Friday, August 31, 2012

Week One Football Scores

Here are final scores from Friday, Sept 1:

Franklin 33, Tracy 0
Lincoln 34, Pleasant Grove 27
Antelope 17, Monterey Trail 14
Sheldon 48, Lodi 26
Nevada Union 37, Grant 7
Davis 40, Foothill 7
Laguna Creek 55, Florin 6
Elk Grove 48, Beyer 0 
Oak Ridge 16, Rocklin 7
Folsom 31, San Ramon Valley 20
Capital Christian 38, Bradshaw Christian 21
Ponderosa 63, Valley 0

Cosumnes Oaks at Sacramento
Jesuit at Rio Americano

Read more here:

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Week One Football

There are a couple attractive games in Week One of high school football. This is the first week in which every school will be playing with season openers for Monterey Trail, Laguna Creek and Valley.

I am covering Saturday's game at Sac High where the Dragons are hosting Cosumnes Oaks. Be following me on Twitter for those game updates.

Here are my predictions:

Pleasant Grove at Lincoln/Stockton

Definitely our highlight game of the week. Last week I saw Elk Grove dominate the second half against a very good Trojan squad. This week it's the Eagles' turn and they should win this one by a couple TD's.

Elk Grove at Beyer

Last year the Herd beat Beyer in the playoffs handily. No difference in this one.

Tracy at Franklin

The Wildcats could win this one by three or four TD's.

Lodi at Sheldon

If Herbie Berry picks up his first win as the Huskies' head coach, it could be in this one.

Florin at Laguna Creek

The Cardinals should give Dave Morton a win in his return to the Laguna Creek sidelines.

Antelope at Monterey Trail

I talked to someone yesterday who told me that Antelope is quite good. That means they should beat the Mustangs who won't be that good this year.

Valley at Ponderosa

The Bruins need this one and the other non-league games because they may not win anything in the DRL.

(Saturday) Cosumnes Oaks at Sacramento
The Wolfpack should win this one easily. The Dragons will be in the top two this season in the weak Metro Conference because they do have some athletes, but they'll have no answer for Cosumnes Oaks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sheldon Baseball Investigation Update

There's not much new to report on the Sheldon High School principal's investigation into the school's baseball program. Paula Duncan wrote in an email to me yesterday that she was awaiting some information from parents. 

She is looking into numerous charges parents of baseball players have brought against varsity head coach Mike Hughes and his son Doug, an assistant coach. They include recruiting players from other high schools, using booster club monies for a club team not associated with the school and scaring players into silence by telling them that if their parents complained they'd be benched.

A source has told me in the past week that the parents of 14 players have signed a letter demanding that Hughes be fired. 

Hughes' youngest son Dan, owner of two businesses mentioned in a letter written by parents and emailed to the Citizen on Aug. 10, has talked to me about allegations of improper dealings with the Sheldon baseball program.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weds.Notebook/Pride's Hawkins One To Watch

The Bradshaw Christian football team has been known for its excellent running game almost since the first day the Pride suited up a team for high school competition. Each year the backs carrying the ball have notched big stats with large enough numbers for everyone to notice.

Last season the Pride led the state in rushing averaging more than 430 yards a game.

This year the young man grabbing attention is junior Jacoby Hawkins. The transfer from Pleasant Grove never got much action on the Eagles’ JV team the past couple seasons. He was also cut from the baseball squad his freshman year.

But, now at Bradshaw, Hawkins is showing something no one at Pleasant Grove saw. In the Pride’s season opener last Friday, Hawkins gained 182 yards on only 12 carries and scored three touchdowns. Bradshaw defeated Maxwell, 42-13.

As a team, the Pride gained 438 yards on the ground in their season opener.

Bradshaw also fielded its first-ever junior varsity football team last Friday. They lost to the Maxwell JV, 14-6. …

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Zero Week Football Results

Quite an impressive 2012 season opener for the Elk Grove Thundering Herd in Stockton Friday as they down a very talented Lincoln team, 35-21. The Herd dominated the second half as they held the Trojans' USC-bound tailback Justin Davis to zero yards on four second half carries. Davis had 111 yards on 14 carries and a TD in the first half for Lincoln.

Wadus Parker gained 118 yards on 15 carries and three TD's for Elk Grove while sophomore linebacker Spencer Sheff led the defensive effort with 11 tackles and a key third quarter interception of Trojan quarterback Zack Greenlee. That led to Elk Grove's go ahead touchdown after trailing 21-20 at halftime.

Watch the video of my post-game interviews with head coach Chris Nixon and Sheff.

