Welcome home, Downey.
After spending the first three weeks of the season on the road, the large-school No. 4 Knights finally get to crank up the music and race out of the inflatable tunnel at Chuck Hughes Stadium on Friday.
Expect some fireworks, too.
Downey (3-0) has followed a familiar script to its perfect start: Lots of offense with moments of defensive brilliance. Junior quarterback Bryce Peterson continued his torrid start in a 61-25 victory over Tokay at Lodi's Grape Bowl, completing 18 of 28 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
It's the second straight game that he's topped 300 passing yards. Peterson has completed 67 percent of his passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns, taking his place in a long line of strong-armed quarterbacks in the program's "Air Raid" attack. What separates Peterson, though, is his ability to literally do it all. He's also the team's top rusher with 189 yards and five touchdowns, and has one touchdown reception.
Plaa also highlighted the performance of defensive lineman Ramon Machuca, who made his season debut against the Tigers. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Machuca missed the first two games with tightness in his chest, but made up for lost time Friday.
He had 10 tackles, including two for a loss, one sack, and was a menace each time the Tokay ran a screen.
"We're excited about where we are," Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said during Monday's Quarterback Club at the Coach's Corner, 950 Oakdale Road, Suite E.
The Knights are far from a polished product, though.
Plaa wasn't pleased with the performance from his backups last week. Downey pulled its starters in the third quarter, but had to rush the No. 1s back onto the field in the fourth "to stabilize," Plaa said. "They didn't know what to do."
Downey hosts large-school No. 7 Pitman. Kickoff is 7 p.m. It's a preview of things to come. Downey and Pitman become conference foes in 2018-19, and that's the message Plaa and his staff will hammer home in practice this week.
"When we get ready for an MMC team, it's so much different," Plaa said, speaking to his team's focus and discipline in practice. "We're trying to teach these kids, 'Hey, you're going to be in the same league,' and Pitman's defense is one of the best we'll see all year long."
QB controversy: It's hard to imagine there's a quarterback controversy at Davis, where senior Ryan Viodes has thrown for 1,1139 yards and seven touchdowns in the Spartans' 2-1 start, but there is. Viodes was pulled briefly from last week's loss to Central Valley.
Coach Tim Garcia replaced Viodes with Xavier Rodriguez in the second quarter following Viodes' second interception and a moment of "bad body language," Garcia said.
Rodriguez sparked the Spartans off the bench.
"He moved the chains," Garcia said.
Eventually, Viodes returned to the field – and to the air. He completed 19 of his 35 passes for 368 yards and a touchdown, earning praise from Garcia as a top performer. Mohammed Salameh had 10 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while Micah Irwin had eight receptions for 183 yards. Irwin has at least eight catches and 100 or more yards in all three games.
Despite those numbers, Garcia, a quarterback in two college Halls of Fame, is grading his signal-callers on a tighter curve. He wants to see the intangibles, like moxie, spirit and leadership, not just the big arm or the right read.
On Friday, Garcia felt his backup QB won those categories. On Monday, Garcia said he'd let the battle for reps play out in practice. The Spartans wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule Friday at Ripon.
Another big test for Enochs: There are no losses in high school football. Just lessons.
That's the position Enochs coach James Stacy is taking after a 41-0 loss to Manteca last week. The large-school No. 2 Buffaloes used their size and physicality to wear down the Eagles, who have lost two of their first three games.
"Believe the hype," Stacy said. "They are very big up front. They were physical, but I was proud of my guys. We pushed them around a little bit."
Enochs, the featured team at the Quarterback Club, had its chances against the Buffaloes. The Eagles had two touchdowns wiped away by penalty, mistakes, Stacy said, behind the play.
Three offensive stars joined Stacy at the weekly luncheon: quarterback Austin England, a transfer from Oakdale High; all-Modesto Metro Conference fullback Jacob Kenoyer; and wide receiver and kicker Ryan Curtis, who will play soccer at Sacramento State.
Tackle Dominic Huesca also attended.
The Eagles will face another team with monsters in the trenches – Central Valley (2-1), which survived a shootout with Davis. The Hawks' line is bolstered by David Serrano, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior. Serrano helps pave the way for running back Estevan Barragan, responsible for more than half of the team's offensive production.
"We've got to stop the run first," Stacy said.
Quotable: Johansen was throttled by East Union, 48-6, on the Lancers' Homecoming night. The Vikings will attend another another Homecoming party Friday, when it travels to Ceres.
"If you want to stop being everyone's Homecoming opponent, you have to rise to the occasion," Johansen coach Scott Sacuskie said.
To contact reporter James Burns, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @jburns1980.