Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cattolico Still A Very Interested Observer

These days he’s at one son’s flag football game. Then the next day he’s rooting on his other son on the soccer field.

Former Pleasant Grove head coach Joe Cattolico is staying busy this fall, his first one since he began teaching that he hasn’t been coaching high school football.

He still is teaching social science at Pleasant Grove, but every Friday night he and father Butch, a long-time coach at Las Gatos, are in the stands at one of the area games. And, like any football coach, they are analyzing each team and keeping a mental notebook for that day, which could be as soon as next year, when both of them once again return to the sidelines.

In the meantime, though, being a fan and a dad isn’t too bad.
Joe Cattolico, now a very knowledgeable observer

“I do miss the day-to-day part (of coaching),” he admitted. “That part of it is pretty special. Getting to go out on the field with the coaches and the kids on a daily basis and practice and work on things. Friday night sort of ends up being the show-and-tell part of it for the community, which is pretty neat. The teaching really is Monday through Thursday.”

With two big games Friday night in the Delta League, involving four of its top five teams, Cattolico says he and dad will flip a coin to see which game they’ll attend.

“I think there’s two really good ball games this Friday night,” he said. “(Monterey Trail vs. Elk Grove) and Jesuit/Franklin are both going to be ball games that will come down to two or three plays, a little bit of luck and a little bit of who makes a play here and who makes a play there. It’s pretty hard to pick the outcome of those ball games.”

League-leader Grant will be at Sheldon; the Huskies winless in the Delta.

Cattolico says the Pacers are the team that has impressed him the most this fall.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Monterey Trail Scares Grant, But Pacers Hold On To Win

Monterey Trail’s veer offense put on quite an offensive show Friday night. The Mustangs ran an amazing 77 plays from the line of scrimmage, gained 471 yards, 380 of that on the ground.

Yet they lost the game.

Undefeated Grant (7-0, 4-0) came to Mark Macres Memorial Stadium that night showing exactly why they are the team to beat in the Delta League this season.

The Pacers responded to the Mustangs’ ground game with quite a display of running the football themselves. Behind tailback Deshawn Collins, who scored five touchdowns, three of those in the third quarter alone, Grant sprinted through Mustang defenders for a 54-29 win.
MT's T.J.Ewing watches his team prep for Grant Friday

“They did a good job making adjustments in the second half offensively,” Monterey Trail head coach T.J. Ewing said. “They blocked it well. They are a very explosive team. They are huge. (The running backs) hide behind their line.  (Collins) is a bit of a little guy and by time you look around those big trees, he’s around the corner and he’s gone.”

-------- Friday's Scores ----------
Elk Grove 42, Pleasant Grove 14
Franklin 49, Davis 13
Cosumnes Oaks 25, Antelope 13
Bradshaw Christian 36, Golden Sierra 28
Laguna Creek 44, Florin 6

The Pacers proved exactly that, unstoppable, particularly in the second half where they scored 40 points. They averaged 9.7 yards per play while gaining 327 yards on the ground. Collins was responsible for 223 of those yards on just 17 carries. He scored on runs of  16, 18, 33, 16 and nine yards behind a huge offensive line that tilts the scales to more than 300 pounds on average.

But, Mustang fans had something to cheer – and at times, to boo about – particularly in the first half. Monterey Trail had a 15-14 halftime lead.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Saunders Signs With Cardinals, Levin Earns Big Paycheck

Jalen Saunders has found another job in the NFL. On Oct. 2, after being waived by the New York Jets, the former Pleasant Grove High School and Fresno State/Oklahoma wide receiver was signed by the Arizona Cardinals to their practice squad.

Saunders was selected by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft and made the roster out of training camp. However,  Saunders had issues with fumbling on punt returns and was released by New York on Sept. 28.

Levin Finishes 21st In PGA Tour Opener

It’s been a while since Elk Grove golfer Spencer Levin has appeared on the leaderboard at a PGA Tour event. In this past weekend’s 2014-2015 season opener in Napa, Levin finished 21st in the Frye’s.Com Open.

Levin finished his four rounds at a -7, eight strokes behind the winner, Sang-Moon Bae. Two good rounds – a three-under par 69 on Friday and a five-under-par 67 on Saturday – put Levin into a good position to challenge on Sunday. He fired an even-par 72 to wrap up the tournament.
Spencer Levin

He pocketed $62,400 for his weekend of play.

Levin had a rough 2013-2014 season on the Tour, finishing in the top 25 just once in the 20 events he entered. He’s already matched that with his finish on Sunday.

A year ago he made the cut only nine times, yet still earned $277, 780.

The 2003 graduate of Elk Grove High School will be in the pairings this weekend at the Tour’s next event, the Shriners’ Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Larson Finishes Sixth In Charlotte

He’s not a part of the playoffs in NASCAR, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Elk Grove driver Kyle Larson.

