There was a sudden burst of euphoria in church Sunday, linked to football. And it wasn’t just allowed, it was encouraged.
Just before the final blessing at Capital Christian Center, the Capital Christian High School football team found out its season was extended at least another week when the Rev. Rick Cole shared the good news with the congregation. The Cougars will play at Central Catholic of Modesto for the CIF Northern California Division IV Regional championship Friday.
Even Cole, who insists he only misses a game when there is a higher calling, couldn’t hold back his glee. Neither could scores of players, dressed in their Sunday best, who high-fived and hollered.
“The place was cheering, very cool,” Capital Christian coach Phil Grams said. “Pastor Cole introduced the team earlier at church, and then we found out that we’d play another game, I texted it to him.”
Texting in church? Is that allowed?
“I give Pastor Cole commentary during his sermons,” Grams said, laughing. “No, he reads a lot of his information off of his notes from his phone, so that’s how that happened.”
Behind versatile team stars Justice Shelton-Mosley, Luis Gomez and Edward Ware, Capital Christian (13-0) beat Modesto Christian 35-28 for the Sac-Joaquin Section D-VI championship Nov. 29. The Cougars were then placed in a holding pattern of sorts, waiting to learn if their season was over or to be extended.
Since all section champions are placed on the board for the 10 section committees to ponder, Capital Christian could only wait as other small-school title games played out over the weekend.
McClymonds of Oakland was unbeaten on the field and seemingly had the inside track to face Central Catholic (10-3), the two-time defending CIF State D-IV champion. But the Warriors were hit with four forfeit losses tied to residential eligibility issue with a quarterback used early in the season, even though the athlete was initially cleared by the Oakland Section.
“Our mantra all last week was, ‘Why not us?’ as in, why can’t we win the whole thing?” Grams said. “And if we didn’t get a NorCal game, it still would’ve been, ‘Why not us?’”
Early sportsmanship – Shortly after Grant beat St. Mary’s 21-14 to win the section D-II championship at Sacramento State last Friday, Pacers left tackle Darrin Paulo was exchanging text messages with a friend.
Paulo was exchanging kudos with Jonah Williams, a two-way lineman for Folsom, which plays Grant for the NorCal D-I title Friday at Sac State.
“I got to know Jonah in track and field, and he’s a great guy and a great player,” Paulo said.
With so many skill-position stars, this game may be decided in the trenches. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Paulo may face defensive end Sam Whitney, who also plays center. Or he may run into the 6-5, 270-pound Williams. And there’s 6-3, 285-pound Arizona-bound tackle Cody Creason taking on heavily recruited Grant linemen Soape Tupou (6-4, 330) and Orlando Umana (6-4, 308).
NorCal tickets – Tickets for D-I NorCal Regional games can be purchased on the campus of the competing schools: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Grant during school hours, and Wednesday and Thursday from 3-4 p.m. at Folsom and Wednesday night from 6-7 p.m., at the stadium ticket booth.
Tickets can also be purchased at the Sac State ticket office Friday starting at 5 p.m. There are no online ticket sales. Tickets range from $8-12.
The Folsom-Grant game will be televised on ComcastSportsNet California and The Bee will offer continuous Twitter updates via @SacBee_JoeD.
Bee Optimist Classic – Coaches who haven’t done so are encouraged to send nominations for senior players to compete in The 58th annual Sacramento Bee Optimist All-Star Football Classic to be played Dec. 27 at Folsom by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.
CIF NorCal Division I
Who: Grant (14-0) vs. Folsom (14-0)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Hornet Field, Sacramento State
Tickets: $8-12; Can be purchased at Folsom High on Wednesday-Thursday, 3-4 p.m., and Wednesday at stadium ticket booth 6-7 p.m.; at Grant High office today through Thursday during school hours.
CIF NorCal Division IV
Who: Capital Christian (13-0) at Central Catholic Modesto (10-3)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Can be purchased at Capital Christian today through Thursday during school hours; on Friday at stadium ticket booth.
THE BEE PREPS SHOW
Check out “The Bee Preps Show,” hosted by Joe Davidson of The Bee and Mike Finnerty of All-City Preps, on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. on CSNCA. It will be repeated Tuesday at 10:30 p.m., Thursday at 2:30 p.m. and Friday at 3:30 p.m. It also can be seen each Friday at sacbee.com/high-school.