3-2-1: Gearing up for League Play

Three things we learned

Last year, Sacramento was the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs before falling to Inderkum in the second round. Despite a coaching change and graduation losses, the Dragons look the part of a section title contender following its 28-19 loss to Folsom at Hughes Stadium. Derek Shelton and Anthony Bradley are a potent passing combo. Jamie Cousey and EJ Haag-Larry are part of a fast and physical defense. The Dragons own a win over Mitty.

Don’t discount Menlo-Atherton after its 0-2 start. The Bears have beaten Palma and Los Gatos the past two weeks with De’Marshaun Payton rushing for 268 yards and four touchdowns. Senior linebacker Daniel Heimuli has a team best 36 tackles. The Bears travel to Burlingame this week with a trip to Half Moon Bay on October 20.

Clayton Valley Charter rushed for 417 yards and led Antioch 34-0 en route to a 55-22 win. The victory quieted some concern over the Ugly Eagles, which lost to Reed of Nevada and Miliani of Hawaii. The Ugly Eagles outscored league opponents by 36 points per game last year. They are the favorites to repeat as league champions, but the gap has shrunk.

Two Questions about the undefeated

Is Shasta the Northern Section favorite in Division II?

Pleasant Valley is the two time defending champion. Enterprise has had a recent run of dominance. Paradise is a perennial power in the section. However, Shasta is the lone unbeaten at 4-0 with a margin of victory of 40 points. Vincent Smith and Seth Park each have more than 600 yards rushing. Next up is 4-0 Damonte Ranch on September 29.

Can San Mateo keep up the defense?

San Mateo last won a playoff game in 2009, but the Bears are off to a 4-0 start in giving up seven points per game. The Bearcats have forced 12 turnovers, including three interceptions from Gui Pains. The top competition left on the schedule is Carlmont and Burlingame, both of which are 4-0.

Week 4 Predictions

Grant over Franklin-Elk Grove

Patterson over Escalon

Freedom over Bishop O’Dowd

Pittsburg over Vacaville

Bellarmine over Mitty

Tracy over Liberty

San Ramon Valley over California

St. Francis over Valley Christian

Manteca over Central Catholic

Granite Bay over Del Oro