October 31, 2009
The Bee's Sac-Joaquin Section football rankings

A look at the latest Sac-Joaquin Section Top 10 with a lot of moving and shuffling.

Woodcreek is one team that has absolutely jammed up things quite a bit and its no where to be found in any rankings. The Timberwolves of Roseville are the only team to beat Del Campo and Del Oro but they have been undone in other games amid mistakes and injuries. And seaon-long-term consistency is everything in these rankings.

Del Oro slips from No. 3 to No. 7, and Granite Bay and Del Campo jump back into the Top 10. As for the argument of why Monterey Trail or Folsom isn't in, consider this: Pleasant Grove, not too long after losing to Del Campo, just edged Monterey Trail 28-21, and Monterey Trail was coming off of a 22-21 overtime win over Folsom.

As for Lincoln, yes the Zebras have monster wins over Whitney and Placer, but Lincoln was ranked 13th in The Bee's regional Top 20 and isn't going to leap frog Rio Linda, Pleasant Grove, Del Campo, Granite Bay, Folsom and Monterey Trail. In short, it's an up year for prep football across the board. This Top 10 has one Division IV team in Oakdale.

And this: It all shakes out even more this week with Del Campo going against Casa Roble, Pleasant Grove playing Folsom and Del Oro taking on Rocklin.

The Bee's Section Top 10

1. Grant (8-0)
The Pacers didn't allow a point again and...oh, wait. They had a bye. Next is a road game against McClatchy and then the Metropolitan Conference championship against visiting Burbank in Week 10. Grant has outscored teams 367-7 this season with seven shutouts. The only score came against Rosemont, on a double-pass. The Pacers remain the top-ranked team in Northern California.

2. St. Mary's (8-0)
It's too early to look ahead, sure, but people can't stop buzzing about the prospect of a Grant-St. Mary's showdown in the Division II playoffs, the point-a-second Rams taking on the unyielding Pacers. One thing is for certain: there isn't a more prolific, balanced team in any division than the Rams, who waxed McNair 66-0 to move to 3-0 in the Tri-City Athletic League. The star here is Josh Harper, headed to Cal, who had a 67-yard touchdown on a punt return, raced in for a 65-yard touchdown and scored on passes of 60 and 38 yards from Marcus McDade. St. Mary's has outscored its league foes 213-47 and faces Tokay next.

3. Rocklin (8-0)
The Thunder is for real, thundering along to their best start in school history and ready to claim the Sierra Foothill League title outright should it down Del Oro this week. Rocklin led Oakmont 46-0 at the half and sat the starters the second half in a 46-6. Jackson Cummings rushed for 213 yards and three scores in the first quarter alone. Jackson was a key member of Rocklin's Northern California D-II championship basketball team, so he understands winning and leading. With Jimmy Laughrea at quarterback, the Thunder has terrific balance.

4. Inderkum (8-0)
The Tigers have never been this good, this balanced, this fast, this hungry to win. Inderkum rolled Yuba City 42-14 as Devin Hartley scored on two Demetrius Williams passes and on an 83-yard run. He just might be the fastest talent in the region. This is your clear D-III favorite, with Del Campo and Casa Roble also in that mix, but the favorite at this point is Terry Stark's team.

5. Nevada Union (7-1)
Against Laguna Creek, the Miners were burned for an early 80-yard touchdown bomb to Diondre Batson, who burned NU for a late play last year in the mud in a Delta Valley League showdown. Only this time, the Miners prevailed - big - in coasting 55-20 to move to 3-0 in the DVL. Drew Hoskin rushed for 154 yards and two scores on 10 carries and Chris Biertuempfel returned his second punt for a score this season. Eric Niederberger had a touchdown and a crushing sack to pace a defense that featured interceptions by Justin Fike and Biertuempfel. Next is Elk Grove, always dangerous, but this is an NU team determined to finish strong and win the program's second D-I section title since 2005 and fourth overall since 1993.

6. Tracy (8-0)
The Bulldogs may have their best team since winning the 1982 Division I section championship over Cordova under legendary coach Wayne Schneider. Tracy moved to 3-0 in the San-Joaquin Athletic Association with a 62-21 rout of Bear Creek, taking a 41-7 halftime lead as Depray Celestine scored five of his team's first six touchdowns. The leading contenders in the D-I playoff field are Nevada Union, Tracy, Pleasant Grove, Monterey Trail and Vacaville.

7. Del Oro (7-1)
The Golden Eagles came to a crashing halt, falling to ever dangerous Woodcreek 16-9, and it's a stunner after so many impressive showings this season. The killer was a late touchdown that would have tied it being called back on offensive pass interference. Bryce Pratt went over 100 yards again, but he fumbled three times after being so sure-handed all season. How Del Oro responds from here will show how much of a championship bunch this is, as Rocklin will surely test the Golden Eagles resolve. And this: Many a section title team recovered from a regular-season loss to catch fire.

8. Oakdale (8-0)
The Mustangs held off pesky Manteca 35-23 in a Valley Oak League game behind Tim House, who had three touchdowns. Oakdale rushed for close to 400 yards. The longtime section power - and The Modesto Bee's top-ranked team - is gearing for a showdown with Sonora and then another section title run.

9. Granite Bay (6-2)
Bouncing back in a huge way from agonizingly tough losses to Del Oro and Rocklin, the Grizzlies battered Roseville 70-28 in a Sierra Foothill League rout as Matt Kine scored four times and Brandon Keeney tossed four touchdown passes. The Grizzlies are proof that a loss can serve to inspire, including in 2007 when a rout to Rocklin was the launching pad to a section title season.

10. Del Campo (7-1)
The Cougars are here because their win over Pleasant Grove now looks even more impressive, considering Pleasant Grove beat Monterey Trail, which had won six straight, including a great win at Folsom. Del Campo beat Rio Americano 26-10 in a methodical effort as it gears up for Casa Roble in what's became perhaps the area's top rivalry the this decade. This is where leaders Eddie Plantaric, Jaron Wilson and Ryan Dimino need to play to their reputation.

On the bubble: Pleasant Grove (6-2); Monterey Trail (6-2); Folsom (7-1); Rio Linda (8-0); Lincoln (8-0); Vanden (8-0); Placer (7-1); Sonora 7-1.

October 31, 2009
Like rival Lincoln, Placer is building reputation for strong defensive play

Friday night's 13-6 loss to Pioneer Valley League rival Lincoln notwithstanding, Placer High School has one of the best offenses in the area.

But Hillmen coach Joey Montoya, the mastermind of that potent Wing-T attack, often talks these days about his "underrated" defense.

That's understandable.

It's the team's defensive improvement through Montoya's three-year tenure in Auburn that has been key in turning the 7-1 Hillmen back into a section power.

Placer's defense matched up well in it's battle with the big, strong Fighting Zebras.

They limited Lincoln to 206 total yards and held the Zebras' two biggest offensive weapons, running back Moses Stanley and quarterback Alex Stewart, largely in check.

Stanley, Lincoln's leading rusher and receiver, was held to minus one yard on five carries and had two catches for 21 yards. Stewart was sacked three times and had minus 16 yards rushing, just 50 yards passing and threw an interception.

But unlike the week before when the Hillmen returned two interceptions and a fumble recovery for touchdowns in a 51-7 win over Bear River, they were unable to force any back-breaking miscues against the methodical Zebras.

Lincoln, meanwhile, continued to feast on takeaways, stopping Placer scoring drives with two interceptions and a late fourth-quarter fumble recovery just a few yards from its own end zone.

But without Placer's defense making several key stops, the game could have gotten ugly.

"Our defensive play has been huge," Montoya says.

The defensive coordinator is Eric Rodarte, a boyhood friend of Montoya's and a former quarterback for the Hillmen.

Rodarte was an assistant coach at San Diego-area power Torrey Pines for several seasons before Montoya's lobbying and the chance to move closer to family enticed Rodarte back to Placer to teach and coach last year.

He helped Montoya on the offensive side last season when the Hillmen reached the D-IV section title game. After Jon Miller stepped down as defensive coordinator, Rodarte moved to the other side of the ball.

"When Eric said he'd like to be the guy, it was a no brainer," Montoya said. "He's one of the most intelligent guys I know. He's been perfect."

Rodarte has had some nice pieces with which to work.

Six-foot, three-inch, 205-pound senior linebacker Josh Klem is the leader. He's the team's second leading tackler and has five interceptions.

Senior linemen Mike Gray, Conner McKenzie and Jake Turney are the veteran anchors on the line while juniors Caleb Mitchell and Josh Turney, cornerstones on a 9-1 JV team last season, have been nice complements to Klem at linebacker.

Senior standout Asher Gotzmer, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark Friday, and Aaron Maddox play the corners while Brett Lenz is the strong safety and Cameron Southward the stopper at free safety.

Placer is allowing an average of 18 points a game, but Montoya says that figure is misleading.

"The amount of points given up isn't necessarily an indication of how well the defense is playing," he said. "In only two of our first seven games did our first-team defense play the entire game."

October 31, 2009
The Week 9 prep football schedule with some title tilts

A look at the Week 9 prep football schedule.
There are some terrific matchups, including: Del Oro at Rocklin; Del Campo at Casa Roble; Folsom vs. Pleasant Grove; Rio Linda at Dixon.

Capital Athletic League
Del Campo at Casa Roble
Mira Loma at Bella Vista
Rio Americano at El Camino

Capital Valley Conference
Antelope at Cosumnes Oaks
Center at Foothill
Rio Linda at Dixon
West Campus at River City

Delta River League
Sheldon vs. Florin at Monterey Trail
Folsom vs. Pleasant Grove at Sheldon

Delta Valley League
Franklin at Davis
Nevada Union at Elk Grove
Valley vs. Laguna Creek at Cosumnes River College

Golden Empire League
Capital Christian at LindhurstHighlands

Metro League
Rosemont at Kennedy

Pioneer Valley League
Colfax at Placer
El Dorado vs. Mesa Verde at San Juan
Lincoln at Bear River

Sacramento Metro
Foresthill at Delta
Vacaville Christian at Bradshaw Christian

Sierra Foothill League
Del Oro at Rocklin
Oakmont at Granite Bay
Roseville at Woodcreek

Sierra Valley Conference
Christian Brothers at Cordova
Oak Ridge at Galt
Vista del Lago vs. Union Mine at Folsom
Tri-County League
Natomas at River Valley
Woodland at Inderkum
Yuba City at Pioneer

Sacramento at Lathrop
Whitney at Golden Sierra


Delta River League
Monterey Trail at Jesuit

Golden Empire League
Encina vs. San Juan at El Camino

Metropolitan Conference
Grant at McClatchy
Johnson at Burbank

Sacrament Metro
Woodland Christian vs. Valley Christian at Highlands

October 31, 2009
Nevada Union captures fourth Super 8 title

While Sacramento and its surrounding area is home to several perennial volleyball powers, when there is talk of dynasties the discussion begins and ends with Nevada Union.

The Miners have won the last seven Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships and, after winning their fourth Super 8 Tournament championship in six years, appear headed in the direction of an unprecedented eighth in a row.

Nevada Union downed host and top-ranked St. Francis in three sets 2-1 (29-27, 11-25, 19-17) on Saturday night to claim the championship title in Sacramento's annual playoff tuneup summit.

"This really helps us moving forward," said Bob Rogers, who along with longtime co-coach Larry Peterson came out of a one-year retirement to return to Nevada Union's sideline this season. "With the young players we have every competition helps."

The Miners avenged earlier losses to Oak Ridge, who they'll likely have to go through at some point of the D-I playoffs, in the semifinals and Christian Brothers in pool play.

Each winner of the Super 8 (established in 2004) has reached at least the NorCal semifinals.

Super 8 Results

Pool 1
St. Francis def. Napa 25-21, 25-22
Oak Ridge def. Union Mine 25-17, 21-25, 15-7
St. Francis def. Union Mine 25-12, 25-20
Oak Ridge def. Napa 25-15, 23-25, 15-11
Napa def. Union Mine 15-25, 25-23, 15-13
St. Francis def. Oak Ridge 22-25, 25-23, 15-6

Pool 2
Christian Brothers def. Granite Bay 25-12, 25-14
Nevada Union def. Golden Sierra 25-12, 25-16
Christian Brothers def. Golden Sierra 25-20, 25-18
Nevada Union def. Granite Bay 25-22, 25-18
Golden Sierra def. Granite Bay 26-24, 27-25
Nevada Union def. Christian Brothers 25-23, 25-17

Consolation bracket
Union Mine def. Golden Sierra 21-25, 26-24, 15-8
Napa def. Granite Bay 25-18, 25-21
Union Mine def. Napa 25-21, 26-24, 15-13

Championship bracket
Nevada Union def. Oak Ridge 25-22, 25-15
St. Francis def. Christian Brothers 13-25, 25-23, 15-12
Nevada Union def. St. Francis 29-27, 11-25, 19-17

October 31, 2009
How the state's Top 25 prep football teams fared

A look at the Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN state Top 25 football rankings and how teams fared in Week 8. Expect Del Oro to fall completely out of the next rankings after the stunning loss at Woodcreek (apparently a late touchdown to tie was called back do to offensive pass interference, which added to the insult).

Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN Top 25 results
1. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 8-0 def. Oak Park (Agoura Hills) 59-0
2. Grant (Sacramento) 8-0 had a bye
3. Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 8-0 def. Locke (Los Angeles) 76-14
4. Oceanside 8-0 def. Orange Glen (Escondido) 57-0
5. Edison (Huntington Beach) 8-0 def. Los Alamitos 27-10
6. Lakewood 8-1 def. Millikan (Long Beach) 60-7
7. De La Salle (Concord) 6-2 def. Livermore 56-0
8. St. Mary's (Stockton) 8-0 def. McNair (Lodi) 66-0
9. Mission Viejo 8-0 def. Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 70-7
10. Servite (Anaheim) 7-1 vs. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 48-26
11. Moorpark 8-0 def. Thousand Oaks 28-21
12. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 7-1 def. Crespi (Encino) 23-21
13. Serra (Gardena) 8-0 def. St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 63-13
14. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 8-0 def. Loyola (Los Angeles) 27-24 in OT
15. Del Oro (Loomis) 7-1 lost to Woodcreek (Roseville) 16-9
16. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 7-1 def. Ventura 35-7
17. Redlands East Valley (Redlands) 8-0 def. Carter (Rialto) 41-17
18. La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 8-0 def. Escondido 44-24
19. Buchanan (Clovis) 8-0 def. Clovis 28-7
20. Norco 7-1 def. M.L. King (Riverside) 32-13
21. Valencia 8-0 def. Hart (Newhall) 56-7
22. Centennial (Corona) 7-1 def. Santiago (Corona) 52-21
23. Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 8-0 def. Temecula Valley (Temecula) 45-7
24. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 6-1 game at San Ramon Valley postponed to Saturday due to light failure
25. Bullard (Fresno) 8-0 def. Sanger 20-14

October 31, 2009
No. 13 Zebras beat No. 9 Placer, move to 8-0, behind big-play defense

Lincoln may be a Division III-IV school enrollment-wise, but it is as physically imposing as any football team around.

The No. 13 Fighting Zebras flexed their collective muscle Friday night in beating No. 9 Placer 13-6 in front of a packed house in Auburn.

See The Bee's photo gallery of the game here.

Lincoln brought a huge rooting contingent that filled the bleachers and spilled out along the track. They had a lot to cheer about in watching their team go to 8-0 in football for the first time in 39 years.

"That's a long time," said Lincoln coach Ken Lowe. "Our fans have been supportive all year. We had a big crowd out there tonight. It's nice to see the small town backing you."

But there isn't anything small about the Zebras. They look big and play bigger. Six-foot-five, 300-pound Jacob Tryon and 6-5, 255-pound defensive end J.J. Castillo set the tone.

The defense is putting up some amazing stats: 30 sacks, 17 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries. They got five more sacks, two interceptions (by free safety Todd Hinnebusch) and a fumble recovery against the Hillmen, a team that came in averaging nearly 45 points a game. Placer had nine plays that went for negative yards.

The fumble recovery, forced by Tryon and recovered by Castillo at the Lincoln 2-yard line with 2:23 to play, helped the Zebras preserve the win.

"We just watched it a couple of minutes ago on TV," Lowe said two hours after the game. "We're still in shock. We're still excited about it."

It's not as if Placer didn't move the ball on Lincoln, or have scoring opportunities.
In the second half alone, the Hillmen missed a 21-yard field goal after driving the ball to the Lincoln 3, had a pass intercepted by Hinnebusch at the Lincoln 2, then lost the fumble on its last series at the 2 again. Placer advanced the ball 74 yards, 49 yards and 63 yards with no points to show for it.

Placer (7-1, 3-1) had 277 total yards, still well below the 427 the Hillmen average.

"I thought we got off the ball well," Lowe said. "Placer is a big-play offense. We did a little bending, but we didn't break."

Tryon and Castillo did their own bending - twisting the Hillmen into pretzels with their strength and quickness. The agile pair filled holes, pressured the quarterback and laid some hard, legal licks on those who dared to get near them.

"JJ and Jacob, No. 45 and No. 77, were great," Lowe said.

The dynamic duo also helped free up fellow defenders such as Hinnebusch, Dylan Croisant, Danny Walsh, Bo Avery, Anthony Moreno and Dustin Knuuttila to make plays.

While Placer's defense was almost as formidable, the Hillmen couldn't stop Lincoln and bulldozing 205-pound fullback Tim Bevins every time.

Bevins, running inside his tackles, finished with 114 yards rushing on 21 carries and capped two Zebra drives of 80 yards in the second quarter and 86 yards in the fourth quarter with 2-yard and one-yard touchdown runs.

It was his most carries and his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

"He loves to block for his teammates," Lowe said. "But we were taking what Placer was giving us so we called Tim's number a lot."

Lowe hopes that his players, most of whom were on last year's 1-9 Lincoln team, won't lose their intensity now that they are 4-0 in the Pioneer Valley League and have the inside track to the title.

Lincoln already has beaten defending league and D-IV section champion Whitney and now the D-IV section runners-up in Placer. Bear River and Colfax still ahead.

"We're playing pretty good football right now," Lowe said. "Sometimes it's tough to get players up after a big win. We'll definitely need to focus on that."

October 30, 2009
Some Week 8 football scores

Here's a look at some Week 8 football scores, with some stunners and thrillers:

Woodcreek 16, Del Oro 9 (Woodcreek also beat Del Campo)
Pleasant Grove 28, Monterey Trail 21
Oak Ridge 7, Vista del Lago 6
Lincoln 13, Placer 6
Sheldon 49, Jesuit 7
Nevada Union 55, Laguna Creek 20
Natomas 15, Woodland 13
Elk Grove 41, Davis 24
Bella Vista 28, El Camino 21
Sacramento 16, Kennedy 0
Rosemont 64, Johnson 32
Franklin 52, Valley 13
Ponderosa 35, Union Mine 31
Rio Linda 40, Antelope 7
Capital Christian 41, Marysville 19
Dixon 41, Foothill 20

October 29, 2009
Davis' Yudin, Jesuit's Rose have much in common, including near-death experiences

Ashley Yudin and Paul Rose are soccer aficionados.

They can watch, talk or coach soccer any time, any place.

Yudin has coached the Davis High School boys team since 1992; Rose has been at Jesuit since 1979.

While the Davis-Jesuit rivalry is fierce - the two teams have each won five Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles in the last 12 years - a love and respect for the sport binds the two.

They also have something else in common. Both have had near-death experiences.

Rose has twice overcome leukemia. The first time he coached the entire 1995 season unaware that he had cancer.

Yudin came close to dying during the 1994 season, just days before the Blue Devils were to play Jesuit.

"I was sitting on the bench one night and I struggled to get up," he said. "Then when I got home, I told my wife (Nancy) I wasn't feeling well and went straight to bed."

But a short time later Nancy insisted that her husband go to the hospital, which was close to their house.

"She helped me to get to the car. But she had to unlock the door, so she says, 'Can you stand here for a few seconds?' I said OK, then I fell.

"The next thing I remember is I'm on a gurney in the hospital and Nancy is on one next to me. When I fell, I broke her foot."

Yudin had suffered a ruptured bowel and learned he had Crohn's Disease, a chronic gastrointestinal ailment.

"We all have some cross to bear," Yudin says of the disease. "I've got it semi-under control."

While Rose, the winningest active boys soccer coach in California, closes in on 600 wins; Yudin said he doesn't know his high school victory total.

But it's no doubt substantial.

The Blue Devils have been league champions or co-champions every season but one. They have won D-I titles in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2007.

Last year, the Blue Devils went 21-2-1, beat the heavily favored Marauders on penalty kicks in the semifinals before falling to Merced 1-0 in the section title game.

They have had a number of standout players who have gone on to play in college.
They include Nate Boyden (UC Santa Barbara and the Seattle Sounders), Sam Reynolds (Fullerton State, Major League Soccer and Austin Aztex), Sule Anibaba (UC Davis), Jalil Anibaba (Santa Clara), Michael Strickland (Stanford), Jeff Strickland (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) and Alex Takakuwa (Penn).

Yudin, who retired in 2008 after a 31-year career as a research associate at UC Davis, also is director of coaching for the Davis Soccer Club, so he gets an advanced look at the talent headed for the high school program.

The Texas native likes working in both the club and high school environments.

"Both have a beauty," he said. "The beauty of high school is that it's a compact season. The team you pick you have for 2 1/2 months. The beauty of club is it's a year-round deal, so you can develop them.

"You can't really compare them. They are not like apples and oranges. They are like apples and pears, similar, but with a different taste."

What makes high school soccer special, Yudin says, is the community and student body support, something the higher-level club experience can't offer.

"For a club game, there might be, on a good day, Mom, Dad and maybe an uncle watching," Yudin said. "But for some of our key games that we play under the lights, we draw good crowds."

Davis has its own soccer stadium and when the Blue Devils play a team like Jesuit, the atmosphere is electric. He figures more than 2,700 watched last year's regular-season game in Davis and nearly 2,000 watched this year's Oct. 2 matchup.

Rose says Yudin is a worthy rival and a superlative coach.

"To build a program, a tradition you need to have coaches that are there for awhile," Rose said. "There's continuity, there's consistency."

Although the Davis-Jesuit rivalry is always fierce, sometimes bitter - there is a rift over an unsuccessful attempt to block former Marauder Max Flye, a junior and a Davis resident, from playing this season for the Blue Devils - Rose looks forward to his chats with Yudin.

