The easy part of Lodi High’s schedule is finished. Now the Flames head into a gauntlet of the top teams in the Tri-City Athletic League, starting with tonight’s matchup against St. Mary’s in Stockton.

Lodi is coming off a 56-0 rout over West, while St. Mary’s blasted Tracy 56-13 last week.

And while the game offers a chance for a statement win from the Flames (5-1, 1-0 TCAL), knocking the Rams (4-2, 1-0) off the TCAL pedestal has seemed like Don Quixote tilting at windmills for the past few years. And that applies to all the teams in the TCAL — the Rams’ last league blemish came in a 40-32 loss to Stagg in 2013.

That doesn’t mean to count out the Flames, a squad on a five-game winning streak after a loss against Edison in the season opener on Aug. 20. Lodi will rely on a ground attack that can go with the hot hand out of a number of running backs — Brayden Stout, Richard Powell and Kaiden Merryman have been the most used so far.

West (1-5, 0-1 TCAL) at Tokay (4-2, 0-1)

Both teams were blown out in their first league games, Tokay at the hands of Lincoln and West against Lodi at the Grape Bowl. The game will offer one team a chance to bounce back.

West has just one win this season, a 14-12 victory over nearby Mountain House.

Senior Branden Moreno has taken the majority of snaps at quarterback for Tokay, with 608 passing yards, and 10 touchdowns against four interceptions. Barrett Crosby leads the ground attack, with 390 yards and five scores on 74 carries.

Liberty Ranch (3-2, 0-1 SVC) at Bradshaw Christian (6-0, 1-0)

The top half of the Sierra Valley Conference is undefeated, and the Hawks will face another one of them this week against Bradshaw Christian. The Pride opened league play with a 36-7 win over El Dorado last week.

Liberty Ranch’s offense is almost exclusively a ground attack — Logan McCreery and Kymani Fenika have combined for just 23 pass attempts across the first six games. Meanwhile, Arthur Draeger, a junior running back, has racked up 745 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. In last week’s 33-17 loss to Rosemont (also undefeated), Draeger had 105 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and caught a 45-yard touchdown pass as well.

Galt (1-5, 0-1) at El Dorado (3-2, 0-1)

The Warriors’ season has been rough so far, but tonight’s game offers a shot to get the ball rolling. El Dorado is coming off a blowout loss to Bradshaw Christian.

However, Galt didn’t far any better in a 41-0 loss to Union Mine in its league opener last week. The Warriors had 171 yards of total offense, and weren’t able to get into the end zone. Galt also turned the ball over on two interceptions and a fumble.

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