Leading Off

Johansen draws elite for water polo event

The Central California Tournament, featuring 23 boys water polo teams, begins Friday at Johansen High. There are 16 teams in the "A" bracket and seven in the "B" bracket. The field includes Stanislaus District powers Johansen and Golden Valley, as well as Granite Bay and Deer Valley of Antioch. Play begins at 8 a.m., when Johansen faces Buhach Colony, and runs through Saturday. Visit for brackets and a schedule.

Kiffin is mum on QB after McCown injury

With Josh McCown nursing injuries, Raiders coach Lane Kiffin isn't saying who will start at quarterback this week at Denver. McCown, who started in Sunday's loss to Detroit, did not participate in team drills Wednesday because of an injured right index finger and a sprained right foot. Daunte Culpepper would start at Denver if McCown can't go.

Former MJC pitcher debuts with Giants

Former Modesto Junior College pitcher Erick Threets made his major-league debut for the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Threets entered the Giants' 9-4 loss to Arizona in the ninth inning. The left-hander gave up one hit and two runs, walking two. Threets, 25, was a closer for MJC in 1999. In 21 innings of work, the Livermore native went 3-2 with no saves and a 3.43 ERA. Threets has been in the Giants' organization since 2001. He went 3-1 at Triple-A Fresno in 55 innings this season.

District volleyball tourney to tip off

The Stanislaus District's largest regular-season volleyball tournament gets under way Friday when the Central California Classic begins at eight schools. Golden Valley coach Matt Thissen coordinates the 32-team tournament, which will utilize gyms from Merced to Elk Grove. Franklin of Elk Grove, Hilmar, Golden Valley, Oakdale, Atwater and Escalon are expected to contend for the title. Visit for brackets and a schedule.

Central still No. 1

Central Catholic held its No. 1 spot in the state Division IV rankings following a season-opening 35-35 tie with Cardinal Newman, a Division II team that moved up a spot to No. 7 in the large-school division. Merced (2-0), meanwhile, jumped from No. 21 to No. 6 in the Northern California poll. Oakdale (1-0), which faces Beyer tonight at Downey High, stayed at No. 2 in Division III, while Manteca (1-0) rose two spots to No. 9 in that division. In Division IV, Escalon (1-0) moved up a spot to No. 6 and Patterson (1-0) rose two spots to No. 8, while Calvary Temple (1-0) fell a spot to No. 5 in Division V.