The calendar shows that it is spring, but football garners headlines year-round, right down to the high school level.
Nixon out – Chris Nixon will not return as head coach at Elk Grove as the school declined to renew his contract. Coaches at this level generally work under year-to-year, at-will contracts. Nixon coached the Herd for nine seasons, producing six 10-win seasons, but a six-month investigation by the Elk Grove Unified School District about the construction of a team building revealed that improper permits and paperwork were filed. The fallout included the termination of a district employee and district reprimands of Elk Grove administrators.
Nixon was moved by an outpouring of community support. He has been approached by other regional programs to coach in some capacity.
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The finalists for the Herd post are Ryan Gomes, the former Cosumnes Oaks coach now an assistant at American River College, and Jason Rossow, an Elk Grove graduate and one-time Pleasant Grove coach.
Reber in – Justin Reber has left Sacramento High after guiding two playoff teams to coach at El Dorado, where he will teach physical education and work with an administration that includes vice principal Justin Gatling, a one-time administrator at Sac High, and athletic director Joe Volek, who coached the Cougars of Placerville for five seasons, producing four playoff teams.
Capital gains – Dave Hoskins and Jerry DeLoach have accepted assistant coaching gigs at Capital Christian under new coach Casey Taylor, who led Del Oro to championship success in his 15-year run in Loomis.
Hoskins and DeLoach will coach the lines. Hoskins, preparing for his 51st season of regional coaching, has a reputation as one of the area’s all-time great personalities and coaches, particularly the offensive line and strength and conditioning. One of his best players was DeLoach, whom he coached at Valley in the 1990s. DeLoach played at Cal and in the NFL and worked with Hoskins the last three seasons at Christian Brothers, helping the Falcons reach a Sac-Joaquin Section title game for the first time in 30 seasons as assistant coaches to 2016 Bee Coach of the Year Dan Carmazzi, who has since retired.
Carmazzi was been replaced by Tyler Almond, a CB graduate who coached the last season seasons at Sacramento State.
Other Capital Christian coaching hires include all-time area quarterback great Aaron Garcia, who set state records at Grant in the 1980s and shattered career Arena Football League passing marks and was the head coach of the Las Vegas Outlaws before the league folded.
Also, former Del Oro assistant coach and one-time Jesuit standout Mike Kravich will be the Capital Christian defensive coordinator.
Cooper returns – Ernie Cooper, who elevated Granite Bay from new-school curiosity with when it opened in 1996 to sudden section super power, is back with the Grizzlies after taking off the 2013, ’15 and ’16 seasons.
Cooper will coach the Granite Bay freshmen team. In his 15 seasons as varsity coach, Cooper led Granite Bay to five section titles and the 2012 CIF State D-I championship. He was replaced by Jeff Evans, who has led Granite Bay to back-to-back playoff appearances.
Ryan returns – Norm Ryan, relieved of his football duties earlier this winter after 14 seasons as varsity coach at Casa Roble, a run that included 10 playoff teams and a 13-0 section title team, has joined the Granite Bay staff. A retired history teacher, Ryan was replaced by Casa Roble junior varsity coach Chris Horner, whose team went 9-0 last fall.
Huskies haul – Bee No. 1 Sheldon beat Foothill of Pleasanton 5-1 on Saturday to win the 23rd Livermore Stampede, one of the top softball tournaments in the country.
Pitcher Taliyah Miles was the event MVP. She allowed five singles against Foothill, striking out four and walking one to give section Hall of Fame coach Mary Jo Truesdale her 700th career victory, a run that started in her native Michigan with a stop at Elk Grove.
Truesdale is in her 20th season at Sheldon. Truesdale has 587 victories as a coach in California.
High jumper – Jake Grimsman of Vista del Lago won the high jump at the Arcadia Invitational with a best of 6 feet, 9 inches, a school record and good for the second-best effort in the state this season. The junior also won the Stanford Invitational this season.
Optimist highlights – The South beat the North 148-121 in the 40th Optimist All-Star basketball game for graduating seniors in an up-tempo game where defense was hardly considered.
Sheldon guard Elishja Duplechan earned South MVP honors after scoring 22 points, and Tyrell Roberts of Woodcreek for the North after scoring 33. Drew Cobb of Sheldon had 17 points; Keshawn Bruner of Burbank 15; and Austin Alexander of Capital Christian 14 for the South. For the North, Zethan Dumpson of Rio Linda had 16; Jashon Lewis of Whitney 15; and Cameron Davis of Grant 14.
In the girls game, Mira Shulman of Elk Grove earned South MVP honors after leading an 86-52 win over the North, led by MVP Brandy Huffhines of Rio Linda (15 points). Shulman had 12 points and Jordan Cruz of McClatchy 13 as McClatchy teammate Courtesy Clark led the defensive charge in a game where defense was encouraged.
Records through Sunday, last week in parentheses
1. Sheldon (1) 15-1
2. Elk Grove (2) 12-2
3. Del Campo (3) 14-4
4. Del Oro (4) 12-3-1
5. Rocklin (5) 8-5-1
6. Vista del Lago (11) 9-5
7. Casa Roble (6) 10-4
8. Pioneer (19) 10-4-1
9. Yuba City (7) 12-3-1
10. River City (8) 6-1-1
11. Oak Ridge (16) 9-4
12. Christian Brothers (10) 11-4-1
13. Whitney (9) 10-6
14. Granite Bay (12) 9-7
15. Bella Vista (13) 8-5
16. Kennedy (20) 14-3
17. Woodcreek (17) 8-7
18. Lincoln (14) 10-3
19. Davis (–) 6-6
20. Pleasant Grove (15) 9-5
Records through Sunday, last week in parentheses
1. Davis (1) 8-2
2. Elk Grove (2) 5-4
3. Oak Ridge (3) 6-3
4. Pleasant Grove (4) 8-2
5. Franklin (5) 6-4-1
6. Christian Brothers (6) 10-0
7. Del Oro (8) 8-5
8. Jesuit (11) 4-6
9. Granite Bay (9) 9-2-1
10. Vista del Lago (7) 9-2
11. Sheldon (10) 6-4
12. Capital Christian (13) 12-2
13. Lincoln (17) 10-4
14. Liberty Ranch (20) 12-2
15. Oakmont 19) 7-6
16. Bella Vista (–) 8-5
17. Roseville (14) 9-9
18. Del Campo (15) 9-7
19. Yuba City (–) 8-6
20. River Valley (16) 8-5