September 27, 2007
A championship question

Question: Why not have Grant and De La Salle of Concord play for the state football bowl title?

- Steven Bonds, Sacramento

Answer: Under the CIF's bowl format, which is entering the last season of a two-year experiment, Grant and De La Salle cannot face each other in the state D-I final. Only one team from Northern California's D-I eligible pool (the team must be a section champion) is selected to play against Southern California's selectee.

A lot of folks would like to see Grant play De La Salle, and it briefly reached the talking stages during the offseason. But De La Salle reportedly wanted to share the gate and also was only willing to play Grant in 2007 and 2009, but not 2008. Grant coach Mike Alberghini wisely turned that proposal down. This year's Grant team, while still having a shot at repeating as the section's D-II champion, isn't nearly as strong as last year's squad and would be outmanned in a game against this year's De La Salle team, which after three weeks appears to be the best in Northern California. The Pacers, who are playing a lot of juniors on defense, might have a better shot at being competitive with the Spartans next year.

September 21, 2007
Jesuit, Christian Brothers renew Holy Bowl rivalry

Saturday night will be the renewal of one of Sacramento's enduring football rivalries when Christian Brothers plays Jesuit at Hughes Stadium.

For alumni of the two Catholic schools, the Holy Bowl is the can't-miss game of the season and produces one of the area's largest crowds, sometimes outdrawing playoff championship games.

The rivalry got a big boost in 2005 when the Falcons tied the Marauders 19-19 under then first-year coach Andre Johansen. Interest had started to wane somewhat because Jesuit had won 11 of the 12 previous contests, often by blowouts.

Last season's game, won 21-6 by Jesuit, drew one of the game's largest crowds in recent memory with estimates as high as 13,000, although Jesuit athletic director Ron Nocetti said paid attendance was closer to 11,000.

"Still, it was one of the biggest attended games we've had in at least the last eight years," he said.

The Holy Bowl has special significance for Jesuit coach Dan Carmazzi, now in his 27th season.

He was Christian Brothers' backup quarterback in the first meeting between the two schools in 1969, a 20-13 Falcons win at American River College in front of more than 11,000 fans.

"There were so many people sitting on the grass that it was like ants on an ant hill," Carmazzi said.

The next season, Carmazzi, now the starting quarterback, was on the short end of an 8-7 upset, as Jesuit reserve quarterback Dano McGinn scored the winning two-point conversion run.

"It was the last game of the season for both of us, and we were both league champions," Carmazzi said. "They had one loss and we were undefeated. It took away from our dream season. It's something you always remember."

At one point Jesuit trailed in the series 10-4-1, a gap that might have been smaller if the playoffs hadn't forced the Holy Bowl's cancellation in 1977 and 1978 when future NFL quarterback Ken O'Brien was flinging passes for the Marauders.

Carmazzi was on the losing end of five consecutive Holy Bowl games at the start of his head coaching career at Jesuit. Since then, the Marauders have gone 16-4-1.

But Christian Brothers is looking more competitive these days, and Carmazzi said that Falcons' star quarterback Asa Jackson will be a handful to try to contain.

But win or lose, both teams and schools will be into it.

"This is a game with rivalries everywhere, from the cheering section to the boosters," said Sierra College coach Jeff Tisdel - 6-0 in his Holy Bowl stint as CBS coach from 1980-85 - in a previous Bee interview. "It's loud, it's noisy, it's enthusiastic. It's just a high-emotional football game for everybody."

- Bill Paterson

September 20, 2007
We know there's more than just football

Question: I know football is a huge deal in the area ... believe me, I know. As a former Del Oro Golden Eagle, I know what it means to come from a football school. However, how about hearing what you guys think about the upcoming cross country running season? As a former prep CC and track athlete, I would love to hear who is running what times and who'll be heading to Clovis for the state meet. And if not running, how about soccer? Volleyball?

Sara Pope, Bremerton, Wash.

Answer: While football is unquestionably the most popular and most followed fall sport in these parts, we are doing our best to cover the other sports, too, largely through our Preps Plus page that returned Sept. 11. There is a lot of information on sports such as cross country, water polo, girls tennis and girls golf on those pages. We started to run our soccer poll this Wednesday and our first girls volleyball poll came out Thursday. We also continue to take individual team and meet results that are called in by coaches. These are published in the next day's edition but do not, at this time, appear online.

- Bill Paterson

September 20, 2007
SFL is area's toughest

Question: Enjoyed the preps football work-up! Having Oakmont roots and seeing your Top 20, the Vikings play Cordova (a 47-27 loss last Friday), Folsom, Del Oro, Granite Bay and Roseville. Is there any other school (Grant, Nevada Union, etc.) at any division that plays a tougher schedule?

Tim Eyster, Roseville

Answer: That's a pretty tough group to have to play, but I'm sure there are several schools who would beg to differ, certainly starting with top-ranked Del Oro and league rival Granite Bay (Pitman, Vacaville, Napa and NU). But anyone playing in the Sierra Foothill League automatically qualifies for having a challenging schedule, with the No. 1 Golden Eagles, No. 4 Grizzlies and No. 12 Roseville in the mix. SFL teams are a combined 9-3 so far after two weeks and that includes Del Oro beating Washington power Kennedy Memorial and 2006 state bowl participant Cardinal Newman on the road. As far as league strength, in my opinion, the SFL and the Delta Valley Conference are the area's two strongest.

