One of the strengths for the Tokay High football team this season is the running game.
That is an area that Tokay hopes to expand, and beyond, today at Hubbard Field when it will host West in a Tri-City Athletic League game. Kickoff is scheduled at 7:15 p.m.
“Our hope is that we can produce our best offensive game to date (tonight),” said Tokay coach Michael Holst.
Tokay running back Joseph Filippini, a junior who started at wide receiver as a sophomore during the 2018 season, is racing toward a milestone. Filippini has rushed for 866 yards, needing 134 or more yards to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season. He’s also scored 14 touchdowns.
In the quarterback department, Jacob Varney and Ty Didonato, both juniors, are almost even in numbers. Varney has completed 40 of 85 passes for 453 yards and two touchdowns. Didonato is 31 of 54 for 393 yards and a touchdown.
The Tigers have three receivers with triple-digit receiving numbers. Vincent Romero has 14 receptions for 252 yards and a touchdown. Colby Baker has 202 yards in 14 receptions and touchdown, and Jacob Schneider 16-141. Tokay is averaging 25 points per game this season.
While those accomplishments in the run and passing games have been nice for Tokay (0-1 in the TCAL, 1-5), Holst wants the defense and special teams to improve in upcoming league games.
“We need to improve in every aspect of the game,” Holst said. “There is nothing we can’t get better at. Offensively, we’ve honed in on our run blocking assignments and our paths as running backs.”
But the defense has been a different story for the Tigers this season. Tokay has given up 45 points per game, the highest among all of the TCAL schools that include Lodi, West, St. Mary’s, Lincoln and Tracy.
“Defensively, we’ve continued to work on tackling and being aggressive in fitting runs,” Holst said.
Another area that the Tigers have been working on is taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes on any side of the football.
“We haven’t done a good job taking advantage of opponent miscues, and we’ve let them capitalize on our mistakes,” Holst said.
Tokay will face a West team (0-1 in the TCAL, 1-5) that is averaging 14.6 points per game and has given up 34.1 points per game.
In the TCAL opener at Tracy on Oct. 4, the Tigers trailed only 21-14 to the Bulldogs. But Tracy overpowered Tokay en route for a 52-14 win.
“We regressed a little bit last week,” Holst said of the league opener. “We didn’t block well on run plays and also allowed Tracy to create some pressure.”
Holst said that any youth football player who goes to tonight’s game wearing their uniform/jersey will get in for free.
Today at 7:15 p.m., Lodi also plays its second TCAL game at St. Mary’s.
Christian Zamora leads Lodi (0-1 in the TCAL, 4-2) in rushing with 680 yards on 79 carries and 11 touchdowns. Angelo Zazzarino has eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns..
Lodi, like everyone else in the league, have a tall task of taking on the defending league champions in St. Mary’s (1-0 in the TCAL, 2-4). The Rams are averaging 32 points per game on offense, but have given up 40.3 points per game on defense. But St. Mary’s non-league opponents have a combined record of 27-6 that include three teams undefeated in Serra of San Mateo (5-0) and Mission Viejo (7-0).
Lodi is on the bubble of earning a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth. The Flames currently have a 2.3 rating — one of four teams in the league that are in the race for a playoff berth.
The Flames will be without the services of quarterback/wide receiver Logan Stout, a three-year starter. He’s serving an automatic one-game suspension after he was ejected in last week’s TCAL opener against Lincoln (1-0 in the TCAL, 6-0) at the Grape Bowl in which the Trojans posted a 63-6 win.
Stout, who also plays safety on defense, was ejected in last week’s game after he was called for unnecessary roughness following a hard tackle on Lincoln’s Valentino Yarbrough, who intercepted a pass that Flames quarterback Adam Schallberger threw.
Back at Warrior Stadium for a second consecutive week, Galt (0-1 in the Sierra Valley Conference, 4-2) welcomes Bradshaw Christian (1-0 in the SVC, 4-2), out of Sacramento, at 7:30 p.m.
Galt quarterback Robert Bulahan Jr. is another area player closing in on the 1,000 yard but in passing; he has 873 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for six touchdowns and rushed for 248 yards.
Warrior running back Kenny Tran has 283 yards and a touchdown. In the air, Marcelo Lopez has 19 receptions for 367 yards and five touchdowns and Isaac Madrigal 17-155 and three TDs. Lopez leads the Warriors’ defense with 12 tackles.
Galt has four games conference games left. The Warriors, like Lodi, are also on the playoff bubble. Galt needs to win all, or most, of its remaining conference games if it wants to earn a playoff berth. The last time Galt was in the playoffs was in 2004.
In last week’s SVC opener at Warrior Stadium, El Dorado rallied from a 17-7 deficit to post a 21-17 win over the Warriors.
The big question for Liberty Ranch (0-1 in the SVC, 2-4), which plays at Union Mine (1-0 in the SVC, 4-2) is if the game will be played today or Saturday.
Union Mine, located in El Dorado that is outside of Placerville in El Dorado County, has been impacted by the PG&E power shut off in the Northern California region.
According to Liberty Ranch coach Anthony Linebaugh, who is also the school’s athletic director, a decision would be made today if the game is still played today at 7:30 p.m. No start time was given if the Liberty Ranch-Union Mine contest is moved to Saturday.
Running back Isiah Ricci, who has also doubled as Liberty Ranch’s quarterback, has been all over the field. The Hawk has rushed for 248 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also passed 19 of 40 for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Davis has seven receptions for 93 yards for the Hawks.
The Hawks, if the playoffs started today, would earn a berth by their rating of -5.8 but have faced opponents with a combined overall record of 27-9. Liberty Ranch, like Galt, needs to start winning all/most of its remaining conference games to improve its chances.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.