Wildcats open football playoffs at Sonora on Friday

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Whitney High’s varsity football team will open up the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV playoffs by playing at Sonora at 7 p.m. Friday. There are 16 teams in the DIV playoffs, broken up into two, eight-team brackets. Sonora is a No. 4 seed while Whitney is No. 5 on one side of the bracket. The winner will play either No. 1 Lincoln (10-0) or No. 8 Livingston (6-4) on Nov. 27. Lincoln will host that game if it is still alive while Livingston would play on the road. Lincoln, the Pioneer Valley League champion, beat Whitney 21-14 earlier this season. Whitney finished the regular season 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the PVL (third place). Sonora is 8-2 overall and went 5-2 in the Valley Oak League. Sonora is very physical and tough on defense,” Whitney coach Mike Gimenez said. “It will be a real test with travel and a quality opponent. If we can execute our game plan we will have a great chance to win. We need to create some turnovers on defense to help our offense.” Sonora beat Ceres (35-19), Central Valley (35-12), Sierra of Manteca (17-7), East Union of Manteca (55-14) and Weston Ranch of Stockton (41-14) in league play but lost to Manteca (37-13) and Oakdale (35-7). The Sonora Wildcats went unbeaten in non-league action, topping Johansen of Modesto (28-15), Modesto (43-14) and Davis of Modesto (16-13). Whitney and Sonora share one common opponent in Oakdale (beat Whitney 24-7). Sonora likes to run the ball and the main weapon is 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior Dan Link (166 carries, 1,314 yards, 13 touchdowns). It is unclear who will start at quarterback for Whitney as two of its quarterbacks are injured. Sophomore Jake Rodrigues re-injured his ankle on Friday and his status is unknown. Senior Josh Ladas has missed some time with an injury and he will suit up Friday but Gimenez says it will be a game-time decision on whether or not he will play. Junior Kyle Dilorenzo has also played some quarterback for Whitney this season.