Leading Off

Oakdale-Manteca may be 1-2 in state

Is the Valley Oak League home to California's top two Division III football teams? That will be answered in a day or two, when unveils its new rankings -- which could feature Manteca (4-0) and Oakdale (3-1) ranked 1-2.

Current No. 1 Oaks Christian (2-2) lost its second consecutive game Friday, a 41-35 decision to Venice, and No. 2 Harvard-Westlake (3-1) fell 31-25 to Carson. If the Buffaloes and Mustangs move up, it could lead to a monstrous showdown when the rivals meet Oct. 19 at Oakdale's Corral. Manteca has 24 consecutive wins, the state's longest active streak, and beat Oakdale in their last two league meetings.

Dolphins' Williams intends to return

Suspended running back Ricky Williams applied for NFL reinstatement Monday, his agent said. "Ricky is extremely excited about the prospect of playing in the NFL again and hopeful for a positive response," agent Leigh Steinberg said. Williams has played in only 12 NFL games since the start of the 2004 season, but rushed for 3,225 yards from 2002-03. His current suspension began in April 2006 after he violated the league's drug policy for the fourth time. He tested positive for marijuana this April, again delaying his return. Under the league's substance abuse program, when a player applies for reinstatement the doctors have up to 45 days to submit their report and recommendation to the commissioner. He then has up to 15 days to make a decision. Williams remains under contract with Miami, where he won the NFL rushing title in 2002. But new coach Cam Cameron has not indicated whether he wants Williams to stay with the Dolphins, who fell to 0-4 Sunday.

Memphis football player shot, dies

Classes at the University of Memphis were canceled Monday after a football player was fatally shot on campus, in what school officials said was a targeted attack but city police later said could have been random. By late Monday afternoon police had not identified any suspects in the slaying of Taylor Bradford, who was shot about 9:45 p.m. Sunday, apparently near a university housing complex. After the shooting, the 21-year-old junior crashed a car he was driving into a tree. Police said they had not determined whether he was shot before or after he started driving the vehicle. City Police Director Larry Godwin said investigators had no evidence that Bradford was involved in any illegal activity. Bradford, a 5-foot-11, 300-pound defensive lineman, was a junior who transferred to Memphis last year after two seasons at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

Right on track

The new surface on the track at Modesto Junior College officially opens ... to the public, writes Bee sports columnist Brian VanderBeek.