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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Delta League Prediction: It's Grant's To Lose

The high school football season kicks off Friday with a string of non-conference battles including Rocklin at Pleasant Grove and Jesuit at De LaSalle.

Grant will be playing its crosstown rival Burbank (special kickoff time of 5:30 p.m. at Titan Stadium) with a mission to start the season in a big way, showing fans this year they are the team to beat.

Coach Michael Alberghini begins his 46th season as a teacher/coach at the school, his 23rd as head football coach. He's had eight Section championship teams in that tenure and a State Bowl Game title. The 2014 Pacers could rank right up there with some of his elite squads.

They have the size (average 300 pounds on the line), the speed and the varsity experience to go 10-0. Plus, there's depth on the bench. They could easily be the class of the Delta League, which returns after an eight year absence.

That said, here is my predicted order-of-finish of the newly-revived Delta:

1. Grant - Alberghini admits the one question mark is whether there are enough footballs for everyone who wants to be "the man" on the Pacers this season. If he can encourage a bit of humility out of those guys, Grant will be unbeatable.
2. Jesuit - Outstanding talent, good size on the line as Marlon Blanton has the Marauders back to the status of being feared once again.
3. Elk Grove - Chris Nixon lost some talent to graduation, but has the Delta's best football player in Spencer Sheff. Plus, the Herd will once again find a passing game which should take the attention off a solid running attack.
4. Franklin - The Wildcats should be really good, make the playoffs, but they are in the Delta League and end up fourth. Mike Johnson has a really talented quarterback in junior Lamar Jackson.
5. Pleasant Grove - Interim head coach Russ Gardner will have to put together all the pieces on the heels of Joe Cattolico's resignation and replacement Jason Rossow's sudden medical leave-of-absence. The lack of size on the line will be an issue this season for the Eagles.
6. Monterey Trail - T.J. Ewing says he has his best senior class in quite a while, but the question is whether these guys have the talent to match up with any of the five teams above. They'll certain play with great desire.
7. Sheldon - Too many question marks for coach Herbie Berry. His son Nathan will quarterback the Huskies this season.
8. Davis - Likely won't win any games in the Delta. John Wiley, a former star cornerback at Auburn and with the Chicago Bears, is the Blue Devils' third coach in as many years.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tellez Promoted To Class-A Lansing

Toronto Blue Jays' farmhand Rowdy Tellez has been promoted to the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class-A Midwest League. This comes after Tellez helped his Bluefield (W.Va.) Blue Jays (Appalachian League) win the Mercer Cup in a dramatic fashion.

Tellez drilled a three-run homer late in the game that was the difference as Bluefield went on to defeat the Princeton Rays, 5-3.
Rowdy Tellez, promoted to Class A Lansing

"It was a great feeling," Tellez told WVVA-TV. "I can't say it was all me. We started off with our nine-hitter, our eight-hitter. They did their jobs. They got on for me and they got it to me. I got the opportunity to do what I do."

"The game's made to make heroes every night," Blue Jays' manager Dennis Holmberg told WVVA. "[Tellez] is a highly touted ball player and he's the guy you want up in that situation."

In Lansing he's joining another Elk Grove resident, Brady Dragmire, a relief pitcher for the Lugnuts who attended Bradshaw Christian H.S. 

In his 53 games in Bluefield this summer, Tellez batted .293 with four homers and 19 RBI's.

The minor league season will wind down this week across all of professional baseball.

Access:Sacramento's Game-of-the-Week Schedule Announced

Access Sacramento's live coverage of Friday night football opens Aug. 29 with Rocklin vs. Pleasant Grove at Sheldon High School.  A total of 18 schools will be seen over the 10 game football TV schedule.  

Mid-Season Game of the Week switches to girl's volleyball for a week, covering Grant at Sheldon.

Veteran announcer Will James will handle the play by play broadcasts again this season after originating the Game of the Week on Access Sacramento in 1996.

James is joined again this season for football by former Del Campo coach Jim Dimino, who will provide analysis of the games. 

The third member of the broadcast team this season will be Rick Stewart, who will handle halftime coaches' and post-game player-of-the-game interviews.

Ten high school football games and one girls' Volleyball game will be presented from Aug. 29 to Nov. 7. Playoff football coverage has not been determined.

Games are presented live on Friday's at 7 p.m. on Comcast and Consolidated Communications (SureWest) cable channel 17 and AT&T U-Verse channel 14. Games are also streamed live from the "Watch TV 17" button.

Previews of the upcoming contests and video highlights after the games will be provided from Access Sacramento's news blog website AccessLocal.TV.