"Obviously we go at it on the soccer field," Rose said. "But we're pretty good buddies. When I call him up, we never get off the phone in 10 or 15 minutes. We wind up talking for quite awhile."

Says Yudin: "I don't think Jesuit would be where they are without us or we would be where we are without them. I love to have them as rivals. Now is there any moment we want to lose to them or any moment Paul wants to lose to me: You know that's never going to happen."

October 28, 2009
Grant coach talks about how hard it is to coach huge routs

Mike Alberghini has a football team that he can really unleash.

But he can't. Not for long stretches, anyway. Not now.

Alberghini is the football coach for the top-ranked Grant Pacers whose team is actually too good, too fast, too superior in every regard for the overwhelmed members of the Metropolitan Conference.

So Alberghini has a first half, sometimes a first quarter, to polish his team's passing attack, to try any trick plays, because to do any of that in the second half would really crush the opponent.

Grant has outscored teams 367-7 this season. Grant beat Johnson 62-0, Rosemont 56-7 and Sacramento 63-0. Against Kennedy on Friday night, the score was so lopsided there was a running clock in the second quarter. I have never heard of a running clock in the second quarter. It was needed.

Grant led 71-0 at the half and won 85-0 with reserves playing the better part of three quarters.

Alberghini wants his team to play hard, to compete, but he will not pile it on an overmatched opponent to pad stats, for any sake of state rankings. Not his style and the damage is too long lasting.

Still, what does he tell his reserves? Don't compete as hard as the starters? Don't run as fast?

"You can't tell kids who work hard, who practice hard and lift year round not to play hard," Alberghini said. "If they do that, then when it's a game when it's close and they give a half effort, then you get mad at them.

"It's hard. After 11 carries, I had to tell (leading rusher Devontae) Butler, 'I can't run you any more.' And I had to say we couldn't pass any more. But you want to stay sharp, too."

Grant has a bye this week and McClatchy in Week 9 and then a showdown with rival Burbank in Week 10, when the Pacers could actually play their starters into the fourth quarter. Then, in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff bracket that promises to be a meat grinder, the starters will play start to finish.

October 28, 2009
Latest NorCal football rankings with 6 area team

A look at the latest CalHiSports/ESPN Northern California Top 15 rankings

Notice the local flavor with No. 1 Grant, No. 3 St. Mary's, No. 4 Del Oro and No. 7 Rocklin, with Granite Bay and Nevada Union also in the mix.

All told: Amazing year so far for prep football. Raise your hand if you think Grant would clobber De La Salle?

1. (1) Grant (Sacramento) 8-0
2. (2) De La Salle (Concord) 5-2
3. (3) St. Mary's (Stockton) 7-0
4. (4) Del Oro (Loomis) 7-0
5. (9) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 6-1
6. (6) St. Francis (Mountain View) 6-1
7. (NR) Rocklin 7-0
8. (NR) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 6-0-1
9. (8) Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) 5-1-1
10. (5) Granite Bay 5-2
11. (12) Berkeley 8-0
12. (13) Palma (Salinas) 5-1-1
13. (14) Los Gatos 6-1
14. (15) Oakdale 7-0
15. (NR) Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 6-1

Breakdown: Teams can and often do rocket their way up into the rankings by beating higher-ranked opponents. For Rocklin, taking down previous No. 5 Granite Bay, 14-7, was the trick. The Thunder also set themselves up for a potential battle of Sierra Foothill League unbeatens in two weeks against Del Oro. Mitty didn't beat a higher-ranked opponent, but the Monarchs tied previous No. 8 Bellarmine and then won a double-overtime tie-breaker. The official score says 14-14, but since Mitty won the tie-breaker it also moves ahead of the Bells in the rankings. Previous No. 11 Milpitas also dropped out of this week's rankings after suffering an upset loss to Palo Alto. The final open spot was between Nevada Union, Tracy and Deer Valley of Antioch. NU isn't unbeaten like the other two, but coach Dave Humphers' team has a loss by just 41-36 to Rocklin.

October 28, 2009
Rose nears 600 wins, but says best coach in his house is his wife

Jesuit's Paul Rose, the winningest active boys high school soccer coach in California, says he has to take a back seat in his own home when it comes to coaching success.

He says he can't top what his wife accomplished in three seasons as the tennis coach at St. Francis High School.

"She won three section titles in three years," Rose said. "It took me 12 years to get my first."

Carol Rose coached the Troubadours to Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships from 2005 to 2007. The experience was special because her daughter Megan was a member of the team.

"I had a blast," she said. "But it is a big commitment of time."

A counselor at Jesuit, she stepped down after the 2007 season to take care of her mother before she passed away from Alzheimer's Disease. She also continues to work on a non-profit she started to help low-income students navigate the college financial-aid system.

"I was a low-income kid myself growing up," Carol said. "There's really a huge need, especially for those unfamiliar with the system. I have knowledge to share."

But she says that her husband, who is nearing 600 wins during a 31-year career at Jesuit, is clearly the No. 1 coach in the household, despite his protests.

"He's just being a knucklehead," she said. "He's just pushing the attention elsewhere."
Rose was hired right out of college to teach at Jesuit when he was 21 years old.

But a few months before arriving at the Carmichael school, he had to give a presentation to a group of his peers to get his soccer coaching license.

"I had to talk in front of all these coaches, and I was pretty nervous," Rose said. "I said to myself, 'If I'm this nervous, how and I going to be able to teach in front of kids in a classroom?'"

But soccer tryouts at Jesuit started two weeks before the school year began and things quickly fell into place for the history teacher.

"I felt comfortable because I had coached before," he said. "Then when I got into the classroom I realized, 'Wow, this is just like coaching.'"

Although many of his players are highly talented, scholarship-potential players, Rose has had few problems with so-called helicopter parents during his long tenure at the school.

"The parents overall are really great," Rose said. "They have always been supportive."

One area where he sometimes encounters problems is in the tough task of making cuts.

"A lot of kids that I have to cut I already have a relationship with, so it makes it really hard on them and on me," Rose said. "But in 31 years I don't think I've had to meet with parents more than five times.

"I've got a system, and I think it works really well. I meet with every kid trying out beforehand and tell them this is what they need to do to make the team. So they pretty much know if they haven't done it.

"It's not like a big surprise. And it's not impersonal, like putting a list up on the board.

"When I cut someone, I meet with them one on one. It takes time, but at least it's personal. They know I care."

Rose, who played soccer at Bellarmine in San Jose, is amazed at how much the game has evolved through the years.

"It was a very athletic, very direct game," Rose said. "If you had an individual guy who could dribble, you had an advantage.

"Now every kid can dribble. Now every kid coming out of comp or select has a pretty advanced skill set. Now the name of the game is speed of play."

Tactics also have evolved.

"Every year I learn new stuff," he said. "If you're smart, you'll pick up good ideas off others. Nobody has the complete book - maybe a few do - but I don't. The game has evolved so much since 1979 when I started that you have to change with it or you are going to get left behind."

October 27, 2009
The Bee's projected prep football outlook through Week 7

Here's a look at The Bee's projected football playoff breakdown, compiled by Nathaniel Levine.

October 27, 2009
A closer inside look at The Bee's Top 20 football rankings

A closer look at The Bee's Top 20, with record and comments:

1. Grant (8-0)
Outscored teams 363-7 with 7 shutouts and pulling starters early in running-clock routs of late; Mike Alberghini won his 200th. Clear leader of Metro Conference.

2. Del Oro (7-0)
Golden Eagles capped 5-0 showing at home and now take running game/defensive act on road with 10-0 in mind. Showdown with Rocklin for Sierra Foothill League title looms.

3. Rocklin (7-0)
This the highest the Thunder have ever been ranked and it's earned, with wins over Nevada Union and Granite Bay; more to come. Showdown looms with Del Oro.

4. Inderkum (7-0)
Critics will remind that Tigers have not played a ranked foe all season; Antonio Bumpers had 4 TD, 300-yard game Friday. Showdown brewing with Natomas for Tri-County title.

5. Nevada Union (6-1)
Lost only to Rocklin; NU coach Dave Humphers says Broughan Jantz is best QB in the Sacramento area. Clear leader of Delta Valley Conference.

6. Monterey Trail (6-1)
Lost only to 5-2 Fairfield in shootout opener and have been amazing ever since; 4 shutouts, beat Folsom. Showdown with Pleasant Grove with Delta River League on line.

7. Folsom (6-1)
Bulldogs faced terrific defensive team speed and running game and still only lost by a point in OT to Monterey Trail. Big games with Pleasant Grove, Sheldon loom.

8. Granite Bay (5-2)
From No. 2 in this ranking to here after brutally tough/close losses to Del Oro and Rocklin. Still super dangerous rest of the SFL way and in D-II playoffs.

9. Placer (7-0)
Hillmen are hot thanks to wing-T and stout defense; beat Casa Roble and proved this is a team to fear.

10. Del Campo (6-1)
Loss to Woodcreek stung, yes, and then routed Pleasant Grove; showdown with Casa Roble looms.

11. Pleasant Grove (5-2)
Only losses are to Lincoln-Stockton by a point and to Del Campo; showdown with Monterey Trail next.

12. Rio Linda (7-0)
Huge line, great runner in Cameron Mikell, defense for classy coach Mike Morris who has best team.

13. Lincoln (7-0)
Next is Placer; haven't started 8-0 since 1975 - when Gerald Ford was healing the nation from Watergate.

14. Whitney (5-2)
Losses are to Lincoln late and to Oakdale amid turnovers, so quality losses; injuries still a problem though wins are still there for title push in Pioneer Valley League.

15. Oak Ridge (4-3)
Trojans lost to Rocklin (40-32), Folsom and Grant (14-0) and have since won 4 straight with balanced offense; Vista del Lago next for Sierra Valley Conference championship.

16. Casa Roble (4-3)
Rams recovered from last-second losses to Placer and Oak Ridge and setback to Folsom to bolt to fast start in CAL; crave Del Campo for another Capital Athletic League title.

17. Vista del Lago (5-2)
Eagles have lost to Central Catholic and Casa Roble but not in Sierra Valley Conference; showdown at Oak Ridge comes after nice second-half rally over CBS.

18. Sheldon (5-2)
Huskies were so impressive in 5-0 start and have been smoked by Folsom and Pleasant Grove; loss of RB Dewone Young is devastating. Coach Ed Lombardi will not lose his team.

19. Burbank (4-3)
Titans are back on track and rolling in Metro under coach John Heffernan and star Terrance Mitchell; losses are to CBS, Pittsburgh and Granite Bay; showdown with Grant in Week 10.

20. Dixon (6-1)
Rams have lost only to Vanden (7-0) and eye showdowns with Foothil and Rio Linda for the Capital Valley Conference title and a D-IV march.

October 26, 2009
How the state's Top 25 fared, with three local teams

A look at how the Cal-Hi Sports Top 25 fared. Local teams of note include No. 2 Grant, No. 8 St. Mary's, No. 15 Del Oro, No. 20 Granite Bay:

1. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 7-0 def. Carpinteria, 43-0
2. Grant (Sacramento) 8-0 def. Kennedy (Sacramento), 85-0
3. Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 7-0 def. Fremont (Los Angeles), 61-0
4. Oceanside 7-0 def. Mt. Carmel (San Diego), 42-7
5. Edison (Huntington Beach) 7-0 def. Newport Harbor (Newport Beach), 34-6
6. Lakewood 7-1 def. Jordan (Long Beach), 25-0
7. De La Salle (Concord) 5-2 def. Granada (Livermore), 56-14
8. St. Mary's (Stockton) 7-0 def. Stagg (Stockton), 85-40
9. Mission Viejo 7-0 def. Tesoro (Rancho Santa Margarita), 60-14
10. Servite (Anaheim) 6-1 def. Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 30-20
11. Moorpark 6-0 def. Royal (Simi Valley), 51-0
12. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 5-1 def. Chaminade (West Hills), 21-3
13. Serra (Gardena) 7-0 def. Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood), 34-6
14. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 7-0 def. Alemany (Mission Hills), 36-14
15. Del Oro (Loomis) 7-0 def. Roseville, 49-0
16. Rancho Cucamonga 6-1 lost to Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga), 31-28
17. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 6-1 def. Buena (Ventura), 44-27
18. Redlands East Valley (Redlands) 7-0 def. Rialto, 49-6
19. La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 7-0 def. San Pasqual (Escondido), 38-12
20. Granite Bay 5-2 lost to Rocklin, 14-7
21. Norco 6-1 def. Santiago (Corona), 44-39
22. Buchanan (Clovis) 7-0 def. Clovis West (Fresno), 38-14
23. Valencia 7-0 def. Golden Valley (Santa Clarita), 49-0
24. Centennial (Corona) 6-1 def. J.W. North (Riverside), 52-20
25. Bullard (Fresno) 7-0 def. Reedley, 52-42

October 25, 2009
Latest "Dimino Dozen" prep football rankings (and 8 more)

Another look at Dimino's Dozen prep football rankings (and eight others in "The Red Zone").

Jim Dimino is one of the legendary coaching figures in Sac-Joaquin Section history, leading a juggernaut football program at El Camino in the 1970s and '80s. This is the 25th anniversary season of the Eagles 1984 Section Division II title team (the '85 team also won the section).

Dimino is the longtime color man to play-by-play voice Will James on the weekly Access Sacramento Game of the Week on the Hometown Sports Network (check local listings and check our prep site on Sacbee.com for weekly game highlights).

We will run Jim's rankings each Sunday when we run our Section Top 10. The Bee's regional Top 20 runs Tuesdays.

Dimino's Dozen
1. Grant (8-0)
2. Del Oro (7-0)
3. Inderkum (7-0)
4. Rocklin (7-0)
5. Monterey Trail (6-1)
6. Nevada Union (6-1)
7. Folsom (6-1)
8. Del Campo (6-1)
9. Placer (7-0)
10. Pleasant Grove (5-2)
11. Granite Bay (5-2)
12. Rio Linda (7-0)
The Red Zone Eight
13. Lincoln (7-0)
14. Oak Ridge (4-3)
15. Casa Roble (4-3)
16. Whitney (5-2)
17. Sheldon (5-2)
18. Vista del Lago (5-2)
19. Burbank (4-3)
20. Dixon (6-1)

October 25, 2009
A look at Week 8 of the prep football scehdule

A look at the Week 8 prep football schedule:

Sacramento Metro
Foresthill at Vacaville Christian

Capital Athletic League
Bella Vista at El Camino

Capital Valley League
Cosumnes Oaks vs. West Campus at Rosemont

Pioneer Valley League
Mesa Verde vs. Bear River at San Juan

Capital Valley Conference
River City at Center
Foothill at Dixon
Antelope at Rio Linda

Delta River League
Florin at Folsom
Pleasant Grove at Monterey Trail
Jesuit at Sheldon

Delta Valley League
Davis at Elk Grove
Valley vs. Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks
Laguna Creek at Nevada Union

Golden Empire League
Marysville at Capital Christian
Encina vs. Lindhurst at El Camino
Golden Sierra at San Juan

Metropolitan Conference
Sacramento at Kennedy
Johnson at Rosemont

Whitney at El Dorado
Lincoln at Placer

Sacramento Metro
Woodland Christian at Foresthill
Vacaville Christian at Delta

Sierra Foothill League
Oakmont at Rocklin
Granite Bay at Roseville
Del Oro at Woodcreek

Sierra Valley Conference
Vista del Lago at Oak Ridge
Ponderosa at Union Mine

Tri-County League
River Valley at Pioneer
Woodland at Natomas
Inderkum at Yuba City

Colfax at Highlands
Bradshaw Christian at Lathrop
Cordova at Turlock
Valley Christian at Tulelake

Capital Athletic League
Del Campo vs. Rio Americano at El Camino, 1 p.m.
Mira Loma vs. Casa Roble at El Camino, 7:30 p.m.

Metropolitan Conference
Burbank at McClatchy
Sierra Valley Conference
Galt at Christian Brothers

October 25, 2009
The Bee's latest Sac-Joaquin Section Top 10 rankings

A look at our latest Sac-Joaquin Section Top 10 football rankings.
Games of note this week include instant classics in Placer vs. Lincoln; Oak Ridge vs. Vista del Lago and Pleasant Grove vs. Monterey Trail.

1. Grant (8-0)
The Pacers steamed into their bye week this weekend by crushing Kennedy 85-0 in a Metropolitan Conference outing in Del Paso Heights for coach Mike Alberghini's 200th victory, all at Grant and all since 1991. It was 71-0 at the half as the Cougars were overwhelmed by the Pacers' ground game, speed and tenacity on defense. Devontae Butler carried only 11 times and had 246 yards and five touchdowns. Dezmon Epps and Ronald Fields each had a punt return for a scorer, and Kennedy was held to negative yardage. All told, the Pacers have posted seven shutouts and outscored teams 363-7 - all while pulling the starters after one or two series in the second half of every rout.

2. St. Mary's (7-0)
The Rams can score, make no mistake. Facing a one-loss Stagg team in a key Tri-City Athletic League game in Stockton, St. Mary's rolled to an 85-40 victory in what looked more like a girls basketball score. This one was never close as the Rams led 43-14 at the half. Marcus McDade had five touchdown passes - three to Louie Lechich - and ran for a score as his team amassed 601 yards of offense. Though Stagg had four touchdown passes, it also threw three interceptions, setting up more opportunities for the area's highest scoring team. Maurice Howze rushed for 175 yards on 12 carries and had two scores as the Rams rushed 41 times for 344 yards. Stagg coach Don Norton told the Stockton Record, "They're not the No. 1 team in the section for no reason. They have a lot of great players." Next is 1-6 McNair.

3. Del Oro (7-0)
The Golden Eagles backed up their stirring overtime win over Granite Bay with a thorough 49-0 win over Roseville in a Sierra Foothill League on homecoming night in Loomis. It was 42-0 at the half as Bryce Pratt rushed for 113 yards and three scores. With Roseville determined to contain the run, Max Magleby completed 9 of 11 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns to tight end Adrian Williams. Its five-game home stand a smashing success, Del Oro now plays at Woodcreek, a team that has two wins - against ranked foes in Del Campo and Oakmont

4. Rocklin (7-0)
The Thunder and coach Greg Benzel continued their best season - yes, the 2005 team reached the section D-II finals, but this bunch is better - and it has two major wins over Nevada Union and now 14-7 over Granite Bay. Rocklin trailed 10-0 after a Granite Bay field goal, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty had Granite Bay taking the points off the board and facing a first-and-goal at the 4. Instead, disaster happened as the Grizzlies fumbled at the Rocklin 2. The Thunder responded with a 98-yard scoring drive. Jimmy Laughrea passed for 242 yards and had touchdowns strikes of 14 and 75 yards to 6-foot-5 receiver Holden Huff. Defensively, Rocklin was superb behind Daniel Lessard, Andrew McEwan, Chris Clowdus, B.J. Roberts, Garth Keffer, Scott Polaske and Nick and Trevor Cooper. Next is 5-2 Oakmont.

5. Inderkum (7-0)
The Tigers had a fight on their hands in a Tri-County League game that all but determined the champion. Inderkum never led by more than 14 against Pioneer and prevailed 41-28 as Antonio Bumpers rushed for a school-record 300 yards and four touchdowns, thanks to his line of Kyle Coleman, Damon Deleon, Antonio Kanady, James Alon, Nate Falo and Jacob Monroe. A close game is actually a good thing for the Tigers, still the section class in D-III with Del Campo and Vanden.

6. Nevada Union (6-1)
The Miners have lost only a shootout to Rocklin in a game every one in Miners colors believes they should have won (dropped interceptions were a key). What matters now is this: NU is legitimately good, often dominant, and getting better by the week. It rolled Franklin of Elk Grove 49-28 on Saturday in what could amount to the Delta Valley League championship. Yes, NU allowed two 60-yard touchdown sprints by Kenny Hunt - the man is one of the top backs in the region - but the Miners still controlled all facets of the game. NU emerged confident that it will cap the regular season 9-1 for the second straight season. NU led 21-0 on three Broughan Jantz touchdowns - one rushing and two passing - and it stormed to a 42-14 lead. When Franklin scored, NU roared right back on the ground, with Drew Hoskin and Jason Slade churning out yards. Jantz, one of the top players in the section, hit Duncan Chapple for three TD passes and rushed for two more, and Justin Pike returned an interception 40 yards for a score. The defense also includes Juan Espinosa, Dan Pattinato, Zach Vallejo, Eric Niederberger and Luca Fistarol, a group that looks primed to devour the rest of the DVL schedule, starting with 2-5 Laguna Creek next.

7. Monterey Trail (6-1)
Say hello to another Division I section title contender in the Mustangs, a program five years old and coming of age nicely under coach T.J. Ewing. Monterey Trail had the athletes, scheme and drive to stall a Folsom team that was averaging 53 points, offering blitzes and closing speed to prevent the Bulldogs from going off, and Ewing went for the win in overtime and succeeded in prevailing 22-21 in a thrilling Delta River League game. Drake Tofi rushed for 211 yards on 34 carries - all up the middle in the veer - and he scored twice, including the game-winning two-point conversion. Rozale Byrd, Jim Meadows, Kalamani Fili, Ethan Clark (two interceptions) and a host of others key the fast defense that has four shutouts this season. Monterey Trail lost only to Fairfield in a season-opening shootout. Next is a game at two-time defending DRL champion Pleasant Grove.

8. Folsom (6-1)
Sometimes a loss can be a sobering, humbling wake-up call, and this could very well be the case here for the Bulldogs, who remain in the Top 10 because it was a one-point loss to a superb team. Folsom discovered that a fast and ferocious defense can disrupt the spread, and it didn't help that there were dropped passes. Folsom also found that it needs to shore up the run defense as Monterey Trail churned out more than 300 yards on the ground. Folsom did play good pass defense, however. In short, the Bulldogs expect to bounce back big. Next is Florin and then key games against Pleasant Grove and Sheldon, and you can bet every Bulldog is targeting a 9-1 regular-season finish.

9. Tracy (7-0)
Homecoming was festive for the Bulldogs, who belted Chavez 55-36 in a game that wasn't nearly this close. The running of Depray Celestine, Ricky Diaz and Jordan Strong led to a 35-0 first-quarter lead and 55-13 early in the third in the San-Joaquin Athletic Association contest. This effort came after downing Lincoln-Stockton. Strong had four rushing touchdowns. With NU and Monterey Trail, here's another D-I power to consider. Next is 1-6 Bear Creek.

