The families would drive to the edge of the Earth to watch this.
So a regular trek to Berkeley works just fine for the Reinwald family of Elk Grove and the Wells clan of Placer County, never mind the traffic from the Yolo Causeway to Vallejo.
Tight ends generally are not in forefront in football in this spread-option era, but Gavin Reinwald and Kyle Wells are constants for Cal, giving moms, dads, siblings and crew plenty to observe and discuss. Cal is off to a spirited 3-0 start after a 27-16 home win over Ole Miss on Saturday.
Not bad for a Bears bunch projected to win 3 1/2 games this season (not sure how a team wins half a game, but projections rarely make sense). And not bad for two student-athletes who could not project any of this a year ago.
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Wells is a senior out of Del Oro High School. He went from walk-on long shot at Cal to earning a scholarship and the starting nod this fall.
Reinwald is his backup, a true freshman from Elk Grove High who plays an equal amount of snaps. Reinwald initially committed to Hawaii but was enamored with Cal as the Bears were with him under new coach Justin Wilcox.
And both players come from a family of tight ends. Wells’ father, Mike, played at San Diego State in the early 1980s. Reinwald’s father, Olaf, was at Boise State in the late 1980s.
Reinwald’s brothers also play, Trevor on the offensive line at American River College and Zach at punter at College of Idaho, led by Mike Moroski, who played and later coached at UC Davis.
The tailgate fun continues in Berkeley this weekend, when Cal hosts No. 5 USC. The Trojans feature All-American linebacker candidate Cameron Smith of Granite Bay. Reinwald and Wells may well have to block Smith a time or two to have any shot of the upset. The families will monitor every move.
More Cal – Cal will celebrate Joe Roth Day against USC in honor of its All-American quarterback who died of melanoma following the 1976 season.
Roth’s No. 12 is the only jersey retired by the program. Cal players will wear throwback blue and yellow uniforms with yellow helmets.
Ralph DeLoach will be there, as he is for most every Cal home game. A defensive lineman at Cal in the late 1970s out of Sacramento High and a longtime Sacramento probation officer, DeLoach is rallying old Blues to attend the game.
Among Roth’s closest friends at Cal were Fred Besana, a quarterback teammate from Roseville who played professionally and now works in insurance. Besana took Roth golfing in Sacramento in January 1977, weeks before Roth died. Roth’s parents requested their son spend his final days in the comfort of his Berkeley apartment, which included a stream of teammates stopping by.
Roth never lost his humor, insisting he’d climb out of bed and race anyone fool enough to try. DeLoach was so moved, so saddened by the funeral, it took him years to find the strength to attend another one.
Harriel Hornet – Mister Harriel had the game of his life against Weber State on Saturday, infusing hope for a Sacramento State team that was on the brink of a blowout.
The junior defensive back from Antelope High had 16 tackles, shattering his previous career high of five. He had two sacks and helped hold Weber State in check just long enough to allow the Hornets (1-2) to rally from 24-0 down before falling 31-24.
Malcolm Thomas of Woodcreek High returned an interception 15 yards for a score to pull the Hornets to within 24-14 at the half. Elijah Dotson of Antelope had a 70-yard kickoff return to set up a score, and the freshman has returned a kickoff at least 46 yards in all three games.
Luke sack – Defensive end Anthony Luke, formerly of Woodcreek High and American River College, had a sack Saturday that helped seal San Diego State’s 20-17 victory over visiting Stanford, setting off a flood-the-field celebration.
Luke was an All-American at ARC last season and enrolled at San Diego State in January. The Aztecs (3-0) entered the AP Top 25 at No. 22, knocking Stanford out.