|Folsom's Drake Stallworth is expected to play a huge role once again for a team with aspirations of making a state title run (photo credit: The Sacramento Bee).|
During this month, fall camps start dwindling down and teams across California have one real goal in mind: a state championship.
Only a select few teams can call itself a state title holder when it’s all said in done. Cali Gold Mine has picked three teams from different regions that – in our mind – have the best chance of extending the season until December, then hold a huge celebration once the 2016-17 campaign ends.
Here’s three teams CGM is high on starting with the 916/209 region:
Last year: 14-1, lost to San Jose-Bellarmine Prep 42-35 in the Division I-AA Northern California championship game.
When you’ve won 58 of your last 61 games and have five Sac-Joaquin Section titles since 2010, of course Folsom will be a serious contender for a state title. Yes, the offensive line was decimated by graduation as Jonah Williams (Alabama) Cody Creason (Arizona) and Kooper Richardson (UC Davis) are gone. But, leading wide receivers Eric Davis and Drake Stallworth return. So does Washington linebacker commit Ariel Ngata. Oh, looks like one of the quarterbacks along with Joe Curry will be Evan Michalet, a San Jose State commit. Plus the new guys coming in have won a lot of games at the lower levels, so winning at Folsom probably won’t be foreign to them.
Last year: 12-1, lost to Oakdale 51-38 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III semifinals.
It’ll be tough to replace the running back trio of Raekwon Turner, Jimmie Turner and Derrick Henderson; all of whom accounted for 3,500 of Inderkum’s 4,927 rushing yards last year. However, two of the most wanted prospects in Nor Cal – tight end Josh Falo and safety Trajon Cotton – return to the Tigers, as both have over 20 offers apiece. There’s also rising 2018 prospect Isaah Crocker back at receiver, who averaged 31.3 yards per catch last season. A biggie on the schedule will be the Sept. 2 non-league showdown against El Cerrito and its highly-recruited players in the Bay Area.
Last year: 10-3, lost to Folsom 56-49 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I semifinals.
The Rams have become the face of Stockton prep football, and this year’s team is loaded at wide receiver. Sacramento State commit Dewey Cotton may look like easy pickings for cornerbacks at just 5-foot-6, but Cotton shows fearlessness by out-jumping defensive backs and emerging as a six-point threat whenever he touches the ball. Deep threat Keaton Hampton (team-high 26.5 yards per catch last year) and emerging 2018 wideout Marcus Aponte return to give St. Mary’s depth and explosion in the passing game. In the trenches, highly-wanted 6-foot-4, 315-pound Popo Aumavae (21 offers including Ole Miss, Purdue and BYU) anchors both the offensive tackle and defensive tackle slots.