Saturday, November 22, 2014

Monterey Trail Outruns The Bears, 51-45

A text from Monterey Trail’s offensive coordinator Rick Arcuri to the Citizen moments after the 12th –seeded Mustangs defeated the 4th-seeded Merced Bears on Friday night in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs: “Monterey Trail 51-45, football heaven, practice on Thanksgiving.”

A few moments later while riding on a joyous team bus, Mustangs’ head coach T.J. Ewing echoed over the phone his assistant coach’s sentiments that a sign of success in the high school game is that your team is practicing at school rather sitting at home eating turkey and watching the pros play on TV.

“That’s a hundred percent correct,” Ewing said. “To play and to practice into Thanksgiving week is the best thing to ask your players.”

Arcuri’s next text was one that told the story of why the Mustangs, a fifth-place finisher in the Delta League, are still alive this season.

“Trey Nahhas, 33 carries, 391 yards, 5 TD’s.”

Just two weeks removed from a school record 346 yards rushing in the season finale against Davis, the Monterey Trail senior halfback once again was a load to take down while erasing his own record.

“I keep telling scouts he’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of player,” Ewing remarked. “I’d sure offer him. The guys around him are inspired by the way he plays.”

SJS Playoffs - Second Round Scores

Monterey Trail 51, Merced 45
Folsom 56, Franklin 13
Elk Grove 59, Wood 34 (Div II)
Grant 63, Downey 21 (Div II)
Modesto Christian 42, Bradshaw Christian 14 (Div VI)

Nahhas also completed a 40-yard halfback pass to Andre Flury to add to his memorable performance.

Now with road playoff wins over Cosumnes Oaks and Merced, the Mustangs, now 8-4, have the biggest obstacle in front of them. This Friday they take on number-one seed, and undefeated, Folsom, who destroyed Franklin, 56-13.

“It’s an honor for our school and our players to be in the Section semi-finals,” Ewing said. “To win two road games says a lot about the character of our team, their willingness to sacrifice for each other.”

Throughout the game Monterey Trail maintained a lead. The Mustangs ran out to a 21-7 advantage after the first quarter thanks to an E.J. Viacrusis to Jermaine Bell touchdown pass, an interception by Andre Flury and a quick TD run by Nahhas.

“Then it got a bit helter-skelter and Merced threw the ball a bunch and kept it close,” Arcuri said. “After they made it 51-45 with about four minutes left, we got the ball at our 20 and drove down the field, running the clock and we ended up taking a knee at their three yardline to end the game.”

Interceptions by Bell and Myles Pruitt in the first half allowed the Mustangs to get the ball back for their veer offense to steer out to a lead. Plus, the Mustangs earned a safety when a snap to the Bears quarterback went over his head and he was forced to land on the ball in the end zone.

Viacrusis had a good night throwing completing eight of 11 passes for 139 yards.

“Our guys went out there tonight purposing not to lose, they never waivered from that,” Ewing summarized.

With Grant’s 63-21 win over Downey and Elk Grove’s 59-34 victory over Wood in Division II, to go with Jesuit’s and Monterey Trail’s wins in the second round means four Delta League teams are still alive. That’s something that doesn’t surprise Ewing.

“Our league is no joke, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We play in the toughest league in the Section. Every team has great players on it. Every week we play like it is a playoff game.”

But, the Bulldogs stand between the Mustangs and their first return to the Section championship game in four seasons. A year ago in a non-league game, Folsom won easily, 49-21.

“Folsom is a truly outstanding team, coached by an outstanding man,” Ewing said. “We’ve known their coaches for years. They know how to run that spread (offense) and we have to be able to stop that. It ought to be a very good game and our kids are excited. The road to the championship runs through them, so we have to play them sometime.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

EG Faces Former Mentor; Franklin, MT On The Road

Should be an interesting night of high school football playoffs on Friday.

In town, Elk Grove will host former coach Carlos Meraz and Will C. Wood at 7 p.m. in Division II.

