Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Live Blog Sacramento-area high school football, Oct. 28

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Girls Open Golf Season At Emerald Lakes

The high school golf season got its start Wednesday afternoon with the annual Loren Roberts Golf Tournament, a 9-hole scrimmage that brings in all the girls golf teams from throughout the Elk Grove school district.

Grace Glaeser, senior, Cosumnes Oaks
The event honors Loren Roberts, a PGA Senior Tour golfer who heard about the plight of athletics in Elk Grove several years ago and donated money to keep golf alive in the school district after it was announced that funding for the sport would be cut.

Megan Mawson, Jr., Cosumnes Oaks
The scores aren't officially posted for Wednesday's outing at Emerald Lakes Golf Club because it is still considered to be a pre-season event. Most of the high school girls, though, will start dual matches in less than two weeks.

The two top girls in the city weren't competing today: Courtney Cervellin, a sophomore at Franklin has a knee injury, and Jillian Knox, a junior at Elk Grove.

Follow the girls golf teams as they compete this season on both the Sports Corner and

Ashley Cho, Franklin
Alexis Karnow, Sophomore, Pleasant Grove

Ari Samuel, Pleasant Grove

Monday, August 22, 2016

Prep Football Season Kicks Off Friday

All the weightlifting in the spring, the sweating during seven-on-seven drills in the summer and the drills of the past three weeks consummate tonight with the kickoff of the 2016 high school football season.
Just about every Elk Grove-area team is in action this Friday. Pleasant Grove will travel to Ventura College for a game against Bakersfield High School on Saturday and Florin and Valley will start their seasons next Friday.
But, for the other six local teams the butterflies are already fluttering in the gut of players and coaches.
The marching bands and cheerleaders have been rehearsing, too, because the football season offers them a chance to shine. Every one of those squads does things a little different, but overall the first football game in high school generally is the mark that the school year is underway.

Elk Grove vs. Inderkum

Arguably the most successful local football team of the last five seasons, the Thundering Herd still stings from disappointing Sac-Joaquin Section championship game losses three out of the last four years, including a loss last season to Folsom, a team they scrimmaged last Saturday to inflict, perhaps, some revenge. 
EGHS Coach Chris Nixon

“The past five or six years we’ve had a summer contact camp for a week where we’ve been able to flush some of that out,” Nixon said. “We did not get that opportunity this year and this year more than other years we’ve got some young guys in key positions.”
Elk Grove has a record of 59-9 over that five year span of time. Three offensive linemen from last season’s 13-1 team will probably start Sept. 2 when American River College opens its season. Diego Cervantes, Ben Davis and Trevor Reinwald have made a positive impression for Beavers’ coach Jon Osterhout. Nixon thinks there might be more good linemen ready to take those guys’ places.
“We’ve got guys coming up in key positions,” Nixon said. “Jake Bellecci has been our tight end for three years. Solid there. Jon Pochop is right there in line as far as senior linemen who control the line of scrimmage as guys in the past have done. He’s another three-year starter at tackle for us. Ryan Vierra hasn’t had as many reps at center, but came in and bailed us out at center in the St. Mary’s game (in 2014). We have a lot of confidence in him.”
Of course, Nixon is looking to replace a 2,800-yard plus back in Ryan Robards who is now preparing to play baseball at the University of Pacific.
“We’ve got bodies there to fill in,” he said. “Our fullback who will be there will be as dominant as anyone we’ve had there in George Spithorst. He’s definitely someone to reckon with at fullback.”
And, expect the Herd to be throwing the ball a little more than they normally do with returning quarterback Jayden Machado and wide receiver Gavin Reinwald leading the way.
“We will be throwing the ball a little more because we have that experienced bunch to rely on,” Nixon said. “In the Folsom game they showed they can move the ball down the field efficiently throwing it. I think we can do that and it will keep defenses off balance.”
This opening game at Inderkum will be a great litmus test for how good Elk Grove will be. The Tigers are expected to be a contender for the Section’s Division III championship.

