Joe Davidson

Dwindling football rosters on the rise; two teams in Sac-Joaquin Section call games

These are the Sacramento-area high school football players to watch for in 2019

The Bee's Joe Davidson lists the Sacramento high school football players to watch out for in 2019. See if your team's top players made the list.
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The Bee's Joe Davidson lists the Sacramento high school football players to watch out for in 2019. See if your team's top players made the list.

Nothing pains a coach and a team more than to pull the dogs, in the middle of competition.

On Friday night, Burbank High School fell behind Sheldon 47-12, succumbing to the speed and ferocity of the Huskies and their own mounting injuries.

Burbank coach Eddie Elder suggested to referees that a running clock was needed for the second half. When two of his players went down with injuries on successive plays, Elder told referees he was pulling the plug. It was midway through the third quarter, the Titans’ roster down to 16 upright players.

This was a rarity for a Burbank program that has been a playoff regular since 2000. Elder is a Burbank alum who played in the NFL. He declined to talk to The Bee.

Burbank hosts Vacaville on Friday.

“I feel bad for their kids because they played hard all night,” said Sheldon coach Dave Filan, who can relate to low roster numbers and long game nights when he coached at Valley. “I also felt bad for our guys who were going to play.

“(Elder) made the right decision, no doubt. They were so depleted. I admire their grit and determination to play in a tough situation. Our kids admired the Burbank players, and they told them so in the postgame handshake line.”

In the southern part of the Sac-Joaquin Section in Salida, Modesto Christian coach Brett Butler on Friday was faced with a similar dilemma of what to do with such a small roster.

Down 62-0 to Edison of Stockton, and down to 14 players, Butler waved the white flag in the third quarter. Game over.

Modesto Christian lost its opener 63-0 to Sierra of Manteca and is hopeful of finishing the season. The Crusaders went 15-0 in 2009, 11-2 in 2014 and 10-2 last season before participation numbers declined.

Florin forfeited its opener to Rosemont due to lack of varsity football numbers but will play at Highlands on Friday.

Football numbers have been a concern in recent years, in part due to long-term fears of concussions, though it’s important to understand that if the game is taught correctly and tackling drills are limited in practice, it’s a safe game.

Great Scot

Highlands has trotted out quite a few playmakers over the decades, and here’s the latest one: Harim Reynolds.

A 6-foot, 170-pound senior receiver, Reynolds had five catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns and he intercepted two passes to key a 49-0 win over Lindhurst, a game in which the quarterback duo of Chrichion Brown and Will Young combined for six total scores.

“Harim’s a monster,” Highlands coach Matt Cokley said. “He’s one of the best deep threats in the section. When the ball’s in the air for most kids, it’s a 50-50 ball, but for Harim, it’s 100 percent his every time. He makes the tough catches look easy.”

Cokley is an alum of Highlands, having coached six playoff teams this decade for a school that has overcome declining enrollment.

Rushing attack

Reagan Fonbuena has rushed for 354 yards in two games for Franklin (1-1), making him the early section leader. He also starts at linebacker for second-year coach Evan Boylan.

“Reagan is a team captain, a great leader in the weight room and a model student,” Boylan said. “Our offensive line has been the strength of our team, and Reagan would tell you they’re the biggest reason for his success.”

That’s a good teammate. That offensive line: A.J. Glover, Tyler Keinath, Michael Lloyd, Eric Mayol, Cristian Salinas and Elijah Taulani.

Rivalry win

In a series that started in 1965, Oakmont and Roseville have waged quite a few fierce battles for city bragging rights.

On Friday in front of an overflow setting, Oakmont moved to 2-0 with a 21-20 victory over Roseville, a thrill for coach Tim Moore, a graduate of the school.

Sean Myles scored two touchdowns and had the sealing interception when Roseville coach Joe Cattolico went for two and the win, as he has done before at Pleasant Grove and Sheldon with success.

Oakmont will host its Hall of Fame game Friday against Bella Vista.


Top-ranked St. Francis plays at No. 5 Christian Brothers on Tuesday in the Holy Court rivalry game.

The Troubadours defeated previous No. 1 Rocklin in four sets last week behind 17 kills from Alexa Edwards and 13 from Chloe Henning.

Christian Brothers is coming off a 6-1 showing at the High Sierra Invitational. The Falcons are led by front-row hitters Allie Corgiat, Gillian Hurley, Sophia Overstreet, Lily Patock and libero Sydney Durana.

Trojans rise

After sweeps against Ponderosa in the fundraising Foundation Game and Pleasant Grove last week, Oak Ridge has moved up to No. 2 in The Bee’s rankings.

Against No. 6 Pleasant Grove, front-row players Kelly Hansen, Kylie Kirtlan, Kealani Kuykendall and Devon Laing combined for 25 kills. Oak Ridge added 11 aces and 15 blocks.

The Trojans face St. Francis on Wednesday and No. 4 Cosumnes Oaks on Thursday. Cosumnes Oaks has won six of seven matches, including defeating Bishop Manogue of Reno in the championship match of the High Sierra Invitational in Reno.

Stanislaus State commit Haley Burdo has led the way at setter for Cosumnes Oaks.