Division I games will be out of town - Franklin will be at top-seeded Folsom and Monterey Trail travels to #5 Merced.

Bradshaw Christian will take on #2 seed Modesto Christian in Modesto in Division VI semi-final action.
Follow the night's action snap-by-snap right here!
Live chat: Prep football playoffs, 2nd round

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Franklin Defense Stops Modesto, Now Will Face Folsom


Bring on the No. 1-seed Folsom Bulldogs.

If anyone thinks they may have a chance against the two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section champions, it’s probably the Franklin Wildcats.

Riding a fast, good-tackling defense the Wildcats set themselves for another showdown with the Bulldogs thanks to Saturday’s 24-10 solid win over No. 8-seeded Modesto (9-2) at Downey High School in Modesto.

A year ago, the ninth-seeded Wildcats (7-4) were knocked out of the post-season in the second round by Folsom, 49-16. In that game Bulldog quarterback Jake Browning was almost perfect, directing his no-huddle offense to 35 points in the first half.

Coach Mike Johnson and crew hope this season things might be different – or maybe a little bit different. Wildcat fans may remember that Franklin’s top three running backs were all injured and out of the Folsom game. This year the top ground gainer, Lamar Jackson, who scored Franklin’s first TD of the game on Saturday, will have to shoulder the responsibility to consistently gain yardage to keep the high-flying Folsom offense on the sidelines.

In their playoff opener on Friday, the Bulldogs scored 42 points in the first quarter en route to a 70-16 rout of Stagg.

Franklin will need to ride a defense that held opponents to only 202 points in 11 games, third best in the Delta League behind Elk Grove (149 points) and Grant (166 points).

The Wildcats were stingy throughout Saturday’s game holding Modesto to a late first-half 27 yard field goal by Julio Corona and a Tre Ingram short run with about a minute left in the game. Franklin held the Panthers’ talented quarterback Nate Phillips to 161 yards passing and 43 yards rushing.

This season he averaged almost 200 yards passing and 120 yards rushing.

Plus, on Saturday, Franklin allowed the Panthers only 21 plays in the second half.

One thing, though, that helped Franklin was that Modesto receivers did drop five passes in the first half, all virtually in key situations. Two were drops in the end zone with another one that came on a fake punt.

Modesto outgained Franklin, 144-113 yards, in the opening two quarters, but trailed the Wildcats, 7-3 at intermission.

A Panther fumble early in the third quarter gave Franklin good field position and after a five-minute drive, Wildcat back Rahsaan York scored from the one-yard line on a fourth-down-and-goal situation. It was 14-3, Franklin.

After another Modesto fumble in Franklin territory, quarterback Jacob Lopez scored on a one-yard jog and Franklin led, 21-3, after three quarters.

Kardo Ballesteros tacked on a 34-yard field goal for the Wildcats with 3:14 left in the game.

With the loss Modesto continued a streak of futility they hope one day will end. The Panthers have never won a playoff football game.

“It’s frustrating that this school has never won a playoff game, but you learn something every year,” Modesto coach Rich Alkire told the Modesto Bee. “This year we were in the ballpark. Last year it wasn’t close.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Herd Steamrolls Vintage; MT Squeaks By Cosumnes Oaks

Vintage High School’s first visit to the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs in seven years was, well, one that they’d all like to forget.

Vintage looked helpless and completely unable to stop the talented Thundering Herd squad, losing 69-7 to a team that has made it all the way to the Section’s Division II championship game the past two seasons.

The number-two seeded Thundering Herd poured it on the Crushers quickly. Running back Eltoro Allen sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown on just the third play of the game and the rout was on.

 ---------- Playoff Scores ---------

Monterey Trail 29, Cosumnes Oaks 28
Grant 42, Patterson 23
Inderkum 60, Valley 8
Bradshaw Christian 47, Gustine 6
Saturday, 1 p.m. Franklin at Modesto

Elk Grove led 34-0 after just one period and had a 62-7 halftime lead.