Bradshaw Christian vs. Kennedy

The other local football team with a high success record is Bradshaw Christian. The Pride has won Division VI Section titles in all odd-number years since 2009, but this is an even-numbered year. Head coach Drew Rickert wants to change that pattern and has quite a number of key contributors to last year’s squad back again. Guys like Mateo Bromstead and Britton Wheatley will lead a talented backfield on both sides of the ball for the Pride. 
BCHS coach Drew Rickert

Even though they take on Kennedy, a Division I school from the Metro Conference, don’t be surprised the Pride wins this game. The Cougars have improved greatly the past three seasons or so, but they’ll have to stop a very good running attack that Bradshaw possesses.

Sheldon vs. Woodcreek

Most Sacramento-area football fans will be watching with interest as the Joe Cattolico era starts at Sheldon. After nine years of success including one Section championship and two runner-up finishes at Pleasant Grove, Cattolico brings some stability and an excellent methodology to the Huskies.
The move of schools has actually gone well for Cattolico.
“It’s a change,” he admitted. “The biggest thing for me is just to try to learn. Every campus is different on how they do things. That’s still a work in progress at least for me, but I’ve tried to be adaptable.”
But, on the practice field earlier this week, the players seem to have responded well to Cattolico and his coaches, most of them also new to Sheldon.
“This is the fourth varsity program I’ve coached at and either everywhere has had good kids or I’ve been fortunate to hit four places in a row that have had good kids,” he said. “They are responding and really listening and do what we ask them to do and given maximum effort to do it.”
Cattolico will coach the defensive side of the ball while his father, Butch, heads up the offense.
“I’m coaching with guys I’ve coached with before,” Joe said. “That part is good because we’ve been together and we’re on the same page as coaches. We’ve got some pretty good talent in conjunction with being good students and good character kids.” 
Joe Cattolico, now at Sheldon H.S.

Sheldon has plenty of athletes in the school and if they listen to their new coaches this could be the surprise team of 2016. Cattolico knows this but says with a bit of caution:
“We aim for daily improvement. We are going to try to get better as individuals and collectively every single day we come out to practice in pursuit of trying to be successful on the football field.”
The Huskies were 2-8 last year, 0-7 in the Delta League. That won’t happen this fall.

Franklin vs.McNair

Mike Johnson bought some new uniforms over the summer, did something unique with the helmet d├ęcor by placing the school’s Wildcat image in silver on the right side and the player’s uniform number on the left side. Now it all will get dirty and scuffed up for the first time tonight in Stockton as the Wildcats play McNair.
“We have great kids and we’re young,” Johnson said last Friday during a break in his team’s practice on the worn turf of Bartholomew Park. “Every one says that, but it’s true. We have 33 juniors on our roster of 50. We’ll be starting lots of young kids and I’m okay with it, because this is the group of kids I coached in Pop Warner for three years. So, they’ve been running this system for years.”
Johnson’s son Brady is on this club with several good-looking athletes, however, not too many of them have size. That could be the Wildcats’ Achilles heel this year.
“It always come down to line play in our league,” he said. “And, we’re not big and if we’re not big then we’ll have to be really tough and schematically very sound.” 
Franklin practicing field goals

The march to the post-season starts Friday with McNair, a playoff team a year ago. Johnson says this being the first summer he and other high school programs didn’t have a summer football camp in pads because of new CIF rules prohibiting such off-season contact, he, like other head coaches, may not know how good a defense he has.
“Who is physical and who is not?” he questioned. “(The CIF) has taken that out of summertime. We have a lot kids to be excited about and I hope they back that up when the pads get put on.”

