For the Sonora High School football team, the task this week is not to look ahead to next week.
Next week, of course, is the Wildcats probable unbeaten showdown with archrival Oakdale for the Valley Oak League championship. Thatll be a week from tonight in Oakdale, where Sonora will be 9-0 and Oakdale 8-0-1 unless a major upset takes place Friday night.
That is unlikely as Sonora, 5-0 in the VOL, hosts slumping East Union of Manteca (1-4, 3-5) and Oakdale, also 5-0 in league, entertains winless Los Banos (0-5, 0-8).
East Union gave the Wildcats a tough game last year in Manteca, losing 28-20, but dont appear capable of doing the same this year. The Lancers have lost three in a row and gotten knocked around pretty good in the process 20-0 by Oakdale, 46-12 by Sierra of Manteca and 54-33 by Tracy. Sierra scored six points against Sonoras first defense and Tracy scored seven. Sonora is averaging 33 points per game. Things dont look good for the Lancers on either side of the ball.
Theyve been decimated by a lot of injuries, said Sonora defensive coordinator Josh Woods. Early in the season we looked at this game like it might be for the league championship, but theyve just been struggling. Theys supposed to get some of the guys back that they havent had the last several weeks, so that should strengthen them.
Sonora will be celebrating senior night by starting a senior at every position. Thats not a big change, because defensive end Lloyd Mathiesen is the only junior who usually starts. Matt Devol will take his place.
All told, 29 Wildcat seniors will be playing their last regular-season home game. They hope to be back on Dunlavy Field for a first-round home playoff game Nov. 17. To earn that honor, of course, theyll have to win Friday and then beat Oakdale.