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High school football -- Week 1: All road games for local football teams

Aug. 25—A week ago, Tokay High opened the season with a 39-0 rout over Chavez, allowing just two first downs on defense.

Today, the Tigers want more as they head to Stockton to take on Bear Creek, which is also 1-0.

"Yeah, they're fired up, but I think they're hungry for more. We, as a team, we don't feel like we played our best game despite the 39-0 shutout, two first downs on defense," said Tokay coach Collin Rhoads. "This has been a really good week of practice. They kind of got their feet wet, remembered what being in a game situation is like, and this week at practice the captains are trying to bring a game-like intensity at practice."

Bear Creek opened their season with a victory as well, hosting Burbank out of Sacramento for a 30-6 win. Rhoads said that's a hard game to gauge the Bruins on, though, with Burbank fielding a roster of 14 players in the opener.

"Offensively, they like to throw the ball. They'll probably throw the ball 80% of the game," Rhoads said. "Their best player is probably the running back though. They'll run some RPOs (run-pass options), they like to spread the ball around, and the QB can run the ball a little it."

For Tokay, running back Lino Ruiz is questionable after injuring his shoulder in practice this week. Rhoads said he's 50/50 questionable. Meanwhile, defensive end Vince Marin returns to the field tonight after he tore his ACL against Kennedy last year.

Lodi at Downey

Lodi, meanwhile, had a less auspicious opener last Friday with a 30-14 loss to Pleasant Grove out of Elk Grove. The Flames put up yards on offense, but couldn't find a rhythm. Lodi coach Joe Rohles does thing the Flames found something though.

"I think we found our identity a little bit on Friday night, and it's basically running the option," Rohles said. "We've just got to be the ones that go in there and keep doing what we're doing and play our game."

It gets no easier tonight as Lodi heads to Modesto to take on Downey High, a 50-33 winner over Lincoln of Stockton last week. The last time Lodi and Downey met was in the first round of the 2021 Sac-Joaquin Section D-II playoffs, when the Flames trounced Downey 38-19.

"I've coached at Downey a bunch of times," said Rohles, in his first year with Lodi after coaching on the Manteca High staff for half a decade. "It's a fun environment to be in. I've been telling the kids all week how the stadium is. It'll be fun to get out and wear the all-whites and play some Lodi football."

The Flames came away from the Pleasant Grove healthy, and Rohles said the team has had a good week of practice.

"It all comes down to focus. How can we focus on being the best team we can be," Rohles said. "We had a good week of practice, and we've been executing our plan exactly how we wanted it."

Liberty Ranch at Rio Americano

Both Galt schools will be in the Sacramento area tonight, with Liberty Ranch opening its season at Rio Americano.

The Hawks still have a hole in their schedule, with only nine games. Liberty Ranch coach Warren Schroeder said a lot of schools were skittish about scheduling with realignment starting next season. He's still hopeful the team can fill in its bye week on Sept. 8.

"There's always a chance. We've had teams show interest, and other teams we tried and they weren't interested," Schroeder said. "We've reached out to quite a few teams. We're holding out hope that we can fill that spot."

Rio Americano opened the season in Week 0 with a 43-0 win over McClatchy, with two touchdown passes and another on the ground from quarterback Keilen Gilbert and two touchdown runs from running back Charles Hausman.

Schroeder said the Hawks' scrimmage two weeks ago was a good test.

"The experience was great on offense, and on defense we had very few breakdowns," Schroeder said. "I think the boys understand the schemes as well as they can for the first week. Each week we'll kind of evaluate. Going into Game 1, we're in the best position we can be."

Galt at Highlands

Galt is headed a little farther north to North Highlands to face Highlands High, which is opening its season.

Galt held back Franklin in Stockton last Friday, winning 14-6, with a touchdown run and a punt return for a score by Kayson Jones.

Highlands is coming off a 6-4 season.