Eight Stanislaus District teams had byes during the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last week. Now, they are back in action. Here are the top games to watch Friday Night.
Turlock (8-3) at Oak Ridge (7-3), 7 p.m.
Turlock shut out Cosumnes Oaks 28-0 last week while Oak Ridge had a bye. The Trojans finished third in the tough Sierra Foothill League. Senior quarterback Matt Jenner had 1,690 yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season. Bulldogs senior running back Lucas Curtis had three rushing touchdowns last week.
X-Factor: Score quickly
Turlock needs to take a page out of what Downey did last week against Grant and score early. The Knights jumped out to a 21-0 lead in their win over the Pacers and if the Bulldogs can gain a little momentum in what should be a physical game, they could find themselves in a good spot.
Prediction: Turlock 28 Oak Ridge 24
Pitman (10-1) at Monterey Trail (10-0), 7 p.m.
After a 40-21 win over Davis Sr., the Pride will travel to face the Mustangs. To say the task will be difficult for the Pride is an understatement since the Mustangs have only one game decided by 14 points or less this year and have allowed six points in their last six games. This is the second playoff meeting between the two schools with Monterey Trail winning in 2009 and Pitman winning in 2016.
X-Factor: Converting on first and second down
With their Wing-T offense, Pitman is not going to be throwing the ball a lot and instead will be relying on senior running backs Jakob Partida and Payton Bass. Their offense is not built to throw the ball on third and long so it will be key for the Pride to get 4 or 5 yards on their first two downs.
Prediction: Monterey Trail 42 Pitman 28
Downey (7-4) at Inderkum (10-0), 7 p.m.
Downey’s performance against Grant might have been its best game played all year. They jumped out to a 21-0 lead and led 35-7 after the first quarter. Now, they will face the Tigers, who won the Capital Valley Conference. Downey is looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1985.
X-Factor: Downey’s rush defense against Inderkum rush offense
Inderkum averages 393 rushing yards a game and has 60 rushing touchdowns. Senior Raymond Brown has 1,332 yards and 18 touchdowns and senior Johnny Williams has 14 rushing touchdowns. Downey has 87 tackles for a loss this year with 15 coming from senior defensive lineman Khapri Hunter. They probably won’t be able to stop the Tigers rushing offense, but can they slow it down?
Prediction: Inderkum 31 Downey 28
Elk Grove (6-5) at Central Catholic (9-1), 7 p.m.
The Raiders had a bye last week while Elk Grove beat Vacaville, 28-21. Central Catholic is in the second round of the playoffs for the 18th straight year and won its last six games by at least 41 points. Both teams are run-heavy so this game could be quick.
X-Factor: Bye Week Blues
After their bye week, the Raiders struggled early on against Kimball on Oct. 19 before winning 70-19. They trailed 19-7 before scoring 63 answered points. Central Catholic can’t afford another slow start.
Prediction: Central Catholic 48 Elk Grove 14
Oakdale (8-3) at Wood (7-3), 7 p.m.
After a 54-6 win over Valley, the Mustangs travel to face the Wildcats. Oakdale is in the second round for the 10th straight year while the Wildcats, who had a bye last week, have made the semifinals in nine of the last 11 years.
X-Factor: Oakdale running backs Max Moore and Zeke Saffar against Wood linebacker Alex Ruiz
Max Moore and Zeke Saffar have combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. Wood senior linebacker Alex Ruiz has 125 tackles this year. Ruiz will have to slow down the dynamic duo or it could be a long night for the host Wildcats.
Prediction: Oakdale 35 Wood 24
Mountain House (10-1) at Ripon (9-1), 7 p.m.
The Mustangs were in the Trans Valley League for three years before moving to the Western Athletic Conference. They will face off against familiar foeRipon. The Indians beat Modesto Christian in the final game of the regular season to clinch a share of the TVL title and had a bye last week. Mountain House is 0-3 all-time against Ripon.
X-Factor: Mountain House senior quarterback Jesse Jordan vs Ripon senior quarterback Ryan Daggett
Two mobile quarterbacks will be a battle to watch on Friday. Jordan has 21 touchdowns this year while Daggett has 23. Jordan had eight turnovers while Daggett had four.
Prediction: Ripon 24 Mountain House 14
Argonaut (8-3) at Modesto Christian (9-1), 7 p.m.
After falling to Ripon in the final game of the regular season, the Crusaders open their playoff season against the Mustangs, who beat Bradshaw Christian, 58-42 last week.
X-Factor: Mustangs ball possession
Argonaut runs the ball more than they pass and are led by senior running back Mason Flores, who has 1,082 yards and 22 touchdowns. Argonaut will need to keep the ball away from the Modesto Christian offense. That might be a challenge considering the Crusaders allowed only 10 points twice this season and had 49 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks.
Prediction: Modesto Christian 35 Argonaut 7
Waterford (7-4) at Ripon Christian (10-0), 7 p.m.
This game will be a rematch of the Southern League matchup on Sept. 14 (Ripon Christian won 42-6.) The Knights had a bye last week while the Wildcats overcame a 24-point deficit with seven minutes left to defeat Rio Vista, 51-44.
X-Factor: Waterford’s Run Defense
In the first meeting, the Wildcats gave up 280 rushing yards and allowed 7.4 yards per carry. Last week, Waterford gave up 323 rushing yards. The Wildcats will need to contain Knights senior running back Michael Kamps (141 carries, 1,275 yards, 23 TDs) in order to have a chance to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Ripon Christian 38 Waterford 28
Calaveras (7-4) at Escalon (8-2), 7 p.m.
These schools have met 10 times in the playoffs with Escalon winning the last eight. Escalon also beat Calaveras, 21-7 on Aug. 24. Calaveras beat Highlands, 44-7 last week.
X-Factor: Can Calaveras contain Escalon junior running back Kaden Christenson
Christenson had 165 total yards and a touchdown in the first meeting and is coming off his best game of the season when he rushed for 273 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-26 win over Hughson on Oct. 26.
Prediction: Escalon 28 Calaveras 14
Div. VII Predictions
Denair 44 Gustine 21
Big Valley Christian 28 Golden Sierra 24