Joe Davidson

Hometown Report: Linemen Moore, Moala to start for Cal

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 - 8:41 am

Approaching the college football season from a three-point stance:

• The Cal depth chart includes two area products starting in the trenches: offensive right tackle Steven Moore from Elk Grove High School and defensive tackle Vei Moala from Grant. Puka Lopa (Grant), who shared The Sacramento Bee's 2010 Defensive Player of the Year award with Moala, is a second-string defensive end.

Moore was charmed by former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, two years ago. But Moore remained loyal to the Bears when Sonny Dykes replaced Tedford in the offseason.

Moala has impressed his supervisors since his freshman season, bench-pressing a Cal-record 500 pounds.

Gavin Andrews from Granite Bay High will start at right tackle for Oregon State and Arik Armstead from Pleasant Grove will play defensive end for Oregon. They'll likely face off in the annual Civil War, a two-man rematch of the 2010 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game won by Andrews and Granite Bay.

Lefi Letuligasenoa, The Bee's Athlete of the Year in 2010, will be a four-year starter on Cal Poly's offensive line. He admits he has lived a charmed football life, including being named Elk Grove's homecoming king in 2009.

Connor Rains, 6-foot-7 and 318 pounds, starts at right tackle for Wyoming. He played at Ponderosa and American River College.

• Nevada struggled against the run last fall, allowing 211.8 yards a game, and that's where Jack Reynoso comes in. The Del Oro graduate and Wolf Pack two-year defensive tackle is his team's physically strongest player. Cody Galea from Franklin is a returning starter at defensive end for San Diego State after playing linebacker in high school.

• Grant has linebackers at Fresno State in team captain Jeremiah Toma, at Washington with Shaq Thompson and at Washington State with Darryl Paulo. Huskies coaches call Thompson the team's top talent. He could take handoffs and return kickoffs this fall.

• Wide receiver Jalen Saunders from Pleasant Grove made an immediate splash with Oklahoma last season after transferring from Fresno State. Saunders had a school-record 15 receptions for 181 yards against Notre Dame and an 81-yard punt return score against Oklahoma State. Saunders' younger brother, Isaiah, plays tailback at Idaho, where their father, Walter, was a wide receiver in the early 1990s.

• Quarterback Adam Kennedy, who was injured during his senior year at Franklin, bounced back to play at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. After starting for almost two full seasons at Utah State, he was sidelined last season with a shoulder injury. Kennedy graduated in May, but with a year of eligibility remaining, the 6-5, 220- pound passer transferred to Arkansas State, where he emerged as the starter in a six-man competition.

Zac Cunha from Roseville High will start at quarterback in his second season at Minot State in North Dakota, and the sophomore vows continued improvement. Cunha threw for 1,982 yards and 14 touchdowns but admits he forced too many passes. Cunha has shed 10 pounds from his 6-3 frame to 230.

Dano Graves and Tanner Trosin, both former record-setting passers at Folsom, were in a tight quarterback competition with two others at Cal Poly. Junior Vince Moraga, the most experienced of the four, won the job.

• Four area players expect to start in the secondary for their respective teams. Terrance Mitchell (Burbank) is an All-America candidate at No. 3 Oregon. Jordan Richards (Folsom) is a returning safety at No. 4 Stanford. Evan Favors (Monterey Trail) is a first-year starter at Nevada, and 2012 Bee Player of the Year Brandon Monroe (Del Oro) has impressed his San Jose State coaches at safety. The Spartans open at home against Sacramento State on Thursday at 7 p.m.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

LIVE CHAT

Join The Bee's Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson and chat host Trevor Horn at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss the high school football season that kicks off Friday night – and come back every Friday night throughout the season.

www.sacbee.com/live

COMING THURSDAY

Joe Davidson reports on why some coaches burn out – and others don't. Plus he breaks down The Bee's Top 20 teams and tells you which players to watch.

Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty break down the 2013 high school football season today from 9 to 10 a.m. on ESPN 1320.

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