Wilcox (Santa Clara) vs. Monterey Trail

No one is more optimistic about his team this year than TJ Ewing. He starts his 13th season at Monterey Trail tonight by taking on a squad from Santa Clara, Wilcox High School.
“They are big, physical and anytime someone calls and wants to play you, then you worry about them,” Ewing laughed. “They are a good program.”
Ewing has plenty of reasons for being so upbeat thanks to a solid offensive line and a quality athlete in quarterback Robert Holt, who will double as an outside linebacker. He’s one of many young men who have finally reached the varsity level after coming up through the Jr. Mustang football program.
“I have some kids I’ve known for a while,” Ewing said. “You know, I’m excited because of the relationships I’ve had with people I’ve known for a while. It’s cool because we didn’t have that before.” 
Monterey Trail's TJ Ewing

He’s proud he has also sent off many players who have gone on to play at the collegiate level, many at local community colleges.
“We’ve never been in this for personal glory,” Ewing acknowledged. “I’ve never understood this for high school. It’s all about the kids. I’m in it for a good time. It’s fun coaching them.”
Ewing doesn’t have the one standout running back like a Trey Nahhas, who was an all-state selection a couple seasons back.
“It will be running back by committee,” he said of his ball carriers in his patented veer offense. “I think there are so many guys who can help us, so it will be fun to watch that process.”
The Mustangs are a team to watch this year and should sneak up on a few opponents, especially the ones who struggle on defense trying to read the quickness of the veer.

Laguna Creek vs. West Campus

Dan Davis, a longtime assistant coach throughout the school district, walks out on the turf at Burbank’s Titan Stadium Friday as the head coach of the Laguna Creek Cardinals. It’s been six years since they’ve been in the playoffs but Davis has some speed and size this year and should finish in the upper echelon of the Metro Conference this season. West Campus has had a couple down years, so the Cardinals should take this game going away. 
Dan Davis

River Valley vs. Cosumnes Oaks

The Wolfpack kick things off tonight  in one of two home games in Elk Grove as they face River Valley. The other local home contest is Monterey Trail’s game with Wilcox.
Derick Milgrim starts his third season as head coach with several quality athletes on a squad primed to win the Capital Valley Conference. Of course, Antelope and Del Campo may have something to say about that before the season is over.

Pleasant Grove vs. Bakersfield

In a game that will be played at Ventura College Saturday, the Eagles take on Bakersfield in week zero. A year ago Jason Rossow came off a medical leave of absence to lead the Eagles into the playoffs thanks to some inspiring play. In his third season as head coach Rossow has a team that could do even better this fall.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Detrick Wins U.S. Waterskiing Nationals

Brian Detrick, a graduate of Elk Grove High School, won the Open Division of the U.S. Men's National Waterskiing Championship in Caldwell, ID., Friday.

For the 27-year-old, it is the second time he's won a U.S. National Championship in the sport. He took the age 9-and-under championship in 1999.

Detrick, the top seed in the Open Division, immediately took to the water with a tow rope set at 39 feet and successfully hit all his buoys.

"I was the top seed, which means I knew exactly what I needed to get the win," Detrick said. "It wasn’t easy everyone was struggling a little bit. I was the second person to run the rope length at 39 feet. The goal is the most buoys with the shortest rope length consecutively. I got a full two buoys  and knew I had won."

Earlier in the year Detrick switched to a new ski manufacturer and credits those skis with being the difference.

"I ran a new personal best a month ago," he said. "It’s taken my skiing up another notch."

Detrick figures the win will move him up to the number four ranking in the World in pro waterskiing.

"The U.S. is stacked with a ton of accomplished water skiers," he added.

More than 600 competed this week at the U.S. Nationals in slalom, trick skiing and jumps.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Larson Mistake Costly At Sonoma

Sonoma - The thunder of the cars revving up in the garage area at Sonoma Raceway was deafening. These powerful machines glistened in the morning sky. The car surfaces were dotted all over with the logos of the race team’s sponsors. Each crew member almost methodically moved around the garage and they seemed to have a role in the preparation of the NASCAR Sprint Cup car. Each man knew that it was his job to tweak, adjust or make something in that car exactly right.

It was still three hours before the green flag would start the Toyota/SaveMart 350, but these racing machines needed to be tuned to the smallest mark to negotiate what is perhaps one of the more tolling races annually for these cars. Sonoma Raceway is a road coarse with big changes in elevations, not the traditional ovals or tri-ovals these cars run much of the NASCAR season.

