MODESTO -- With so much focus on whether Davis High's football program could survive the debut of Gregori High the Spartans' enrollment fell by more than 600 and its athletic base was shifted to the school in northwest Modesto it's stunning Johansen was the one to forfeit a game due to a lack of eligible kids.
Davis is having to endure one of its most difficult eras, going 6-23 since Gregori opened in 2010, but there's a reason for the troubles: It has 1,391 kids, but has to play schools that dwarf its enrollment.
The Spartans fielded a team for every varsity and JV game this season, though, a claim Johansen can't make. The Vikings forfeited a JV game to MMC rival Gregori on Thursday because, four days after grades were released, they couldn't field enough JV players.
It's what Johansen did next that disappointed me: It folded the JV team, and will play only freshman and varsity versus Modesto this week. With just 14 freshman in uniform Thursday, the school should have promoted them to JV allowing the JV kids to continue to play.
If there are any 14-year-olds on JV, they're ineligible for varsity because they're too young, and JV kids can't drop down to freshman after league play begins. JV kids that go to varsity suffer, too, as they lose valuable playing time.
With only Gregori and Modesto to play, Johansen could have put together a JV squad without a physical risk to the young players. Instead, 13 freshman are required to play pretty much every play far more risky than playing every player one side of the ball on JV.
My question is what brings the kids come next fall? Their season was cut short by 20 percent, and lopsided losses are piling up on all levels of the beleaguered program.
How is this happening with 1,773 kids on campus? If the school has such little interest in football, let's eliminate the program and allow players the option of transferring to high schools that play football.
A drastic measure? Not at all.
Numbers have been declining at Johansen for several years. When head coach Jason McCoy resigned last spring to take the Gregori job, it said volumes about the future of the Vikings' prospects in football.
Gregori had gone 0-10 in its first varsity season, but McCoy saw a better future leading the Jaguars than he could see at Johansen.
With Halloween a few days away, it's time to talk about this week's tricks and treats:
Downey's Aaron Zwahlen had five TDs in a 71-7 win over Davis, so the the Block D sculpture stays powder blue. His 41 TD tosses are No. 1 in California, just ahead of Folsom's Jake Browning (40).
Downey's Juan Vaa-Ayala and Buhach Colony's Jayce Webster were special teams stars. Vaa-Ayala returned two kickoffs for TDs and Davis only kicked off twice while Webster returned a kickoff and punt for TDs. In the playoffs, TDs from special teams are as much fun as stealing your little brother's fat bag of candy!
Anthony Cota was No. 3 in the state with 32 TDs the co-leaders had 36 and Sierra's star scored four more to beat Lathrop. If the T'wolves beat Weston Ranch, they will clinch a home playoff opener.
The MLL gives us something to smile about every week. Friday it was Argonaut (9-0) dominating Calaveras for the title, and Tanner Krieg scoring on a 79-yard run as Summerville beat Amador 14-7. The four are a combined 30-6 and all are in the Division 4 playoffs.
Escalon's Nathan Chunn went above and beyond: A career-high 34 carries for 238 yards and four TDs to beat Modesto Christian. It puts Escalon in line for a No. 5 or No. 6 seed based on its strength of schedule and just two losses.
Chun (1,517 yards) is chasing a trio for the district rushing title Steven Machado (Orestimba) has 1,840, Tanner Duron (Hughson) has 1,592 and Cota 1,655. Machado and Orestimba must beat MC or they miss the playoffs. The other backs are assured playoff games.
Central Catholic is gearing up its machine and there are many who say the Raiders, with Rey Vega, beat Placer if the Hillmen are D4. Placer beat Central 48-30 in Week 1, with Vega sidelined. A transfer from Davis, Vega scored three TDs in the rout of Central Valley he's scored three in each of the three games since becoming eligible following the transfer.
Never underestimate the value of a can't-miss kicker, especially in playoff games: Kenny Smart has converted 56 straight PATs.
Big Valley's been riding fill-in fullback Derek Veneman the last month, and the Lions are in the playoffs with a win at Stone Ridge Christian. Big Valley was 1-4, and it's a rare team that rises from those ashes to reach the playoffs.
If offense is your game, it's a rare night when Ripon Christian leaves you hungry for more. QB Dan Vos had the game of his life 312 yards and four TDs, with six PAT kicks and two field goals.
He couldn't steal the thunder from teammate Andrew Brown: 359 yards rushing and receiving, with four TDs. Mr. Versatility has 1,214 yards rushing, 680 receiving and 28 TDs. He's also tossed two.
Delvonte Moore saved Los Banos' bid for a No. 4 seed in D4. With star James Sams nursing his ankle, Moore (196 yards) had TDs of 22 and 74 yards and the Tigers rallied past Livingston. LB faces rival Pacheco, and both need a win to improve their playoff spot.
Hughson's fate is in its hands after junior Tanner Duron and Kyle Kerlee led it past Riverbank. The Huskies are 5-4, and 5-5 could be enough for the playoffs due to their strength of schedule. Who wants to take that chance, though?
Hughson visits Hilmar to renew a rivalry long dormant. Hughson beat Hilmar 9-6 in 1990 to snap its then-state record 46-game win streak, but it's been years since the Huskies were a major player.
Got a candy apple for district teams that clinched a playoff spot Friday: Pitman and Merced from the CCC, and Summerville from the MLL. That raises the total to 20 district teams, and plenty more control their destiny in Week 10.
Enochs is in with a win or a Beyer loss, while Manteca is in if it beats East Union; Pacheco is in if it beats Los Banos and likely even if it loses. MC, too, likely is in even if it loses to Orestimba.
A number of teams will finish 5-5, and a few likely will earn the final five or six spots. The section counts opponent wins as the first tiebreaker that's why Sonora (4-5) likely will earn a berth if it upsets top-ranked Oakdale.