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September 16, 2013As teams work through their non-league schedules, many of the ranked squads remain intact. This week, we look ahead to a pair of Sacramento area teams traveling to the East Bay, Grant moves into the rankings and El Cerrito makes a statement in Santa Rosa.
NCP Football Top 20
There is always plenty of talk about section versus section and area against area. The Sacramento area have a pair of big road games in the Bay Area to further the discussion this week as No. 2 Folsom travels to San Ramon Valley and No. 10 Del Oro will play at No. 1 De La Salle.
Folsom junior quarterback Jake Browning is throwing for more than 300 yards per game with 16 touchdowns to three interceptions. San Ramon Valley will counter with running back Marcus de la Pena, who is one of the top backs in the region.
Del Oro, who routinely plays daunting schedules, beat Logan 27-13 in the season opener before losing to Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks 41-24. De La Salle carried late game momentum from its win over Serra to control St. Mary's-Stockton in a 40-13 win.
Grant moves into Top 20
Youth is being served at Grant, but the Pacers are off to a 3-0 start after beating Burbank 28-14. With good size on the lines and a defense which has held up against good running attacks, Grant will take on No. 17 Oak Ridge this week before traveling to Del Oro to end a tough non-league slate.
In the win over Grant, Deandre Whittington-Grays rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Burbank, which beat Grant twice in 2012, remains in the Top 20 with a 1-2 record. Could these teams meet again come playoff time?
El Cerrito among the elite
If there were any questions about how good El Cerrito could be this year, they have been answered in the first three weeks. Following a 35-7 win at Cardinal Newman, the Gauchos are 2-1 with a 20 point win over NorCal Division III runner-up Sutter and a three point loss to Bellarmine without the services of Cal bound wide receiver Jalen Harvey.
Along with Harvey, El Cerrito boasts two more Pac-12 bound prospects in Adarius Pickett (UCLA) and Derik Calhoun (USC) along with other key contributors from last year's 13-1 squad. While it was clear El Cerrito would be a top Division III team in 2013, it is proving to be one of the top teams overall in NorCal. The Gauchos travel to Campolindo on Friday.