Sac-Joaquin Section high school football preview: Top 10 teams, players to watch, top new coaches, top games

The fall 2021 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section high school football season kicks off on Friday, and there are multiple storylines to follow. From new coaches to big games to top players, here’s everything you need to know about Sac-Joaquin Section football heading into the season.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-SECTION TEAM | TOP 50 TEAM PREVIEWS | TOP 25 STATEWIDE RANKINGS

REIGNING CHAMPIONS

Due to COVID-19, there were no football championships held anywhere in the state in 2020. Therefore the reigning champions are from 2019.

  • 2019 Division 1 champion: Oak Ridge
  • 2019 Division 2 champion: Elk Grove
  • 2019 Division 3 champion: Manteca
  • 2019 Division 4 champion: Sierra
  • 2019 Division 5 champion: Ripon
  • 2019 Division 6 champion: Escalon
  • 2019 Division 7 champion: Mariposa County

TOP 10 TEAMS

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10. Capital Christian: Senior Anthony Garcia is the Section’s top QB prospect.

9. Oak Ridge: Junior quarterback Drew Cowart returns along with some key weapons.

8. Jesuit: Jesuit has a top offensive and defensive line. Nelson Jack Hemmert is a player to watch on the defensive line.

7. Stockton Lincoln: The Trojans have enough talent to push for a Section championship led by Arizona running back commit Jonah Coleman.

6. Stockton St. Mary’s: UCLA wide receiver commit Jadyn Marshall is the Section’s best college prospect.

5. Vacaville: Senior QB Ryan Vaughan can make all of the throws.

4. Monterey Trail: Monterey Trail made the most of the 2021 spring season, beating all five opponents by double digits including four of them by 26 points or more. QB Frank Arcuri is back this fall.

3. Elk Grove: Zeke Burnett is out to prove he’s the Section’s best tailback.

2. Rocklin: The Thunder are solid across the board, but Bobby Piland is a one-man wrecking crew on the defensive line.

1. Folsom: The Bulldogs are the top team in the Sac-Joaquin Section thanks to returning QB Tyler Tremain, WR Rico Flores and TE Walker Lyons. They will score and also play solid defense. Linebacker Justin Eklund is committed to San Jose State.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

We released our preseason All-Sac-Joaquin Section team earlier this week. Folsom had a Section high five players selected.

NEW COACHES TO WATCH

There was plenty of coaching movement this offseason in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Here are five coaches to watch who are either now at new schools or who have been promoted to lead their teams from an assistant coaching position.

Sam Pulino is the new coach at Rocklin following the resignation of Jason Adams.

Joe Cattolico is the new head coach at Granite Bay. He’s coached previously at Pleasant Grove, Sheldon and Roseville.

New Oak Ridge head coach Casey Taylor will lead the Trojans this season after successful spells at Del Oro and Capital Christian.

Carl Reed is the new head coach at Grant High School. “We’re a program that’s on the upswing,” Grant told the Sacramento Bee earlier this month.

First year head coach Willie Burns is the new coach at Yuba City — he was formerly an assistant.

The new coach at Cosumnes Oaks is Martin Billings, a veteran head coach who’s previously been the head man at Menlo-Atherton, Sheldon and Monterey Trail.

Reggie Harris will lead Inderkum this season after being controversially dismissed as head coach at Antelope.

TOP 10 REGULAR SEASON GAMES

FULL SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION SCHEDULE

Aug. 20: Folsom @ Monterey Trail

Aug. 27: De La Salle @ Stockton St. Mary’s

Aug. 27: Oak Ridge @ Vacaville

Aug. 27: Rocklin vs. Capital Christian

Sept. 3: Pittsburg @ Folsom

Sept. 10: Oak Ridge @ Elk Grove

Oct. 8: De La Salle @ Folsom

Oct. 15: Folsom @ Rocklin

Oct. 16: Elk Grove @ Jesuit

Oct. 29: Stockton St. Mary’s @ Stockton Lincoln

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