10. Oakdale (7-0)
The top-ranked team by The Modesto Bee routed Weston Ranch 56-14 with balance and defense. The Mustangs now prepare for the meat of the Valley Oak League schedule with games against Manteca, Sierra and Sonora. Oakdale plays Manteca next

Others of note: Placer (7-0); Lincoln (7-0); Granite Bay (5-2); Vanden (7-0); Del Campo (6-1); Central Catholic (6-1); Rio Linda (7-0); Lincoln-Stockton, 5-2; Vacaville 6-1; Fairfield 5-2.

October 25, 2009
Made last-play field goal ruled no good as refs blow prep game

You could get lectured for 45 minutes nonstop by football referees about how difficult their job is, how us mere mortal human have no clue as to the rigors and challenges of working a game. Sure, sure. Some of that may be true.

But when referees blatantly blow the simplest of calls - gee, did the ball go through the uprights or not?- it's purely pathetic.

Look at this footage below and you can feel for the West of Tracy team that kicked a field goal with no time left against Edison of Stockton that would have won the game 24-22. You will see the ball hit the upright and bounce through, meaning a made field goal. You will also see the referee under the goalposts, on the right side, flinch, and because he did, he didn't see the ball go through. None of the other officials working the game, including the other one under the goal posts, had the guts to correct the call, even though they met for a moment to sort things out, meaning West made a field goal that was ruled no good and Edison held on 22-21.

And never will you see prep referees admit error. Ever. They are beyond that. Too much ego, too much pride. There has been a lot of good officiating this season, yes, from what I have seen and from what so many others tell me every week - coaches, media, fans, players.

But the officiating crew that blew this game - and that's exactly what they did - should be held accountable. West should be granted the victory because it did in fact make a field goal. This crew should be talked too. The one referee who was responsible for not looking at the ball above his head should be suspended for at least one game. The money they "earned" for this gaffe of a game should be used for a visual class. A trivia class, maybe - "Made field goal or not?"

October 24, 2009
Nevada Union drills Franklin, emerging as D-I section favorite

If you're looking for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I favorite, I have one for you.

Nevada Union.

The Miners.

That pesky, determined lot from Grass Valley that is rounding into the most complete team in the large-school field.

Yes, Monterey Trail is a team to fear for does in D-I with its defensive team speed and the veer offense. And Tracy, Vacaville, Lincoln of Stockton and surging Oak Ridge are contenders. But none of those teams have the pedigree, experience and championship background as NU.

The Miners have lost this season only to Rocklin in a high-scoring affair. Tonight, in showing championship glimses, NU showed how dangerous it can be, downing Franklin of Elk Grove 49-28 at Cosumnes Oaks in what likely amounted to the Delta Valley League championship.

NU is 7-1 because it can do it all: run with a host of backs (including Drew Hoskin and Jason Slade), pass with Broughan Jantz, defend with some experienced linebackers and make plays on special teams. Coach Dave Humphers likes to put his best players on special teams, to make statement plays, like Juan Espinosa splattering a Franklin player on a kickoff block.

Jantz is the key to the Miners. The senior came in with nine touchdown passes and one interception and he hit Duncan Chapple for three scoring strikes and ran for two more in a dominating display of versatility, poise and confidence tonight.

He's emerging as one of the very best NU quarterbacks ever, and the Miners have had some great ones in reaching seven City Championship games since 1991, four section title games and winning section crowns in 1993, 1994 and 2005.

"He is phenomenal, and I think he's the best quarterback in the greater Sacramento area," Humphers said. "He's a great leader for us."

The defense is headed by linebackers Zach Vallejo, Espinosa, Eric Niederberger, defensive end Dan Pattinato and defensive back James Fike, who returned an interception 40 yards for a score against Franklin.

And another difference maker: kicker Conor Maloney, who booms kickoffs and is a reliable threat with field goals. Not many high school teams can say that.

October 24, 2009
Rocklin's defense gets a little face time in beating Granite Bay

When your offense is averaging 44 points a game, it's hard for the guys on the other side of the ball to get much attention.

But on Friday night, when No. 3 Granite Bay kept No. 6 Rocklin's offense under wraps most of the night, it was the Thunder's swarming defenders that came up big in beating the Grizzlies 14-7 on their home field in another Sierra Foothill League bruiser.

"You hear offense this and offense that with our team," said Rocklin coach Greg Benzel. "But our defense is progressing nicely. We've got guys who run to the football. They are very physical with their opportunities."

While junior quarterback Jimmy Laughrea rallied the Thunder (7-0, 2-0) with two second-half touchdown passes, both to Holden Huff, and passed for 240 yards, the defense set the tone.

Among the highlights:

• Senior linebacker Daniel Lessard had a critical fumble recovery and a late fourth-quarter 14-yard sack of sophomore quarterback Brendan Keeney.

• Five-foot-5, 130-pound senior defensive back Chris Clowdus forced a second-quarter fumble.

• Senior defensive back Andrew McEwan intercepted Keeney in the third quarter

• Linebacker Sean Moore knocked down a critical fourth-down pass in Rocklin territory with 4:25 to play.

• Trevor and Nick Cooper, B.J Roberts, Garth Keffer and Scott Polaske were among those who helped limit Granite Bay's potent fly rushing attack to 101 yards.

Lessard's fumble recovery on Rocklin's two-yard line late in the third quarter was a back breaker.

Two players earlier, the Grizzlies (5-2, 0-2) had gone ahead 10-0 on Adam Angulo's 25-yard field goal. But Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper decided to take the points off the board when a roughing the kicker penalty gave them the ball first-and-goal at the Rocklin four-yard line.

After a two-yard gain by Danny Thomas, Keeney mishandled the ball as a wall of Rocklin defenders stormed the backfield.

Lessard recovered the loose ball, which ended the Grizzlies' fruitless 17-play drive. The Thunder marched 98 yards in the other direction, scoring on the seventh play, Laughrea's 14-yard touchdown pass to the towering 6-foot-6 Huff, a versatile talent who plays either tight end or wide receiver.

The drive also included 37- and 11-yard passes to Kyle Garvella and two 15-yard penalties, one for roughing the passer, the other for a personal foul. In all, Granite Bay was penalized 10 times for 112 yards.

The momentum clearly had shifted after the Grizzlies' defense dominated the Thunder through the first half. Rocklin had only 99 total yards, punted five times and turned the ball over on downs twice without getting near the end zone.

But Granite Bay could contain Huff only so long.

After Rocklin tied the game, the Grizzlies went four-and-out on the next series and so the Thunder struck quickly.

On first down at Rocklin's own 25, Laughrea and Huff connected on a 75-yard touchdown with 11:35 to play in the game. The 205-pounder was just too big and too fast to tackle in scooting more than 50 yards down the right sideline after catching the ball.

But that lead appeared as if it might be short-lived. Cory Brehm caught a Keeney pass over the middle and battled his way through several defenders for what appeared to be a 49-yard touchdown at the 8:06 mark.

A blocking-in-the-back penalty moved the ball back to the Rocklin 28, nullifying the touchdown. The Grizzlies gained three yards then turned the ball over on downs after three consecutive incompletions.

That's the kind of night it was for a Granite Bay offense that moved the ball but couldn't find the end zone. The lone exception was Matt Kine's nine-yard touchdown run that capped a four-play, 57-yard drive on the Grizzlies' second possession of the game.

Like Granite Bay, Rocklin struggled through most of the game trying to run the ball.
They were held to 69 yards - star back Jackson Cummings had 45 yards on 15 carries - but Laughrea gained two first downs on runs of 8 and 6 yards on their final possession to help run out the clock.

"Granite Bay and Del Oro have traditionally been our league's top football programs," Benzel said. "It's been them, then the rest of us trying to get over the hump. But we think our best opportunity (to be a championship team) is right now."

October 23, 2009
Some Week 7 prep football scores

We don't have all the scores just yet, but here's a few to chew on:

Monterey Trail 22, Folsom 21, OT
Grant 85, Kennedy 0 (coach Mike Alberghini's 200th career win, all at Grant)
Rocklin 14, Granite Bay 7
Pleasant Grove 41, Sheldon 27
Elk Grove 37, Laguna Creek 16
Burbank 24, Rosemont 12
Foothill 24, Antelope 14
St. Mary's 85, Stagg 40 (not a typo)
Ponderosa 28, Galt 22
Placer 51, Bear River 7

October 23, 2009
Monterey Trail stuns Folsom in overtime, 22-21

Monterey Trail is officially for real. No doubts, no curiosity about it now. For real.

The upstart Mustangs stunned Folsom 22-21 in overtime tonight in a Delta River League thriller that says a lot about both teams. Monterey Trail went for the win in overtime after Drake Tofi scored from a yard out, using Tofi again to power in rather then an extra point attempt to force a second overtime. Folsom scored first in the extra period on a Dano Graves 10-yard touchdown pass to Kori Babineaux.

That Monterey Trail went for it speaks of the confidence of coach T.J. Ewing and his bunch that fears no team.

"We compete and we went for the win," Ewing said.

Monterey Trail showed that it has a great runner in Tofi, a 165-pound junior who competes as if he's Earl Campbell's kid brother - powerfully and with purpose. The veer offense still works, though this is the only team that seems to run it. Tofi bulled for 231 yards - all up the middle, and was joined in the backfield by quarterback Mike Calvan (71 yards rushing), Sedale Hunter (61) and Derek Bellamy (32).

Tofi had a 1-yard run earlier and Calvan also scored from a yard out. It went into overtime after Jay Flury barely missed a 37-yard field goal with no time left in regulation, after Monterey Trail drove 75 yards and chewed up more than 7 minutes on the clock.

Monterey Trail showed it can slow down the most dynamic offense in the area, and certainly north of Stockton, where St. Mary's has been blowing teams up all season. Graves had two touchdown passes after coming in with a state-leading 31.

Folsom, meanwhile, showed it can also play some pretty sound defense, particularly against the pass.

October 23, 2009
Latest prep football State Bowl Rankings include area teams

Here's a closer look at the State Bowl Rankings released by Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN. Notice the area teams - more proof that this is perhaps the area's best year for prep football - and keep in mind that such bowl rankings are considered when state section commissioners meet to decide who goes bowling.

Division I North

1. (1) Grant (Sacramento) 7-0 def. Sacramento 63-0
2. (2) De La Salle (Concord) 4-2 def. San Ramon Valley (Danville) 42-14
3. (3) Granite Bay 6-1 lost to Del Oro (Loomis) 27-21 OT
4. (5) Folsom 6-0 def. Jesuit (Carmichael) 55-21
5. (7) Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) 5-1 def. Serra (San Mateo) 23-21
6. (12) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 5-1 def. Monte Vista (Danv) 24-21 OT
7. (4) Monte Vista (Danville) 4-2 lost to Amador Valley 24-21 OT
8. (8) Milpitas 6-0 def. Mountain View 48-18
9. (9) Berkeley 5-0 def. Richmond 41-0
10. (NR) Tracy 6-0 def. Lincoln (Stockton) 37-21
11. (6) Serra (San Mateo) 3-3 lost to Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) 23-21
12. (13) Pittsburg 3-3 def. Heritage (Brentwood) 46-20
13. (14) Deer Valley (Antioch) 6-0 def. Freedom (Oakley) 49-17
14. (NR) Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 5-1 def. Valley (Sacramento) 42-0
15. (NR) San Benito (Hollister) 7-0 def. North Salinas 29-15

On the bubble: California (San Ramon) 4-2, Fairfield 4-2, Foothill (Pleasanton) 4-2, Granada (Livermore) 3-3, Heritage (Brentwood) 4-2, Lincoln (Stockton) 4-2, Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 4-2, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 4-2, Sheldon (Sacramento) 5-1, Vacaville 5-1.

Breakdown: Amador Valley's well-chronicled 24-21victory over Monte Vista of Danville allowed the Dons, who just two weeks ago weren't even in the Top 15, to soar all the way to No. 6. Now the test will be to stay there, facing another tough opponent this week in California of San Ramon. There is never an easy week in the East Bay Athletic League where only one team has a losing record. Granite Bay stays at No. 3 because losing in OT to Division II leader Del Oro of Loomis earns the "tough opponent" award. Another big move this week came from unbeaten Tracy, which earned its No. 10 spot with a 37-21 win over previous No. 10 Lincoln (Stockton). And since Lincoln lost by that much, a two-loss Pleasant Grove squad that lost to the Trojans also was replaced in this week's rankings. Pleasant Grove, however, does have the chance to move back up because in two weeks the Eagles will play No. 4 Folsom in a league game.

Division II North

1. (1) Del Oro (Loomis) 6-0 def. Granite Bay 27-21 OT
2. (2) St. Francis (Mountain View) 5-1 def. Valley Christian (SJ) 41-21
3. (3) Los Gatos 5-1 def. Lynbrook (San Jose) 54-10
4. (4) Oakdale 6-0 def. East Union (Manteca) 55-14
5. (5) Rocklin 6-0 def. Woodcreek (Roseville) 28-0
6. (6) Inderkum (Sacramento) 6-0 def. River Valley (Yuba City) 67-0
7. (7) Archbishop Mitty (SJ) 6-0 def. Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF) 49-7
8. (8) Sierra (Manteca) 6-0 def. Central Valley (Ceres) 49-20
9. (10) Enterprise (Redding) 7-0 def. Shasta (Redding) 33-20
10. (NR) Placer (Auburn) 6-0 def. Capital Christian (Sacramento) 48-20
On the bubble: Casa Roble (Orangevale) 3-3, Bella Vista (Fair Oaks) 5-1, Del Campo (Fair Oaks) 5-1, Encinal (Alameda) 5-1, Foothill (Palo Cedro) 4-2, Lincoln 6-0, Manteca 4-2, Novato 4-3, Paradise 6-1, Petaluma 6-0, Shasta (Redding) 6-1, Sonora 5-1, Whitney (Rocklin) 4-2.

Breakdown: Del Oro of Loomis proved its No. 1 rating here was well-deserved with the victory over previously unbeaten Granite Bay in overtime. Now it's No. 5 Rocklin's turn to play Granite Bay, which could lead to a Del Oro-Rocklin showdown at Rocklin on Nov. 6. Since the top eight teams won, some by very lopsided scores, there was no movement on top but Enterprise's 33-20 win over previously perfect Shasta in the Redding showdown allowed the Hornets to jump into the Top 10 at No. 9 with Placer of Auburn grabbing the final spot. Archbishop Mitty of San Jose will also have a chance to give this division a boost if it can beat defending Central Coast Section Open Division champ Bellarmine Prep on Friday.

Division III North

1. (1) St. Mary's (Stockton) 6-0 def. West (Tracy) 62-7
2. (2) Palma (Salinas) 5-1-1 def. Alvarez (Salinas) 41-13
3. (3) Central Catholic (Modesto) 5-1 def. Gustine 44-0
4. (4) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 5-1 def. Novato 14-10
5. (6) Escalon 6-0 def. Ripon Christian 63-0
6. (7) Hilmar 6-0 def. Livingston 31-14
7. (5) Valley Christian (San Jose) 3-2 lost to St. Francis (Mountain View) 41-21
8. (8) The King's Academy (Sunnyvale) 6-0 def. Menlo (Atherton) 45-19
9. (9) Seaside 4-1-1 def. N. Monterey Co. (Castroville) 42-7
10. (10) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 3-3 def. Santa Rosa 28-14

On the bubble: Argonaut (Jackson) 4-2, Colfax 4-2, Fort Bragg 6-0, Fortuna 5-1, Healdsburg 5-2, Ripon 5-1, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 4-2, Scotts Valley 4-2, Sutter 5-2, Wheatland 6-1, Windsor 5-1.

Breakdown: St. Mary's is setting a mean pace in this division and its stock keeps rising as teams the Rams have beaten, like Bellarmine Prep of San Jose, just keep winning. The Rams only have two teams with winning records left on their schedule. A potential showdown of unbeaten teams fizzled, however, when this week's foe, Stagg, suffered a 13-6 overtime loss to Tokay (Lodi). Tokay is also 5-1 at this juncture. Cardinal Newman, which remained in the Top 10 despite having a losing record, fought its way back to .500 but now gets Montgomery of Santa Rosa, which is also 3-0 and tied with the Cardinals atop the North Bay League standings.

Small Schools North

1. (1) Modesto Christian 6-0 def. Riverbank 60-13
2. (2) Ferndale 7-0 def. Vacaville Christian 50-8
3. (3) St. Francis (Watsonville) 5-1 def. Aptos 14-6
4. (4) Modoc (Alturas) 7-0 def. Weed 68-6
5. (5) Portola 7-0 def. Hamilton (Hamilton City) 35-0
6. (6) Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) 5-1 def. Foresthill 55-0
7. (10) Fall River (McArthur) 5-2 def. Lakeview (Ore.) 36-18
8. (9) Hoopa Valley (Hoopa) 6-0 def. South Fork (Miranda) 36-0
9. (8) Capital Christian (Sac.) 3-3 lost to Placer (Auburn) 48-20
10. (7) Hamilton (Hamilton City) 5-2 lost to Portola 35-0

On the bubble: Burney 5-2, Colusa 4-3, East Nicolas (Nicolas) 5-2, Quincy 5-2, St. Bernard (Eureka) 3-4, St. Vincent (Petaluma) 4-2, Vacaville Christian 4-2, Valley Christian (Dublin) 4-2.

Breakdown: It's back to business for Modesto Christian as the Crusaders tackle 5-1 Ripon, a Division III bubble team, in a Trans Valley League game. Elsewhere, Portola collected its fifth straight shutout with the impressive win over Hamilton (Hamilton City) and is alone atop the Mid Valley standings. The big game within the division this week will see the battle of unbeatens when No. 2 Ferndale travels to No. 8 Hoopa Valley in a Humboldt-Del Norte showdown. Ferndale only allows 7.0 points a game but the Hoopa Valley defense has only yielded 21 in its last three games. Both prepped with comfortable victories.

October 23, 2009
Folsom's Dano Graves ESPN RISE West Regional Player of the Week

Dano Graves isn't just generating local media interest for his sizzling play this season.
The Folsom High School junior quarterback is on the national radar now. He is the ESPN RISE Boys West Regional High School Player of the Week after passing for five touchdowns and running for one in a rout of Jesuit to kick off Delta River League play.
Graves was also recognized for leading the state in touchdown passes at the season's midway point - 31. The Bulldogs play host to 5-1 Monterey Trail - sporting four shutouts - tonight at 7:15 p.m.
Here's the ESPNRISE link on Graves:
Or go to www.espn.go.com/highschool/rise

October 22, 2009
Transcript of live prep chat, with lively cries of Grant cheating

Here's the transcript of our live Prep football chat. Feel free to take a peek. Notice also the Grant hater who insists to his deathbed that all teachers at Grant are ordered to doctor grades. Wow. Such a scandal.

JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Hello prep football fans and followers....My name is Joe Davidson, ready to field questions about are teams, themes and trends. We can chat about anything - mid-season Player of the Year candidates, state bowl pursuits, realignment. Fire away and I'll do my best to catch up. Thursday October 22, 2009 6:48 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
6:54 At the season's midway point, who is the area Player of the Year?
Devontae Butler, Grant
( 14% )Bryce Pratt, Del Oro
( 57% )Dano Graves, Folsom
( 29% )Jackson Cummings, Rocklin
( 27% )Ryan Dimino, Del Campo
( 31% )Jalen Saunders, Pleasant Grove
( 44%)Devontae Butler, Grant

7:02 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Joe, how many teams from each league will make the play-offs? As an example the CAL had three last year...Casa, Del Campo and Rio. I have heard only two this year. Or, can that change?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:02 Guest
7:04 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
Regarding playoff teams...there is a change to the playoff format, as we've chronicled and we have on-line now, but in short, each league will get at least 2 playoff teams. Teams with at least six wins are all of a sudden a lot more eligible than in years past.

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:04 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:05 [Comment From Placer AlumPlacer Alum: ]
What's up with Del Campo leaping ahead of Placer in your rankings even though they lost to Woodcreek by 3 and Placer beat em by 14?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:05 Placer Alum
7:06 [Comment From rdubrdub: ]
JD, since you were at your sisters wedding and not at the DO/GB game, I wanted to share with you Pat the following single pictorial.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:06 rdub
7:07 [Comment From CodamojoCodamojo: ]
why is Rio linda ranked so High. especially with close wins to sub-par teams
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:07 Codamojo
7:07 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
I told my sister she could have been married at halftime of the game. Casey Taylor said it would have added to the atmosphere. tried to link the photos, but couldn't. We got better shots on our sacbee gallery!