The engines revved for several minutes while a couple mechanics looked at read-outs on their laptops, plugged into the complicated wiring installed in these cars. One mechanic said they can see almost everything that moves internally in the car. 
The pit crew of Kyle Larson's #42 Target Chevy do their work
during a green flag stop. Larson was penalized on this
pit stop for speeding in the pits and cost him a likely
top five finish at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 Sunday.

The engines were then turned off and their crews, all wearing their matching team colors, pushed them into the pit area. Then the pageantry began; a rock band plays on a portable stage at the start/finish line, jets fly overhead in formation, drivers are introduced one at a time to cheers from fans from all over the sprawling grounds of Sonoma. Then it’s time for God Bless America and the National Anthem. A couple jets from the 114th Fighter Squadron at Kingsley Field in Oregon zoomed in about 500 feet over the track and rumbled the ground. Parachutists dragging flags and colored smoke bombs drop in.

Finally, after about an hour of all the hoopla, it was time for racing.

Drivers got into their cars and Sonoma State University president Ruben Arminana announced, “Drivers, start your engines.”

Crowds cheer, drivers flip their switches and the engines once again come to life. The roar was again deafening. If you didn’t have ear plugs, you had a headache when it was all over three hours later.

Then, in an entertaining race with no collisions and only six caution flags, mostly for debris on the track, there was a two-man dual. Retiring Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart grabbed the lead coming out of a caution period with 22 laps remaining. He was hounded by Denny Hamlin the rest of the way. In fact, Hamlin grabbed the lead briefly on the final lap but in the final turn, a hairpin right turn that turns back towards the finish lane, Hamlin slid wide and Stewart took advantage and snuck the nose of his car inside and floored the accelerator to the checkered flag.

“I couldn’t believe as good as he was braking going into (turn) 11and I was shocked he missed the corner,” Stewart said. “I was shocked he left the door open like that. You can’t crack the door open with me on the last lap like that. I’ll take it.”

It was Stewart’s first win on NASCAR’s biggest circuit since June 2, 2013 and his 49th in 598 career NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

The other race teams quickly pushed their cars back to the garages while Stewart, his crew and sponsors and family celebrated in the Sunoco Winners’ Circle. The shiny surfaces of these racers of three hours earlier were, well, gone and dirty. They all needed a car wash, badly.

But really these machines weren’t going to see soap and water. They needed to go to the body shop first. Just about every one of them was dented in on both sides of the car. That’s because negotiating the 1.99 mile, 11-turn road coarse means you will bump and grind against your competitors throughout the 350 kilometer race.

Tires, some with large chunks in the surface, but all showing great wear, were removed. The cars were lifted into their elite 18-wheel haulers and in a matter of what seemed like a few minutes tools and equipment were all packed away. The crews stripped off their special one-piece suits, most drenched in perspiration and were tanking down cold water. Their next destination, Daytona Beach, Fla., was on most of their minds.

One driver very disappointed was Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson. He started fifth at the start and slowly moved his way up the ranks. His strategy was to pit early before anyone else and then recover when the others pitted. With 50 laps gone, Larson was in second place, chasing Hamlin. Once again, Larson came into the pits on a green flag. It looked like a quality pit stop, but right away NASCAR slapped him with a penalty for coming into the pit area at more than the prescribed 45 mph. He dropped back to 14th place and finished in 12th place.

“But I had fun, I’m excited.” he said.

Larson acted like he didn’t want to talk much, once again searching for his first win on the Sprint Cup circuit.

The fans, some 90,000 is what was estimated, all tried to leave, but the roads around the Raceway are just two-laned. Most folks were inching along Highways 121 and 37 for a couple hours trying to go home. Many people spend the weekend in their RV’s in a large field east of the Raceway. There had to be hundreds of them.

They sit outside the RV’s while others fight the traffic. They’ll go home Monday. They’ve made it a weekend in wine country watching the world’s best drivers.

See photos from the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on John’s facebook,