Prep Football: Le Grand eager to step up

LE GRAND -- Anyone curious about the mind-set of the Le Grand football team heading into tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section Division V quarterfinal against Golden Sierra may want to send Rickey Martinez a friend request on Facebook.

The senior defensive back summarized the team's mood quite succinctly with a status update: Anything shy of the school's first section title will be a failure.

That quest begins at 7 p.m. tonight in Le Grand.

"The last three years we've just gotten closer and closer," Martinez said. "Two years ago we made the playoffs.

"Last year we had the title game at halftime, but let it get away.

"This year we came back with just as talented a team. If we don't get it done, it's kind of a waste."

So far, the Bulldogs have backed up Martinez, bringing an all-business attitude to the practice field this week.

Le Grand head coach Rick Martinez has been pleasantly surprised by the focus, and looks forward to how things will progress.

"We easily had our best Monday practice of the entire season," Rick Martinez said. "As a coach, that's exciting. It shows everyone's focused on the task at hand.

"Golden Sierra is a very methodical team that will kind of lull you to sleep with that Cox Box. A sweep here, a power toss there, and then they'll try to hit something over the top when you're not ready.

"If you don't have that focus, it could be a long night."

Golden Sierra (6-5) spoiled what many hoped would be a second-round rematch with Mariposa by pounding the Grizzles for 323 rushing yards in a 27-14 victory.

Running backs Matt Mckain (143 rushing yards) and Sean Alexander (108) led the charge.

Golden Sierra took to the air just two times that night.

"It's very important that we get an early lead and get them out of their game, having to play catchup," offensive lineman Gio Maldonado said. "We've got a good offensive line, talented running backs, and now Alex (Bucio) gives us another dimension.

"Our offense is a machine."

If that machine does get rolling tonight, don't expect much of a celebration.

"Getting to the section title game is a pretty big accomplishment," Martinez said. "But we have bigger plans."