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:07 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:09 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Regarding Del Campo-Placer rankings...u are in error saying we jumped DC over Placer. Placer is No. 8 and DC is No. 9. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:09 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:10 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Regarding Rio Linda...the Knights are No. 12. That's not too high for a good team. Geez, pal. They're unbeaten. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:10 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:10 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Coach Al does not care if his students pass their classes. He gets them eligible during summer school
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:10 Guest
7:11 Linda Gonzales/sacbee.com: Here's a link to the Del Oro - Granite Bay photo gallery Joe just mentioned: http://www.sacbee.com/photos/gallery/2260123.html Thursday October 22, 2009 7:11 Linda Gonzales/sacbee.com
7:11 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Regarding the idiotic post about Alberghini and grades at Grant - you are so far off, it's laughable. He cares greatly about the players grades, that's why he meets with teachers and counselors. Any talk that he has teachers doctors grades is pure sour grapes. Sorry you have such a bad concussion Thursday October 22, 2009 7:11 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:11 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
why doesnt grant play local teams? are they afraid?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:11 Guest
7:12 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Why doesn't Grant play local teams? Not afraid at all. It's the other way around. Grant has to play out of area, out of state to get games. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:12 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:12 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
What happend to the TV show this year on Comcast Sports Net? It seemed to be developing a buzz last year with Gary and you guys from the Bee?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:12 Guest
7:13 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Regarding TV show on Comcast...loved doing the show last year with Bill Paterson, Gary and Q...it was dropped due to lack of funds. We hope to bring it back Thursday October 22, 2009 7:13 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:14 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
What do you think of Vacaville High? I know they have 1 loss against a very good Granite Bay team.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:14 Guest
7:15 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I am well aware of Vacaville. Super team, well coached, a real force for the D-I playoffs. We don't rank the Bulldogs any more as we next to zero circulation in that area. Yes, a very good game with Granite Bay Thursday October 22, 2009 7:15 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:15 [Comment From House FanHouse Fan: ]
What happened to Q?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:15 House Fan
7:15 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Regarding Quwan Spears - our former Bee guru is now doing Sports Information for the CIF. He's still within the greater prep circle, all class he is Thursday October 22, 2009 7:15 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:16 [Comment From CodamojoCodamojo: ]
have you had a chance to see the new alignment for next...your thoughts
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:16 Codamojo
7:16 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I have seen some of the realignments for next season and some of it looks great. I especially like Grant in one of the Delta leagues as you will have great games every week, not to mention huge crowds Thursday October 22, 2009 7:16 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:17 [Comment From Matt WingerMatt Winger: ]
So what is your take on the playoff breakdown, in my opinion the top 8-9 teams in the division 2 could beat most if not all of the teams in the division , according to the projections that were released.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:17 Matt Winger
7:18 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Playoff breakdown goes like this: Scary. If it really is Grant, Del Oro, Granite Bay, St. Mary's, Folsom, Rocklin in D-II, it's the best playoff bracket in section history. Amazing. No longer is D-I bigger, better, more attractive than D-II. That's in the past Thursday October 22, 2009 7:18 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:18 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Don't rank them because zero circulation? That is a joke... The rankings should be based on the best teams in the section/area...... not on "if" the area sells newspapers. Can't consider it a seriours ranking then.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:18 Guest
7:19 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
We rank section teams in the Section Top 10, if u care to pay attention. that is posted every sunday for 3 years now. Since dropping coverage of the MEL, we've had 2 complaints - two! You are second

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:19 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:19 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Grant is good because they have huge linemen, and get some good athletes. Coach does not care about academics. That is a shame
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:19 Guest
7:20 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
Please ice your concussion. Grant is good because of the entire program - and it starts with coaching. If Grant doesn't care about academics, how come they have so many players going to Cal? Yea, a real shame

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:20 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:20 [Comment From PharoahPharoah: ]
hey Joe how are you? Is the seeding for the playoffs based sole based on record, opponents win's, and league? or are there other elements that come into play?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:20 Pharoah
7:22 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: In short, seedings are more based on that than ever, with the starting point being top 2 from each league go. Top 32 teams in D-I and D-II are in the playoffs, and then cut in half - 16 for D-I, 16 for D-2 as an example. Check our story and mock playoff on sacbee.com/preps. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:22 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:22 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Ever think that Vacaville doesn't buy Sac Bee papers because Sac Bee doesn't discuss Vacaville? Maybe if Vacaville was covered.... then I'm sure Vaca residents would buy. I know my family and friends would. Just my opinion.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:22 Guest
7:23 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: We covered Vacaville and the MEL for decades. The circulation dried up over there, and same with Napa and Fairfield. We pleaded with coaches in recent years to call in scores, to send stats, to give us info. Virtually no luck. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:23 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:23 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
What you think of St.Mary's so far.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:23 Guest
7:24 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: St. Mary's is scary good, great coach in Tony Franks, super passing game and a bluechip recruit in Josh Harper. Excellent team. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:24 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:24 [Comment From MattMatt: ]
If Grant, Del Oro, Saint Mary's, Granite Bay, and Rocklin do end up in the same playoff bracket, how would you handicap it, and would that mean that only one would qualify for a state bowl game since only one would become a section champ?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:24 Matt
7:25 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: At this moment, I'd go with Grant and St. Mary's and Del Oro as the favorites, with Grant the winner based on defense. And only a section champ is allowed to be considered for a bowl. this bracket will be super stacked Thursday October 22, 2009 7:25 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:25 [Comment From PharoahPharoah: ]
Guest, Grants coach cares about academics. You have no clue what your talking about. He has partnered with some community groups and they strive for excellence. If you look in the late 80's and early 90's hardly any Pacers went to college back then. Believe it or not there were ,uch more talented PAcers back then
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:25 Pharoah
7:25 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
This is absolute fact. Nice to have this comment here. There's been a lot of behind the scenes work to get Grant kids on track academically. Faking grades is the weakest, poorest, joke of a rumor.

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:25 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:26 [Comment From J MontanaJ Montana: ]
How do you see the CAL panning out this year? the DC v Casa winner in a few weeks should turn out to be the champ? Agree?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:26 J Montana
7:26 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I like DC to win the CAL, with Casa Roble second. Those two teams have been the heavies of that league this entire decade Thursday October 22, 2009 7:26 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:26 [Comment From John HullJohn Hull: ]
Hi, Joe: Keep up the good work. What is your input on Monterey Trail vs. Folsom?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:26 John Hull
7:27 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
Super game Friday with MT and Folsom, defense vs. offense. I go with Dano Graves and Folsom until someone slows that team down. Last year, speed on defense and a running game doomed Folsom.

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:27 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:27 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Thanks for the info Joe... I will do my best at getting some newspapers circulating here in Vacaville..
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:27 Guest
7:28 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: We'll give u a Bee banner and some bee boxes to place in front of the school! Mark P is a super coach, and I loved working with Coach Z - an all time best. I know Tim Roe well, the sports editor at the Vacavill Reporter. He gives that region terrific coverage. The Dogs are known! Thursday October 22, 2009 7:28 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:28 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Joe, who do you see as the biggest suprise team so far?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:28 Guest
7:29 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Biggest surprise is a refreshing surprise - Lincoln and Alex Stewart, Natomas and Frank Negri, the ageless one. Makes for good stories and fresh angles Thursday October 22, 2009 7:29 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:29 [Comment From CodamojoCodamojo: ]
What are your thoughts About the Placer/Lincoln game commimg up. it will be the PVL version GB/DO game with big implications for league and playoffs Mojo Fo Lyfe
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:29 Codamojo
7:29 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Placer-Lincoln is a super showdown brewing, no doubt. I like the experience and wing-T of Placer and coach Joey Montoya, but if both are unbeaten - instant classic. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:29 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:29 [Comment From rjgbrjgb: ]
Joe - no love for GB now? remember Dwon by an extra 1st down really.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:29 rjgb
7:30 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Still lot of love for GB. Only dropped them one spot in the rankings because it was such a close game. GB may roll from here. Loaded team Thursday October 22, 2009 7:30 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:30 [Comment From PharoahPharoah: ]
Hey Joe thanks for bringing great prep coverage. I would love to shoot some ideas to you in the future!
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:30 Pharoah
7:31 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Send any ideas any time to my email at jdavidson@sacbee.com. Love to hear from the Grant basher too about any proof of faked grades. But wait, a real email means he'd have to reveal himself, and he won't. Easier to hide behind this. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:31 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:31 [Comment From BobBob: ]
Lincoln, who would'a thunk it! The game should be great, but I think Lincoln gets the nod in the mascot battle...
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:31 Bob
7:32 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Haha. No one beats the Zebras when it comes to mascots. How classic is that? Other cool thing is QB Alex Stewart...his dad, Scott, helped design the helmet logo. Talk about good living! Thursday October 22, 2009 7:32 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:32 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
I would have loved to see the Folsom 2009 vs.Casa 2008 schools go at it. That game may have ended up 70-70 at the end of regulation?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:32 Guest
7:32 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
How about Folsom this year against Grant's defense? That could happen.

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:32 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:32 [Comment From ??: ]
are you related to eddie davidson
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:32 ?
7:33 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: No clue who Eddie Davidson is, but if he just won the Lotto, I remember now. He's my cousin who owes me cash! Thursday October 22, 2009 7:33 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:33 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Casa Roble of last year should have gone to the state bowl game, not st. marys
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:33 Guest
7:33 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: There's good argument about Casa last year, but St. Mary's was pretty loaded as D-I section champs. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:33 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:33 [Comment From MattMatt: ]
Nice article, but why hasn't Bryce Pratt gotten player of the week, he is averaging 200+ a week with 20 touchdowns?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:33 Matt
7:34 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: We did a cover story on Bryce with color photo that ran twice as long as Prep of the Week story. He's gotten his love Thursday October 22, 2009 7:34 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:34 [Comment From whsDadwhsDad: ]
Where's your favorite stadium to watch a game in town (best atmospere, crowd, menu, etc)?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:34 whsDad
7:34 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Love watching games at Grant, at Placer, at NU, at Elk Grove and at Delta, the tiny school in Clarksburg. Tremendous settings. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:34 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:35 [Comment From kennykenny: ]
there's a girl kicking at inderkum this year. that's a good team. is it safe for her to be playing such a brutal sport?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:35 kenny
7:36 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
There are actually about 8 girls playing varsity football, mostly kicker or kickoff
The girls know the dangers. So far, over the years, no one has gotten hurt. I say good for them. I also notice that coaches from opposing teams go all out to block their PAT's. It's football, regardless of gender.

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:36 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:36 [Comment From JonJon: ]
Don't you think it's about time the CIF gives the Sac area HS teams a shot at those SoCal teams? Those bay area teams cant seem to win anything against those SoCal teams.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:36 Jon
7:37 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
What's nice is there is progress - a state bowl. What would have been even more of a boost is a NorCal playoff and SoCal playoff. Section commissioners in Bay Area voted it down. Gee, wonder why?

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:37 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:37 [Comment From J MontanaJ Montana: ]
I can see coach Al shutting down that Folsom sprint out...pass/run option...looking forward to that show down!
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:37 J Montana
7:37 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Al found a way to devour wing-T teams, too. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:37 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:37 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
What are the top 5 games you have witnessed in Sacramento prep football?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:37 Guest
7:38 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: All time prep football teams in Sac? Grant 2008, Elk Grove 1998, Cordova 1985, Grant 2006, NU in 1993, 94 Thursday October 22, 2009 7:38 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:38 [Comment From JonJon: ]
Pratt is overrated
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:38 Jon
7:39 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: He sure is overrated, isn't he? He's only averaging 206 yards a game with just 20 touchdown. What a bum. Why don't you tell him as much in a three point stance. Bet you'd do so in a serious back pedal Thursday October 22, 2009 7:39 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:39 [Comment From rdubrdub: ]
Jon-lmfao I thought so too but he torched my team behind their oline play
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:39 rdub
7:40 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Pratt has been terrific, and he's grown and matured as a leader. Got to admire that. And he heaps praise on his teammates and opponents. What's not to like? Thursday October 22, 2009 7:40 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:40 [Comment From J MontanaJ Montana: ]
Joe, that's the point, st M was a D1 school. They should have been in the same division as Grant...still don't understand why Casa was in that division?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:40 J Montana
7:41 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
The entire enrollment thing muddles everything up. Grant is D-II and plays in D-I bowl; St. Mary's wins section D-I and then goes to D-III bowl. Maddening. Maybe we need more bowls

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:41 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:41 [Comment From whsDadwhsDad: ]
Do you see any trends in the area that stand out as being really good or bad? For example: focus on money to drive decisions, any schools/programs dieing out, improvrd parity)?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:41 whsDad
7:42 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Bad trends are the suffering city schools and san juan unified schools where there is no money, decaying facilities. Good trend are the great crowds and student participation; also the spread offense has helped boost teams. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:42 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:42 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Why didnt some of the prep stars from last years all-metro squad not make any big school. example: Matt Satchwell from Casa Roble.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:42 Guest
7:43 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Another one is Zach Graves of Whitney. Satchwell and Graves were dominant prep players but colleges crave big guys with burst, and there are so many athletes who "don't make that cut". Satchwell is a good player. Not sure where he is now. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:43 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:43 [Comment From rjgbrjgb: ]
I give pratt his cudos, but, but, but , Ibelieve several area runners could do that behind the DO-OL
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:43 rjgb
7:43 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
Sure, that's probably true, and Pratt could probably pile up yards at any school. The guy can play. He competes

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:43 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:44 [Comment From Davis dudeDavis dude: ]
Guest makes me wonder - How is Kipeli Konesti (Grant) doing at Arizona State?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:44 Davis dude
7:44 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Last I heard Kipeli is doing fine at Arizona State. Not on the active roster but he's there. Grant starters in college football include Christian Tupou at USC (DL) and Devan Cunningham at Fresno State (OL). With real grades, even! Thursday October 22, 2009 7:44 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:45 [Comment From JonJon: ]
Really Joe? You think Pratt can get over on the Grant D? I just don't see it.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:45 Jon
7:45 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I don't know how Pratt would do against Grant D, but he'd do better than most backs in this region against the Pacers. Grant may not allow anyone to run on them, Adrian Peterson included Thursday October 22, 2009 7:45 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:45 [Comment From sedbrosedbro: ]
With the school reallingnment next year, the CAl league is definitely going to see some big changes in their league schedules. do you think the move is a smart one?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:45 sedbro
7:46 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Too early to tell in CAL. Realignment is a necessary thing, and it's about the hardest thing to juggle. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:46 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:46 [Comment From J MontanaJ Montana: ]
Satch is at Sierra, not playing ball this year...he has promised AR coaches that plays for them next year...then in two more years, who knows!
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:46 J Montana
7:46 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Zach Graves is also at Sierra. If Satch has promised ARC coaches he's headed that why, why is he still at Sierra? Thursday October 22, 2009 7:46 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:47 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
How do you explain the overall strength of the SFL? So much talent in one league. Is it because the schools have money.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:47 Guest
7:47 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: SFL strength is based on a lot of factors - administrative support, tremendous coaches, big rosters and good athletes, community towns. And money helps. Absolutely. Lot of money generated, lof of money put in. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:47 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:47 [Comment From whsDadwhsDad: ]
Who are your projected league champs around town?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:47 whsDad
7:48 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I like Grant in Metro, Folsom in DRL, NU in Delta Valley, Placer in PVL, DC in CAL, Inderkum in Tri Thursday October 22, 2009 7:48 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:48 [Comment From Davis dudeDavis dude: ]
Do you think Folsom would have a chance of beating Grant if they met in playoffs?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:48 Davis dude
7:49 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: If both teams are healthy, Folsom absolutely has a chance against Grant. You bet. But...if Folsom can't handle Grant's speed pass rush and can't slow down Butler, lights out Thursday October 22, 2009 7:49 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:49 [Comment From garygary: ]
Who do you think will win the Rocklin-Granite bay game Friday
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:49 gary
7:49 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I will go with Granite Bay. Ernie Cooper is a master in recovery games. If Rocklin wins with Jackson Cummings and that passing game, that team is for real and GB is suddenly reeling big time Thursday October 22, 2009 7:49 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:49 [Comment From JonJon: ]
Davis dude, defense wins championships -- Folsom doesn't have any D
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:49 Jon
7:50 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Actually, Jon...Folsom's D is better than it's been in years. Allowing 14 points - against starters. But is it section title good? We'll see. We'll see if they slow the Monterey Trail veer that averages nearly 350 yards on the ground. Huge test. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:50 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:50 [Comment From Davis dudeDavis dude: ]
Jon - good point, but that's why I ask the question. Is Folsom offense so good that they become the exception to the rule
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:50 Davis dude
7:51 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Folsom's offense is fun and scary good, and it's a great question - can it overcome a pass rush? We find out Friday Thursday October 22, 2009 7:51 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:51 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
any thought to revenue sharing to equalize money for rich schools and schools in poorer areas?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:51 Guest
7:52 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: It wouldn't be fair to revenue share, though the idea is a noble one. Why should a Del Oro work so hard and have to hand money over to a San Juan? We'll never see it happen Thursday October 22, 2009 7:52 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:52 [Comment From whsDadwhsDad: ]
Who runs the best WingT: Indy, Oakdale, Placer, Lincoln, NU, or someone else?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:52 whsDad
7:53 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
Best wing-T is still NU, the masters, and then there's Placer with Joey Montoya, too. Those teams could win section titles, too, NU in D-I and Placer in D-IV

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:53 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:53 [Comment From JonJon: ]
I'm gonna go look up their stats Joe, I could of swore they gave up a lot of points.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:53 Jon
7:53 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Overall, Folsom has given up some points, yes, but the starters have allowed about 14 a game, according to the coaches. They pull their guys in routs. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:53 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:53 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Who you think has a better offense this year St.Mary's or Folsom.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:53 Guest
7:54 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: It's about even between these teams offensively. The amazing thing is St. Mary's is senior dominated and Folsom is junior dominated. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:54 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:54 [Comment From Davis dudeDavis dude: ]
Joe - Do you think there is any underlying resentment of Grant's success? Everybody but everybody has been in their shadow for 3 of the past 4 years. It must be frustrating, yes?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:54 Davis dude
7:54 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: There is huge resentment to Grant's success. That's why some people offer idiotic claims of doctored grades, etc. People don't like to see winers, year after year. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:54 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:54 [Comment From VinceVince: ]
What chance do you give resurgent Mira Loma against DC tomorrow?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:54 Vince
7:55 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I give the upstart Mats a fighting chance - for a half. DC is too strong, too deep, too motivated with the ultimate player in Ryan Dimino. DC wins 48-17 Thursday October 22, 2009 7:55 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:55 [Comment From DodgersruleDodgersrule: ]
Folsom starting D gave up 26 points against an average Casa offense. Not sure where u r getting your info, but it`s not accurate.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:55 Dodgersrule
7:56 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Casa also was down 34-0 just before the half, thanks in part to a lot of 3 and outs. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:56 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:56 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Good point Joe, Casa is just not as talented as they were last year. Folsom had there backups in by halftime against Casa Roble
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:56 Guest
7:57 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com:
Casa was loaded last year and is still dangerous now. Huge CAL showdown - year after year - is Casa-DC

Thursday October 22, 2009 7:57 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:57 [Comment From MattMatt: ]
maybe you people should read and you would understand that he is talking about their starters
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:57 Matt
7:58 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Yes, the starters. Maybe the Grant hater can suggest that the Grant starters get better grades than the reserves? Thursday October 22, 2009 7:58 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:58 [Comment From Davis dudeDavis dude: ]
Nobody is talklin Del Oro much tonight. No respect for No. 2. How far do you think they can go?
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:58 Davis dude
7:58 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: If DO won the section, no surprise. History shows the ingredients to success is dominating run game and sound defense. Golden Eagles have that. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:58 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:58 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
What's amazing to me is the players on the dominant teams that sit out a half or more and still are near the top in game stats! Imagine their totals if they played a whole game.
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:58 Guest
7:59 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: That is amazing, yes, but could u imagine the hideous scores if that happened? 80, 90 points and a lot of fights and bad blood. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:59 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
7:59 [Comment From DodgersruleDodgersrule: ]
That`s a lie!! Score was 34 to 14 @ half, and Folsom coaches were worried when Casa scored the first 2 times they had the ball in the 2nd half. I should know, i worked the chains that game and was right with their coaches!!
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:59 Dodgersrule
7:59 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: We don't lie! I said i was 34-0 just befor the half. with 3 min to go. Thursday October 22, 2009 7:59 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
8:00 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Bottom line is this, chain man - Folsom lead Casa 34-0 late second. How much more defense u need? Casa did nothing for most of the first half Thursday October 22, 2009 8:00 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
8:00 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
You need to give more twitter updates on Friday nigh. I know people are tweeting you with scores. Share them
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:00 Guest
8:01 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: I tweet like a mad man! Will stretch out my thumbs Friday. The goal is to have mass tweet for scores. Thursday October 22, 2009 8:01 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
8:01 [Comment From VinceVince: ]
Just a general question, where do you get the information for score by score breakdowns on Saturday/Sunday? Do coaches call them in?
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:01 Vince
8:02 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Yes, we are totally at the mercy of coaches/stat keepers to phone in scores. It's the duty of the home coach to do so. Thursday October 22, 2009 8:02 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
8:02 [Comment From OL/DLOL/DL: ]
What do you think of the Christian Brothers/Oak Ridge match up Saturday? Looks to be a big one for the SVC playoff slot.
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:02 OL/DL
8:02 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Graet game. I think the winner takes the SVC. Favorite has to be Oak Ridge as it is on a roll, though CBS line and running game and QB Lahey are darn good, too Thursday October 22, 2009 8:02 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
8:03 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]
Do you think Grant for example would be better prepared for State play offs if they were challenged more in their league games? Sitting players for so much during a game while admired for sportsmanship doesn't really prepare them for a tight hard fought game.
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:03 Guest
8:03 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: No doubt Grant would be better prepared for even the section playoffs if it had more competition in Metro play. SFL teams will be battle tested come playoff time, though Grant will have more depth and more rested athletes, too Thursday October 22, 2009 8:03 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com
8:05 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com: Ok folks...that was fun. Keep reading our blogs, our game stories, features. And tweet the scores! Until next time... Thursday October 22, 2009 8:05 JoeDavidson@sacbee.com

October 22, 2009
A shout out to prep peeps: Live chat to talk football at 7 p.m.

At 7 tonight, I will conduct a live prep football chat for one hour. All topics are on the table - state bowl pursuits, rankings, top players, playoffs, realignment. Looking forward to it. We hope to make it a weekly segment. Log onto sacbee.com/live.

October 21, 2009
Section football bowl ranking dominance won't equate in postseason

These are heady times for Sac-Joaquin Section football.

In today's latest Cal-Hi Sports state bowl rankings, Grant is No. 1 in Division I, Del Oro No. 1 in D-II, St. Mary's of Stockton No. 1 in D-III and Modesto Christian No. 1 in Small Schools among Northern California teams.

It's been that way for several weeks.

But while the possibility of four section teams competing in the California Interscholastic Federation state bowl games Dec. 18-19 at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles might be a nice thought, it isn't going to happen.

Take a look at Nathaniel Levine's Week 6 .playoff projections, and you'll note that Grant, Del Oro and St. Mary's are all in D-II. So are 6-0 Folsom, 6-0 Rocklin and 5-1 Granite Bay.

Those are five (St. Mary's is considered out of the area) of the top six teams in The Bee rankings.

The No. 1 criteria to qualify for a state bowl is that a team must win its section championship. That means most of the section's best teams will have no chance of advancing.

It does mean that the team that survives the 16-team D-II gauntlet will be all but a lock to play in the state bowl.

But it potentially reduces the section's chances of having more than one representative, as it did last season when Grant played in the Open Division game and St. Mary's in the D-II contest.

October 21, 2009
Projected prep football playoff brackets to this point

You can never have too many prep fans these days. The more eyes, ears and observations the better, and that's why we appreciate our pal Nathaniel Levine at The Bee all the more. He's a prep fan who starting this week will put together a projected Sac-Joaquin Section football playoff bracket based on games to that point.

