I am not a big believer in preseason rankings and being new to the area, it took me a couple of weeks to get used to the football landscape in the Stanislaus District.
But, after four weeks of high school football, I released my rankings for the large, medium, and small school divisions. Large schools are CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Divisions II and III, medium are IV and V, and small are VI and VII. I created three divisions because it would be unfair to group every team into one or two polls because of the overall disparity in numbers on a particular team vs. school enrollment.
Here are some of my initial thoughts on the rankings:
- I really struggled with deciding on who would be No. 1 in the large schools. Central Catholic and Merced are the top two teams and I would love to see the two play because they have contrasting offensive styles. The Raiders are a ground-pound offense while the Bears run a spread offense and like to get the ball out to their athletes.
- Four of the top five teams in the medium school rankings are in the Trans Valley League and rightfully so. There are four teams in the league that are 4-0 and No. 1 Hilmar faces No. 3 Ripon next week.
- Ripon Christian was my top team in the small schools until I saw the performance by Waterford on Friday. The Wildcats beat Big Valley Christian, 35-21 and senior Michael Vivo was all over the field. Vivo completed 11 of 20 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns and also had 80 rushing yards on 14 attempts and a touchdown. He also had an interception and fumble recovery on defense. Waterford hosts Ripon Christian next week.
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Hilmar continues to impress
After a CIF Sac-Joaquin Division VI section title last year, the Yellowjackets moved up a division and have rolled through their non-conference schedule, outscoring opponents 177-36 in four games, all wins.
“We just have a lot of returners that have big-game experience,” Hilmar coach Frank Marques said Saturday morning.
One of those returners is senior running back Issac Sharp, who has been nothing short of spectacular this season and rushed for 222 yards and touchdown in Hilmar’s 39-20 win over Sonora on Friday. Sharp also had three receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown and has 11 touchdowns this year.
“He is one of those special talents that come every 10-12 years,” Marques said. “Every time he touches the ball, he has the potential to score.”
No quit in Enochs
The Enochs Eagles showed on Friday Night that they have a lot of fight in them, scoring a game-tying touchdown with under 20 seconds left before recovering a pooch kick and scoring as time expired to beat Central Valley, 28-22.
“As far as comebacks, it’s No. 1,” Enochs coach James Stacy said.
Junior quarterback connected with senior wide receiver Jacob Wheat on 5-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left and then hit senior Kameron Myers for a 20-yard touchdown pass as the clock hit zero.
“Everything went crazy,” Stacy said. “The guys were super excited after that one. It got really wild.”