More Zero Week Scores:

Friday, August 24, 2012

H.S. Football Kicks Off Tonight

Before I get to my predictions on tonight's contest, why don't you leave a comment with your thoughts on tonight's games and how you think Franklin, PG, EG and the rest of our local schools will do?

I will be in Stockton for the Elk Grove/Lincoln contest. We'll get to know real quick how good both teams will be. The Trojans are tabbed to be the best in Division I and the Herd in Division II.

Got a text from Chris Nixon last night that last year's starting quarterback Tommy Arnold is ineligible for tonight and Guy Wall will start. He added that the Herd looked good last weekend in its scrimmage against Del Oro.

I have a feeling EG will win tonight, something like 27-21 with ace kicker Justin Singh being the difference. The Herd defense will be under the gun to stop USC recruit, running back Justin Davis and the accurate passing of Zack Greenlee.

Follow me tonight either here or on Twitter for score updates.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kings To Virginia Beach?

News 10 is reporting Thursday morning that the Sacramento Kings are on their way to Virginia Beach. A similar story has recently been posted by the Sacramento Bee that quotes a publication in nearby Hampton Roads, Va., that the Maloof family and Comcast are moving ahead with plans to build a new arena in Virginia Beach with the purpose of re-locating the Kings there.

Attach Your Name To Comments, Please

When I began the Elk Grove Sports Corner, I had no idea there would be so many regular readers. Thank you!

The purpose of this blog is for me to daily interact with readers of the Citizen, sports fans of Elk Grove and just anyone wanting to stay informed. I typically share more than what I write for the Citizen and try to do something every day as I hear about something or cover an event.

During football season, you can check right here for the final scores as I received them. Same thing goes with all our local sports.

But I also want to have a virtual discussion with you on a regular basis. However, you need to give a name to your comment.

As a journalist, I tell you who I am. If you respond, much like the old days of the Letter to the Editor, you need to tell me and all the readers who you are. There is no hiding behind "Anonymous" on my blogsite.

Too often, in today's media, people can make stinging accusations and then hide. Some websites let you do that. Here, you can't.

If your opinion is valid, then put your name to it.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

EGHS Baseball Players Earn Team USA Honors

Dom Nunez
Elk Grove High School senior shortstop Dom Nunez has been selected to the 20-man roster of the 18U USA Baseball National Team which will compete in the IBAF Junior AAA/18U World Championships in Seoul, South Korea Aug 25th – Sept 8th

Elk Grove sophomore Nick Madrigal was part of the 15U USA Baseball National Team that took part in the Dominican Friendship Series in Santo Domingo, D.R. recently. Madrigal was the national team's leadoff hitter and starting shortstop. The team won all four games in the Santo Domingo.

The Herd's junior center fielder Derek Hill was selected to take part in the first-ever USA Baseball 17U Development Program. This took place in Cary, N.C. in August and is the feeder program for next year’s 18U National Team

Elk Grove freshmen 1B/LHP Dylan Carlson and 3B/RHP Austin Del Chairo have been selected to represent Northern California in the USA Baseball National Identification Series Program. They will compete against other regions around the country Sept 7 thru 9th at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. This is the feeder program for next year’s 15U National Team.

Weds.Notebook/Football Season Kicks Off In Two Days

Anybody excited with anticipation for the coming high school football season? This could be a one of our most highly competitive years we've seen. We have no juggernaut team locally, but several that will be quite good. 

Last season was the year for top-notch quality individual football players, warrant that 18 or 19 players inked national letters-of-intent to play college football. This season we'll have just a few, but I think we will have better teams (if that makes sense).

Excellent -
Pleasant Grove, Franklin, Elk Grove, Cosumnes Oaks, Bradshaw Christian

I think PG will win the Delta River League outright and that will be the fourth time in the past five years. The Eagles are an amazing 23-2 in the DRL since 2007  and that's considered the most competitive league in our area. PG is about a notch better than Folsom and Jesuit. Other local media types are over-rating Oak Ridge.

Franklin and EG will probably tie for the Delta Valley Conference championship
with Grant finishing second. One of them will lose to Grant and thus both will end up 4-1 in the DVC. Watch out for Davis who could end up 3-2.

Cosumnes Oaks could, and I repeat, could be in the Division III championship game. They'll win the Sierra Valley Conference pretty easily. Then a bit of a "monkey on the back" will be removed from Coach Scooter Gomes, who has been known to be successful in getting quality looks from college coaches for his boys, yet hasn't really accomplished much on the field with the team.

Bradshaw is destined to return to either the Div V or VI championship game.  An interesting game will be its non-conference home contest against Vista del Lago.