Take a look at what he has here.

The division of note is D-II with Grant, St. Mary's, Del Oro, Granite Bay, Rocklin and Folsom. Folsom, for years a D-I program, would make the D-II cut, though it could still wind up in D-I. Nothing is concrete just yet, except that Nathaniel's projection is a fun read.

October 18, 2009
Dimino's Dirty Dozen prep football rankings

Another look at Dimino's Dozen prep football rankings (and eight others in The Red Zone).

Jim Dimino is one of the legendary coaching figures in Sac-Joaquin Section history, leading a juggernaut football program at El Camino in the 1970s and '80s. This is the 25th anniversary season of the Eagles 1984 Section Division II title team (the '85 team also won the section).

Dimino is the longtime color man to play-by-play voice Will James on the weekly Access Sacramento Game of the Week on the Hometown Sports Network (check local listings and check our prep site on Sacbee.com for weekly game highlights).

We will run Jim's rankings each Sunday when we run our Section Top 10. The Bee's regional Top 20 runs Tuesdays.

Dimino's Dozen

1. Grant (7-0)
2. Del Oro (6-0)
3. Inderkum (6-0)
4. Granite Bay (5-1)
5. Rocklin (6-0)
6. Folsom (6-0)
7. Del Campo (5-1)
8. Nevada Union (5-1)
9. Placer (6-0)
10. Monterey Trail (5-1)
11. Pleasant Grove (4-2)
12. Rio Linda (6-0)

In the Red Zone

13. Sheldon (5-1)
14. Lincoln (6-0)
15. Oakmont (5-1)
16. Oak Ridge (3-3)
17. Whitney (4-2)
18. Christian Brothers (4-2)
19. Casa Roble (3-3)
20. Dixon (5-1)

October 18, 2009
The Bee's latest Section Top 10 football rankings

Nearly the season's midway point of a 14-week season - yes, we factor in the December push for bowls - here's the latest Bee Sac-Joaquin Section poll.
Holding strong is the Sierra Foothill League with three teams in Del Oro, Granite Bay and Rocklin.
Del Oro beat Granite Bay 27-21 in overtime in The Game of the Year that lived up to the billing, and that's why we flip-flopped Granite Bay and Del Oro in the rankings. I factor in heavily strength of schedule, how close games are. And to dump Granite Bay below teams that have not played a team as strong as Del Oro would be missing the point of rankings and irresponsible. Yes, this may upset Folsom and Inderkum, to which we reply with this: Keep winning. Victories speak louder than words.

The Bee's Sac-Joaquin Section Top 10
1. Grant (7-0)
It was more of the same for the Pacers, who crunched Sacramento 63-0 in a Metropolitan Conference game in posting the sixth shutout of the season. Devontae Butler rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns and touched the ball just twice in the second half as coaches Mike Alberghini and Reggie Harris continue to play a host of reserves in the second half of routs. Glenn Deary passed for 117 yards and two scores, Dezmon Epps had two touchdowns and ace defenders Viliami Moala, Darryl Paulo and James Sample were again ferocious. Moala had eight tackles, five for losses, Sample had nine tackles and a fumble recovery for a score, and Paulo pleaded with his coaches to let him have more second half snaps as long as he produced tackles. No deal. He opened the third with a tackle then took a seat. The Pacers are into burying teams but not into running up scores, a credit to Alberghini and his staff. Next is a home game against Kennedy, which has put points on the scoreboard this season. But can it sustain drives against the Pacers?

2. St. Mary's (6-0)
The Rams rolled easily again in what could be the makings of the best team in school history, and that's saying something considering the tradition here, including the team that won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title last fall. In piling up 473 yards, St. Mary's crushed West of Tracy 62-7, the same West that Granite Bay beat a week earlier 40-0. Maurice Howze scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half while rushing for 143 yards, and Chad West added 129 and two more scores. Marcus McDade had two touchdowns and Josh Harper returned an interception 52 yards for a score. Next up for the heavy favorites in the Tri-City League is Stagg, looming at a very dangerous 5-1.

3. Del Oro (6-0)
The Golden Eagles wanted to make this a statement recovery season after an injury-ravaged 4-6 showing in 2008. So far, so good. So far, major wow, even. The Golden Eagles opened Sierra Foothill League play with a 27-21 overtime victory over rival Granite Bay in Loomis in a game every bit as good as advertised. Workhorse back Bryce Pratt came in averaging 200 yards a game, and he feasted on any notion that he couldn't do nearly that much damage against Granite Bay, the best defense he has faced this season. Pratt carried 37 times for 221 yards and three scores, including the overtime winner, leaving Grizzlies coach Ernie Cooper to say afterward, "He's a stud." Del Oro's line play was again superb, as was the defense with Adrian Williams, Blake Landry and Angelo Pasquale, who sealed it with an overtime interception. Del Oro coach Casey Taylor reminded this week that Granite Bay humbled his team last season 50-8, and he introduced hitting drills in practice this season to raise the intensity. What he has now is a juggernaut, though now he is reminding the troops that they can't let up now. Next is always dangerous Roseville.

4. Granite Bay (5-1)
The Grizzlies will stew with the Del Oro loss for awhile, but how the team responds will make or break the season. Granite Bay has all the pieces to recover and make an SFL title run, though Del Oro now has the inside track to the SFL title. This is how balanced the game was statistically: Del Oro had 296 yards and Granite Bay 282. Cory Brehm rushed for 106 yards and Devaunte Bolton 73. Brendan Keeney passed for 88 yards, including Matt Kasner for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal. Ian Rhodes had catches for 33 yards. Next is another major test, against Rocklin. A win here and the Grizzlies are right back on track.

5. Folsom (6-0)
The Bulldogs are a scoring machine, having put up 54 or more points four times with back-to-back 55-point outings in shelling Casa Roble and Jesuit, the Jesuit win kicking off Delta River League play. Dano Graves put up some more astounding numbers against Jesuit: 28 of 36 for 394 yards and five touchdowns and just one interception. He also rushed for 47 yards and a score as Folsom had 197 yards on the ground as the Bulldogs amassed 591 yards of offense. Kori Babineaux had 135 yards receiving and two scores and Tyler Trosin had 124 and two. Next is a major defensive test against Monterey Trail, which has posted four shutouts, the latest coming Friday with a 44-0 effort against previously unbeaten Sheldon.

6. Inderkum (6-0)
The Tigers roared and rolled again, taking out River Valley 67-0 in a Tri-County League rout that might become the norm unless foes can find a way to slow this bunch down. Antonio Bumpers scored on runs of 50 and 18 yards, Devin Hartley had three scores, including a 75-yard punt return, and Demetrius Williams - steady all season at QB - had three touchdown passes. Defense has also been a strength for Inderkum, with three shutouts and a 51-7 rout, too. The only complaint - from outsiders - is the strength of schedule. But don't fault the players. Inderkum can only play who lines up across from the ball, and coach Terry Stark has tried to set up tougher games. Not always as easy as calling a coach and saying, "See you Friday." Next is a home game against Pioneer.

7. Rocklin (6-0)
Jackson Cummings, slowed by injuries a year ago, has been in cruise control all season. The senior tailback had 181 yards rushing, including an 87-yard effort, and three touchdowns to lead a 28-0 win over Woodcreek to open Sierra Foothill League play. There was a minor scare at one point when steady QB James Laughrea was sidelined with an injury, though he returned to hit Cummings for a touchdown. Tiger Sorenson had a touchdown pass in place of Laughrea. The irony is, when Sorenson went down a year ago with an injury, it was Laughrea who took over. Sorenson is now one of the team's top receivers. Next is a tilt at Granite Bay. The Thunder already has one monster win against a higher ranked foe, against Nevada Union in Week 2.

8. Nevada Union (5-1)
The Miners body slammed Valley 42-0 in a Delta Valley League opener, thanks to a defense that yielded a school-record low negative 80 yards rushing. It is also believed to be a Northern California record, according to Cal-Hi Sports. The defensive aces included Eric Niederberger, Chad Knight and Justin Fike as Valley crossed midfield just once. Broughan Jantz passed for 147 yards and two scores - to Duncan Chapple and Jason Herbert. Next is Franklin of Elk Grove on Saturday night at Cosumnes Oaks, a team considerably better than Valley.

9. Tracy (6-0)
The Bulldogs impressed in a 37-21 triumph of Lincoln-Stockton, which has a win over Pleasant Grove this fall. And there was plenty of motivation and sighs of relief afterward as Tracy downed the Trojans for the first time in 15 seasons to take the early lead in the San--Joaquin Athletic Association. Casey Winchman passed for 154 yards and two scores and Tracy rushed 45 times for 245 yards, headed by Depray Celestine, who had 105, and Jordan Strong rushed for two scores. Tracy also had four interceptions. Next is Chavez.

10. Oakdale (6-0)
Top-ranked by the Modesto Bee, the Mustangs are in early command of the Valley Oak League after wiping out East Union 55-14. Devin Brooks took the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and Tim House had three touchdown runs for the traditional power that routed Whitney earlier this season.
On the bubble: Placer (6-0); Monterey Trail (5-1); Vacaville (5-1); Sierra (6-0); Vanden (6-0); Del Campo (5-1); Rio Linda (6-0); Sonora (5-1); Lincoln (6-0).

October 18, 2009
A look at the Week 7 prep football schedule

A look at the Week 7 schedule for area high school football. Games of intrigue include Monterey Trail at Folsom; Rocklin at Granite Bay; Nevada Union at Franklin-Elk Grove; Pleasant Grove at Sheldon and Oak Ridge at Christian Brothers.


Capital Athletic League
El Camino at Casa Roble
Mira Loma at Del Campo
Capital Valley Conference
Dixon at Cosumnes Oaks
Foothill at Antelope
River City at Rio Linda
West Campus at Center

Delta River League
Florin vs. Jesuit at Monterey Trail
Monterey Trail at Folsom
Pleasant Grove at Sheldon
Delta Valley League
Laguna Creek at Elk Grove
Valley at Davis

Golden Empire League
Encina at Golden Sierra
Highlands at Capital Christian
San Juan at Lindhurst

Metropolitan Conference
Burbank at Rosemont
Kennedy at Grant

Pioneer Valley League
El Dorado at Colfax
Mesa Verde at Whitney
Placer at Bear River

Sacramento Metro
Delta at Bradshaw Christian
Foresthill at Vacaville Christian

Sierra Foothill League
Oakmont at Woodcreek
Rocklin at Granite Bay
Roseville at Del Oro

Sierra Valley League
Ponderosa at Galt
Union Mine at Cordova

Tri-County League
Natomas at Yuba City
Pioneer at Inderkum
River Valley at Woodland

Marysville at Lincoln


Capital Athletic League
Bella Vista at Rio Americano

Metropolitan League
Johnson at Sacramento

Sierra Valley League
Oak Ridge at Christian Brothers

Delta Valley League
Nevada Union at Franklin, 7:15 p.m.

Cristo Rey vs. Valley Christian at Highlands
McClatchy vs. Vista del Lago at Folsom
Cornerstone Christian at Woodland Christian

October 17, 2009
Del Oro casts out the demons with overtime win against Granite Bay

The last two times Del Oro played Granite Bay, the Golden Eagles lost 50-8 and 49-14.

"They humbled us mentally and physically," Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said.

Friday night in Loomis, the Golden Eagles showed that they have rebounded nicely from those bruisings dished out by the their Sierra Foothill League nemesis.

In an entertaining, well-played game, the No. 3 Golden Eagles (6-0, 1-0) beat No. 2 Granite Bay 27-21 in overtime in front of an overflow crowd of nearly 5,000 to take a leg up on the Grizzlies (5-1, 0-1) in the ultra-competitive SFL.

Tireless senior running back Bryce Pratt set the tone.

He rushed 37 times for 221 yards and three touchdowns, including the six-yard game winner in overtime. That came two plays after Angelo Pasquale intercepted Brendan Keeney's pass on the first overtime series, in which teams start at the opponent's 10-yard line and have four plays in which to score.

It was the only turnover of the game.

Pratt, who has rushed for 1,221 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, packed the ball on all but three running plays for Del Oro.

His most impressive was a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

The 6-foot, 195-pound senior appeared to be going down near midfield after breaking through the middle of the line. But somehow he found his balance without his knee touching the ground, squirted away from a couple of Grizzlies and outran another the rest of the way to the end zone.

That was one of the few big plays in what was a methodical battle between the two well-matched teams.

Pratt capped an eight-play, 68-yard drive by scoring on a 14-yard run to open the game and the Golden Eagles used up nearly 10 minutes on a 16-play, 74-yard drive that ended with Max Magleby's two-yard touchdown dive with 4 minutes to play in the first half. It put Del Oro up 14-7.

Granite Bay scored on a 15-play, 60-yard drive - quarterback Brendan Keeney diving in for the touchdown from one-yard out - late in the first quarter to close at 7-7, then knotted it again at 14-14 early in the third quarter with a nine-play, 50-yard drive, capped by Matt Kine's four-year touchdown run.

Danny Thomas ignited that march by returning the opening kickoff 60 yards (although a 15-yard penalty pushed the ball back to midfield).

After Pratt's breakaway to put the Golden Eagles up 21-14 with 6:40 to go in the third, Granite Bay tied it a third time, 21-21, when Keeney found tight end Matt Kasner open in the back of the end zone for a three-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal with 3.6 seconds to play in the third quarter. The Grizzlies drove 49 yards in eight plays off of a Del Oro punt.

Granite Bay got as close as the Del Oro 33 midway in the fourth quarter, but Keeney was the victim of a couple of dropped passes and the Grizzlies turned the ball over on downs.

The Golden Eagles marched the other way with another drive that chewed up more than six minutes.

They ran 11 plays, in which Pratt carried nine times for 34 yards, setting up Ian Scott for a 35-yard field goal attempt with 7.6 seconds to play. But Scott's knuckling, line-drive attempt was too low.

Granite Bay got the ball first in overtime.

Starting at the Del Oro 10, Devaunte Bolton went five yards, then Cory Brehm was gang tackled for a one-yard loss. On third and 6, Pasquale picked off Keeney's pass in the end zone.

Pratt ran four yards on first down, then found a nice hole off tackle and busted through to score the game winner. That set off a wild celebration in which half of Loomis seemed to storm the field.

Del Oro had 296 total yards and Granite Bay 282.

Magleby completed 10 of 16 passes for 81 yards. Spencer Butterfield had six catches for 58 yards.

Brehm rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries and Bolton 73 on 15. Keeney finished 9 of 19 for 88 yards. Ian Rhodes had five catches for 44 yards.

The game validated what Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper offered beforehand in comparing and contrasting the two highly successful programs.

"We both have quality programs," he said. "We work hard here, and they do the same at Del Oro with the strength programs and the commitment."

With the win, Del Oro ends three consecutive losses to Granite Bay. The Grizzlies still lead the series 8-4 overall.

October 16, 2009
Fabled Wing-T is no more at resurgent Mira Loma

Mira Loma, once the area cradle of the Wing-T, is no longer running the deception-based, run-oriented offense.

One of the first things new coach Matt Costa did was to scrape the once popular offense for a more "conventional" attack.

It seems to have worked.

The Matadors are 4-1 heading into tonight's homecoming game and Capital Athletic League opener against Rio Americano at El Camino High School.

In a 31-14 win over River Valley last Friday, quarterback Alex Gomes-Coelho completed 18 of 24 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns. Kenna McCord caught seven passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Josiah Robinson had six for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Gomes-Coelho has passed for 1,055 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games.

But the Matadors can run, too.

In a 25-10 win over Cosumnes Oaks Sept. 25, running back Desmond Smart rushed for 203 yards on 15 carries and scored three touchdowns.

"We just felt that if we did it correctly, a more balanced offense made better sense for us," Costa said.

Back in the day, the Wing-T was all the rage on the Arden-Arcade campus under legendary coaches Don Brown and Gerry Kundert. Their offense produced many a confused defense and 16 league titles.

But Kundert and Brown long ago retired and the Matadors haven't had a winning team since 1996.

Two former Kundert-Brown players - Dave Humphers at No. 7 Nevada Union and Terry Stark at No. 4 Inderkum - have made the Wing-T and integral part of success at their respective schools.

October 15, 2009
A look at the latest state bowl rankings for NorCal teams

A look at the latest Cal-HiSports/ESPN State Bowl Division Rankings for Northern California programs.
Keep in mind that to be bowl eligible, teams must win a section championship.

Division I North
1. (1) Grant (Sacramento) 6-0 def. Rosemont 56-7
2. (2) De La Salle (Concord) 3-2 def. Monte Vista (Danville) 28-21
3. (4) Granite Bay 6-0 def. W. Tracy 40-0
4. (3) Monte Vista (Danville) 4-1 lost to De La Salle (Concord) 28-21
5. (9) Folsom 5-0 def. Casa Roble (Orangevale) 55-33
6. (5) Serra (San Mateo) 3-2 lost to St. Francis (Mountain View) 27-24
7. (10) Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) 4-1 def. Valley Christian (SJ) 54-24
8. (7) Milpitas 5-0 def. Saratoga 55-21
9. (8) Berkeley 5-0 def. DeAnza (Richmond) 69-0
10. (11) Lincoln (Stockton) 4-1 def. Downey (Modesto) 42-3
11. (6) Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 3-2 lost to Del Campo (Fair Oaks) 20-7
12. (NR) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 4-1 def. Granada (Livermore) 13-3
13. (14) Pittsburg 2-3 def. Fremont (Oakland) 51-6
14. (15) Deer Valley (Antioch) 5-0 def. Vallejo 28-7
15. (NR) Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 4-1 def. Franklin (Stockton) 41-23

On the bubble: San Ramon Valley (Danville) 4-1, Sheldon (Sacramento) 5-0, Tracy 5-0, Vacaville 4-1, Fairfield 4-1, Foothill (Pleasanton) 3-2, Granada (Livermore) 3-2, Heritage (Brentwood) 4-1, San Benito (Hollister) 6-0.

Breakdown: When you play in the East Bay Athletic League, there are few breathers. De La Salle took care of business against Monte Vista (Danville) so now the Spartans get San Ramon Valley (Danville), which is 4-1 having only lost to California (San Ramon), another Bubble team. And Monte Vista will try to regroup against Amador Valley (Pleasanton), which moved into the Top 15 at a solid No. 12 after downing Granada (Livermore) which just one week earlier took care of Foothill (Pleasanton). There was obviously no movement at the top of these rankings since Grant (Sacramento) won but wait, the Pacers gave up a touchdown and extra point to Rosemont. Maybe there's hope after all as Grant bids for its 20th straight win against Sacramento. The game of the week this week will be the Serra (San Mateo) vs. Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) West Catholic Athletic League showdown.

Division II North
1. (1) Del Oro (Loomis) 5-0 def. Vintage (Napa) 60-0
2. (2) St. Francis (Mountain View) 4-1 def. Serra (San Mateo) 27-24
3. (3) Los Gatos 4-1 def. Homestead (Cupertino) 49-14
4. (4) Oakdale 5-0 def. Ceres 56-6
5. (5) Rocklin 5-0 def. Napa 49-21
6. (6) Inderkum (Sacramento) 5-0 def. Woodcreek (Roseville) 39-14
7. (7) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 5-0 def. St. Ignatius (SF) 47-24
8. (8) Sierra (Manteca) 5-0 def. Manteca 23-15
9. (9) Novato 4-2 def. Drake (San Anselmo) 59-0
10. (10) Shasta (Redding) 6-0 def. Oroville 62-20
On the bubble: Casa Roble (Orangevale) 2-3, Bella Vista (Fair Oaks) 5-0, Del Campo (Fair Oaks) 4-1, Encinal (Alameda) 4-1, Enterprise (Redding) 6-0, Foothill (Palo Cedro) 3-2, Lincoln 5-0, Manteca 3-2, Paradise 5-1, Petaluma 6-0, Placer (Auburn) 5-0, Sonora 5-0, Whitney (Rocklin) 3-2.

Breakdown: All kinds of teams are just waiting for one of the Top 10 teams to lose but last week none of them did, with only No. 2 St. Francis (Mountain View) and No. 8 Sierra (Manteca) threatened. Maybe the Lancers, losers only to Palma (Salinas), were looking ahead to this week's WCAL game against dangerous Valley Christian (San Jose) which is 3-2. If Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) and Bellarmine survive this week, it'll be some show next Friday at San Jose City College when the two collide. Northern Section fans won't have to wait a week as the two Redding teams, No. 10 Shasta and bubble Enterprise, put their 6-0 records on the line Friday at Enterprise. To give you an idea of how tough it's been to crack the top 10, Del Campo of Fair Oaks topped D1 North-ranked Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove, 20-7, but couldn't get in since the No. 9 and No. 10 teams won by 59-0 and 62-20.

Division III North
1. (1) St. Mary's (Stockton) 5-0 def. Central Catholic (Modesto) 50-28
2. (3) Palma (Salinas) 4-1-1 tied Seaside 21-21
3. (2) Central Catholic (Modesto) 4-1 lost to St. Mary's (Stockton) 50-28
4. (5) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 4-1 def. Redwood (Larkspur) 42-17
5. (4) Valley Christian (San Jose) 3-2 lost to Bellarmine Prep (SJ) 54-24
6. (6) Escalon 5-0 def. Bret Harte (Angels Camp) 43-0
7. (7) Hilmar 5-0 def. Argonaut (Jackson) 20-14
8. (8) The King's Academy (Sunnyvale) 5-0 def. Aragon (San Mateo) 35-27
9. (NR) Seaside 3-1-1 tied Palma (Salinas) 21-21
10. (9) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 2-3 def. Piner (Santa Rosa) 48-0

On the bubble: Argonaut (Jackson) 3-2, Colfax 3-2, Fort Bragg 5-0, Fortuna 4-1, Healdsburg 5-1, Ripon 4-1, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 3-2, Scotts Valley 3-2, Sutter 4-2, Wheatland 5-1.

