If you didn't notice, there is a new look to The Bee's Stanislaus District football rankings — no large- and small-school divisions.
Realignment turned Patterson and Livingston into large schools, and with The Bee emphasizing its primary circulation region, there are fewer small schools to rank.
Now everyone goes into one set of rankings, and there's a surprise in the inaugural set: The Bee's top-ranked team is Central Catholic.
Yes, a small-school team is atop our first combined rankings. Central (0-0) is one of four small schools on the list, along with No. 5 Escalon (1-0), No. 11 Hilmar (1-0) and No. 14 Summerville (0-0).
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While Central debuts at No. 1, it could struggle to hold the ranking in the weeks to come. It opens Saturday against Cardinal Newman at 2 p.m. at Del Oro of Loomis, one of four games in a showcase event.
We're not only going to rank the best teams, we're also going to ask what teams are playing the best: As the season progresses, you're likely to see small schools moving up and down the rankings based on their level of play each week.
Because Escalon is No. 5, does it mean the Cougars can beat every large school behind them? It's a question that can only be decided on the field — but remember, they beat Buhach Colony a year ago.
MARIPOSA'S MOVE — After decades of playing games at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, the hometown Grizzlies debut their on-campus stadium Thursday when they host Summerville. The Grizzlies had used the fairgrounds for about 60 years, Grizzly Stadium Committee chairman Dan Tucker said.
Pioneer Market Grizzly Stadium has lights, portable seating for 780 and a 28-foot high arch welcoming fans. It is a community-driven effort that will include erecting permanent bleachers, a concession stand and restrooms in 2011.
The goal, said Grizzly Stadium Committee chairman Dan Tucker, is to install artificial turf by 2012. There also are plans to renovate a baseball and two softball fields.The Mariposa County Contractors' Association provided their expertise, Tucker said, and the community donated the material and labor.
BUSY WEEKEND — Following an abbreviated Week 1, it will be a hectic second week with 32 games scheduled for Thursday through Saturday. The list includes Orestimba, which was facing a potential bye due to a scheduling error.
First-year coach Aaron Souza scrambled to find an opponent and has pinned one down: The Warriors, hoping to rebound from a 60-20 loss to Livingston, will host Hogan of Vallejo (2-7 a year ago).