Leading Off

Sonora ranked 10th by

Sonora High, heading into Friday's Valley Oak League showdown at Manteca, debuted in the Division III rankings Wednesday at No. 10. Sonora's (4-1) lone loss is 16-6 to Merced (5-0), which is No. 15 in the Division I poll. Sonora is one of three VOL teams in the Division III poll -- Manteca (5-0) is No. 2 and Oakdale (4-1) is No. 3. Manteca visits Oakdale Oct. 19. In Division IV, Western Athletic Conference rivals Central Catholic (3-1-1) and Patterson (5-0) remain Nos. 2 and 3 -- and the two will meet Oct. 26 in Modesto.

Johansen, Enochs open MMC tonight

Johansen High's football team, which broke a four-game losing streak last week, goes for two in a row when it hosts Enochs in tonight's Modesto Metro Conference opener. The hard-luck Vikings began last season 1-4, as well, but won a share of the title and a playoff berth by going 3-1. Enochs, fielding its first varsity team, also won its first game a week ago. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Masters on ESPN

The first two rounds of the Masters are moving to ESPN. The network will televise the Thursday and Friday action when the tournament tees off in April, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne announced Wednesday. "With the worldwide reach of ESPN, and their demonstrated leadership in new media, we think ESPN is uniquely positioned to showcase the Masters and golf to new audiences," Payne said. USA had aired the first two rounds since 1982. A Spanish-language broadcast of the first two rounds, carried by ESPN Deportes, will be available in the U.S. for the first time. ESPN has televised the Masters internationally since 1993. The schedule of coverage will remain the same. The first two rounds will be televised live from 1-4 p.m. each day, with a replay aired from 5-8 p.m. Mike Tirico will host the ESPN telecasts. The 2008 Masters will be April 10-13.

Landis to make final appeal for Tour title

The final uphill climb for Floyd Landis in his Tour de France odyssey will end in a Swiss courtroom. The American cyclist decided Wednesday to try to regain his 2006 championship at the Court of Arbitration for Sport -- the top court for sports -- hoping arbitrators there will reverse an earlier decision to ban him for two years and strip him of his title for using performance-enhancing drugs. "I want to take this opportunity to say again, that I am innocent of the doping allegations against me," Landis said. "I hope that the arbitrators of the case will fairly address the facts showing that the French laboratory made mistakes, which resulted in a false positive. Although the process of proving my innocence has been difficult for me and my family, I will not stop trying to prove my innocence." If Landis loses his final appeal, he'll remain the first person in the 105-year history of the Tour to lose the title because of a doping offense.