Breakdown: St. Mary's left little doubt as to which team in this division is the best with the 22-point win over Central Catholic (Modesto). And now that the Rams are entering league play unbeaten, the likelihood is that if they lose it's going to be in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II playoffs, which would make them ineligible for a bowl game. If they win out in those playoffs, they might to be in the D3 bowl game either because to do that will likely require beating Grant, Del Oro, Granite Bay, Rocklin or a combination of the two. That could put the Rams in the open division bowl game, although we also can foresee the CIF still going with the Rams in D3 if there are no other bowl eligible teams on the board that would be competitive with an Oaks Christian or St. Bonaventure. Newly-ranked Seaside, head coach Alfred Avila's team that tied Palma, also has wins this season against Independence (San Jose), Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) and Santa Cruz

Small Schools North
1. (1) Modesto Christian 5-0 def. Amador (Sutter Creek) 54-14
2. (2) Ferndale 6-0 def. South Fork (Miranda) 51-7
3. (3) St. Francis (Watsonville) 4-1 Idle
4. (4) Modoc (Alturas) 6-0 def. Etna 37-0
5. (5) Portola 6-0 def. East Nicolas (Nicolas) 58-0
6. (6) Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) 4-1 def. Big Valley Christian (Modesto) 47-6
7. (7) Hamilton (Hamilton City) 5-1 def. Colusa 35-13
8. (8) Capital Christian (Sac.) 3-2 def. Encina (Sacramento) 42-13
9. (10) Hoopa Valley (Hoopa) 5-0 def. University Prep (Redding) 40-7
10. (NR) Fall River (McArthur) 4-2 def. Los Molinos 52-20

On the bubble: Burney 4-2, Colusa 4-2, East Nicolas (Nicolas) 4-2, St. Bernard (Eureka) 3-3, St. Elizabeth (Oakland) 2-3, St. Vincent (Petaluma) 3-2, Vacaville Christian 4-1, Weed 3-3.

Breakdown: With Portola crushing East Nicolas (Nicolas) and Hamilton (Hamilton City) beating Colusa, Portola and Hamilton are headed for a Mid-Valley League showdown Friday at Portola. Remember, Hamilton represented the North last year in this division, so the game has plenty of meaning. A fourth Northern Section team, Fall River, returns to the top 10 in this week's rankings.

October 15, 2009
Sac High's highly recruited Josiah Turner plans Kansas visit

Sacramento High junior guard Josiah Turner, who decommitted from Arizona State this summer, will be in Kansas Friday to take in the Late Night in the Phog, the opening ceremonies for the Jayhawks men's and women's basketball programs.

According to Jerry Meyer, recruiting coodinator for Rivals.com, Turner has received offers from Kansas, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Florida International, SMU and Arizona State.

ESPN.com calls the 6-foot-3 Turner, ranked No. 11th nationally among prep point guards by Scout.com, arguably the top point guard prospect in California, regardless of class.

October 15, 2009
A look inside Monterey Trail football practice

Stopped by Monterey Trail on Thursday to catch up with coach T.J. Ewing, who raves about his team's spirited play, the offensive balance with a strong offensive line, quarterback Michael Calvan, running back Drake Tofi and receiver Jay Flury.
And the defense. It's been tremendous with three shutouts to key a four-game winning streak that has the No. 11 Mustangs off to a school-record best 4-1 start with No. 8 Sheldon coming in Friday for a Delta River League showdown.

October 15, 2009
Keys to No. 11 Monterey Trail's succes: inspired play and coach Ewing

It takes a lot of people to make a football program succeed at the high school level, from administrators to the athletes. It takes one impact leader to help mold a program, and at Monterey Trail, it's T.J. Ewing.

He's a bear of a man, a lineman from his high school days in the Bay Area and college tour at Eastern Washington, and he coaches with the same tenacity in which he played. The No. 11 Mustangs are off to a school-record 4-1 start, having won four in a row with three shutouts heading into Friday's showdown with No. 8 Sheldon to kickoff Delta River League play.

The veer offense has been terrific behind quarterback Michael Calvan, Drake Tofi and running back Sedale Hunter, and the line play has the coach grinning.
And the defense has been one of the Sac-Joaquin Section's best, a fast and physical bunch headed by Rozale Byrd, Ethan Clark, Kalamani Fili, Lamin Wilson and Sione Sina, Jim Meadows and David Martinez. Fili returned from an injury after several weeks out and had 11 tackles in a 39-0 win over Bethel.

More reason to feel proud if you're Ewing: This is a much better view. Ewing was there when the Mustangs endured a brutal 19-game losing streak in the program's infancy. He raves about his team's loyalty, with players gutting out adversity. The rewards are the wins now.

October 15, 2009
Granite Bay-Del Oro has become best rivalry of the decade

Remember the days when Division I teams ruled to roost in these parts, when it was Cordova, Nevada Union, Grant, Elk Grove head and shoulders above the crowd?

Now that crowd includes a ton of Division II teams, headed by Grant, Granite Bay and Del Oro (though NU is still formidable in D-I, but it also has a loss to D-II Rocklin). Friday's Sierra Foothill League showdown between No. 2 Granite Bay and No. 3 Del Oro is yet another titanic clash of these area heavyweights. And really, hasn't Del Oro-Granite Bay emerged as the rivalry of the decade, at the same level that Grant and Nevada Union had in the 1990s and earlier this decade? Or Cordova and Christian Brothers in the 1980s?

In 2005, Del Oro was The Bee's top-ranked team most of the season, and the Golden Eagles finished 13-0 under coach Casey Taylor and were named Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year in D-II. In 2007, Del Oro was top-ranked by The Bee most of the season before being beaten by Granite Bay 21-14 to snap a 26-game winning streak. Weeks later in the Section D-II title game, Granite Bay was even better, rolling 49-14 to claim the third section title under coach Ernie Cooper since 1999.

Last season, Granite Bay was top ranked by The Bee for the first half of the season, before falling to Roseville. The Grizzlies wiped out Del Oro in an SFL game 50-8 and then lost a heartbreaker to Grant in the playoffs.

Now here they come again, Granite Bay ranked below only Grant and Del Oro right behind the Grizzlies. Both teams are sporting 5-0 records and have looked terrific this season.

Said Cooper this week, "We don't want to put the paralysis into analysis, but there does have to be incredible attention to detail. It's not the NFL or a BCS college game. But for us and Del Oro, it's a very important high school game. It's almost a shame we just couldn't meet in the playoffs."

So who wins this one? It's Granite Bay's stout defense headed by Jacob Kludjian taking on Del Oro's dominant run game, headed by Bryce Pratt. Will it be a slug fest or a shootout?

Here's a closer look at the programs:

Battle of the Titans
Del Oro Golden Eagles
Years in existence: 50
League championships: 24
Playoff teams: 25 (playoffs started in 1972)
Sac-Joaquin Section D-II titles: 6 (all since 1989)
State D-II Cal-Hi Teams of the Year: 1993, 2005
NFL Alumni: QB Randy Fasani
Championship fact: Del Oro won a section-record 10 straight league titles (1988-97)

Granite Bay Grizzlies
Years in existence: 13
League championships: 7
Playoff teams: 9
Sac-Joaquin Section D-II titles: 3
State D-II Cal-H Teams of the Year: 2000
NFL Alumni: WRs Sammie Stroughter, Adam Jennings
Championship fact: The Grizzlies in 1999 became the youngest program in section history to win a section title, in 1999.

Del Oro vs. Granite Bay over the years
2008 - Granite Bay 50, Del Oro 8
2007 - Granite Bay 49, Del Oro 14 (playoffs)
2007 - Granite Bay 21, Del Oro 14
2006 - Del Oro 14, Granite Bay 7
2005 - Did not play (different leagues)
2004 - Did not play (different leagues)
2003 - Granite Bay 30-19
2002 - Granite Bay 34, Del Oro 28
2001 - Del Oro 27, Granite Bay 14
2000 - Granite Bay 35, Del Oro 9
1999 - Granite Bay 20, Del Oro 12
1998 - Granite Bay 22, Del Oro 7
1997 - Del Oro 35, Granite Bay 0

October 14, 2009
Prep staff to take questions in reader chat Thursday night

Bill Paterson and I will field questions, comments, suggestions and heat from readers, fans, players and the like Thursday night on sacbee.com.

It's easy to join the conversation if you want to ask us about teams, rankings, the state bowl process, showdowns of note such as Del Oro-Granite Bay or Sheldon-Monterey Trail, Grant's defense, realignment, who is overrated, who is underrated, recruits, transfers, private school-vs-private school issues, etc. We cover all topics.

The session goes from 7 to 8 p.m. To follow along or join, log onto www.sacbee.com/live

October 14, 2009
Grant, Granite Bay, Del Oro, Folsom in top 8 of NorCal rankings

It's an up year for prep football in these parts, and the proof is in the latest Northern California rankings posted by CalHiSports/ESPN.
Grant heads the list, with Granite Bay at No. 4, Del Oro No. 6 and Folsom at No. 8.

Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN Northern California Overall Top 15
(CIF North Open Division)
1. (1) Grant (Sacramento) 6-0
2. (2) De La Salle (Concord) 3-2
3. (4) St. Mary's (Stockton) 5-0
4. (5) Granite Bay 5-0
5. (3) Monte Vista (Danville) 4-1
6. (7) Del Oro (Loomis) 5-0
7. (11) St. Francis (Mountain View) 4-1
8. (14) Folsom 5-0
9. (6) Serra (San Mateo) 3-2
10. (NR) Bellarmine (San Jose) 4-1
11. (12) Milpitas 5-0
12. (13) Berkeley 6-0
13. (9) Palma (Salinas) 3-1-1
14. (15) Los Gatos 4-1
15. (NR) Oakdale 5-0

Rundown: There were some serious changes in the NorCal pecking order this week after several surprising results. The highest-ranked team to drop out from last week was previous No. 8 Central Catholic of Modesto due to the lopsided nature of its loss to No. 3 St. Mary's of Stockton. Coach Tony Franks' team, though, has already dispatched Bellarmine and Lincoln of Stockton by similar scores and neither of those two teams have lost to anybody other than the Rams, either. Also falling was previous No. 10 Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove as D2 North power Del Campo of Fair Oaks bounced back itself from an upset loss and beat the Eagles, 20-7. If Ryan Dimino keeps playing strongly as the Cougars' quarterback, they will be tough to beat indeed in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III playoffs.
Among the newcomers, Bellarmine has been bounced back up to No. 10 with its only loss to St. Mary's while Oakdale goes into the mix at No. 15 with a 56-6 romp past Ceres added to its log. The Mustangs had a lot to replace on offense after last season, but seem more than fine so far. The squad's most impressive win has been 34-22 over Novato.

October 14, 2009
Grant coach: it was a good thing to allow a TD on super defense

Now that that's over, the Grant Pacers can get back to playing defense without a conscious.

The top-ranked team in Northern California started the season with five shutouts, a first for the championship program located in Del Paso Heights. Fans - and players - started to wonder if Grant just might shutout every team in its path. Nice goal, but completely absurd, of course, because even though the Metropolitan Conference isn't stacked top to bottom like the Sierra Foothill League or the Delta River League, there are athletes. And athletes tend to find the corner. And run very fast.

Rosemont used a trick play to tie it 7-7 against Grant on Friday, which served to inspire the Pacers to roll from there 56-7. Rosemont's trickery was a toss back to the quarterback, a double reverse that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown pass. The Pacers were ready to pounce on the second reverse, and that allowed Rosemont runner Meng Thao to slip behind the coverage and haul in Anthony Enriquez's pass at the 22 and race on in.

"That was a hell of a play," Grant coach Mike Alberghini said today. "They did everything perfectly. The fullback went right by us. He was so wide open he could have rolled into the end zone.

"It's good to get it out of the way (allowing a touchdown). I didn't want that to be the focal point for us. Now we can just get back to playing football."

Though the Pacers clearly have the best defensive unit in the Sac-Joaquin Section - and CalHi Sports-ESPN expert Mark Tennis says it's the best defense he's seen in the country this season - the reality is this: every game can't be a shutout. The teams that have posted eight or more shutouts in a single season in state history have either been small schools or large schools who did it in the 1920s.

And that athlete factor again.

"Every team in this league has someone who can run, can flat-out fly," the coach said. "We have pretty good speed in the secondary, too."

The Pacers have been led defensively by Viliami Moala, Puka Lopa, Caleb Cameron, James Sample, Shaq Thompson, Ronald Fields, Faga Tuamasaga and Darryl Paulo.

Lopa and Moala have 16 of the team's 35 sacks.

October 14, 2009
Campbell, Bennett give No. 13 Rio Linda offense a nice wrinkle

Rio Linda already has a formidable weapon in speedy 5-foot-7, 170-pound Cameron Mikell, the fastest running back in Knights history, according to coach Mike Morris.

But the No. 13 Knights (5-0, 2-0), off to the best start in school history entering Friday's homecoming game against visiting Cosumnes Oaks, have another offensive wrinkle that could carry this team to the Capital Valley Conference title and deep into the postseason.

Jake Campbell is looking like a pretty good quarterback and Cameron Bennett a formidable receiver for the Knights.

The cool-under-pressure Campbell engineered a great fourth-quarter drive on foreign turf Friday night that set up D.J. Woll's game-winning 23-yard field goal with 25 seconds to play to beat Natomas 22-21.

Starting at Rio Linda's own 27-yard line with 2:17 remaining, Campbell completed four passes (including two to Bennett) to help move the Knights to the Natomas 8 to set up Woll's winning kick.

That drive culminated a Knights rally in which they trailed 21-7 entering the fourth quarter. In all, Campbell completed 11 of 19 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, by far his best passing performance of the season.

The 5-10, 160-pound Campbell was the Knights top receiver last year, but moved into the quarterback role when starter Michael Morris, Mike's son, and Bennett, the back-up, were both injured against league rival Dixon.

"He's developed into a good high school quarterback," Morris said of Campbell. "He's got the speed, is great at running our read option and he's getting to be a better thrower every week."

This season, Campbell has completed 27 of 54 passes for 494 yards and six touchdowns without an interception.

Bennett is his favorite target. The 6-foot, 165-pound senior had five catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns against Natomas. His 24-yard touchdown catch with 3:31 to play, that moved the Knights to within 21-19, was particularly impressive because he held on despite a jarring hit from a Natomas defender.

Both Campbell and Bennett are key defenders, too. Campbell, a cornerback, intercepted a pass and Bennett, a free safety, recovered a fumble and had 14 tackles against Natomas.

But Morris will be the first to admit he hopes Campbell and Bennett don't have to work nearly as hard this week on offense.

He'd like Mikell to continue to carry the heavy load.

He's closing in on 1,000 yards rushing (929 yards) and has 13 touchdowns, although Natomas held him to his lowest output of the season in rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

"He's the fastest guy we've ever had here," Morris said of Mikell, the younger brother of former Natomas star David Mikell, who played at Boise State. "But more than that, he's a very strong, powerful runner. He's Barry Sanders-like in his ability to make quick cuts."

It helps that Mikell runs behind an offensive line that features 6-5, 285-pound tackle Alex Khan-Watson; 6-0, 240-pound guard Ryan Nonu and 5-10, 235-pound center Nick McLeod.

"Since he's only 5-7, he sometimes literally gets lost in there among those guys and by the time a defender sees him, he's gone," Morris said.

Khan-Watson is a legitimate D-I recruit who is making up for lost time after missing last season's final four games with a left knee ACL injury.

"He's being recruited by several schools but they are waiting to see how his knee holds up," Morris said. "He's very athletic. His feet are fantastic. He's a basketball player in the winter and a baseball player in the spring.

"Since he was still rehabbing his knee last spring, he didn't play baseball. But I got him out for track and he was our best discus thrower."

October 13, 2009
A look inside Del Oro football practice

Armed with my trusty ARR - Ace Recon Recoder - we checked out Del Oro's football practice this week. Footage shot by my 11-year old son Cameron, otherwise known as JOCK - Junior Observer, Cameron-Know-it-All.

There are some brief, short-video highlights of passes and hitting drills, then coach Casey Taylor addressing his team, and the last link is an interview with Del Oro tailback Bryce Pratt, who speaks of his linemen, his teammates, his growth as a player, a student, a leader.
We hope to get out to Granite Bay this week, too. Rain and wind kept us away on Tuesday. Yeah, yeah. It's football weather, but the wind would have swept Cameron right up to the Sierras.

October 13, 2009
Wild finish to prep game in Michigan with video worth watching

Below is a clip of a wild finish to a high school football game in Michigan, the theme being this: don't stop blocking, tackling, competing until you hear a whistle.

Plymouth High of Canton thought it had earned a narrow victory over Westland John Glenn of Westland when a game-winning field goal attempt was blocked with eight seconds remaining. Plymouth celebrated and ran off the field, but none of the players realized that because the ball had not crossed the line of scrimmage, it was still live.

With Plymouth players celebrating, John Glenn coaches shouted and gestured frantically to its players that the ball was still live, that no referee had blown a whistle. Tony Wilton scooped up the ball and raced in for the winner, 33-28.

Wilton was the holder.

"I heard somebody say 'run.'" Wilton told reporters after the game. "There were our guys in front of me and (Plymouth) ran off the field. They thought the game was over.''
Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk said he heard a whistle.
"They (the officials) blew the whistle and the clocked stopped - everybody stopped,'' he told reporters. "They wouldn't give me an explanation."

October 12, 2009
Oak Ridge's Vaughn commits to BYU for volleyball

RB+Volleyball+2.JPGOak Ridge junior outside hitter Katie Vaughn has made a verbal commitment to play volleyball on scholarship at Brigham Young University, she announced today.

Vaughn will enter BYU as a freshman in the fall of 2011.

"I'm so excited to go to BYU," Vaughn said. "I can't wait to be part of a great team with a great coaching staff."

At 6-foot-3 with the athleticism to play the back row, Vaughn is one of the most highly sought-after volleyball recruits in the area for the Class of 2011 along with her best friend Zoe Nightingale (St. Francis), who has committed to UCLA. Both will not sign letters of intent for over a year however, as the early signing period for student-athletes in their graduation year is not until early November 2010.

Vaughn chose BYU over several Pacific-10 Conference programs.

"I visited a lot of schools and after I visited BYU I knew that was the place for me," she said. "I feel like it is a program I can have an immediate impact on."

Vaughn, in her third year of varsity action, is currently ninth in the Sac-Joaquin Section in hitting percentage (.342) and tenth in kills (202). She helped the Trojans to the Division II Section championship last season.

This past summer Vaughn and Nightingale were part of the Force 17-1 Blue team that finished 21st in the National Division in the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics in Miami.

Photo: Randall Benton/Bee file, 2009

October 12, 2009
The Week 6 prep football schedule

The Week 6 prep football schedule:

Capital Valley League
West Campus vs. Dixon, at Rosemont

Golden Empire League
Highlands at San Juan

Capital Athletic League
Casa Roble at Bella Vista
El Camino at Del Campo
Mira Loma vs. Rio Americano, at El Camino

Capital Valley League
Center at Antelope
Cosumnes Oaks at Rio Linda
River City at Foothill

Delta River League
Jesuit at Folsom
Pleasant Grove vs. Florin, at Sheldon
Sheldon at Monterey Trail

Delta Valley League
Franklin vs. Elk Grove at Cosumnes Oaks
Laguna Creek vs. Davis at Elk Grove
Valley at Nevada Union

Golden Empire League
Encina at Marysville
Lindhurst at Golden Sierra

Metropolitan League
Burbank at Kennedy

Pioneer Valley League
Bear River at Whitney
Colfax vs. Mesa Verde, at San Juan
El Dorado at Lincoln

Sacramento Metro
Bradshaw Christian at Foresthill

Sierra Foothill League
Granite Bay at Del Oro
Roseville at Oakmont
Woodcreek at Rocklin

Sierra Valley League
Cordova at Oak Ridge
Galt at Union Mine
Vista del Lago at Ponderosa

Tri-County League
Inderkum at River Valley
Pioneer at Natomas
Yuba City at Woodland

Capital Christian at Placer

Metropolitan League
Grant at Sacramento
Rosemont at McClatchy

Sacramento Metro
Valley Christian vs. Delta, at Highlands

Lathrop at Christian Brothers
Woodland Christian at Maxwell

October 11, 2009
Legendary prep coach Jim Dimino offers "Dimino's Dozen" rankings

A look at Dimino's Dozen (and eight others).
Jim Dimino is one of the legendary coaching figures in Sac-Joaquin Section history, leading a juggernaut football program at El Camino in the 1970s and '80s. This is the 25th anniversary season of the Eagles 1984 Section Division II title team (the '85 team also won the section). Dimino is the longtime color man to play-by-play voice Will James on the weekly Access Sacramento Game of the Week on the Hometown Sports Network (check local listings and check our prep site on Sacbee.com for game highlights.
We will run Jim's rankings each Sunday when we run our Section Top 10.

Dimino Dozen
1. Grant (6-0)
2. Granite Bay (5-0)
3. Inderkum (5-0)
4. Del Oro (5-0)
5. Rocklin (5-0)
6. Folsom (5-0)
7. Sheldon (5-0)
8. Del Campo (4-1)
9. Nevada Union (4-1)
10. Placer (5-0)
11. Monterey Trail (4-1)
12. Pleasant Grove (3-2)
In the Redzone
13. Rio Linda (5-0)
14. Bella Vista (5-0)
15. Lincoln (5-0)
16. Oakmont (4-1)
17. Oak Ridge (2-3)
18. Whitney (3-2)
19. Christian Brothers (3-2)
20. Dixon (4-1)

October 11, 2009
The Bee's latest Section Top 10 football rankings

The season's just getting good now. Here's a look at the latest Sac-Joaquin Section Top 10. The showdown game is Granite Bay at Del Oro.

1. Grant (6-0)
The Pacers are human on defense after all. The nerve of allowing a point - finally - after six weeks of action. Actually, it was bound to happen as the only teams in state history to really post major stretches with shutouts are small schools. Still, what Grant did was remarkable - five wins, five shutouts - and then Friday came a 56-7 rout of Rosemont in a Metropolitan opener where the only way the Wolverines could score was off of a double-reverse, toss back to quarterback pass. That served to irk the Pacers who allowed nothing the rest of the way. Dezmon Epps, healed and healthy after having 22 stitches from a gash in the Bellevue game, provided a speed back element with 95 yards rushing on just three carries - how's that for a hefty per-carry average? - and two scores. He also had a touchdown pass from Glenn Deary. Devontae Butler was again superb, rushing for 222 yards and four scores. Next is a Saturday game at Sacramento.

