Roger Canepa joined select regional company Friday night and is relieved he’s no longer on the brink of a milestone.
The Central Catholic of Modesto football coach won his 200th game, a 49-0 rout of Atwater in his team’s season opener. He’s the 11th Sac-Joaquin Section coach to accomplish the feat, remarkable given the toll this sport can take on mentors and the challenges of staying power.
Canepa, one of the section’s great personalities, has led the Raiders to three consecutive CIF State Division IV championships and might have his best team yet.
“I’m glad it’s over,” he said of the achievement. “It’s a good start to the season.”
This section is the second largest of the 10 in California, and the 200-game winners encompass schools small and large. Five of the 200 Club are active, including Canepa’s decadeslong rival and buddy Mark Loureiro of Escalon, the section’s winningest coach at 266. On Friday, Grant’s Mike Alberghini, the section’s winningest large-school coach, won his 255th game, 55-7 over Central of Fresno. Dan Carmazzi of Christian Brothers earned his 240th win, most coming at Jesuit, with a 48-8 victory over Laguna Creek. Christian Brothers plays Jesuit next Saturday in the Holy Bowl at Hughes Stadium, a night after Central Catholic visits St. Mary’s of Stockton in the 209 area code version of the Holy Bowl.
Of the 200 Club coaches, only Tom Zunino of Vacaville is deceased. The beloved Bulldogs coach died in 2008. The school stadium bears his name. His son-in-law, Mike Papadopoulos, has coached Vacaville to recent championship success.
Still on top of their game, Alberghini, Canepa and fellow 200 Club member Terry Logue of Bear River won section titles last fall. Each appears to have championship teams again. Alberghini joked he never professed to be an academic genius, but he knows the formula to his football success: run the ball, downhill.
I’m glad it’s over. It’s a good start to the season.
Roger Canepa, Central Catholic coach, on winning his 200th game
“I wasn’t very good in math in school, but what I did learn was that a straight line is the shortest distance,” Alberghini said. “And being short, I always wanted the shortest routes.”
Emotional return – A week after Union Mine junior varsity players Nick Brown and Justin Schwartz were hospitalized after a game, the Diamondbacks returned to action.
Junior varsity players held a moment of prayer before Friday’s kickoff against Bear River, as did varsity players some two hours later. Fundraising efforts are ongoing to help the families, including T-shirt sales at games.
Other schools in El Dorado County, from elementary to high school, wore the Diamondbacks’ school colors of maroon, white and navy last week in support of Brown and Schwartz. Brown underwent brain surgery and remained hospitalized in critical condition. Schwartz was recovering from a concussion at home, his family said.
QB move – Tyler Vander Waal has a new home. After starting at quarterback for Elk Grove last season, Vander Waal was edged out for the starting job this season and has transferred to Christian Brothers. His family insisted this was not a football-related move and wanted a change of pace on all fronts, including academics and campus life.
Vander Waal, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior, is likely to be ruled ineligible to play this season, per CIF transfer rules. CBS already has a star quarterback, 6-3, 190-pound senior Braeden Bourke.
Statement effort – Bellarmine of San Jose, ranked No. 1 by the San Jose Mercury News and 16th in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, rolled past Sacramento Bee No. 7 Franklin 42-0. Bellarmine visits state No. 18 Del Oro on Friday in another game that could have Northern California playoff seeding implications.
Injury list – Two weeks into the season, and it already has been a painful experience for some varsity stars:
This is, and always will be, a special game for me.
Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere on facing his alma mater, Vacaville
▪ Kyle Uclaray, Bear River: The running back/linebacker is out for the season with a torn ACL.
▪ Brad Fina, Granite Bay: The quarterback might miss the rest of the season because of a broken collarbone.
▪ Chase Hatada, Rocklin: The defensive tackle headed to Boise State will miss at least three weeks with a knee strain.
Happy homecoming – Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere is always emotional when he goes home to Vacaville, where he played in the 1980s.
No. 6 Oak Ridge blasted Vacaville 43-14 behind Ian Book’s three touchdown passes, and that might have been the easy part for Cavaliere, who was close to late Vacaville coaches Zunino and Steve Green. Several of Cavaliere’s prep teammates also are on the Bulldogs’ coaching staff.
“This is, and always will be, a special game for me,” Cavaliere said. “It can be sensory overload. Everywhere I looked, there was familiarity in the stadium, and of course, the people. Tons of fun. I always make it a point to see Mrs. Zunino at the games. Something special for sure.”
Sac-Joaquin Section coaches with 200 wins
266-53-1: Mark Loureiro, Escalon: 1989-current
261-84-4: Max Miller, Rio Americano, Johnson, Cordova: 1974-2007
255-49-1: Mike Alberghini, Grant: 1991-current
248-167-10: Frank Negri, Foothill, Natomas: 1965-2011
240-106-3: Dan Carmazzi, Jesuit, Christian Brothers: 1981-current
224-59-5: Wayne Schneider, Tracy: 1965-94
215-141-11: Tom Zunino, Vacaville: 1961-97
212-91-3: Terry Logue, Paradise, Bear River: 1981-current
211-144-3: Ed Lombardi, Elk Grove, Clovis West, Sheldon: 1971-2009
207-31-4: Mike Glines, Central Catholic-Modesto: 1970-78, 1995-2007:
200-46-2: Roger Canepa, Sonora, Calaveras, Central Catholic: 1996-current