Coaches preach it regularly, and so do team captains.
How football teams respond to a crushing defeat or emphatic victory often shapes a high school season.
Grant dropped two spots to fourth in The Sacramento’s Bee’s Top 20 after being drop-kicked by new No. 2 Elk Grove 42-7 on Friday in a Delta League game. Ryan Robards scored six times – on offense, defense and special teams – in a contest expected to go down to the wire.
With many starters back from last season’s 14-1 team, the Pacers were shocked by the lopsided loss. The key now is how Grant reacts.
Coach Mike Alberghini expects his team to rebound. He has experienced similar setbacks, producing three of his seven Sac-Joaquin Section title teams after they suffered lopsided early-season defeats.
The veteran coach said he can only “yell and scream at the half so many times” before the team must act on its own accord. Linebacker Elijah Orr said his team must be more focused at practice and hungrier at kickoff, adding, “This is a wake-up call. We’ll bounce back.”
Grant visits Pleasant Grove on Friday.
Elk Grove coaches are challenging their team to respond, too. The Thundering Herd can’t afford to stall as it prepares for Jesuit, which has answered the bell after an early knockout.
After losing to Pleasant Grove 48-9 in the season’s biggest upset, No. 19 Jesuit beat Davis 42-26 on Saturday as Stanford-bound running back Beau Bisharat accounted for four touchdowns. Jesuit visits Elk Grove on Friday, a year after winning a thriller over the Thundering Herd at Levi’s Stadium.
Elk Grove moved from 22nd to 16th in the latest Cal-Hi Sports Top 25. The Thundering Herd welcomes being a target.
“It is going to be some new challenges for us,” Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon said after beating Grant. “When you win a game like this, we’re now going to be the ones to become the focus of every other team wanting to beat us.”
Bear River uprising – No. 13 Bear River is coming off impressive wins over NorCal small-school standouts in nonleague play. The Bruins (5-0) beat Escalon 28-14 on Sept. 25 and Sutter 21-14 in Friday’s homecoming game. Ben O’Lena scored all three Bear River touchdowns against Sutter. The Bruins open Pioneer Valley League action Friday at Foothill.
Bear River, the defending section Division V champion, has overcome the loss of standout linebacker Kyle Uclaray (knee). Quarterback Jason Voter has led the team, much as his brother Johndid as a senior running back last year.
Dragons forfeit – No. 12 Sacramento has forfeited two nonleague victories after unknowingly playing a seldom-used reserve who was ineligible after transferring to the school last season.
Just another opportunity to grow as a coach, dealing with adversity that’s out of our control and convincing our kids to keep pressing on,” said first-year Dragons coach Justin Reber.
Sacramento is 4-1 on the field, losing to Rocklin 28-17. The Dragons’ 68-0 win over El Camino and 42-28 victory over Vista del Lago now are logged as losses, though those setbacks likely won’t affect the section seeding committee come playoff time. Historically, wins on the field are what influence seedings.
Leading the way – Donavan Switalski of East Nicolaus is tops in Northern California and third in the state in rushing with 1,219 yards. He also has 14 touchdowns for the Spartans (3-2).
Devin Baldwin of Cordova (3-2) is the area’s receiving yardage leader with 814 to go with 11 touchdowns. Devin Brocchini of Whitney (3-2) leads in receiving touchdowns with 15.
Ramar Crump of Kennedy (4-1) leads in sacks with 10.5.
Basketball – Sacramento High teammates Christian Terrell (UC Santa Barbara) and Solomon Young (Iowa State) will sign letters of intent in November. They will be fourth-year starters for the Dragons.
▪ Woodcreek 6-foot-9 sophomore Jordan Brown continues to receive basketball scholarship offers. As a freshman, he got his first offer from Nevada coach Eric Musselman, the former Kings and Golden State Warriors coach. Last month, Kansas offered Brown a scholarship.
High school football coverage
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The Bee’s Top 20
2. Elk Grove
3. Oak Ridge
6. Granite Bay
8. Del Oro
13. Bear River
14. Cosumnes Oaks
15. Del Campo
17. River Valley
20. Capital Christian