Players and coaches aren’t the only ones charged up for high school football season openers Friday night and Saturday.
Check the emotions of Honor Bowl founder and director Mark Soto, who compiled a strong field for the fourth annual event that pays homage to military veterans in a two-day bonanza at Del Oro. The event includes Bee No. 2 Elk Grove taking on Damonte Ranch of Reno at 5 p.m. on Friday, followed by No. 3 Del Oro against Hawaii power Kamehameha at 8.
The Saturday varsity games in Loomis are Reed of Sparks, Nev., against Clovis North at 2 p.m. , Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa against Churchill County of Fallon, Nev., at 5 p.m. and Clayton Valley Charter of Concord against Carson City at 8. Clovis North lost in the 2013 Central Section D-I title game to Bakersfield, which beat Del Oro in the State Bowl.
“Everyone’s pumped, really pumped, and I feel it,” Soto said. “I’m pumped, too, because these games mean a lot.”
Soto explained that the games are just part of what is sure to be an emotional scene as military veterans, some injured in service, and their families will be honored guests.
“It’s real life, and all of this – what these amazing people have gone through – is educational for everyone,” said Soto, whose two sons have been deployed.
The family of Joe Nurre will be honored at halftime. Nurre was a 22-year-old Army reservist when he was killed in combat in 2005, four years after graduating from Elk Grove. His parents, Charlie and Leigh, will be presented a framed jersey from his Thundering Herd football playing days.
“It’s important to remember, to honor these men,” Soto said. “It’s the least we can do.”
Welcome back – Friday is a homecoming for Doug Cosbie, the second-year Kamehameha coach. Cosbie played tight end in the NFL, coached at Sacramento High and lived in Loomis, where his kids attended Del Oro.
Known as “Kam,” the Warriors of Honolulu went 9-2 last season and are ranked fourth in Hawaii. They return defensive end Mike Tafua, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound rush specialist who has committed to BYU, and running back Alex Kane, headed to Oregon. Del Oro will counter with quarterback Logan Hurst, wide receiver Tre Udoffia and defensive back Justin Burrage. Kamehameha’s opener against Waianae was canceled earlier this month because of approaching hurricanes Iselle and Julio.
Pacers-Titans revival – One of the more spirited rivalries resumes Friday when Grant visits Burbank at 5:30 p.m. Burbank administrators wanted the earlier kickoff for home games to weed out “outsiders that try to ruin it for everyone,” Burbank coach John Heffernan said. He added: “It’s better than playing on a Saturday afternoon. We have great kids at our school, but outsiders try to ruin things.”
Rivalry renewed – Placer and Nevada Union – fierce league rivals in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s – meet in Auburn for the first time since 1995. Adding to the intrigue, besides scores of alumni from both schools expected to attended the game, is the connection to both teams for Placer coach Joey Montoya. Montoya’s grandfather, Bill Miller, was a co-coach with Tom Johnson when Placer was a section powerhouse in the 1970s and ’80s. Montoya played for Placer in the 1990s and got his varsity assistant coaching start at Nevada Union in 2000, when Miller also was on the Miners’ coaching staff.
Praise for Jesuit – De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said Jesuit knows what to expect from his team. That’s because the Marauders are coached by Marlon Blanton, who played and coached at De La Salle.
“There’s no secrets,” Alumbaugh said. “He definitely knows what we do.”
As for Jesuit, Alumbaugh said: “They definitely have some impressive guys. The quarterback (Cole Brownholtz) looks really good, and they have a very impressive receiver (Isaiah Bailey), and (quarterback-linebacker Isaac Lessard) and (running back-linebacker Beau Bisharat) are very impressive.”
Breaking in the digs – Mira Loma, which has played its home games at El Camino for decades, will christen its own facility tonight against Florin.
With Del Campo’s new stadium not quite ready, Friday night’s Rio Americano-Capital Christian contest has been moved to Bella Vista.
El Camino, which opened in 1950, hosts Sacramento on Sept. 5, and Del Campo, opened in 1963, plays Rocklin the same night amid stadium celebrations.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.