The timepiece in Jeremy Plaa's mind is already ticking, having started seconds after Downey High rolled to another big win last week.
"Nine days and counting," Plaa told the Modesto Quarterback Club Monday. "Seems everyone's talking about us facing Enochs. We look forward to that, too."
Downey and Enochs are unbeaten in the Modesto Metro Conference, and the only two teams over .500 in the MMC and overall. Both are battling for the playoffs; a sixth win secures the berth.
Downey (6-1) already has its sixth win, while Enochs (4-3) needs two. The Eagles can move a step closer with a win over Modesto Friday, while Downey draws a bye.
A look at the numbers illustrates how they have dominated the MMC: Downey's 3-0 with an average score of 49-18, and 3-0 Enochs is outscoring its opponents 48-15.
"After that tough preseason schedule, it's good to get everyone in the games," said Enochs coach James Stacy, who cleared his bench in lopsided wins the last two weeks. "We tell our kids, the most important is the next game, this Friday."
While Enochs would be in the Division 1 bracket in the postseason, Downey's destination is uncertain. It could remain in D2 the Knights dropped their playoff opener to Del Campo last year or it could move up to D1.
Downey's one of a half-dozen teams in the Stanislaus District that might not know their division until the playoffs are here. The section selects 64 teams to fill out four 16-team brackets, separating them by the enrollment.
Downey finished its game without defensive back Mario Sanchez, who doubles as a backup quarterback to University of Hawaii-commit Aaron Zwahlen. A severe ankle sprain sent Sanchez to the sideline in the second half, and Plaa hopes he'll be ready for Enochs.
Plaa said his Knights will take this week to focus on their technique and sharpening their existing plays.
While Downey has the region's top quarterback Zwahlen is second in the section with 2,202 passing yards and leads California with 33 TD passes Stacy says his guy is good, too.
Sophomore Shawn Munoz averages more than 100 yards rushing and passing, and has had a role in 20 TDs. He's one of three Eagles to have run for at last 560 yards and five scores.
"He's picked up our offense quickly. He knows it better than some of the seniors," said Stacy, whose club lost to No. 2-ranked Buhach Colony, No. 3 Pitman and No. 5 Merced.
Other football news from Modesto:
Modesto coach Rod Long says he has a dozen or so kids on his injured list, this after finishing last fall with six juniors in uniform. Tiki Tonga is being groomed at quarterback and Long has hope for the junior class.
Johansen hired a new defensive coordinator last week, promoting its sophomore coach into double-duty, but didn't have him for its 28-12 loss to Davis. Larry McCullough, making due with 15 sophomores in uniform, was ejected from the early game and not allowed to coach on the varsity.
"I asked the ref if (Larry) would be able to coach our game, and was told it was our principal's decision," varsity coach Maurice Chambers said. "I was listening to the Star Spangled Banner when someone whispered to me that he could not be coaching."
Big Valley Christian, looking for more muscle on the line, moved fullback Derek Veneman to tight end recently. However, his replacement broke his collarbone Friday, shifting Veneman to his previous position. The 6-foot, 200-pounder responded with 15 carries for 134 yards he had 61 yards in the first five games and Big Valley (2-4, 1-0) topped Sierra Ridge 22-24 in its conference opener.
Week 7 schedule. Page C-4Week 7 Games
Kickoffs at 7:30 p.m., unless noted
Modesto Metro ConferenceGregori vs. Davis (Downey)
Modesto Metro Conference
Beyer at Johansen
Modesto vs. Enochs (Downey)
Central California ConferenceBuhach Colony at Merced (GV)
Golden Valley at Turlock
Pitman at Atwater
Valley Oak LeagueManteca at Sonora, 7
Sierra at Kimball, 7:15
Lathrop at Weston Ranch, 7:15
East Union at Oakdale
Western Athletic ConferenceLivingston at Ceres, 7
Los Banos at Patterson,7
Central Valley at Pacheco, 7
Trans-Valley LeagueHilmar at Ripon
Hughson at Orestimba
Modesto Chr. at Riverbank
Southern LeagueGustine at Denair
Mariposa at Waterford
Turlock Chr. at Le Grand
Mother Lode LeagueArgonaut at Summerville
Bret Harte at Amador
Calaveras at Linden
Central California AthleticBig Valley at Millennium (West), 7
Southern LeagueDelhi at Ripon Chr. (Ripon)