Joe Davidson

Capital Christian football thrives with Texas 3-step

Capital Christian Cougars warm up before their game with Dixon Rams last year.
Capital Christian Cougars warm up before their game with Dixon Rams last year. Special to The Bee

Ron Gerringer expected to be retired from football this season, teaching American government and economics at Capital Christian High School on weekdays and chasing nine grandchildren around the yard on weekends.

That was the plan, at least.

A longtime junior varsity coach at Capital Christian, Gerringer was tabbed in May to take over for varsity coach Phil Grams, who accepted an assistant’s position at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. Gerringer stepped up because he didn’t want to turn the players down.

Gerringer prefers to run the ball, with some Jake Norville passes mixed in to keep defenses guessing. That combination has the Cougars (11-2) riding a nine-game winning streak entering Friday night’s Northern California Division 5-AA championship game at Bishop O’Dowd (13-1) in Oakland.

“We’re old-school Texas ground and pound, and we have some plow horses that go,” Gerringer said in a booming Texas drawl he hasn’t lost since leaving the Lone Star State.

Capital Christian has rushed for 3,425 yards and 51 touchdowns. It averages 263.5 yards per game and 9.3 yards a carry. Sophomore D’Marcus Ross has run for 1,380 yards and 24 scores, Julian Leslie 801 and nine, and Christian Simmons 600 and nine. Norville has passed for 2,304 yards and 23 scores and rushed for 341 and four.

The most decorated runner on the field when Capital Christian plays O’Dowd will be a retired one. O’Dowd is coached by Napoleon Kaufman, a first-round pick of the Raiders in 1995 who played just six seasons before retiring.

Kaufman has said his fondest football memory – even more than winning a national championship at Washington – was capturing a section title at Lompoc High School in 1990. He tells his players to appreciate the high school experience.

O’Dowd’s best player is sophomore Austin Jones, who has rushed for 1,531 yards and 24 scores.

Halverson helps – The turning point in Del Oro’s 35-13 Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title win over Inderkum came on Hunter Halverson’s fumble return of 69 yards for a touchdown. The defensive lineman scooped up a loose ball after an Israel Luna sack and scored to give the Golden Eagles a 21-0 lead.

Soon after, Halverson went from celebrated to avoided, getting sick on the sideline. Del Oro (12-2), seeking its fourth CIF State Bowl bid this decade, will host Bakersfield (11-1) in the NorCal Regional 1-A title game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Basketball – Longtime Sac-Joaquin Section powers Jesuit and Modesto Christian headline the 43rd Father Barry Classic at Jesuit that started Thursday and concludes Saturday night.

Jesuit returns guards Matt Ehrlich, Isaiah Rutherford and Jake Virga and forward Chris Simpson for coach Jon Rotz, whose team went 25-6 last season. Modesto Christian went 32-2 last season, reaching the NorCal Open Division final.

Jesuit and Modesto Christian have combined to win 28 section championships. For Father Barry brackets, go to jesuithighschool.org.

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