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.
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.