He looked like he might win his first-ever Sprint Cup race this past Saturday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, but ended up sixth in the Bank of America 500.

Larson led the race for five laps twice, but couldn’t beat Kevin Harvick, the race winner.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Thriller In The House Harbaugh Built

Elk Grove High School's football team went to football heaven Friday night. At least it felt that way.

They walked through the tunnel from the locker room and onto the playing surface of brand new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the San Francisco 49ers and, in a couple years, the site of Super Bowl 50. Everyone paused to take on the impressive site.
Elk Grove players take a moment to look at Levi's Stadium before taking the field Friday


The dim South Bay evening skies were turned into a very bright setting in just this one spot as the lumins of the stadium lights pierced the environs below. The red seats, some 55,000 of them,  were outlined by a band of brightly-lit advertising boards that rimmed the stadium oval at the mezadine level.  The silver guard rails shone, reflecting the immensely-bright lighting above.

The Niners promoted this night, which included an earlier game between Wilcox and Santa Clara High Schools, as "Friday Night Lights". Underline the word "lights." These young men were playing on football's biggest - and newest - stage. Niner greats Jerry Rice and Roger Craig welcomed them via a video played on the stadium's huge high definition jumbotron.

The Herd's vegas-gold numerals reflected light like they were aluminum foil. The gold helmets had the glisten of the real mineral.

The whole stadium even smelled new ... and that controversy over the quality of the Levi's Stadium turf in late August is over. That's because Elk Grove and Jesuit chewed it up this night in a Delta League showdown.

The two squads ran up and down the field on each other's defense, but in the end Elk Grove's early turnovers were its downfall and the Herd dropped its second game in a row in a 42-38 loss to the Marauders.

It's the first time in three years Elk Grove (4-2, 1-2 Delta League) has lost more than one regular season game and much longer than that since the Herd has lost back-to-back contests.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Laguna Squelched By Burbank, EG Loses To Grant

Ever since Grant switched to the Delta Valley Conference in 2009 Burbank has owned football in the Metro Conference. Laguna Creek High School, new to the Metro, discovered this truth Friday night.

The Titans rudely said “Welcome to the Metro” handing the Cardinals their first-ever conference loss, 41-0, at Titan Stadium.

Last week Laguna Creek won its conference opener by squeaking by Valley, 23-20. That was also the Cardinals’ first win of the 2014 season. They are now 1-4 overall.

Any kind of momentum Laguna Creek gained in the Valley win came to an abrupt halt very fast in the loss. Burbank (2-3 overall, 2-0 Metro) scored on its first three possessions, pounding big holes in the Cardinal defense thanks to a big offensive line. Speedy runners Michael Roots, Eric Brown and Harrison Anderson were quickly into the secondary, gaining yardage in big chunks.

And, to top it off, after the first three TD’s Burbank converted each two-point conversion using a spread-the-field formation which head coach John Heffernan calls “The Gate” where three players line up on the left sideline, three others on the right sideline and the other five are bunched in the middle of the field.
 Friday Night Scores
Grant 26, Elk Grove 19
Jesuit 47, Davis 14
Monterey Trail 49, Pleasant Grove 21
Franklin 56, Sheldon 3
Cosumnes Oaks 35, Roseville 14
Sacramento 45, Florin 0
Valley 22, Kennedy 18
Bradshaw Christian 28, Vacaville Christian 0

“We ran it last year, but this year we modified it a little bit,” Heffernan said. “We just spread the field and try to take advantage of our athletes.”

Anderson, from the quarterback position, threw for one extra-pointer to Sinilau Kolokihakaufisi and the other two times virtually walked into the end zone from shotgun formation while the Cardinal defense looked dumbfounded.

Seven minutes into the second quarter Burbank led 24-0. The Titans used 11, eight and 16 offensive plays on three consecutive scoring drives. Laguna Creek had no first downs and had run just eight plays on offense.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Monterey Trail Looks To Go 5-0, EG Hosts Grant

They are the surprise team of the Delta League this fall. Monterey Trail, after a couple sub-.500 seasons, has bounced back with great effort and is undefeated at 4-0, 1-0 in the league after shutting out Sheldon, 42-0.

Now T.J. Ewing has his Mustangs prepping for tonight's showdown with Pleasant Grove, which lost narrowly to Jesuit last Friday, 28-21. A statement win by Monterey Trail would show all of us the Mustangs are for real. The Eagles need this one, too.

Across town a couple more undefeateds, Grant and Elk Grove, face off. The question will be whether the Herd can negotiate the huge offensive line of the Pacers.

Follow all the action live online here:

Tonight's EGUSD Games

Monterey Trail vs. Pleasant Grove
Grant vs. Elk Grove
Jesuit vs. Davis
Sheldon vs. Franklin
Laguna Creek vs. Burbank
Kennedy vs. Valley
Sacramento vs. Florin

Live chat: Prep football Week 5, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3