Now this is some football!
Championships being won, highly ranked teams being upset, the supporting cast stepping in to take up the fight for a fallen teammate.
And more than 4,000 fans screaming through every minute of it at The Corral, Oakdale High's stadium and as close to a shrine to the game as you will find in the Stanislaus District.
In the middle of it was Sierra's Anthony Hall, whose second-half heroics led the T-wolves to a victory of historic proportions — and likely earned Sierra its first Valley Oak League crown.
Hall's first words weren't about his game-winning, 40-yard field goal, however. He talked about tailback Jarrod Daniels, who was knocked out of this game — for the second year in a row — by a third-quarter injury.
Oakdale pulled away from Sierra in a 31-21 last year after Daniels left, and it looked like that might happen again Friday when Oakdale took a 42-41 lead, after trailing 38-21, midway through the fourth quarter.
"We talked before going out there for our last drive and said we had to win it for Jarrod," said Hall, who also had field goals of 50 and 45 yards. "Jarrod's a great player and he helped us get to this point. We couldn't let him down; not tonight."
It was Sierra's first-ever win over Oakdale and the T-wolves can clinch a share of the title by beating Weston Ranch on Friday. They can do no better than a co-title because they'll share it with the Oakdale-Sonora winner. Both those teams are 5-1 going into the regular-season finale.
All three teams, and Manteca, are in the playoffs. Oakdale, Sierra and Manteca will play in Division 3, and Sonora will play in Division 4A.
MMC TITLE GAME — Enochs doesn't have a winning record, but the Eagles (4-5) will play for the school's first football championship against Modesto (6-3). Both are guaranteed playoff berths, and Davis could also get one if it beats Beyer on Thursday.
Regardless of what happens Friday, Enochs will be one of the lower seeds because of its record. In one of the quirks of the new playoff format, Davis could finish third in the MMC and Enochs could be the champ — yet it could be the Spartans (5-4) with a higher seed because of total wins.
Modesto's motivated, too. A win not only delivers a title, but likely means playing the first playoff game at home.
Modesto made a nice adjustment Friday in its 65-28 win over Downey. After QB Jason Lee led the Knights to a quick TD vs. a three- and four-man rush, the Panthers dialed it up and often went to a five- and six-man rush. The other defenders focused on shutting off the short passing routes, forcing Lee to scramble. His first pass of the second half was straight into coverage for an interception, and it appeared Lee didn't realize Modesto had fallen into a zone.
TIGERS ROAR — Los Banos has caught fire with the return of QB Erik Martin, but just as much credit needs to go to the defense. Since losing 6-3 to Merced — Martin was sidelined with a concussion — LB has won three in a row, outscoring its foes 104-12. That includes shutouts of Pitman (14-0) and Atwater (41-0) the last two weeks. Friday's win should get LB in the playoffs, but that's not the priority.
If LB beats Buhach Colony this week, it gets at least a share of the CCC title. Merced can get a piece of that crown, too, by beating Pitman.
The only way Merced (4-5) makes the playoffs is by winning that game, and even then the Bears will be a low seed. If Merced and Los Banos both finish at 5-1, the Bears get the CCC's No. 1 seed.
Atwater and Buhach Colony (both 6-3) are likely in the D2 playoffs regardless of what they do this week.
MC PERFECT — Modesto Christian overcame an old nemesis and won the TVL title in the same night. The Crusaders used a fourth-quarter defensive stand to preserve a 21-16 win over Escalon, and are now the only unbeaten team in the district, as Escalon (8-1) and Oakdale (8-1) went down first the time.
MC earns the top seed in the D4-B playoffs if it beats Ripon Christian on Thursday. What happens after that is anyone's guess: It's uncertain whether Escalon will put in the D4-A (larger schools) or D4-B (smaller schools) bracket.
That depends on Friday's game at Summerville: The MLL-champion Bears host Linden, and a Linden upset would likely send Escalon up with the big boys. If Summerville wins, these are your likely top three D4-B seeds: MC, followed by Central Catholic and Summerville. The No. 4 seed, which brings with it a home opener, will go to Escalon or Hilmar — if both finish 9-1. Escalon likely gets the nod as its opponents have more wins.
Hilmar's certainly rooting for a Linden victory over Summerville, for a variety of reasons. In addition to likely moving up Escalon, it could give the Yellowjackets the No. 3 seed. If Linden loses, Hilmar is probably looking at No. 5 and a road trip to Escalon — quite a reversal of fate.
Ripon is playoff-bound, too, and can help itself by beating Escalon. If Ripon wins and Patterson upsets Hilmar, the Indians could be a No. 4.
CENTRAL EXPRESS — Nine games and Central Catholic's Dylan Swartz has yet to throw an interception — but he keeps throwing TDs. He had five more Friday, giving him 23, in a 51-7 win over Patterson for the WAC.
Patterson has clinched a playoff berth, but it will be in D3 and likely visit Oakdale or Sierra in an opener. First the Tigers have this week's West Side showdown with Hilmar.
How's this for a thrilling D4-B title game: Central Catholic at Modesto Christian, with the winner playing the D4-A champ the following week.
TC FLYING HIGH — Turlock Christian will be in the D6 playoffs after its win over Waterford. The Eagles (6-3) had enough total wins, but the section requires playoff teams win two league games, as well. TC now has two SL wins going into this week's game with Denair, which might need the victory to reach the D5 playoffs. It's been a great season for QB Robbie Smallwood and WR Cody Alldrin. The longtime friends lost their fathers early in life, TC coach Rusty Lyon noted, and success on the field has been good for both.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini contributed to this report.