Football was the last thing on the mind of Beyer High School coach Doug Severe on Friday night.
As the best teams in the Stanislaus District were taking the field for the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, Severe’s thoughts were about 80 miles north with the Grant High School family.
Earlier Friday, Severe’s Patriots were heading on a bus to North Sacramento to take on Grant in a Division II playoff game. About halfway there, word got out that two Grant players had been shot and that the game would be postponed.
A few hours later, it was confirmed that one of the Grant players, senior Jaulon Clavo, had died from his wounds.
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“My heart goes out to the coaches, players, the family of those players and the community of Grant High,” Severe said. “I know how much I love my kids.
“The game of football becomes such a minute detail when talking about the life of young people. That’s somebody’s child, a teammate, a friend ... somebody who won’t be at school on Monday. I can’t imagine.”
Rev. Tommie Williams, Grant’s unofficial team pastor and statistician for 25 years, told the The Sacramento Bee that Clavo, a starting cornerback, and senior fullback Malik Johnson, were in a car at a three-way stop when they were shot. He said they had gone off campus to get something to eat – police said there were three others in the vehicle – and were on their way back to campus when the shooting occurred. They continued to Grant High to get help.
The shooting was reported at 3:42 p.m., about three hours before kickoff.
Severe said he was driving his own vehicle and his players were on a bus heading to the game when word got out. After he confirmed the news – at that point, that two Grant players had been shot and the game would be postponed because the campus was part of a crime scene – they tracked down the team bus north of Stockton.
He and his principal boarded the bus and discussed what some players already knew as word of the shooting already had traveled out on social media. The coaches and players held a prayer, then headed back to Modesto.
Severe said officials from both schools and the section are looking at playing the game either Monday night or Tuesday night, likely in the Sacramento area. He figured he’d know by Saturday.
Grant, which is 9-1, is the top seed in Division II. Beyer (6-4) is the No. 16 seed. The winner will play next Friday. The loser is out.
For the time being, though, football is taking a back seat, given what legendary Grant coach Mike Alberghini, his staff, players and their families are going through, Severe said.
“I’m just at a loss for words,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to have that happen and go through it.”