Staying power and results.
The theme resonates for those regional high school football programs that seamlessly reload every fall. Grant led all area programs with a 118-19 record over the past 10 seasons. The Pacers of Del Paso Heights also led the region in victories the previous decade under coach Mike Alberghini, now in his 22nd season with a 221-38 record.
Del Oro is 111-29 since 2001 with coach Casey Taylor, Colfax 110-21-1 with Tony Martello as coach, Granite Bay 106-30-1 with Ernie Cooper, Nevada Union 97-33 with Dave Humphers and Del Campo 92-36 with Mike Dimino.
The schools combined to win or share 46 league championships and 14 Sac-Joaquin Section titles in that 10-year stretch. The key has been continuity in coaches, administrative and community support with a surplus of athletes motivated by tradition.
But ambitious early-season scheduling will challenge area powers in 2012. Del Oro and Granite Bay, for instance, play state powers Oaks Christian and Westlake this weekend in the Battle for Veterans in Loomis. That will be followed by a Sept. 21 Bee-ranked showdown when No. 4 Grant hosts No. 2 Del Oro.
"It's sustaining the success that's the challenge," said Alberghini. "You have to be ready every Monday for a hard week because there are so many good teams."
Grant isn't expected to slow down in the coming years, either. Alberghini said of Grant's junior varsity team: "My God, they're so fast, with great size. It's a fabulous JV team, but sustaining it ."
Around the regions After seven years as Cal's football radio analyst, Troy Taylor has stepped away to join best friend Kris Richardson as co-coaches at Folsom. Said Richardson: "What a great coach, and he's added years to my life. I think I'll survive the season now."
Capital Christian coach Phil Grams said 6-foot-5, 280-pound junior lineman Nifae Lealao has drawn every Pacific-12 Conference coach to the campus, including a Stanford scholarship offer.
Rio Linda coach Mike Morris said he has two good running backs in senior Lamar Bible and sophomore Marcel Brown, who is capable of "becoming the best back we've ever had, and we've had great ones."
Laguna Creek coach Dave Morton expects a big season out of senior linebacker Davonte Castex, who impressed in a scrimmage against Folsom on Saturday.
Sheldon coach Herb Berry likes the early efforts of defensive back/receiver Taron Johnson, the team's most physical player, and quarterback Nolan Merker, a student with a 4.23 grade-point average.
The next quarterback for Casa Roble, a program known to throw a bit, is junior Peyton Wilfley. Coach Norm Ryan says he could "break every passing record we've had."
First-year El Dorado coach Joe Volek said the challenge is immense in returning success to Placerville, but the pieces are there. Volek inherits 14 eager seniors and a 2-year-old field that represents a new era.
First-year Florin coach Mike Rosales recently invited former Florin and NFL lineman Ephraim Salaam to campus to speak to players about achieving dreams. Salaam will be a Panthers honorary captain this fall.
River City coaches Steve DaPrato and Chris Baker are back in coaching because, "We failed retirement," DaPrato said.