As you await Friday’s opening round games in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs, here’s some “Quick Hitters” to whet your grid appetites with. For instance did you know:
*In all of this weekend’s divisional playoff games across the section, the trip for Hilmar to Auburn to play Placer (125 miles) and Bear River going to Central Catholic in Modesto (118 miles) ranks in length only behind Atwater having to trek 126 miles to play at Folsom.
*Barring a rifle shooting match in the 1950s, it is believed the Hilmar at Placer contest may be the first-ever athletic event in history between the two schools. But Placer and Hilmar
do have a connection. Former Placer High head coach Jerry Van Lengen (1990-95) came to Auburn after directing Hilmar from 1986 to 1989 to four consecutive CIF section championships. At one point, Van Lengen’s Hilmar teams compiled a state leading 46-game win streak.
*Hilmar, dubbed the Yellowjackets, are the defending Div. IV champions, defeating Escalon, 20-17, in last year’s final. Placer is making its first appearance in Div. IV after playing the last two seasons in Div. III .The Hillmen played in back-to-back Div. IV finals losing to Whitney, 35-14, in 2008 and to Modesto Christian, 61-40, in 2009.
*The Hillmen are seeking their first section crown since 1981. Placer won five CIF crowns (’75, ’76, ’77, ’80, ’81) over a seven-year stretch.
*For the first time, the CIF is holding off in announcing dates and locations for this year’s section title games until finalists are determined. There will, however, be one divisional championship game in either Div. 1 through Div. IV played on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 1.
*Bear River, which opens Friday at Central Catholic in Modesto, has qualified for the post season for the third straight time and the 15th in school history. The Bruins’ lone CIF title championship came in 1994 when Bear River defeated Golden Sierra, 3-0, in overtime for the Div. III crown.
*Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue is just 10 wins away from reaching the coveted 200-win plateau for his career. In a rare student vs. teacher match up, Logue coached Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa at Butte College in the 1980s.
*Del Oro, which will playing at Yuba City in its Div. II opener Friday, will be meeting the Honkers on the gridiron for the first time in school history.
*Del Oro has won eight section titles (’89, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’97, ’05, ’11, ’12).
*Foresthill is in the playoffs for the third straight year. The Wildfires, who have a first round bye in Div. VI, have gone 25-8 over that span.