2. St. Mary's (5-0)
The Rams belted rival Central Catholic 50-28 in a revenge and statement game as the teams came in ranked No. 1 and 2 - Rams first, Raiders second - in the CIF North State Bowl Division III rankings. What's more, Central had stunned St. Mary's last season. Not this time. Marcus McDade had plenty of time to pass with superb blocking as the Rams piled up 415 yards. They scored on their first three drives for a 22-3 lead, with McDade passing for two scores and running for one as St. Mary's took a 10-9 series lead in a rivalry that has gone off-and-on since 1975. McDade passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns, two to Louie Lechich, who gutted out the game with a shoulder he separated earlier this season. Jordan Davis and Maurice Howze combined for four scores, too. The Rams have taken down the top two teams in the South - not named Rams, of course - in Lincoln and Central. It's clear sailing now to a 10-0 start and a D-II playoff field that will include Grant, Granite Bay, Del Oro, Rocklin and others.

3. Granite Bay (5-0)
The Grizzlies don't overwhelm teams with flash and dash. Rather, they grind foes away with a balanced offense, a strong dose of running and a stingy defense that has impressed all season. There is an exciting skill player - we never said Granite Bay was boring - in Devaunte Bolton, who has this habit of breaking off huge touchdown runs early in games. Then the Grizzlies salt teams away with other runners such as Danny Thomas. Bolton had a 56-yard touchdown on the third play, and Thomas and Matt Kine combined for three scores. It was 28-0 at the half. The Grizzlies reserves took over from there. Coach Ernie Cooper has tremendous depth and his program on cruise control heading into the Sierra Foothill League opener at Del Oro in what shapes up to be a classic.

4. Del Oro (5-0)
The Golden Eagles have mastered the art of fast starts, storming to a 53-0 halftime lead against Vintage en route to a 60-0 rout to cap perhaps the most dominant, thorough 5-0 start in school history, a tradition that goes back 50 years. Del Oro has looked the part of the No. 1 team in the CalHiSports Division II North Bowl rankings, with Granite Bay coming in Friday for the real test/gauge effort. The Golden Eagles had 510 yards of offense against Vintage before resting the starters in the second half. Bryce Pratt rushed for 186 yards on just 10 carries and scored three times - all in the first quarter. His 36 career touchdowns tied a school record. Ibrahim Abukhdair took over for Pratt and had a career-high 139 yards and had two touchdown runs. Max Magleby had touchdown passes of 40 and 20 yards to Spencer Butterfield and Adrian Miller, respectively. Josh Richmond and Tyler Adair were among a host of defenders who played well, with each recording a safety.

5. Folsom (5-0)
The Bulldogs take apart defenses like a paper shredder takes apart credit card statements - easily, effectively and with pleasure. The latest victim was Casa Roble, the defending section D-III champions who lost 55-33 after falling behind 34-0 in the second quarter. Dano Graves was crisp again, passing for 401 yards and six touchdowns and just one interception - yes, he's human. All told, he has thrown 26 touchdowns this season with just two picks. Those are amazing totals for an entire season, yet he's just now getting warmed up with five regular-season games to go and a playoff march after that. Tyler Trosin had six catches for 228 yards and two scores - all in the first half - before resting a sore shoulder (he will be fine, according to coach Kris Richardson). Graves hit Trosin for scoring plays of 70 and 80 yards for a 27-0 lead, and an eight-yard touchdown to Kori Babineaux to make it 34-0. Are there two better receivers anywhere than Babineaux and Trosin? Maybe there's an equal set at St. Mary's but it's hard to top these two. Next is Jesuit in a Delta River League opener, the same Jesuit that was taken apart in a season opener by a crisp passing attack from St. Mary's. Folsom is the clear DRL favorites - even with Pleasant Grove and Sheldon in the mix.

6. Inderkum (5-0)
The Tigers are itching for a game, a contest, a challenge. Any takers? Any way Grant can meet halfway for a scrimmage, just for fun? For now, Inderkum takes down all foes in its path, the latest a very solid Woodcreek team that stunned Del Campo in Week 4. Inderkum beat Woodcreek 39-14 as Antonio Bumpers rushed for 200 yards and had four scores. Demetrius Williams had a touchdown pass and Devin Hartley - as fast as they come - had a 61-yard run. Just as impressive was how the defense shut down James Nunley, one of the top backs in the section. This is still the leading team in the section for D-III. A hiccup anywhere down the stretch before the playoffs - even in the playoffs - would be unsettling news for the Tigers. Next is a road game at River Valley.

7. Rocklin (5-0)
The Thunder has the perfectly fitting mascot for this prolific team. "Thunder" just wouldn't work for a methodical, grind-it-out team. Not this group. These guys score in bunches. Rocklin belted another quality team in Napa, 49-21, as junior QB James Laughrea continues to shine. He passed for four touchdowns and rushed for two more. Proof that he can scoot was his 50-yard touchdown run. He hit Tiger Sorenson for scoring passes of seven and 45 yards and C.J. Torretta for 11. Jackson Cummings has impressed all season as the leading rusher after being slowed by nagging injuries last fall. Next is the Sierra Foothill League and dangerous Woodcreek, which beat Del Campo in Week 4 and gave Inderkum a fight for a half in Week 5.

8. Nevada Union (4-1)
The Miners rolled in their nonleague finale, crushing Franklin of Stockton 41-23 in a game they led 34-3 at the half. NU had 314 yards of offense at the half while limiting the Yellowjackets to 52. Broughan Jantz passed for 143 yards and rushed for 93, including scoring runs of 45 and 56 yards as he continues to provide a sizzling duel-threat attack. Josh Cena headed the defense with three interceptions and Chris Biertuempfel had a pick and NU yielded just 56 yards rushing. In all, 10 Miners carried the ball as the wing-T rolls on. The only loss was a shootout to Rocklin. Next for NU is a Delta Valley opener at home against Valley.

9. Tracy (5-0)
The Bulldogs used to own the South during a spell in the 1980s under famed coach Wayne Schneider, including his 1982 Sac-Joaquin Section title bunch that beat unbeaten Cordova in the finals. New schools and time have thinned Tracy a bit over the years, but it's an up season to be sure for coach Mark Stroup, who has a D-I contender here with balance and speed and quality wins over Los Banos (27-24), Manteca (35-20), Washington-Fremont (42-21) with more tests looming, including Lincoln-Stockton, which has lost only to St. Mary's. We find out in a hurry how good Tracy is Friday.

10. Sheldon (5-0)
The Huskies have never been this good, this athletic, this inspired. Sure, the 2006 team won the Delta River League championship but it wasn't as talented and athletic as this bunch, headed lby QB Raymond Dickerson, a nice offensive line and a very stout defense. The coach is Ed Lombardi, one of the truly great coaches in section history. What Sheldon does from here - including a game at Monterey Trail on Friday - will be curious as this could very well be Lombardi's last season. So why not send the old coach out a winner, right?

On the bubble: Vacaville (4-1), Placer (5-0), Sonora (5-0), Oakdale (5-0), Del Campo (4-1).

October 11, 2009
A breakdown of the Sierra Valley, Delta Valley, Capital Valley, GEL races

After five full weeks of play, here's a breakdown of the Sierra Valley, Delta Valley, Capital Valley and Golden Empire League races, with team's overall records.

Sierra Valley Conference
Vista del Lago (3-2)
Christian Brothers (3-2)
Galt (3-2)
Oak Ridge (2-3)
Union Mine (2-3)
Cordova (2-3)
Ponderosa (1-5)

Breakdown: Here's what kind of coach Chris Jones is at Vista: his team, with its first senior class, have gone from 2-8 afterthoughts in 2008 to title contenders with a balanced offense and inspired play. Oak Ridge has won two straight under coach Eric Cavaliere after agonizingly close early losses to Rocklin, Folsom and Grant - teams that are a combined 16-0. CBS impressed in wins over Burbank and Jesuit under QB Mike Lahey and Galt and coach Rich Maberto have gotten off to a promising start with some young playmakers. The one surprise team has been Ponderosa, slowed by injuries after starting the season highly ranked.

Delta Valley League
Nevada Union (4-1)
Franklin (2-3)
Davis (1-4)
Elk Grove (1-4)
Laguna Creek (1-4)
Valley (0-5)

Breakdown: In the preseason, this looked like it could be one of those whopper leagues. It's been more of a swing and a miss league, with only NU playing to expectations under coach Dave Humphers. Franklin has lost three straight - albeit to highly ranked teams in Del Oro, Folsom and Sheldon. Davis has beaten only winless Wood, with early losses to Folsom and Davis and a close loss to Pioneer. Elk Grove has lost four straight after looking championship good in the opener against Chavez, though coach Chris Nixon assures better days are ahead. Laguna Creek has also lost four straight after opening with a rout of Florin, though the setbacks for coach Mark Nill and the defending co-champs were to Vacaville (4-1 record), Pleasant Grove (3-2), Sheldon (5-0) and Jesuit (3-2). If there's a year for Valley and coach Preston Jackson to make a surge, it's now.

Capital Valley Conference
Rio Linda (5-0)
Dixon (4-1)
Foothill (3-2)
Antelope (3-2)
Cosumnes Oaks (2-3)
West (2-3)
Center (1-4)
River City (1-4)

Breakdown: Rio Linda and Dixon have looked the part of teams ready to claim the league, with Dixon losing only to Vanden. Rio Linda coach Mike Morris has a game-breaking back in Cameron Mikell and Rams coach Scott Winslow has a balanced attack. Foothill coach Allen Berg, Cosumnes Oak coach Scooter Gomes, Antelope coach Mike Ray and West coach Nathan Preston each have rosters capable of chasing down third place. If they secure anything higher, it's a credit to their programs.

Golden Empire League
Capital Christian (3-2)
Highlands (3-2)
Marysville (2-3)
Encina (1-4)
Lindhurst (0-5)
San Juan (0-5)
Golden Sierra (0-5)

Breakdown: The Cougars and QB James Lee and coach Karl Zierhut are already off to a 2-0 start in league play, as is Highlands and always-upbeat coach Nate Harris and Marysville and coach Cullen Meyer of the defending small-school Division VI section champions. None of those teams can afford to stumble against the bottom teams.

October 11, 2009
A breakdown of the Pioneer, Metro and Tri-County Leagues

Breaking down the Pioneer Valley, Metropolitan and Tri-County Leagues after five full weeks of play, with team's over all records.

Pioneer Valley League
Placer (5-0)
Lincoln (5-0)
Whitney (3-2)
Colfax (3-2)
Bear River (3-2)
El Dorado (2-3)
Mesa Verde (1-4)

Breakdown: A newly formed league in recent years has quickly emerged as a one of the section's most balanced and well coached. Placer hasn't gotten off to this sort of start in decades, and coach Joey Montoya continues to impress as a young program builder. Lincoln and coach Ken Lowe have bounced back strong from a 1-9 season, highlighted so far by the last-minute win over Whitney in Week 4. Whitney won the league the last two seasons and the section D-IV title a year ago under coach Mike Gimenez, and Colfax and Bear River have championship programs. This is a terrific league with community programs and community pride.

Metropolitan Conference
Grant (6-0)
Rosemont (3-2)
Burbank (2-3)
McClatchy (2-3)
Sacramento (2-3)
Kennedy (1-4)
Johnson (0-5)

Breakdown: Grant aims to clean up the Metro again as it will move to the Delta next season in realignment. The Pacers and coach Mike Alberghini and the dynamic roster make the Metro relevant because of what they are, and Burbank is in the picture, too, under coach John Heffernan, having beaten Grant for the league title in 2007. There is talent on the other rosters, but not near enough to overcome Grant or Burbank.

Tri-County League
Inderkum (5-0)
Pioneer (4-1)
Yuba City (3-2)
Natomas (2-3)
River Valley (2-3)
Woodland (0-5)

Breakdown: Much the way Grant hovers over the rest of the Metro, here's Inderkum looming large over the rest of the Tri County, a league that will again have no answers to the Tigers speed and ferocity. Inderkum and coach Terry Stark have to keep focused through what should be a lot of routs from here on out. Pioneer has a program on the upswing under coach David Butterworth - the idea that some parents want him out in Woodland is absolutely absurd - and Natomas will be a factor under coach Frank Negri, who has his young team believing it can win after going 1-9 in each of the previous four seasons.

October 11, 2009
Breaking down the Delta River, Sierra Foothill, CAL races

Five weeks in, and here's a breakdown of the area leagues.
Del Oro and Granite Bay headline a stacked Sierra Foothill League that also includes Rocklin (5-0) and Oakmont (4-1). The Delta River League has four ranked teams in Folsom (5-0), Sheldon (5-0), Pleasant Grove (3-2) and Monterey Trail (4-1). Below are all teams with records.

Delta River League
Folsom (5-0)
Sheldon (5-0)
Monterey Trail (4-1)
Pleasant Grove (3-2)
Jesuit (3-2)
Florin (1-4)

Breakdown: When realignment shifted teams in the Elk Grove region, who would have imagined it'd get this good, this fast? Folsom and coach Kris Richardson has the area's most amazing passing attack, headed by QB Dano Graves (26 touchdowns, 2 picks). Sheldon has the league's most experienced, winningest and championship-decorated coach in Ed Lombardi, who secured a bulk of his 200-plus wins at Elk Grove and has his best Sheldon team. Monterey Trail and impressive coach T.J. Ewing have the Mustangs off to a school-best start, with speed and ferocity helping produce three shutouts. Pleasant Grove edged Folsom in a thriller to clinch the league's top spot a year ago and coach Joe Cattolico has lost this season to Lincoln-Stockton and Del Campo (remember, PG had a mini slump a year ago and recovered to win the City Championship. Jesuit is always dangerous under coach Dan Carmazzi, and it was a year ago that Florin stunned Pleasant Grove.

Sierra Foothill League
Del Oro (5-0)
Granite Bay (5-0)
Rocklin (5-0)
Oakmont (4-1)
Roseville (2-3)
Woodcreek (1-4)

Breakdown: The top is remarkably stacked and heavy with Del Oro and Granite Bay playing exceptionally well on both sides of the ball. Both teams are superbly coached, Del Oro under Casey Taylor and Granite Bay under Ernie Cooper. And how fitting that these teams meet Friday in a league opener? Rocklin has its best team, and coach Greg Benzel has one of the best balanced attacks in the section with James Laughrea and Jackson Cummings. The darkhorse is Oakmont and coach Tim Moore, a Vikings graduate, who has a solid passer in Alex Ford and a team that has won four straight at home. Roseville coach Larry Cunha has overcome a brutal early schedule - Pleasant Grove, Rio Linda - to win two straight, including handing Pioneer its first loss on Friday behind QB Nick Blaser. And Woodcreek features one of the top talents in the section in RB James Nunley. The lone win was a whopper - over Del Campo.

Capital Athletic League
Bella Vista (5-0)
Del Campo (4-1)
Mira Loma (4-1)
El Camino (3-2)
Casa Roble (2-3)
Rio Americano (2-3)

Breakdown: Bella Vist has started 5-0 since 1995 and it hasn't gone 6-0 since 1976 when Watergate was still a bad word in the minds of Americans. Coach Matt Polston has the Broncos playing hard and inspired, though the real tests loom in the CAL after fast starts in recent years sputtered in league play. Del Campo posted its most impressive win on Friday, downing Pleasant Grove 20-7. Mira Loma hasn't been this fast out of the gates since 1996 when Terry Stark was the coach. Now the Matadors are under the tutelage of Matt Costa. Casa Roble is the two-time defending CAL champion looking to end a 3-game losing streak, starting with Bella Vista on Friday.

October 10, 2009
How The Bee's Top 20 prep football teams fared

Here's a peek at how The Bee's Top 20 fared
Games of note for next week include Granite Bay at Del Oro and Sheldon at Monterey Trail.

1. Grant (6-0) beat Rosemont 56-7
2. Granite Bay (5-0) beat West-Tracy 40-0
3. Del Oro (5-0) beat Vintage 60-0
4. Pleasant Grove (3-2) lost to No. 11 Del Campo 20-7
5. Inderkum (5-0) beat No. 20 Woodcreek 39-14
6. Folsom (5-0) beat No. 14 Casa Roble 55-33
7. Rocklin (5-0) beat Napa 49-21
8. Nevada Union (4-1) beat Franklin-Stockton 41-23
9. Sheldon (5-0) beat Franklin-Elk Grove 21-14
10. Placer (5-0) beat El Dorado 42-20
11. Del Campo (4-1) beat No. 4 Pleasant Grove 20-7
12. Monterey Trail (4-1) beat Bethel 39-0
13. Rio Linda (5-0) beat Natomas 22-21
14. Casa Roble (2-3) lost to No. 6 Folsom 55-33
15. Lincoln (5-0) beat Mesa Verde 41-0
16. Whitney (3-2) beat Colfax 35-7
17. Bella Vista (5-0) beat Lathrop 44-14
18. Christian Brothers (3-2) beat Ponderosa 48-23
19. Oak Ridge (2-3) beat Union Mine 38-13
20. Woodcreek (1-4) lost to No. 5 Inderkum 39-14

October 9, 2009
Despite heartbreaking loss, Negri has Natomas playing good football

First-year Natomas High School football coach Frank Negri knows that some of the best athletes at the school are not playing for him.

They either decided not to come out because of years of losing - the Nighthawks won only four games from 2005-2008 - or they are at the continuation school that borders the football field working to repair poor grades and are ineligible to play.

But the 74-year-old Negri, the head coach for 42 years at Foothill and believed to be California's oldest active football coach, already is doing wonders with a determined bunch yearning for success.

Even though they lost 22-21 tonight to No. 13 Rio Linda on D.J. Woll's 23-yard field goal with 25 seconds left, the Nighthawks are showing signs of being a viable football program again.

For most of the game, they outbattled a bigger, deeper Knights team - the same squad that easily handled them 41-14 last season.

The Nighthawks are 2-3 and could easily be 4-1 if they didn't tire out at the end against the Knights, who scored 15 fourth-quarter points, and if not for a mistake-prone 19-18 season-opening loss to Rio Americano.

Against the Raiders, the Nighthawks closed to within a point with a late touchdown, only to miss the PAT. But they also battled from behind to beat Foothill 41-27 (scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter) in Week 2 and Center 20-17 in Week 3. They played No. 8 Nevada Union tough - trailing 14-0 at halftime - before losing 35-0 in Grass Valley in Week 4.

"I'm proud of our kids," Negri said. "They are starved for something. Now they realize that whoever we play, we have a chance. We're getting better every week."

They're also getting good enough to be considered a viable playoff candidate in the Tri-County Conference, which starts play next Friday.

No. 5 Inderkum, the new neighborhood school that has cast a giant shadow over Natomas with its rapid success in football under coach Terry Stark, will be the overwhelming favorite to repeat as league champions.

But the second and third playoff spots should be a wide open battle involving Yuba City, River Valley, Pioneer, Woodland and Natomas.

"If we play well, who knows what might happen," Negri said.

Still, that bid might be a little easier if Natomas wasn't so thin at some positions.

"We had 55 names sign up for football in the spring," Negri said. "We've had 35 who have stuck it out. I know there are some good football players who decided not to come out. I know in some cases they weren't sure about me, and some of them didn't want to go 1-9 again and get rolled every week."

They could have used a few more bodies against Rio Linda. They led 21-7 going in the fourth quarter but with too many guys going both ways, they couldn't quite hang on.

They sacked Rio Linda quarterback Jake Campbell four times and recovered a pair of Knights' fumbles. They held Rio Linda's speedy running back Cameron Mikell (27 carries, 122 yards, one touchdown) to his lowest rushing output of the season.

Offensively, quarterback Joe Hill made some big plays, including 19- and 71-yard touchdown passes to Mustafa Vercher and a seven-yard touchdown run. He passed for 106 yards and rushed for 56 more. In all, the Nighthawks rushed for 219 yards.

Negri says his group has bought into the discipline that was lacking in previous years.

"They've responded pretty darn well," Negri said. "They know they can't miss school, and they can't be lackisdaiscal or they don't play.

"We lost one kid to grades and we have a couple of others who are borderline (academically), but overall they are buying into what we're doing."

Mike Morris, who was Negri's assistant from 1987 to 1990 before taking the Rio Linda head coaching job, had no doubt the man he thinks of as a second father would turn things around.

"When he first got the job, I was one of the first people he called," Morris said. "I think he was looking for a pep talk at that time. He was kind of questioning himself, 'Am I doing the right thing?' I told him, 'If you want to do it, it's the right thing.'

"And it is. We played Natomas last year, so we knew they had some pretty good looking football players over there. They just needed some organization and someone to point them in the right direction."

The players also noticed how much he cares.

Senior linebacker Micah Johnson, a captain and the Nighthawks' leading tackler, could tell immediately that despite his age, Negri had what it takes to turn things around.

"Last year we fought a lot among (ourselves) and it was a hard group to control," Johnson said. "With coach Negri you can joke around - he's got a great sense of humor - but when it's time to buckle down, we buckle down."

Senior running back Jamarr Falls said last year's team underachieved because of a lack of discipline.

"People were missing practice or showing up late," he said. "It wasn't a good vibe. A lot of players weren't going full-speed in drills. But Coach Negri is a no-nonsense guy. He has a zero-tolerance policy, and he's a man of his word."

Now, the retired teacher's second home is the Natomas campus. He's helped the cash-strapped program to raise funds to buy equipment that most other schools usually provide.

He's also realizing that despite the school's beautiful stadium and facilities, he walked into a bigger building project than anticipated.

"I asked for a challenge, and I got it," Negri said.

October 9, 2009
Grant, Del Oro are No. 1 in State Bowl rankings

A look at the State Bowl rankings as provided by CalHiSports/ESPN.
And notice the power of the Sac-Joaquin Section:
Grant (No. 1 in North), Granite Bay (No. 4 in North), Folsom (No. 9 in North).
In D-II, Del Oro is top ranked with Rocklin No. 5 and Inderkum No. 6 and St. Mary's No. in D-III and Central Catholic No. 2 and Modesto Christian as No. 1 in Small Schools-North.

