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

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.