BIG SHOW­DOWN FOR FLAMES FOOT­BALL

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Bush NEWS-SENTINEL SPORTS WRITER

There is a lot at stake at the Grape Bowl to­day.

Lodi and Tracy en­ter to­day’s Tri-City Ath­letic League foot­ball game at the Grape Bowl, which is sched­uled to kickoff at 7:15 p.m. with a lot on the line. Lodi (1-2 in the TCAL, 5-3) and Tracy (1-2 in the TCAL, 2-6) are think­ing play­offs.

“I know that this week is ex­cit­ing for us, since Lodi has en­tered a Week 9 and have some value to it,” said Lodi coach Ge­orge Due­nas. “I think that they are just ex­cited to have that op­por­tu­nity (tonight).”

Lodi run­ning back Chris­tian Zamora has 1,001 yards on 122 car­ries, av­er­ag­ing 125.1 yards per game, and 13 touch­downs this sea­son. An­other Flame run­ning back in Jose Bravo has 272 yards, and quar­ter­backs Lo­gan Stout and Adam Schall­berger have 261 and 225 yards re­spec­tively.

On de­fense, five Lodi play­ers have dou­ble-digit tack­les. Bravo has 25, while Myles Lozano has 15, An­dreas Pap­pas and Adolfo Sanchez each have 13 and Reg­gie Miles and Ethan Bron­son each have 12.

The Bull­dogs have found suc­cess with the veer of­fense that has been known to change into dif­fer­ent for­ma­tions, in­clud­ing the shot gun. Tracy has av­er­aged 28.2 points per game.

Ac­cord­ing to The Fresno Bee, Tracy’s se­nior quar­ter­back Lo­gan Fife com­mit­ted to Fresno State af­ter switch­ing from a ver­bal com­mit­ment to Cal Poly. This sea­son, Fife has throw for 1,568 yards and 15 touch­downs.

On de­fense, Tracy an­chors a 4-4 base that has given up 34.6 points per game. That is good news for a Lodi squad that is av­er­ag­ing an even 25 points per game.

Both Lodi and Tracy are jock­ey­ing for play­off po­si­tions. If Lodi beats Tracy, it would end the Bull­dogs’ last hopes of mak­ing the play­offs. If Tracy wins tonight, then Lodi must beat Tokay to fin­ish 6-4 and might need a lit­tle bit of help from other schools in Divi­sion II — which MaxPreps is pro­ject­ing Lodi will go into if it earns a play­off berth.

Ac­cord­ing to the Sac-Joaquin Sec­tion, teams with at least four wins are con­sid­ered to have earned a shot at a play­off berth, based on the strengths of their sched­ules. This for­mat has been in place since the 2017 sea­son. The sec­tion plans to re­lease the play­off brack­ets on Satur­day, Nov. 2.

Ad­di­tion­ally, if Lodi wins tonight, plus a vic­tory over ri­val Tokay in the TCAL fi­nale at Hub­bard Field a week from Fri­day, the Flames would fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son with a 7-3 record.

Cur­rently, Lodi has a 6.6 rat­ing and its op­po­nents’ over­all record is a com­bined 31-33. Tracy has a 10.1 rat­ing and its op­po­nents have a com­bined 45-20 record.

“Tracy is the best 2-6 team in the his­tory of 2-6 teams,” Due

nas said. “Their sched­ule is a bunch of jug­ger­nauts. This is a very good foot­ball team. We’re in a bet­ter po­si­tion than Tracy is.”

Tokay

Tonight at 7:15, Tokay (1-2 in the TCAL, 2-6) plays at de­fend­ing league cham­pion St. Mary’s (3-0 in the TCAL, 4-4).

Tokay run­ning back Joseph Filip­pini has rushed 187 times for 1,142 yards and 19 touch­downs. Quar­ter­back Ja­cob Var­ney has com­pleted 41 of 90 passes for 465 yards and two touch­downs. On de­fense, Tiger out­side line­backer Haseem Khan has 57 tack­les.

Be­fore Lin­coln posted a 64-0 win at Hub­bard Field last week, Tokay had av­er­aged 27 points per game. The Tigers are look­ing to get back on the score­board. But that could be tough against a Rams’ de­fense that has yielded only 12 points in three league games.

Galt

To­day at 7:30 p.m., Galt plays at Union Mine in a Sierra Val­ley Con­fer­ence game in El Do­rado.

Eight games un­der his belt, quar­ter­back Robert Bu­la­han has com­pleted 96 of 165 passes for 1,374 yards and 13 touch­downs for Galt (4-4 and 0-3 in the SVC). Run­ning back Kenny Tran has 353 yards and two touch­downs. Marcelo Lopez con­tin­ues to be a force on both sides of the ball for the War­riors; he has 29 re­cep­tions for 455 yards and five touch­downs. From his in­side line­backer’s spot, Lopez has 12 tack­les.

Galt and Union Mine (4-4 and 1-2 in the SVC) each need a win to im­prove their play­off chances.

Both have met the sec­tion’s cri­te­ria with four wins each. But Galt, which watched Rose­mont jump out to a 34-10 half­time lead and won the SVC game 48-30 last week, needs to win its fi­nal two games to have a shot of a play­off berth.

The War­riors could also win one of two. But ei­ther way, they need a lot of help to earn a play­off berth.

Lib­erty Ranch

Play­ing its fi­nal reg­u­lar sea­son at Hawk Sta­dium to­day at 7:30 p.m., Lib­erty Ranch (4-4 and 2-1 in the SVC) takes on Rose­mont (7-1 and 2-1 in the SVC).

Lib­erty Ranch run­ning back Isiah Ricci has 85 car­ries for 410 yards and six touch­downs. Gabriel Si­moes-Ojeda is also part of the Hawks’ back­field with 327 yards rush­ing, plus a touch­down.

In the air, Hawks’ Cameron Hop­kins has eight re­cep­tions for 166 yards and two touch­downs and Austin Davis 133 yards on 11 re­cep­tions.

On de­fense, Lib­erty Ranch lineback­ers Ros­alio Lopez has 72 tack­les and Kade Koep­plin 54.

En­ter­ing to­day’s con­fer­ence game, Lib­erty Ranch is ranked No. 7 by MaxPreps among D-V schools in the sec­tion. Rose­mont is No. 7. If Lib­erty Ranch wins tonight, it is al­most cer­tain that it will trade places with the Wolver­ines in rank­ings.

That would also inch closer to­ward Lib­erty Ranch host­ing its first-ever, first round play­off game at Hawk Sta­dium on Fri­day, Nov. 8. But first, the Hawks need to close out the reg­u­lar sea­son with wins if they po­ten­tially want to host a play­off game.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL

Lodi's Jose Bravo tack­les Bear Creek's Brian Adams dur­ing Lodi’s vic­tory at the Grape Bowl in Lodi on Sept. 27.

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