Division I North
1. (1) Grant (Sacramento) 5-0 def. Johnson (Sac.) 62-0
2. (2) De La Salle (Concord) 2-2 def. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 32-21
3. (3) Monte Vista (Danville) 4-0 def. Livermore 55-13
4. (4) Granite Bay 5-0 def. Point Loma (San Diego) 22-12
5. (5) Serra (San Mateo) 3-1 def. Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF) 27-9
6. (7) Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 3-1 def. Elk Grove 24-10
7. (9) Milpitas 4-0 def. Monta Vista (Cupertino) 42-0
8. (10) Berkeley 4-0 def. Alameda 27-14
9. (NR) Folsom 4-0 def. Franklin (Elk Grove) 43-13
10. (11) Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) 3-1 def. Riordan (SF) 49-21
11. (7) Lincoln (Stockton) 3-1 lost to St. Mary's (Stockton) 48-18
12. (14) Granada (Livermore) 3-1 def. Foothill (Pleasanton) 35-28
13. (6) Foothill (Pleasanton) 3-1 lost to Granada (Livermore) 35-28
14. (12) Pittsburg 1-3 Idle
15. (13) Deer Valley (Antioch) 4-0 def. Rodriguez (Fairfield) 42-14

On the bubble: Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 3-1, Fairfield 4-0, Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 3-1, Heritage (Brentwood) 3-1, Pleasant Valley (Chico) 3-2, San Benito (Hollister) 5-0, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 3-1, Sheldon (Sacramento) 4-0, Tracy 4-0, Vacaville 3-1.

Breakdown: The theory that playing tough teams and not getting hammered in the rankings will be tested this week when No. 2 De La Salle (Concord) travels to No. 3 Monte Vista (Danville) in an East Bay League showdown. De La Salle's two losses are only to out-of-state, nationally ranked teams so the Spartans have been listed ahead of 4-0 Monte Vista all year. We'll find out if DLS, as usual, really is better. Another of those East Bay Athletic League teams, Granada of Livermore, stunned Foothill (Pleasanton) last week 35-28 and moves into the top 15 at No. 14. A one-point loss to Division II Sierra of Manteca prevents the Matadors from making an even bigger jump. Another newcomer is Folsom which improved to 4-0 overall with a 43-13 win over Franklin of Elk Grove. The Bulldogs have one of the top junior wideouts in Northern California in 6-3, 195-pound Kori Babineaux, who already had eight TD catches on the season.

Division II North
1. (1) Del Oro (Loomis) 4-0 def. Merced 38-13
2. (2) St. Francis (Mountain View) 3-1 def. St. Ignatius (SF) 24-21
3. (5) Los Gatos 3-1 def. Mountain View 56-0
4. (4) Oakdale 4-0 def. Central Valley (Ceres) 35-7
5. (6) Rocklin 4-0 def. Skyline (Oakland) 42-19
6. (7) Inderkum (Sacramento) 4-0 def. Rio Americano (Sac.) 62-0
7. (NR) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 4-0 def. Valley Christian (SJ) 21-0
8. (NR) Sierra (Manteca) 4-0 def. East Union (Manteca) 46-12
9. (8) Novato 3-2 def. Tamalpais (Mill Valley) 43-7
10. (9) Shasta (Redding) 5-0 def. Pleasant Valley (Chico) 13-9

On the bubble: Casa Roble (Orangevale) 2-2, Del Campo (Fair Oaks) 3-1, Enterprise (Redding) 5-0, Foothill (Palo Cedro) 3-2, Lincoln 4-0, Manteca 3-1, Paradise 4-1, Placer (Auburn) 4-0, Sonora 4-0, Whitney (Rocklin) 2-2.

Breakdown: Archbishop Mitty jumps into the No. 10 at No. 7 after blanking Division III No. 4 Valley Christian (San Jose), 21-0. Now the Monarchs get a dangerous 2-2 St. Ignatius (San Francisco) team that is coming off a narrow 24-21 setback to St. Francis (Mountain View). Sierra of Manteca had to go way up as well since the Timberwolves have a win over the same Granada of Livermore squad that just upset Foothill of Pleasanton. Sierra, Oakdale, Sonora and Manteca will all battle each other in the upcoming weeks to decide the Valley Oak League title. Del Oro, meanwhile, retains its hold on No. 1 with a 38-13 win over Merced and should have no trouble keeping it against winless Vintage of Napa this week before the huge Sierra Foothill League showdown with unbeaten Granite Bay next week.

Division III North
1. (1) St. Mary's (Stockton) 4-0 def. Lincoln (Stockton) 48-18
2. (2) Central Catholic (Modesto) 4-0 def. Johansen (Modesto) 47-0
3. (3) Palma (Salinas) 4-1 def. Salinas 28-20
4. (4) Valley Christian (San Jose) 3-1 lost to Arch. Mitty (San Jose) 21-0
5. (5) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 3-1 Idle
6. (6) Escalon 4-0 def. Linden 47-26
7. (7) Hilmar 4-0 def. Calavaras (San Andreas) 21-14
8. (8) The King's Academy (Sunnyvale) 4-0 Idle
9. (9) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 1-3 def. Allen (Santa Rosa) 48-13
10. (10) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 3-1 Idle

On the bubble: Argonaut (Jackson) 3-1, Colfax 2-1, Fort Bragg 4-0, Fortuna 3-1, Ripon 3-1, Scotts Valley 2-2, Sutter 3-2.

Breakdown: The showdown of the season in this division will take place Friday night at St. Mary's when the Rams host No. 2 Central Catholic in what figures to be their biggest test before the playoffs-yes, even bigger than Bellarmine Prep. Stopping St. Mary's will be the challenge as the Rams average a mere 42.25 points a game, and that's not against losing teams. Not that Central Catholic can't mount a challenge as the Raiders have allowed just 25 points, shutting out half of their opponents. But we get back to that strength of schedule and while the Raiders have played just one DI opponent, this is the first time the Rams have played anyone but a DI foe. Check it out-not one team moved this week as only Valley Christian (San Jose) lost but that was to a very good Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) team. Had Marin Catholic scored an impressive victory, the two might have flip-flopped, but the Wildcats didn't play.

Small Schools North
1. (1) Modesto Christian 4-0 def. Argonaut (Jackson) 48-35
2. (2) Ferndale 5-0 def. Fortuna 27-12
3. (4) St. Francis (Watsonville) 4-1 def. San Lorenzo Valley 34-31
4. (3) Modoc (Alturas) 5-0 def. Fall River (Burney) 28-20
5. (6) Portola 5-0 def. Williams 70-0
6. (7) Bradshaw Chr. (Sacramento) 3-1 def. Valley Chr. (Roseville) 70-8
7. (8) Hamilton (Hamilton City) 4-1 def. Quincy 45-14
8. (9) Capital Christian (Sac.) 2-2 def. San Juan (Citrus Heights) 55-0
9. (10) Colusa 4-1 def. Esparto 37-7
10. (NR) Hoopa Valley (Hoopa) 4-0 Idle

On the bubble: Burney 4-2, East Nicolas (Nicolas) 4-1 Etna 3-3, Fall River (McArthur) 3-2, St. Bernard (Eureka) 3-2, St. Vincent (Petaluma) 2-2, Vacaville Christian 3-1, Weed 3-2.

Breakdown: As predicted, Modesto Christian and Ferndale had serious challenges last week from Division III opponents, but both survived-along with No. 3 Modoc that barely beat Fall River (Burney) 28-20. Right now there are four undefeated teams in the Mid-Valley League (all 2-0) but by this time next week there will be just two. No. 5 Portola, coming off a 70-0 win, faces East Nicolas (4-1) and No. 9 Colusa takes the road to last year's Northern Small School bowl rep Hamilton (Hamilton City). Both are 4-1.

October 7, 2009
Sac girls talented senior class puts pressure on coach to win it all

The good news is that Sacramento High's Michele Massari will get the opportunity to coach the most illustrious girls basketball senior class to come out of this area.

The bad news: It will be tempered by the soaring expectations heaped upon the already battle-tested second-year Dragons coach.

"It definitely feels like I have a lot of pressure," Massari admitted. "But I've embraced it. I relish in it. I'm not going to shy away from it."

Seniors Kyra Dunn, Brittany Shine and Erica Barnes all have verbally committed to nationally renowned programs.

Shine, a 5-11 guard, is headed to Florida; Barnes, a 6-2 forward, to Arizona and the the 6-3 Dunn to Pittsburgh. It's unprecendented for Sacramento girls basketball.

The trio will officially sign letters of intent next month, just as the season starts. Massari also expects 5-7 senior guard Katrina Salinas to go to a D-I school, although her decision likely will come at the end of the season.

The star-studded group just ups the stakes for Massari in what should be another incredible Sac-Joaquin Section, NorCal and state D-III field that includes long-time rival and national power St. Mary's of Stockton.

The Rams are defending California Interscholastic Federation state, NorCal and section champions and ended last season ranked No. 13 in the nation by USA Today.

St. Mary's has beaten the Dragons in the last two D-III section finals. Sacramento has played in five consecutive D-III girls section title games, winning just once in 2007 under John Langston.

"It's going to be a challenge to put it all together," Massari said. "St. Mary's is the team to beat and Vanden has all five of its starters back. It's not going to be a cake walk."

In a bid to dethrone the Rams and get back to the section finals for a sixth straight year, Massari says she has prepared another tough schedule, which could have the boo birds chirping again.

Last year the Dragons went 23-10 in playing an upgraded schedule over the 2007-08 bunch that went 26-3 under former WNBA player Pam McGee.

Sacramento played nationally ranked teams from Florida, Washington, Colorado and Southern California in the preseason and even stronger competition may be on the way.

"We have one of the toughest schedules in the country," she said. "I'm not sure if I was smart or not but I think you need to play the best to have a sense of what kind of team you have."

Sacramento will play in the top tier (the played in the second tier last year) of the Nike Tournament of Champions Dec. 17-21 in Phoenix, Ariz., and Massari expects the Dragons to face several powers in the West Coast Challenge Dec. 28-31 in Antioch.

The Dragons also have nonleague games scheduled at Archbishop Mitty of San Jose Dec. 15 and at St. Mary's Jan. 9 and will play host to D-IV power Modesto Christian on Feb. 6. The Dragons also will play Sara James and Oak Ridge, the D-II CIF NorCal runners-up last season, in a charity benefit game on Jan. 18.

Massari said former Monarchs player and William Jessup University women's coach Ruthie Bolton will be joining her as an assistant this season. Returning is former Johnson High star Demond Edwards.

October 4, 2009
Latest Bee Section Top 10 football rankings with some changes

A full month in and the rankings took another hit, which tells you the strength of the area as a whole, the parity, and that it's hard to remain unbeaten when teams target you. Del Campo was stunned by a solid, if winless, Woodcreek bunch, and Lincoln of Stockton was routed in the second half by St. Mary's, so adios to those two programs and hello to Rocklin, rolling along at 4-0, and welcome back to Nevada Union, which has lost only to Rocklin.

1. Grant (5-0)
The Pacers opened Metro Conference play about the way we all anticipated they would: Emphatically. Grant put any scoring woes of recent weeks behind it by bludgeoning Johnson 62-0 as the defense again impressed and has yet to allow a single point this season. Viliami Moala dominated the trenches, Darryl Paulo returned a fumble 10 yards for a score, Puka Lopa blocked a punt and Shaq Thompson returned an interception 15 yards for a score. And oh yeah, Devontae Butler rushed for 278 yards on 13 carries and scored five times, including two 80-yard touchdown runs. Next is a home game against 3-1 Rosemont.

2. St. Mary's (4-0)
For a half, rival Lincoln kept Josh Harper in check, but you're not a national recruit if you don't make monster plays, and that's what Harper is all about. The Cal-bound do-all talent caught a 29-yard touchdown from Marcus McDade and also electrified on a 58-yard on another play to key a 48-18 decision over the Trojans, the program's sixth consecutive over Lincoln. Up 15 at the half, the Rams of Stockton used a 69-yard drive to open the third, all runs, and started to pull away. Maurice Howze rushed for 159 yards on 23 carries, and Jordan Davis had two touchdown runs and Louie Lechich had a 21-yard scoring reception.

3. Granite Bay (4-0)
The Grizzlies have downed teams from all corners of the state, seemingly, the latest victim being Point Loma of San Diego, which came in at 3-1 and boasting of a stout defense. Granite Bay beat the Pointers on four touchdown passes a year ago and it used two more TD passes from Brendan Keeney to post a 22-12 victory. Granite Bay used the clock and a lot of runners in Cory Brehm, Matt Kine, Danny Thomas, Devaunte Bolton and Travis Nicholas. The defense was led by Garrett Mendes, Tyler Petefish and Jacob Kludjian, and Granite Bay issued a statement by holding the Pointers off on down when it was first and goal at the 3. Next is West before the Sierra Foothill League showdown against Del Oro.

4. Del Oro (4-0)
The Golden Eagles stormed to a 31-0 halftime lead against a fast, athletic Merced team and remained unbeaten with a 38-13 triumph at home. Bryce Pratt led the way again on the ground, rushing 162 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 14 for the season, and the defense stalled the Bears to the point of having to punt on their first five possessions and then halting two other drives with interceptions. Spencer Butterfield caught an 18-yard touchdown from Max Magleby and had an interception, and Magleby was sharp again in completing 12 of 18 passes for 188 yards a week after he tore apart Franklin on 11 of 12 passing for 192 yards and four touchdowns. Del Oro has looked the part as the top-ranked team in the Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN Division II Bowl rankings. The Golden Eagles host Vintage and then open Sierra Foothill League play against rival Granite Bay.

5. Pleasant Grove (3-1)
The Eagles are two points away from being unbeaten, and for most of that 29-28 season-opening loss to Lincoln, this was the better team. But in defeat, Pleasant Grove has grown, thanks to the continued steady play of Taylor Congdon a strong defense and run game. In beating Elk Grove for the first time 24-10, Matt Robinson rushed for 111 yards and had a touchdown reception from Congdon and Drew Ahman recovered a fumble in the end zone and had seven receptions for 107 yards. Though Jalen Saunders was held in check receptions wise, he did have a 35-yard punt return to make it 24-3. Next is a titanic nonleague finale at Del Campo, which is smarting from a loss to winless Woodcreek. Del Campo beat Pleasant Grove by a point last season.

6. Folsom (4-0)
The Bulldogs are fun to watch on offense, to be sure, but they also defend well, with the latest test the most impressive. After allowing a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, Folsom allowed very little after that in posting a 43-13 rout of Franklin in Elk Grove. Dano Graves was again superb in passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 60 yards and another score. He has passed for 20 touchdowns with just one interception this season. Jordan Richards scored three times and had an interception as an unsung back who can catch, block and run, and receivers Tyler Trosin and Kori Babineaux each had more than 100 yards receiving and three total scores.

7. Inderkum (4-0)
The Tigers waxed Rio Americano 62-0 and are roaring right along. The only ones with more fight than this balanced team are the Tigers fans who wonder about the injustice of their team being ranked so low. Hey, you're ranked and Inderkum still hasn't played any ranked teams, though Windsor of Sonoma County is 4-1 and unranked in the greater Bay Area. The last two foes for Inderkum are a combined 2-6. There is a test against Woodcreek on Friday before what should be a cake-walk through the Tri-County League. What can't be disputed is the impact of coach Terry Stark, the wing-T, the team speed, the opportunistic defense and how it all makes this the team to beat in Division III this season.

8. Central Catholic (4-0)
The Raiders of Modesto crushed large-school Johansen 47-0 as Billy Flamion had a 53-yard punt return for a score to get things started and the ground game took over from there, with Craig Jones scoring on runs of 43 and 11 yards, Steel Rocha from 23 yards, Sam Cronkite from four and Zach Giard from six with Dylan Swartz hitting C.J. Carson for a 46-yard scoring strike. Next is the ultimate test, against St. Mary's, in a rematch of a thriller won by Central a year ago.

9. Rocklin (4-0)
As if the Sierra Foothill League wasn't already muscle bound and stacked already, here's the Thunder ready to make it even deeper as they make a run at bragging rights. Rocklin has beaten teams with speed, size and power in its fast start, the latest showing a 42-19 triumph of Skyline of Oakland. Rocklin led 42-7 in the third, and the fast start equaled the team's overall win total of last season. The Thunder has scored 40 or more points each time, including the stirring win over Nevada Union. With Sean Moore the lead blocker and a superb offensive line, Jackson Cummings dazzled in the first half with 131 yards and four first-half touchdowns. What makes this such a difficult team to deal with is QB James Laughrea, a poised junior who can pass and throw for coach Greg Benzel. Next is a game at Napa before SFL play begins.

10. Nevada Union (3-1)
The Miners are back in the Top 10 after starting the season there, then getting stunned by Rocklin, a team very much deserving of high billing. NU is in up mode this season, like last fall, with the wing-T, good offensive line play and a defense headed by Zach Vallejo. This is a team perfectly capable of winning the Delta Valley League again after tying Laguna Creek for top honors last season. Next is Franklin of Stockton before league play starts.
On the bubble: Vacaville (3-1); Fairfield (4-0); Vanden (4-0); Lincoln-Stockton (3-1); Sheldon (4-0); Placer (4-0); Del Campo (3-1); Tracy (4-0); Oakdale (4-0).

October 4, 2009
Week 5 Prep schedule includes Pleasant Grove-Del Campo

Here's the Week 5 prep football schedule as more leagues get underway.

Pioneer Valley League
Colfax at Bear River

River Valley vs. Mira Loma at El Camino, 7:30pm

Capital Valley
Center at Dixon
Foothill at Cosumnes Oaks

Golden Empire
Encina vs. Capital Christian, at El Camino
Golden Sierra at Highlands
Marysville at San Juan

Rosemont at Grant

Pioneer Valley
Mesa Verde at Lincoln
Placer at El Dorado
Whitney at Colfax

Sacramento Metro
Valley Christian at Foresthil
Woodland Christian at Delta

Sierra Valley
Union Mine at Oak Ridge
Vista del Lago at Cordova

Amador at Modesto Christian
Bethel at Monterey Trail
Bradshaw Christian at Big Valley Christian
Davis at Oakmont
El Camino at Yuba City
Elk Grove at Vacaville
Folsom at Casa Roble
Franklin at Sheldon
Granite Bay at West
Kennedy at Antelope
Lathrop at Bella Vista
Lindhurst at Bear River
Nevada Union at Franklin-Stockton
Pioneer at Roseville
Pleasant Grove at Del Campo
Rio Americano at Woodland
Rio Linda at Natomas
Rocklin vs. Napa at Memorial Stadium
Tokay at Galt
Vacaville Christian vs. West Campus at Rosemont
Valley vs. Florin at Cosumnes River College
Vintage at Del Oro
Woodcreek at Inderkum
Northgate at River City

Burbank at Sacramento
McClatchy at Johnson

Sierra Valley
Ponderosa at Christian Brothers

Brookside Christian vs. Cristo Rey at San Juan, 7 p.m.
Laguna Creek at Jesuit

October 4, 2009
How the state's Top 25 fared; Grant is ranked No. 2

Here's a look at how the Top 25 fared in the Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN state rankings. Remember, these rankings help play a role in state bowl game decisions.
Things to keep in mind:
* Grant is more than holding steady at No. 2 after inching up from No. 3.
De La Salle's two losses are to out-of-state competition, to nationally ranked teams from New Jersey and Florida.
* St. Mary's won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title a year ago but now competes in D-II in the section playoffs and is D-III bowl eligible (yes, blame enrollment for the confusion).
* No. 20 Serra of San Mateo has lost only a squeaker to De La Salle, and Serra just beat Sacred Heart Cathedral, a team Franklin-Elk Grove battered in an opener, the same Franklin that was bruised and battered at Del Oro and against Folsom on Friday, for a glimpse regional might.

1. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 4-0 def. Venice, 33-13
2. Grant (Sacramento) 5-0 def. Hiram Johnson (Sacramento), 62-0
3. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 4-1 lost to Bishop Amat of La Puente, 24-23 (OT)
4. Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 5-0 def. Culver City, 48-7
5. Oceanside 5-0 def. San Marcos, 56-14
6. Edison (Huntington Beach) 5-0 def. Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 36-29 (2OT)
7. Lakewood 4-1 def. Compton, 61-0
8. De La Salle (Concord) 2-2 def. Amador Valley (Pleasanton), 32-21
9. Monte Vista (Danville) 4-0 def. Livermore, 55-13
10. St. Mary's (Stockton) 4-0 def. Lincoln (Stockton), 48-18
11. Mission Viejo 5-0 def. Murrieta Valley (Murrieta), 40-7
12. Servite (Anaheim) 4-1 def. Chaparral (Temecula), 28-21
13. Moorpark 4-0 def. Calabasas, 35-14
14. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 3-1 def. Dominguez (Compton), 48-10
15. Serra (Gardena) 4-0 idle
16. Granite Bay 4-0 def. Point Loma (San Diego), 22-12
17. Rancho Cucamonga 4-0 idle
18. Alemany (Mission Hills) 3-2 lost to Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood), 24-20
19. Redlands East Valley (Redlands) 4-0 def. Eisenhower (Rialto), 69-26
20. Serra (San Mateo) 3-1 def. Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF), 27-9
21. La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 4-0 def. Rancho Buena Vista (Vista), 38-14
22. Foothill (Pleasanton) 3-1 lost to Granada (Livermore), 35-28
23. Los Alamitos 4-0 def. La Habra, 28-13
24. Norco 3-1 def. Corona, 50-43
25. Crespi (Encino) 2-2 idle

October 3, 2009
Folsom video highlights, insight: Best D-I team in Section?

Folsom is all about the spread offense, wide open play, gaudy statistics.
And victories.
The Bulldogs have stormed to a 4-0 start under coach Kris Richardson on the strength of a dynamic passing attack headed by Dano Graves and receivers Kori Babineaux and Tony Trosin and running back Jordan Richards. The defense isn't bad, either, after posting a second-half shutout to down Franklin of Elk Grove 43-13 on Friday night.
Graves tossed four touchdowns, ran for one and passed for 352 yards. For the season, he has 20 touchdown passes and one interception, a credit to his decision making, poise and superb offensive line.
Here are some video highlights of the Folsom-Franklin game, as shot by my 11-year old son, otherwise known as....JOCK - Junior Observer, Cameron-Know-it-All. Or, on some days, he likes to go by RR - Recon Recoder. Either way, it's fun stuff to look at.

October 2, 2009
Folsom leads Franklin 22-13 at the half

Folsom leads Franklin 22-13 at the half of this nonleague game of two of the Sac-Joaquin Section's top Division I programs.

Dano Graves has passed for two touchdowns to Kori Babineaux and ran for a score for the Bulldogs, and Derek McIntyre and Kenny Hunt have accounted for the Wildcats scores.

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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