Same day and in-broadcast instant updates are available from Game of the Week on Twitter @SacGOTW. 

Aug. 29 Rocklin vs. Pleasant Grove at Sheldon; Sept. 5 Sacramento at El Camino; Sat. Sept. 13 Jesuit vs. Christian Brothers at Sac City College; Sept. 19 Burbank at Folsom; Sept. 26 Granite Bay at Folsom; Oct. 3 Girl's Volleyball Grant at Sheldon (taped from Oct. 2); Oct. 10 Casa Roble vs. Vista del Lago at Folsom; Oct. 17 Grant at Monterey Trail; Oct. 24 Del Campo at Antelope; Oct. 31 Rio Linda at Inderkum; Nov. 7 Pleasant Grove vs. Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks.

EG To Play At Levi's Stadium/What's Wrong With Saunders?

One of the big stories of the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium has been the issue of it's natural grass turf. Crews pulled out most of the new turf this week and replaced it, hopefully in time for the Sunday pre-season game with San Diego. But, Thursday they told the Jesuit Marauders that their Aug. 29 season opener in the stadium against perennial power De LaSalle must move elsewhere.

To make things good with the Jesuit folks, the Niners will now allow the Marauders to play one of their traditional Saturday home games there later in the season. Jesuit selected its Oct. 11 game with Elk Grove. However, the contest in Santa Clara will be played on Friday, Oct. 10, part of a four-games-over-two-nights high school football special.

PG Alum Saunders Sidelined

Rookie New York Jets' wideout Jalen Saunders remained sidelined during practice this week, and there is no timetable for his return to the field following his single-car accident near the Jets’ facility last Friday.

“I’m not trying to relive that moment,” Saunders told the New York Daily News. “It was a shocking situation, but I’m alive and happy.”

Saunders declined to elaborate on what the Jets have referred to as a “medical event." He's awaiting word on a series of neurological tests. 

“I’m doing better today,” Saunders said. “We’re taking a precautionary route, step by step.”

According to ESPN, Saunders was in the left turning lane when he apparently lost control of the vehicle, striking a curb. His vehicle, a 2014 Toyota Corolla, continued forward, leaving the roadway and stopping in high grass. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

McClain Hired At PG/Fiery End To Larson's Day

A former Elk Grove High School and Sacramento State baseball coach, Rusty McClain was hired Friday as the new baseball coach at Pleasant Grove High School.

He replaces Nolan Dunkly who resigned last week after barely a week on the job. Dunkly cited differences of opinion between him and school administration on how the Eagles' baseball program should be run as the reason for quitting.

Long-time Eagles' coach Rob Rinaldi resigned the post in June after a 21-5 season and five straight years of at least 21 wins.

McClain was Elk Grove's head coach after the sudden death of Gary Dreher. McClain led the Herd to the Section championship in 1997 with a team made up of Mike Tonis, Mike Ford and Kevin Marzion.

He resigned after the 1999 season and Jeff Carlson took over the reigns. McClain spent time as an assistant under John Smith at Sacramento State and one year coached the freshmen at Pleasant Grove under Rob Rinaldi.

In recent years he's been directing the Senior Men's Baseball League in Sacramento.

In a text message Sunday Rinaldi told me he would remain the school's freshmen baseball coach, a post he accepted a week ago when offered by Dunkly. He hadn't talked to either Dunkly nor McClain since Dunkly's announcement.

Larson's Day Ends In Fiery Crash

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup regular racing season winding down, Elk Grove driver Kyle Larson had a disappointing set-back Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400.

His car blew a front tire on the 97th lap, crashed into the wall and caught fire. Despite recently-implimented rules that drivers remain in their cars after wrecks until track crews arrive, the cockpit was full of smoke and Larson got out as quickly as he could.
Kyle Larson's #42 Target Chevrolet caught fire after colliding with the wall

Fire consumed the #42 Chevrolet and left it a blackened, mangled pile of steel.

Larson also had a collision in pit row after pitting in lap 22. While leaving his stall, Larson collided with the #88 car driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., with damage sustained to both vehicles.

"Everybody was on pit road," Larson said. "I was leaving my box and looked in my mirror and saw the 27 (driven by Paul Menard) and somebody else coming to my outside, so I was leaving them room. Then the 88 came out, and we just kind of met right there. It happened really quick."

This week NASCAR races at Bristol, Conn., in the Irwin Tools 200 Night Race. Larson is currently 14th in the point standings and must finish in the top 16 to qualify for NASCAR's version of the playoffs.