Sep. 1—There will be hunger on the football field on the north side of Stockton tonight.
With both Lodi and McNair sporting 0-2 records heading into their game, one of the two Lodi Unified schools will come away with their first victory.
"Yeah, I mean, two teams that are 0-2, we're both going to be hungry to win a game," said Lodi coach Joe Rohles. "We had a great week of practice. Had a lot of focus from everybody on board. Everybody's healthy, ready to go."
Those 0-2 records are a little different — Lodi has lost 30-14 to Pleasant Grove and 31-14 to Downey, both of which are 2-0 and strong playoff contenders. McNair has a 33-21 loss to Mountain House (1-1) and a 50-6 loss to Atwater (2-0).
"Pleasant Grove is up there in the Sacramento area competing really good. Downey's always a good competitive team as well," Rohles said. "So it's not like we were playing against teams that are not indicative of winning. We just haven't played a complete game. This is the first week we've been truly focused, with everybody healthy and ready to go."
Lodi's only player out is senior Luke Leggitt, who injured his knee last week.
Lodi and McNair will bring opposing philosophies to the game, with Lodi's ground and pound offense up against McNair's spread.
"They're very fast and very aggressive," Rohles said. "They spread the ball on offense, they blitz a lot on defense. It's primarily 2-by-2, 3-by-1 spread formations."
For Lodi, quarterback Matt Shinn has completed 11 of 30 passes for 227 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and also leads on the ground with 122 yards and two more scores on 20 carries. Jordan Sandoval adds 97 yards on 22 carries. Brody Mackey is the leading receiver with seven catches for 170 yards and both of Shinn's touchdown passes.
For McNair, quarterback Skyler Bell has completed 29 of 53 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns, but the Eagles have totaled 75 rushing yards on 12 carries as a team.
Through the two hard-fought games so far, Rohles has seen some positive qualities emerging with his team.
"We have some leaders starting to show up, vocal and physical leaders starting to come into their own," he said. "Sean Tetz has really blossomed as sophomore defensive lineman, and he's also our long snapper. He's made some nice special teams plays for us. Matt Shinn at quarterback really drives our offense."
Tokay played at Franklin in Elk Grove on Thursday; results were not available at press time.
Up at Galt High, the Warriors are preparing to host Colfax (1-1). Galt is 2-0 and coming off a 42-7 blowout victory over Highlands. Galt's offense has done most of its work on the ground, with Kayson Jones piling up 214 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Hunter Freeman is second on the team with 93 yards on 18 carries.
Jones also shares the lead in tackles with Jaylen Brooks at 16, for a Galt defense that has allowed 13 points in the first two games.
Liberty Ranch opened its season last week with a tough loss, a 28-27 decision at the hands of Rio Americano in Sacramento.
The Hawks host a 1-1 Linden team tonight.