV final and return a ton of talent for another run in 2018.

20. Rio Linda (20) 7-5

Preseason rank: N/A

The Knights recovered from two bad seasons and pushed Christian Brothers in a D-III game.

Dropped out from preseason rankings: Elk Grove (6), Grant (8), Capital Christian (10), Cosumnes Oaks (15), Whitney (17), Vista del Lago (20).

* Does not include three forfeit losses due to a seldom-used ineligible player.

THE BEE’S SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION TOP 20

From 190 schools in the second-largest of California’s 10 sections.

1. Folsom (14-0)

2. Granite Bay (12-2)

3. St. Mary’s-Stockton (11-3)

4. Oak Ridge (11-2)

5. Manteca (12-2)

6. Oakdale (12-2)

7. Del Oro (8-6)

8. Central Catholic-Modesto (10-2)

9. Jesuit (10-3)

10. Del Campo (11-2)

11. Sheldon (9-3)

12. Sacramento (10-2)*

13. Placer (12-1)

14. Christian Brothers (10-3)

15. Inderkum (11-1)

16. Vacaville (8-4)

17. Gregori-Modesto (11-1)

18. Rocklin (8-4)

19. Franklin (7-4)

20. Tracy (8-3)

* Does not include three forfeit losses due to a seldom-used ineligible player.

CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games

Open Division

De La Salle (11-1) vs. Mater Dei (14-0) at Sacramento State, 8 p.m. Dec. 16

Regional championships

Friday games are 7:30 p.m., Saturday games are 6 p.m.

Division I-AA

North: Central, Fresno (12-1) at Folsom (14-0), Friday

South: Helix (12-1) at Oaks Christian (12-2), Friday

Division I-A

North: Pittsburg (8-2) at Granite Bay (12-2), Saturday

South: Paraclete (13-1) at Narbonne (10-3), Saturday

Division II-AA

North: Serra (11-2) vs. Tulare Union (13-0), Friday

South: Cajon (13-1) at Rancho Verde (12-2), Friday

Division II-A

North: Saint Francis (9-4) at Manteca (12-2), Saturday

South: Aquinas (14-0) vs. Grace Brethren (12-2), Saturday

Division III-AA

North: Marin Catholic (12-0) at Shasta (11-1), Friday

South: Quartz Hill (13-1) vs. Bishop Diego (13-1), Friday

Division III-A

North: Sutter (12-1) at Half Moon Bay (13-0), Saturday

South: Steele Canyon (10-4) at El Modena (12-2), Saturday

Division IV-AA

North: Placer (12-1) at Salinas (11-2), Friday

South: Crenshaw (10-3) at El Camino (8-5), Friday

Division IV-A

North: Milpitas (12-1) at Campolindo (10-4), Saturday

South: San Joaquin Memorial (11-2) at Southwest EC (13-0), Saturday

Division V-AA

North: McClymonds (12-0) at East Nicolaus (13-0), Friday

South: Big Bear (13-1) vs. Golden West (11-2), Friday

Division V-A

North: Bear River (10-3) at Fortuna (12-2), Saturday

South: Monte Vista (8-5) vs. Katella (13-1), Saturday

Division VI-AA

North: St. Patrick-St. Vincent (11-1) at Strathmore (14-0), Friday

South: Caruthers (12-0) vs. Orange (12-2), Friday

Division VI-A

North: Galileo (9-2) at Rio Vista (9-3), Saturday

South: Huntington Park (11-3) vs. Vincent Memorial (11-2), Saturday

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD