Johansen High, hoping to duplicate a formula that produced a Modesto Metro Conference title a year ago, faces Davis tonight in a key battle at Downey.
The Vikings (2-4, 1-0) began the MMC with one win a year ago, just like it did this season. They caught fire, though, reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs before losing to Franklin 21-7 -- an outcome that was reversed Tuesday when the section ruled Franklin used ineligible players.
If Johansen duplicates that turnaround, it will likely be on the strength of Michael Harrison. Running behind a hefty line, Harrison had 136 yards in last week's 43-9 win over Enochs.
Harrison keyed last year's late-season run, too, but was academically ineligible for the playoffs and Johansen's offense flailed without his running. His presence allows Johansen to control the clock by running the ball.
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Davis (3-3, 1-0) has playoff plans of its own, after its defense shut out Modesto in the second half last week for a 29-21 win.
In other featured games:
Tailback Aaron Stice, averaging 166 yards per game, and No. 4 small-school Hughson (5-1, 1-0) host Ripon (2-4, 0-1) in the Trans-Valley League.
Central Valley (2-4, 1-2) takes its potent offense to Sonora (4-2, 2-1), The Bee's fourth-ranked large school. Three VOL teams go to the playoffs, so both squads have postseason aspirations.
Downey (4-2, 0-1) tries to get back on the winning track when it faces Enochs (1-5, 0-1) in MMC play at Johansen.