Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back in the Swing Of Things ....

My son is married, off on his honeymoon with his new wife, tons of family are gone back home and now it's back to normal. Time to spend my Friday nights at a local football game.

This week I'll be at Bradshaw Christian for their non-league game with Vista del Lago. For the first time in a long time the Pride are under .500, 1-2 on the season. Don't think they'll even the record this weekend, either.

I'll be tweeting updates all night, so join me @EGSportsCorner on Twitter or follow on the Preps Plus Chatroom.

Live chat: High school football Week 3, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Enjoy Friday's Games ... I Won't Be There

I always enjoy covering our local football games on Friday nights, but this one will be a special one for me and the Hull family - my son, Joel, a 2007 graduate of Elk Grove H.S., is getting married Saturday. We're hosting the rehearsal dinner Friday night at our home.

Joel and Carlee
Joel was a three-year starter on the Herd football teams '04-'06 and was the center fielder on the Section championship baseball teams in '06 and in '07. He went on to Menlo College where he started three seasons on its baseball team. Joel is that school's career stolen base leader and in the top ten in career hits and runs.

I proud of him and welcome his soon-to-be-wife, Carlee Bunac, into the family. Carlee also graduated from EGHS and played softball for the Herd.

So, while I am overseeing all of the marriage stuff, you all enjoy Friday's games.

Live chat: Friday night preps, Week 2, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Salerno's Goal: Return To Football

Jeff Salerno wants to play college football some day. Maybe, even next fall.

But, the Sheldon High School senior right now has the job of being his football team’s biggest encourager on the sidelines – while sitting in his wheelchair.

It was just 13 months ago, one day before the Huskies were set to open fall drills, that Jeff’s dreams of a stellar junior season were crudely dashed. As a passenger in a vehicle driven by his uncle, Salerno was badly hurt when they hit a telephone pole along Bradshaw Road, near Folsom Blvd.
Jeff Salerno, left, with Sheldon football coach Herbie Berry

“I went through about 31 hours of surgery just to put things back together,” Salerno recalled.

That began the long, agonizing recovery process that still lingers to this day. The 6-4, 300-pound offensive lineman doesn’t show any emotional effect at all from the near-death incident. In fact, he now ranks right up there among the elite positive thinkers anywhere around.

“He was a great football player, started every game as a sophomore,” Sheldon head coach Herbie Berry said. “Wonderful, positive, hard-working, dedicated. He’s one of those guys who I knew would (graduate from high school) with a (college football) scholarship because of his size and tenacity.”

“To have something like that happen to him is so devastating to him and his family,” Berry continued. “Because it took away an opportunity that I think was clearly there for him.”

The multiple injuries prevented Salerno from attending school last year. But, that didn’t keep him from advancing ahead in his studies while recovering physically.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

PG Loses Opener, Easy Night For EG

The post-Joe Catollico era of Pleasant Grove football got underway Friday on a bit of a sour note. The new-look spread offense couldn't do much against Rocklin, losing to the Thunder, 34-10.

Two offensive turnovers resulted in Thunder scores: a fumble in the end zone in the second quarter and a 33-yard interception return for a TD in the fourth period.

Highlights of Rocklin vs. PG from Access:Sacramento's Game of the Week.

Meanwhile, at the Honor Bowl at Del Oro High School, Elk Grove flexed its muscles against Devonte Ranch of Nevada, 55-7.

In other games of local interest, Franklin shut out Atwater, 29-0. Monterey Trail beat Antelope, 27-20. Cosumnes Oaks began the coach Derrick Milgrim era with a 23-10 victory over Marin Catholic. Sheldon won its opener, 30-18, over Beyer.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Edmiston Takes EGUSD A.D. Job

With the dawning of the new academic year at the Elk Grove Unified School District came a change in leadership in the District’s athletic and facilities management department.

Retiring is Jim Smrekar, a former coach and teacher at Florin and Valley High Schools who has been EGUSD’s athletic director the past 12 years. And, entering the second-floor office at the Trigg Building is Rod Edmiston, who since 2008 has been Valley’s athletic director, wrestling coach and special education teacher.

Edmiston moved to Elk Grove in 2007 after teaching 25 years in his native Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Pittsburg, he brings a long teaching and coaching background into the District’s A.D. job, a position that, at times, can be very volatile and difficult. 
Jim Smrekar (left) retiring athletic director with Rod Edmiston, new

He’s the guy who has to police the school district sports programs for compliance with CIF rules and regulations, control the part of the budget that pays for athletics and also oversees the use of the schools’ facilities.

On Tuesday, I sat down with both Edmiston and Smrekar, together in the superintendent’s conference room. Edmiston started on the job Aug. 4 and Smrekar’s last day is today. They talked about their transition period while Edmiston shared his vision for managing sports throughout EGUSD and Smrekar reflected on his long career and plans for retirement.

EGUSD Director of Communications Elizabeth Graswich joined us in our discussion.

Citizen: Now that you are replacing Mr. Smrekar, do you have any goals for the job? Why did you apply for the job?

Edmiston: I applied for the job because athletics has been very good to me my whole life. Without athletics I probably wouldn’t be where I am at. This position came open and obviously in your career you want to advance.

The athletic director at Elk Grove (school district) is about as high as you can get in athletics, so I applied for the position and was fortunate enough to get it.

What I want to do is maintain what Jim has done as these years. Replacing Jim is like replacing John Wooden or Bear Bryant. Jim has been the A.D. since the inception of the position, so I’m following in the legend’s footsteps, so to speak.

I want to keep Elk Grove athletics in the position Jim has had them in all these years and keep the district strong in athletics and build from what Jim has built in all these years.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friday Night Live Chat

Join me and other sportswriters from around the area live right here on our Friday Night Live Chat.
I'll be covering Pleasant Grove's home opener with Rocklin. Keep your Internet dial tuned right here for live updates, not only from PG's game, but also the top games around on opening night.

Live Blog Live chat: Prep football season openers, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29