Twice As Nice

11/12/2008 11:50 AM

11/13/2008 11:51 AM

A number of teams use two runners to carry the load and here are the top seven. Sharing time in the backfield isn't the only similarity with these seven teams — five are going to the playoffs, while Sonora and Ripon just missed berths:

Nicky Batteate and Isaiah Mendez-Borba, Oakdale (1,962 yards, 28 TDs): Like a number of the duos, this is lightning (Batteate) and thunder (Mendez-Borba). Batteate has 1,106 yards, No. 8 in the Stanislaus District, and typically breaks the big plays. Mendez-Borba is among the district's top fullbacks between the tackles.

Deven Cannon and William Corbin, Johansen (1,930 yards, 28 TDs): The Modesto Metro Conference hasn't had a back like Cannon in years. The district's No. 4 rusher with 1,264 yards, he averages 9.2 yards per carry and has games of 201 and 222 yards. He has 19 TDs.

Dan Welch and Steven Bennett, Argonaut (1,760 yards, 12 TDs): Another season, another set of tough backs for the running game. Welch had 222 yards Friday and is a big reason Argonaut runs for a district-high 372 yards per game.

Dan Link and Matt Relei, Sonora (1,724 yards, 17 TDs): Link has been affected by injuries to his line, but is the district's No. 3 rusher with 1,294 yards. He has seven 100-yard games, including a 248-yarder. Relei, one of two quarterbacks listed, directs the option offense.

Charlie McDonald and Izzy Ruiz, Escalon (1,708 yards, 20 TDs): McDonald is sixth in the district with 1,238 yards, but No. 1 with 13.2 yards per carry. He averages nine carries per game, but had 21 for 226 yards Friday in a win that clinched a Trans-Valley League title.

Jarrod Daniels and Ryan Flores, Sierra (1,589 yards, 17 TDs): Running out of a spread formation, the juniors gain their yards between the tackles. Daniels has 14 TDs and Flores, a quarterback, has 706 yards while leading Sierra to its first-ever playoff berth.

Efren Sifuentes and Ryan Baker, Ripon (1,451 yards, 22 TDs): Injuries have held Sifuentes to seven games and 96 carries, but he has 738 yards and 16 TDs. He had 147 and 145 yards vs. Modesto Christian and Summerville, two playoff teams.

— RICHARD T. ESTRADA

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