Modesto High's football program is rich in tradition, but much of that glory is deep in the school's past -- when the city had just one high school.
Coach Rod Long was tasked with rekindling that success when he took over in 2001.
He focused on putting down a foundation his first three years, and now he's able to enjoy the results of that labor.
After going 4-26 those first three years, Modesto is 32-27 with three Modesto Metro Conference titles in six years.
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The Panthers believe an experienced cast, led by quarterback Klayton Miller and explosive running back Arquel Rogers, will lead to title No. 4.
"The next goal is to advance deeper in the playoffs," says Miller, aware of Modesto's 0-3 playoff record during the last decade. "We've got good guys up from the JV and everyone here expects us to win again."
Modesto will have to claw past Enochs and Johansen, rivals that pose different challenges. Enochs has the city's top linebackers, led by Kurtis Sewell, while the Vikings are led by quarterback Armando Hernandez and a receiving corps that is tops in town.
James Stacy has wasted little time in building a winning program at Enochs -- the Eagles made the playoffs in just their third varsity campaign.
In terms of playoff success, though, Jason McCoy has no equal : He led Johansen to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinals in 2008, quite an effort for a first-year coach.
That team had a punishing running attack, but McCoy is showing his ability to change with his personnel by handing the offense to Hernandez.
"Michael (Brown) and Cameron (Clay) are the top receivers in Modesto," says Hernandez, noting the trio practiced regularly in the offseason. "I have confidence they'll catch anything I throw their way."