Rocklin’s island fun

While most teams took the bus to tournaments last week, Rocklin players and families boarded a plane for a trip of a lifetime — Hawaii.

The Thunder program raised nearly $15,000 from parents, friends and family over the past few months to play at the Kamehameha School Volleyball Tournament in Hilo.

No. 3 Rocklin took on some of the best teams on the West Coast and finished 5-3.

- Cameron Salerno


Sacramento region


1. Folsom (1-0)

2. Monterey Trail (2-0)

3. Oak Ridge (2-0)

4. Capital Christian (2-0)

5. Inderkum (2-0)

6. Granite Bay (1-1)

7. Del Oro (1-1)

8. Jesuit (0-1)

9. Davis (2-0)

10. Rocklin (2-0)

11. Vacaville (0-2)

12. Sheldon (1-1)

13. Elk Grove (0-1)

14. Whitney (2-0)

15. Placer (1-1)

16. Center (2-0)

17. Rio Linda (1-1)

18. Bear River (2-0)

19. Yuba City (1-1)

20. Pleasant Grove (2-0)

Bubble teams (alphabetical order): Casa Roble (1-1), Colfax (1-1), Cosumnes Oaks (1-1), Del Campo (1-1), El Camino (2-0), Franklin (1-1), Laguna Creek (2-0), Lincoln (1-1), Oakmont (2-0), Rio Americano (1-0), River Valley (2-0), Roseville (1-1), Sacramento (1-1), Vista del Lago (2-0), Woodcreek (1-1), Woodland (1-1).


Sac-Joaquin Section


Large Schools

1. Folsom (1-0)

2. Monterey Trail (2-0)

3. Oak Ridge (2-0)

4. Central Catholic (0-2)

5. St. Mary’s (0-1)

6. Capital Christian (2-0)

7. Inderkum (2-0)

8. Buhach Colony (2-0)

9. Granite Bay (1-1)

10. Del Oro (1-1)

11. Oakdale (1-1)

12. Turlock (1-1)

13. Tracy (1-1)

14. Jesuit (0-1)

15. Downey (2-0)

16. Davis (2-0)

17. Manteca (1-1)

18. Edison (2-0)

19. Vacaville (0-2)

20. Sheldon (1-1)

- Joe Davidson/Julian Lopez


Sac-Joaquin Section


Small Schools

1. Escalon (1-0)

2. Hilmar (2-0)

3. Bear River (2-0)

4. Center (2-0)

5. Ripon Christian (1-1)

6. Ripon (2-0)

7. Denair (2-0)

8. Woodland (1-1)

9. Bradshaw Christian (2-0)

10. Colax (1-1)

- Julian Lopez/Joe Davidson



1. St. Francis (2-0)

2. Oak Ridge (6-1)

3. Rocklin (6-4)

4. Cosumnes Oaks (10-1)

5. Christian Brothers (7-3)

6. Pleasant Grove (2-1)

7. Nevada Union (12-1)

8. Rio Americano (7-4)

9. Whitney (5-5)

10. Del Oro (6-5)

11. Folsom (7-6)

12. Oakmont (3-0)

13. Lincoln (3-0)

14. Vacaville (8-1)

15. Vanden (2-0)

16. Ponderosa (3-6)

17. Pioneer (9-1)

18. Granite Bay (3-5)

19. Vista Del Lago (1-2)

20. Bear River (4-0)

- Cameron Salerno

Football schedule

All games kick off between 7-7:30 p.m.

Amador at Liberty Ranch

Atwater at Lincoln

Bella Vista at Oakmont

Bishop Manogue at Oak Ridge

Cardinal Newman at Placer

Cordova at Rio Linda

Cosumnes Oaks at River City

Del Oro at Spanish Springs, Nev.

Dixon at Rosemont

El Camino at Woodcreek

El Dorado at Ponderosa

Elk Grove at Rodriguez

Fairfield at Yuba City

Florin at Highlands

Folsom at Antelope

Franklin vs. River Valley at Cosumnes Oaks

Galt at Linden

Grant at Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.)

Jesuit at Granite Bay

Kennedy at Sheldon

Laguna Creek vs. Dublin at Cosumnes River College

Marysville at Oroville

Maxwell at Delta

McClatchy vs. Foothill at Hughes Stadium

Mesa Verde at East Nicolaus

Mira Loma at Center

Orestimba at Golden Sierra

Pershing County (Lovelock, Nev.) at Bear River

Pioneer at Johnson

Portola at Foresthill

Rio Vista at Natomas

Rocklin at Damonte Ranch (Reno, Nev.)

Roseville vs. Rio Americano at Del Campo

Sacramento at Inderkum

San Ramon Valley at Monterey Trail

Vacaville at Burbank

Vista del Lago at Casa Roble

Vista Murrieta at Capital Christian

Western Sierra vs. Union Mine at Mahany Park

Wheatland at Lindhurst

Whitney at Central

Wood at Deer Valley

Woodland vs. Davis at Pioneer


Christian Brothers vs. Vanden at Hughes Stadium, 11 a.m.

San Juan at Encina, 11 a.m.

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Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.