The game to watch for every week this season

September 4, 2013 

It's easy to decide which high school football game you'd like to attend each Friday night ... if you're a parent.

Mom and Dad have it easy (regarding scheduling, that is). But what about the average high school football fan, who doesn't have such an allegiance to any one school? Well, we're here to help. Here's your Friday Night cheat sheet.

Week Zero — Travel to Ceres to watch Manteca at Central Valley. You need to see the Hawks' Ja'Quan Gardner, who has a shot to break the Stanislaus District's career rushing record (5,140), with your own eyes. The following night, check out Enochs at Pitman, two teams who have big aspirations this season (both were voted No. 1 by their league's coaches).

Week 1 — No question here: Central Catholic at St. Mary's. The Holy Bowl. Last year, CC won the state's Division 4 state title, and beat St. Mary's 28-21 en route to that title. St. Mary's lost to De La Salle 21-13 last year, the closest anybody came to beating the state's four-time defending Open division champion.

Week 2 — On Sept. 12, a Thursday, check out Bear Creek at Gregori to see the new Don Lanphear Stadium. Take Friday night off, you'll need the rest for next week.

Week 3 — This is a biggie. Paraclete (Lancaster), the state's 19th-ranked small school, visits Oakdale, which just doesn't lose at The Corral. Should be a classic.

Week 4 — Head out to Denair and watch Le Grand, the best little program nobody knows about. The Bulldogs have been to four straight D-5 section championship games, winning the last three, with a trip to the state bowl in 2011. They're good.

Week 5 — Hughson vs. Escalon used to be a really big deal, then the Huskies fell on hard times. Well, they're back. And Escalon will be waiting at Lloyd C. Engel Field.

Week 6 — Oakdale owns the Valley Oak League. Manteca's eyeing a hostile takeover. You wanna be the best? You gotta beat the best. Best of luck, Buffs ... Oakdale has lost just two league home games in the past 15 years.

Week 7 — Orestimba's Steven Machado, like Gardner, has a shot to break the District career rushing mark. He went for 1,927 last year and needs 1,921 this year. Last year, Hughson held him to minus-11 yards. That'll be on Machado's mind here, when the Warriors visit.

Week 8 — Downey won the Modesto Metro Conference last season. Enochs is the chic pick this year. Another case of having to beat the best if you wanna be the best. Arrive at Chuck Hughes Stadium early. This one's gonna be a hot ticket.

Week 9 — Atwater at Merced used to be a huge rivalry. Since each city has added another high school, the rivalry has faded. But both teams figure to be players in the Central California Conference race and this should add some buzz. Plus, you need to see MHS quarterback Tyrone Williams. This one's at Golden Valley High in Merced.

Week 10 — The final week in the CCC is for rivalry games. It's Pitman at Turlock — the Harvest Bowl — that you've gotta see. Coaches think Pitman is the team to beat in the CCC. Turlock figures to have something to say about that.

Week 11 — This is when the playoffs start. You're on your own from here. Pick a winner!

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