Marlon Blanton is relieved to have a big, hard-hitting running back on his side.
The Jesuit High School football coach can only offer a word of caution to opponents trying to take down Beau Bisharat, the Marauders’ rumbling combination of power and speed packaged into a 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame that doubles as a “Beware of Beau” warning label.
Said Blanton: “Oh man, good luck. Take him low, grab onto his ankles, anything, and wait for help.”
Bisharat is the engine that propels Jesuit’s “Big Red” machine. The three-year starter is headed to Stanford on his academic and athletic merit. He’s a polite and thoughtful young man, contrary to his brutish behavior on the field.
Bisharat said he runs angry and with purpose. This isn’t a nice-guy sport, he said, especially when running backs become something of a magnet to defenders zooming in.
“The mentality is to not get tackled and taken down by one guy,” Bisharat said. “And to be physical and punish defenders. I’ve always had my best runs when I’m a little angry, from a bad play, or a noncall, or something happening to a teammate. I take it personal and go with it.”
He’s gone far with it. Bisharat was the first sophomore in Jesuit history to eclipse 1,000 yards on varsity, chugging for 1,119 yards and 13 scores in 2013; he went for 1,651 and 23 last fall. In establishing a balanced offensive attack with quarterback Calvin Brownholtz, Jesuit is 1-1 this season with Bisharat rushing for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
Bisharat will look for more in Jesuit’s annual rivalry Saturday against Christian Brothers in the Holy Bowl at Hughes Stadium, where a crowd of 17,000 is expected. He accounted for three scores in last year’s win over the Falcons, who enter this season’s grudge match 2-0.
“The Holy Bowl is so special, the crowd, the bigger stadium, the rivalry that you’re scared to lose,” Bisharat said. “We don’t want to lose that game.”
The competition goes beyond the field. That’s the allure of the Holy Bowl, the region’s most spirited rivalry that dates to 1969. The Christian Brothers and Jesuit student sections will attempt to one-up the other with creative body paint and chants. Jesuit rooters will celebrate every Bisharat effort, just like CBS fans will for its own shifty running back, Jamarri Jackson.
Decades worth of alumni will squeeze into old lettermen’s jackets to root on their teams. One of those old-timers will be Charlie Bisharat, Beau’s father and a running back for Jesuit in 1976 and ’77 who played at Oregon. The Bisharats share a close bond, with father teaching son how to bowhunt, fish and play football. Charlie helped initiate Jesuit’s youth football program several years ago with Scott Brownholtz, Calvin’s father.
Charlie Bisharat said his son “remains as sweet as ever” and recalled a story for emphasis. A year ago, young Bisharat and sister, Karson, were at a stoplight when an elderly, blind man struggled to negotiate a maze of sidewalks and crosswalks. Beau jumped out of the car and helped the fellow cross.
On Monday, Blanton caught a glimpse of Bisharat’s humility. Blanton was scooping up garbage in the Jesuit stands before practice when he was joined by Bisharat, in full pads and helmet, followed by his teammates.
“He’s the real deal,” Blanton said.
Bisharat’s mother, Brenda, said she’s caught a glimpse of her son’s efforts as a professional photographer. Ever the mom, she’s known to hustle a soda to Bisharat during the halftime of games, the bubbly drink helping to soothe her son’s nerves. Bisharat said he appreciates his parents’ support and guidance beyond words, and that he also appreciates his good life. So when he sees someone in need, he acts.
“That’s how I was raised – to do the right thing.” Bisharat said. “Offer a hand. Why not?”
Bisharat has offered senior guidance to Brownholtz, the junior quarterback who accounted for five touchdowns in a 40-0 rout of Yuba City last Saturday. Brownholtz also hails from a football family. His father, Scott, played center at Georgia, and grandfather, John Volek, coached at Sacramento State. Another relative is Volek’s son, Billy, who played in the NFL and talks regularly to Calvin about quarterback play.
Calvin also looks up to older brother Cole, last year’s starting quarterback for Jesuit who now plays at Sierra College.
“I have a great family,” Calvin said. “My brother and I watch film together, watch each other’s games. He’s such a great role model for me. He’s been so helpful. I love him to death.
“Football is definitely in the blood. I told Billy Volek that I was part of five touchdowns and he took it personally. He said that was his personal record, too.”
Brownholtz said he “worked my butt off” to get to this point of his young career. He worked on footwork, passing, the mental aspect of the game. The easiest part of his task? Handing off to Bisharat and admiring the view.
“Oh wow, crazy stuff,” he said of Bisharat. “You feel kind of safe having someone like Beau in the backfield with you, a guy who can put the team on his back and go. Amazing guy, great teammate. Just so glad he’s on our side.”
The Holy Bowl
- What: 45th football game between Christian Brothers and Jesuit
- When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Hughes Stadium, Sacramento City College
- Tickets: Adults $10, students $7, if purchased in advance at the schools ($10 at Hughes box office on game day); 5 and younger free
Holy Bowl by the numbers
1: Rank among regional annual rivalries in rooting passion and attendance
2: Years the teams did not play, 1977, ’78
28-14-1: Jesuit’s Holy Bowl record
42: Games in which Dan Carmazzi, Christian Brothers’ coach, has been involved as a player or coach
44: Times the game has been played
1876: Year Christian Brothers opened
1963: Year Jesuit opened
1969: Year of the first Holy Bowl, won by CBS 20-13
1993: Year when there were two Holy Bowls, including the playoffs, each won by Jesuit
17,000: Estimated crowd Saturday at Hughes Stadium
High school football coverage
The Bee’s print edition will feature expanded coverage of high school football every Sunday, including insight from Joe Davidson, highlights of the top weekend games, how The Bee’s Top 20 fared, scores and more. Can’t wait until Sunday? Go to sacbee.com after the games on Friday nights for highlights, scores, photo galleries and more.
WHERE’S JOE D? The Bee’s Joe Davidson will be at Del Oro on Friday for the No. 3 Golden Eagles’ game against Bellarmine of San Jose and at Hughes Stadium on Saturday for the annual Holy Bowl between Christian Brothers and Jesuit.
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