Joe Davidson

How the Elk Grove region influenced The Bee’s preseason football rankings, Nos. 6-10

Led by coach Joe Cattolico, Sheldon expects to again compete for the Delta League championship.
Led by coach Joe Cattolico, Sheldon expects to again compete for the Delta League championship. Special to The Sacramento Bee

The Elk Grove Unified School District started with Elk Grove High School, naturally.

By 1977, Valley joined the district. In 1989, it was Florin. Then in the 1990s and 2000s, the district swelled to nine schools, reflective of the massive growth in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Two of the relative newcomers are Sheldon and Monterey Trail, headed by coaches who relocated years ago from the Bay Area for new challenges — and more affordable housing — in Joe Cattolico at Sheldon (after opening nearby Pleasant Grove) and T.J. Ewing, the founding Monterey Trail coach.

Others in The Bee’s preseason rankings for teams No. 6-10 include storied Placer, which opened in 1897, and programs that quickly rose to success in Antelope and Inderkum.

Here are Nos. 6-10, with last year’s record in parentheses:

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The Antelope High School Titans come on the to the field before playing Del Oro Golden Eagles in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff game Nov. 25, 2016. Brian Baer Sacramento Bee file

10. Antelope (10-2)

Coach: Matt Ray

League: Capital Valley

Enrollment: 1,800

Division: II/III

School opened: 2007

Opener: at Rocklin, Aug. 17

Pedigree: 12-1 seasons in 2015 and 2016 and a 10-2 showing last season with five league championships under Ray, who has upped his schedule.

The skinny: Eleven starters return, though the key will be who steps up in the trenches. The skill guys are there, including RBs Keith Brown and Mhari Roberts and TE/DE Carter Sullivan.

9. Sheldon (9-3)

Coach: Joe Cattolico

League: Delta

Enrollment: 2,300

Division: I

School opened: 1997

Opener: vs. Monterey Trail, Aug. 17

Pedigree: Six playoff appearances since 2005 and a rise back to relevance under coach Cattolico.

The skinny: The Huskies are simple in approach with basic plays, but basic has worked wonders for Cattolico and his 250-game-winning father (from Los Gatos High) in Butch, an assistant coach. Basic includes pass and run plays with QB Francisco Salinas and RB Tyrell Smith.

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Monterey Trail has had eight playoff apperances since 2007 and two section title-game showings under coach TJ Ewing. Brian Baer Special to The Sacramento Bee

8. Monterey Trail (6-5)

Coach: TJ Ewing

League: Metropolitan

Enrollment: 2,300

Division: I/II

School opened: 2004

Opener: vs. Sheldon, Aug. 17

Pedigree: Eight playoff apperances since 2007 and two section title-game showings under Ewing, one of the section’s top motivators and leaders.

The skinny: The Mustangs are rarely big in numbers (30 players this season) but few teams maximize every bit of effort, and it starts this time around behind DB Jehiel Budgett and QB/DB Zach Larrier, a scholar with soaring recruiting interest.

7. Inderkum (11-1)

Coach: Terry Stark

League: Capital Valley

Enrollment: 1,800

Division: I/II

School opened: 2004

Opener: vs. Elk Grove, Aug. 17

Pedigree: 12 consecutive double-digit winning seasons under Stark and three section-title game appearances.

The skinny: The Tigers roll on with victories and scores of athletes who sign scholarship deals, and long live the archaic wing-T run game that still works. So does the defense with DL Brandon Knott and LBs Isaiah Ward and Logan Benoit.

6. Placer (13-2)

Coach: Joey Montoya

League: Foothill Valley

Enrollment: 1,300

Division: III/IV

School opened: 1897

Opener: vs. Pleasant Grove, Aug. 17

Pedigree: 10 consecutive playoff berths and six league titles under Montoya, with a CIF state final showing last season.

The skinny: If it all starts in the trenches, then the Hillmen will roll again with bookend tackles Joey Capra (headed to Oregon) and Blake Baughman (Nevada) to block for QB Michael Stuck and backs Marshall Chapman and Brad Bishop. Seventeen starters return and the JV team went 10-0: yikes.

The Bee’s top 20 high school football teams

The Sacramento Bee is ranking its top 20 high school football teams heading into the 2018 season. Here’s the schedule for the series:

Tuesday: Nos. 16-20: River Valley, Del Campo, Christian Brothers, Bear River, Casa Roble

Wednesday: Nos. 11-15: Sacramento, Rocklin, Elk Grove, Grant, Capital Christian

Thursday: Nos. 6-10

Friday: Nos. 1-5

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