Brawl breaks out at Grant-Del Oro football game before dramatic finish
Bouncing around the regions in a forward lean out of a 3-point stance...
It used to be a 10-week sprint to the end of the regular season to celebrate league championships. Then the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs started in the 1970s, making it a 13-week burst.
Then the CIF State football format came about in 2006, then the Northern California Regional title and CIF bowl games came about, making for an exhaustive 16-week marathon/sprint.
That starts next week when the section releases playoff brackets. Buckle your helmets. It’ll get fun from there.
A bad trend has sullied some good football action of late.
A week after a handful of Del Oro and Grant players unleashed on each other with haymakers in Del Paso Heights, Del Campo and Christian Brothers players came to blows on Friday at Hughes Stadium, dulling an otherwise thrilling win for Del Campo.
Earlier this season, Antelope and Capital Christian players got into it.
Emotions happen in a violent sport, to be sure, but what’s not acceptable is when coaches get involved. And too many overlook or forget that if you’re ejected from a game, you automatically sit out the following game, a great rule to enforce civility.
Hoskins on the mend
Dave Hoskins, a regional football coaching and personality treasure for 52 years, has been out of action for two weeks now, in the hospital and then a rehabilitation facility to heal up.
The offensive line coach for 9-0 Capital Christian was already dealing with a fractured hip when he was bowled over twice in different games on the sideline, a mass of bodies barreling his way. Hoskins was never much more mobile than a parked Buick. The man who goes by “Chief” maintains his good spirit, including ending phone calls with, “know what I like about you? Nothing!”
Not only is he the heaviest guy on the roster, but Bobby Piland has more than held his weight as a freshman in the trenches for Rocklin.
The 6-foot, 255-pound two-way lineman has had his share of drive-blocking pancake plays and has received rave reviews from teammates and coaches for his attention to detail and eagerness to learn. This is a bruiser with college potential as striking as his shock of blond hair.
Kudos to the Del Oro and Rocklin programs for stressing and reminding that this game is much more than wins and losses.
How about memories?
Before Friday’s kickoff in Rocklin, the programs had a special needs player on each team score a make-shift touchdown, leading to players to celebrate. Connor Wellsfry did the honors for Del Oro and Paris Cordell for Rocklin.
Look of calm
Mike Alberghini has seethed and boiled plenty during his long coaching career at Grant, so revered on campus and in the community that the field bears his name.
On Friday, as Grant was being picked apart by top-ranked Folsom 53-7, Alberghini didn’t seethe. Sometimes you just know when you’re outclassed by a better team. Coach Al spent a lot of time talking to players after plays, coaching right to the end.
Grant at 4-5 has spirited wins over Granite Bay and Rocklin and a near upset of No. 2 Del Oro. The Pacers can secure a playoff berth with a win over Whitney on Friday. Grant has missed the playoffs just twice since 1981, including last season, halting a postseason streak of 26 successive seasons.
Kaiden Bennett is the man who makes it all go for Folsom, the senior quarterback expertly slicing defenses apart with precision passing to the tune of 40 touchdown passes and no interceptions during an 8-game winning streak, rarely playing the second half of routs.
He also regularly praises his teammates – skill players, linemen, defenders, reserves. That’s a leader.
The engine that has propelled Del Campo during its three-game winning streak has been Levi Markey.
The bullish 6-foot, 210-pound running back has peeled off games of 328, 343 and 282 yards with four rushing scores in each of those games. Said Del Campo coach Aaron Goldfried, “The guy is a freak. He’s so good. The guys love him.”
Pleasant Grove is 0-9 and faces Jesuit in the finale, and no one hurts more than coach Matt Costa, who went 3-7 in his first season after doing remarkable work to turn around a sagging Kennedy program.
Costa remains upbeat, reminding that he will have as many as 17 starters returning next season for a team that lost by one to Christian Brothers, eight to Cosumnes Oaks, seven to Elk Grove, nine to Davis and seven to Sheldon.
Ray of light
Mike Ray has chronicled scores of players and championship teams at Colfax, Placer, Del Oro, Nevada Union and other Placer County and Grass Valley programs since 1969, mostly as sports editor at the Colfax Record. He is a bastion of knowledge, insight and personality, a celebrity in small towns and respected by coaches near and far.
That he graduated from Colfax never dulled his duty to report fairly. If he was ever tempted to really be a homer, it was when his sons, Nate and Kyle, played multiple sports at Colfax.
Ray has been a gift for local journalism with no end in sight. On Sunday, he will be part of the next class inducted into the section Hall of Fame, a group that includes a man Ray knows well – Ron Pucci, the who led a championship boys basketball programs for decades at Colfax.