High School Sports

Prep football preview: Both on offense and defense, here are Sacramento’s best linemen

The Bee’s Joe Davidson gives the scoop on area high school football coaches

Sacramento Bee sports writer Joe Davidson shares his thoughts on some of the area's best high school football coaches and their impact on and off the field on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.
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Sacramento Bee sports writer Joe Davidson shares his thoughts on some of the area's best high school football coaches and their impact on and off the field on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.

It all starts in the trenches.

You must have blockers and line stoppers in order to compete, to survive. And not just big guys who push and shove. Big guys with good feet, hand placement and a relentless drive to drive block can make or break a season.

High school football in the Sacramento region has long been defined by teams with the best line play.

Grant has won seven Sac-Joaquin Section championships since 1991 in large part due to the large guys up front, or, as coach Mike Alberghini likes to say, “guys who don’t miss meals.”

At Folsom, the Bulldogs have rolled this decade because it has kept quarterbacks upright. Even smaller schools such as Colfax and Rio Linda bear down on championships because of guards and tackles.

At Casa Roble, coach Chris Horner sized up his two-way lineman Brad Rankin like this, “aggressive and has a motor, hits like a truck and is addicted to the weight room.”

That Rankin is an honors student who also plays other sports makes him a keeper on our list of top area linemen.

And this from Granite Bay coach Jeff Evans on his Vincent Carter, “he’s big, physical and athletic, plays nasty and has great technique.”

That’s the sort of guy we want to have in our corner for a pick-up game of football, or to move the couch and piano.

And linemen have personality. Makaile Shaddix of Capital Christian is a returning starter for a 13-1 team, and he’s not even the most famous guy at the dinner table. His father, Jacoby, is the lead singer of Papa Roach.

Zack Beard, Rocklin, 6-foot-1, 265 pounds, Sr.

A returning starter and a team captain, it’s wise to fear the beard.

Tucker Black, Del Oro, 5-11, 250, Sr.

The Golden Eagles have for decades trotted out trench terrors.

Myles Cannon, Cosumnes Oaks, 6-3, 250, Sr.

A terrific athlete, Cannon fires off the ball like one.

Vincent Carter, Granite Bay, 6-4, 250, Jr.

Grizzlies coaches see VC as a Division I football recruit.

Kyle Christiansen, Placer, 6-4, 255, Sr.

Placer’s next big recruit lineman plays both ways.

Wiley Drummond, Colfax, 6-4, 285, Sr.

A big man on a small campus was a huge part of his team’s 13-1 season.

Ilaisa Gonebure, Capital Christian, 6-4, 310, Jr.

Started as a sophomore for a 13-1 team and has offers coming in already.

Cannon Harmer, Granite Bay, 6-3, 230, Sr.

A captain known to be a physical grinder with “high character.”

Jacob Hudson, Elk Grove, 6-3, 255, Sr.

A Hudson of a Thundering Herd “Hammerhead” linemen to lead triple-option attack.

Mario Keanon, Monterey Trail, 6-2, 260, Sr.

A two-way starter for a team that went 12-1 last season, and invites the blocking sled sessions.

Gerald Lichenhan, Davis, 6-9, 340, Sr.

Of all the national recruits in Davis history, this one stands as the tallest.

Adrian Lopez, Sheldon, 5-10, 230, Sr.

The Huskies’ tenacious center sets the line tone.

Jaxon King, Union Mine, 6-5, 255, So.

A starter as a freshman, King is the next big thing on campus.

Kevin Good, Whitney, 6-4, 265, Sr.

The Wildcats have a fighting chance – 0-10 in 2018 – with Good in the mix.

Omarr Norman-Lott, Grant, 6-4, 305, Sr.

When USC offers, you’re good, and he had 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in 2018.

Bobby Piland, Rocklin, 6-1, 280, So.

The first freshman to make The Bee’s All-Metro team is a devastating blocker and relentless worker.

Brad Rankin, Casa Roble, 6-1, 225, Sr.

A thinker in shoulder pads and a dynamic pass rusher for an 11-2 team.

Eddie Rabuku, Rio Linda, 6-2, 205, Sr.

A three-year starter and senior line anchor who helped lead a 13-2 state title team.

Nick Scalise, Oak Ridge, 6-6, 290, Sr.

Another field-tilting lineman leader for the Trojans who has offers coming in.

Lathum Snipes, Monterey Trail, 6-0, 275, Sr.

A three-year starter and one of the section’s elite run blockers for a 12-1 team.

Isaiah Tupo, Grant, 6-3, 315, Sr.

Offers include BYU, Utah and Arizona, with more to come for a tough and bright talent.

Others: Dean Abdullah, Antelope; Mike Callas, Placer; Isaiah Carter, Nevada Union; Jesus Castillo, Placer; Jason Castro, River City; Christopher Chang, Highlands; Jesse Contreraz, Antelope; Matthew DalBon, Nevada Union; Tyler Dean, Oak Ridge; D.J. Eldridge, Capital Christian; Collin Homer, Vista del Lago; Josh Ngaluafe, River City; Diego Pinola, Antelope; Makaile Shaddix of Capital Christian; Jack O’Connor, Pleasant Grove; Daniel Ramirez, Monterey Trail; Julian Rodrigues, Christian Brothers; Taniela Samate, Burbank; Christopher Soderlund, Wheatland; Matt Suka, Wood; Ryan Tung, Vista del Lago; David Veske, Del Oro.

Who’d we miss? Email jdavidson@sacbee.com with thoughts and players.

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