- Bill Paterson

September 20, 2007
Inderkum's title chances

Question: Can Inderkum football win it all this year? I know they lost in Week 1, but they have a lot of young talent.

- Marshall, Sacramento

Answer: Winning it all might be a stretch, but coach Terry Stark's Tigers certainly can play for the section's D-III championship if they finish first in the Tri-County Conference this season, a strong possibility. That would put the Tigers on what appears to be the easier side of the playoff bracket. I'd still go with defending champion Del Campo as the favorite, but assuming the Cougars win their first-round game over the TCC third-place team, they will have to play the Solano County Athletic Conference champion in the semifinals, which should be Rodriguez, the team that beat up Inderkum 31-13 in Week 1. Rodriguez, located in Fairfield, is undergoing a major transformation under coach David Fishleigh and has 11 starters back from a 7-4 team that went 5-0 in league last season.

- Bill Paterson

September 20, 2007
Del Oro not quite on golden road

Question: Now that Del Oro has made easy work of both Kennedy of Washington and Cardinal Newman, do you think anyone else has a chance of upsetting them?

KC Nate, Provo, Utah

Answer: It would appear that the Golden Eagles, now No. 2 in the state in Cal-Hi Sports Division II ratings, are in a special class this season under coach Casey Taylor, and his talented group of players and assistant coaches are certainly deserving of The Bee's top ranking. But they still face several tough matchups along the way, including at Nevada Union on Friday, always a challenging place to play. Sierra Foothill League rival Granite Bay is playing impressively after beating Pitman and Napa, and let us not count out Grant as a key challenger for the Golden Eagles in the section's D-II postseason race. The Pacers are horrible defensively right now, but they have played a challenging schedule under difficult conditions and coach Mike Alberghini always has his team ready for the playoffs.

- Bill Paterson

September 18, 2007
Pondering state bowl prospects

Question: Can the Sacramento-area high school football powers keep with the rest of the state of California? I read Grant traveled to Bakersfield and Utah this season for games. Any team capable of landing a state bowl berth?

Anthony, Hammond, Ind.

Answer: We certainly have a few teams that could hold their own with the big boys down south in the State Bowl Championship Series in Southern California this December. Del Oro of Loomis is looking very good after handily beating Kennedy Memorial in Seattle and Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa (which played in the D-III state final last season) on the road in Weeks 1 and 2. Vacaville could be a sleeper in Division I and Colfax in Division III. Grant is finished after losing to both Bakersfield and Alta of Sandy, Utah, especially in a D-I division with national power De La Salle of Concord. Teams, however, must sustain the winning to the end because only CIF section champions are eligible to play in the bowl games.

- Bill Paterson

September 18, 2007
Publicizing stats takes work

Question: I would love to see a story on why a lot of high schools do not list the players on Maxpreps.com, or even get them on the college clearinghouses for scholarships. A lot of players that are not on these site are breaking records and are going unnoticed and are losing their chance to move forward as a lot of players cannot afford college. So they are being overlooked because the schools and coaches do not take the time or have someone input the information.

Kathy Z.

Answer: I know there are a few dinosaurs out there who still believe football is a team sport and players shouldn't pay attention to stats, so they either don't keep them or bother to post them. A few others believe it isn't their job to try to get a player recruited. But most coaches are good about promoting their athletes in terms of posting stats and dealing with college recruiters. It looks good for the program when a school has multiple college recruits. But the off-the-field demands, including helping players get recruited by sending out film and talking to scouts or breaking down film to compile stats, take a toll unless one has unlimited energy, is super-organized and has a dedicated support staff. Sometimes it's just a simple matter of a parent stepping up to volunteer to shoot and/or process film and to help gather stats and call them in to the newspaper and/or post them to the team's Web site.

- Bill Paterson

September 5, 2007
With Grant likely done in by loss ...

Question: Now that Grant has lost to Bakersfield, does Grant have any shot at making the state bowl game?

Jay, North Sacramento

Answer: I'd say the chances are zilch. The Pacers couldn't do it last year with a 13-0 record and perhaps their best team in school history. I still think it will take someone upsetting De La Salle in the North Coast Section championships to keep the Spartans out of the D-I state game, despite losing last season to Canyon in the D-I bowl final. The top-ranked Spartans do get a test Friday in having to face visiting Serra of San Mateo, the No. 2 Bay Area team behind the Spartans.

- Bill Paterson

September 5, 2007
... Del Campo is area's best bowl candidate

Question: What area team has the best shot at playing in the second annual state bowl football championship series in Southern California this December?

Jim, Carmichael

Answer: It might seem surprising, but it's probably Del Campo. Under the CIF's new enrollment divisions, the Cougars are in Northern California's Division II for state bowl considerations. Last year, Del Campo was in D-I with the De La Salles and the Grants. On paper, the Cougars appear to have a good shot to repeat as Sac-Joaquin Section D-III champions (only section champions can be considered for the bowl games) as they appear to be even more talented than last season. And if they can get past D-I power Napa on Friday in Napa, they could be a strong candidate for an undefeated season. Del Oro also is in the state's medium-school division, but the Golden Eagles have a tough preseason schedule with Kennedy of Washington, Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa and Nevada Union. Then there will be that likely meeting with Grant in the D-II section playoffs. Of course, if the Golden Eagles were to beat the Pacers and win the section, they might have a better argument than Del Campo, even with a preseason loss or two.

- Bill Paterson



About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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