Herd defenders were in the face of Crusher quarterback Jared Horn throughout the night, forcing him to throw four interceptions, two that were returned by Manny Scott-Anderson for TD’s.
Scott-Anderson also blocked a punt that gave the Herd a short field in the first quarter. Plus, he rushed for two more touchdowns.

Prior to the late second quarter drive that led to Vintage’s only score of the game, Horn was just four-of-19 passing for 69 yards. He finished six-of-24 for 91 yards and a 17-yard TD pass to Connor Bates.

The Crushers’ rushing attack didn’t do much either. They had only 75 yards on 25 attempts.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Athletes Sign NLI; Football Teams Prep For Playoff Openers

Sixteen athletes from Elk Grove Unified High Schools signed NCAA National Letters Of Intent Wednesday morning. Here's their list of signees:

At Bradshaw Christian High School Wednesday two of their basketball players signed their letters of intent. Jordyn Bell will be attending Nevada-Las Vegas while Erika Bean will be playing next season at Utah.

Nine young women at St. Francis High School inked their letters, as well. They are:

National Letter of Intent signees at St. Francis
Danika Bailey, Softball, California

Lauren Charter, Water Polo, California

Erin Crooks, Swimming, Lafayette

Anna Donald, Volleyball, UC Davis

Marissa Gollnick, Volleyball, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Kylie Green, Volleyball, UC Irvine

Hayley Kusserow, Lacrosse, St. Mary’s

Miranda Myers, Cross Country/Track & Field, Northern Arizona

Miranda Reyes, Crew, Portland

Football Squads Prep For Playoffs

High School football's second season gets underway tomorrow night with three games locally.

The big showdown in Division I will be Monterey Trail, a 13th seed, playing at Cosumnes Oaks, the fifth seed. The Mustangs finished in fifth place in the Delta League with a 6-4 mark overall. The Wolfpack is in the big school division for the first time after winning the Capital Valley Conference this year. Kick off is at 7 p.m.

In Division II, Elk Grove, the number-two seed, will host Vintage at 7 p.m.

Bradshaw Christian will take on Guistine in a Division VI contest, also at seven.

Two other local teams will play their opening game away.

Franklin, which finished fourth in the Delta League, will be on the road Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Downey High School against Modesto.

Valley, a team that returns to the post-season for the first time in 14 years, will open the Division III playoffs at top-seed Inderkum, Friday at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kaur Misses State Golf; Valley Makes D-3 Football Playoffs

Gurman Kaur’s 2014 high school golf season has gone from record-breaking to disappointing.

The disappointment came at the end when the Franklin junior shot an 82 Monday, ten strokes over par, at the CIF/NCGA NorCal Regional Championships played at the Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas.

Kaur was four strokes out of advancing to the CIF State Championships next Tuesday at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga.

Her biggest success this fall came Oct. 20 in the final Delta League tournament of the season. Kaur set a course record at WildHawk Golf Club firing a ten-under-par 62.

Two golfers from the Sac-Joaquin Section did well enough to qualify for the State match: East Union’s Brooke Riley and Courtney Vogel of Woodland Christian.

Riley fired a one-under-par 71, despite driving the ball into water on number one. She finished in a two-way tie for third.

Vogel shot a 78 to finish ninth at the NorCals.

In the team totals St. Francis of Mountain View took first place with a score of 401, seven strokes better than Dougherty Valley.

Oak Ridge, the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters’ team champion, placed seventh with a 447, followed by Turlock at 483 and Davis with a 487.

Valley Makes Division III Playoffs

It’s an accomplishment for any football team to qualify for the playoffs. But in the case of the Valley Vikings, making the Section’s Division III post-season is huge.

They are in the playoffs for the first time since 2000. That year they defeated Jesuit, 35-28 in overtime, in the first round before falling to Nevada Union. 36-7.