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Oakdale High's 27-24 victory over Clayton Valley in front of about 7,000 fans at Lincoln High in Stockton on Saturday puts the Mustangs into next Saturdays Division 2 state championship bowl against Serra High of Gardena.
Spencer Thomas was more of a custodian than a quarterback the first month of these playoffs.He was rarely needed, as his team dominated with its potent run attack to capture a Sac-Joaquin Section title.
Ray Lomas' eyes have never left the prize. Not when shredding defenses the first six weeks of the season. And not when he started sharing carries with Rey Vega. "The state title. That's the prize we want. Two more wins and we get that," said Central Catholic's 5-foot-8, 180-pound tailback. "That is the priority for all that we do."
The California Interscholastic Federation, which administers state championships in seven sports, signed a 15-year television deal last April that will pay it $8.5 million for the right to televise those events. Though the CIF represents schools across California, its negotiations did not guarantee equality for all its schools. Its pact allows the cable giant to show all five Southern California bowls, but doesn't require it to cover any of the Northern California bowls.
It's not often Trent Merzon has his team take a few days to savor a victory. Usually, a win just sets up another big game.
Turns out, an ideal night for passing the football also can be ideal for defending the pass. Not a drop of rain fell and the winds were mild during Oakdale's 22-9 victory Friday over Vista del Lago, which made what the Mustangs did on defense nothing short of the perfect way to lay claim to the section's Division 3 football crown.
The Bee's Richard T. Estrada breaks down the Northern California bowl games with Central Catholic taking on McClymonds on Friday night in Stockton and Oakdale taking on Clayton Valley on Saturday in Stockton.
The pistol, the spread, the the run-and-shoot, the spread option, the West Coast ... high school football has seen an explosion of schemes intended to agitate defenses and create space for agile skill players.
Central Catholic High built its football program on power running and defense, but Roger Canepa added another element to the Raiders' recipe.
The news was good to begin with Sunday, and kept getting better for the football teams from Oakdale and Central Catholic high schools.
Central Catholic was so prepared for Saturday's game against Escalon, it was overprepared. The Raiders put in a new series of passes for the SacJoaquin Section Division 4 title game. They didn't need them as their running back duo combined for 329 yards en route to the big victory.
It was all Central Catholic junior Spencer Stark could do to resist craning his neck toward the stands to look for his dad during Saturday's title game against Escalon. But he wasn't there. Spencer's father died unexpectedly Friday.
For six weeks, Rey Vega was a player without a field on which to play. Now he doesn't want to leave. The Central Catholic star running back had TD runs of 26, 55 and 83 yards to lead the Raiders past Escalon.
The Bee's Richard T. Estrada shot video of Saturday's key plays in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 championship game between Central Catholic and Escalon at Lincoln High in Stockton. Watch the video and hear what Estrada has to say.