Pretty Good -
Sheldon, Monterey Trail

I wish the very best for Huskies' first-year man Herbie Berry. The former EGHS and Stanford quarterback gets a one-year shot while Josh Crabtree spends time with an ailing father. I just don't know if they'll reach the .500 mark or not. 

Of all of our local football coaches, TJ Ewing probably gets the very most out of his players. Monterey Trail had some really good football players in '09 and '10. Right now they are a question mark. Don't be surprised if the Mustangs beat a team or two they shouldn't.

Laguna Creek, Valley, Florin

Another first-year coach, Dave Morton, comes back to Laguna Creek after not coaching at all the past 14 seasons. He was that school's first football coach. 

He's got lots of experience himself, but little experience with these players. The Cardinals will struggle in the DVC and may not win a game in conference.

Florin will drop off a bit and be in the middle of the pack in the Metro Conference. Valley will probably win one game this year, let's hope for two.

Here's this Friday's schedule: (7:15 p.m. kickoff)
Franklin vs. Thousand Oaks (at Del Oro H.S.) 5 p.m.
Elk Grove vs. Lincoln/Stockton 
Rocklin vs. Pleasant Grove
Sheldon vs. McNair
Mira Loma vs. Florin
Roseville vs. Cosumnes Oaks
Laguna Creek, Monterey Trail, Valley - bye

Other notes:
Jon Gudel (and occasionally me) writes a weekly feature usually in the Wednesday Citizen we call "5 Thoughts." It is a re-cap of our top five stories of the week. This week's 5 Thoughts reminds us that we haven't seen Spencer Levin much recently on the PGA Tour's leader board. Plus, Jon has a great comment on the controversy surrounding Sheldon baseball. ...

One item to be watching in the coming weeks will be football players who suddenly aren't in the starting lineup. There may be a few key players who may struggle to remain academically eligible this season. No one will go on the record and tell us in the media to avoid possible embarrassment of the boy, yet know that is why there's usually one or two on each team every fall. Watch the rosters beginning around the third week of September.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Principal Begins Investigation, Concerned About Students

Last Friday was the second day of a new school year and Paula Duncan probably wanted to visit classrooms, greet students in the hallways of Sheldon High School and do the things principals normally do on a daily basis.

Instead, she spent almost an entire hour in her office that afternoon with the Citizen talking about allegations some parents have leveled against Huskies’ head baseball coach Mike Hughes. They’ve demanded Duncan fire Hughes who has been the head varsity coach just over a year. Prior to that he coached the Huskies’ junior varsity squad under former head man John Misplay.

Though noticeably concerned about the entire situation she admitted she was more worried about the affects something like this would have on her student/athletes.

“We’ve got to work with our kids because our kids undoubtedly, without knowing who it is, potentially start to look at each other a little differently,” she said. “They feel like they can’t trust each other. Frankly, parents are important, but the kids are more important. Our job at the high school is to worry about our kids.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sheldon Player Ruled Ineligible, No Sanctions Against Two Others

There will be no sanctions levied against two baseball players who participated this summer in a club team coached by Sheldon varsity head coach Mike Hughes. A third player, who like the other two transferred to Sheldon from outside the school’s attendance area has been ruled ineligible to play for the Huskies next spring.

EGUSD athletic director Jim Smrekar began an investigation into a lengthy letter written by several parents of varsity baseball players that demanded the removal of Hughes as coach. Friday afternoon he told the Citizen that after consulting with Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Pete Saco, he determined that one player who was a part of the River City Outlaws, the club team Hughes and his son Doug coached this summer, is ineligible to play for the Huskies next spring.

“The final decision, though, is up to (Saco),” Smrekar said.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Folsom: Rebuild or Reload This Season?

Here is the latest in my series of football previews, this one I look at the exciting Folsom Bulldogs ...

Folsom’s football team has made Friday nights at Prairie City Stadium fun. There’s never a dull moment. Kris Richardson’s score-quickly and score-often offense has been thrilling Bulldog fans for several years now, winning the California state championship in 2010 and placing second in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division II playoffs a year ago.

The question this season is whether the Bulldogs will be reloading or rebuilding because of the loss of big stars like J’juan Muldrow, Tanner Trosin, Carson McMurtry, Alex Wood and Doug Vernon to graduation.

Behind the play of those guys Folsom averaged 507 yards and 42 points a game, including two games in which 100 or more points combined were scored. In a memorable offensive contest on Oct. 14, Folsom and Sheldon combined for 48 points scored in the third quarter alone as the Bulldogs defeated the Huskies, 63-40. There were 1,113 total yards of offense run up by the teams that night.

“I think this is our year to reload,” Richardson, entering his eighth season as Folsom’s head coach, said. “All the good programs – our whole league is like this – have a great thing going. The outgoing seniors graduate and we just plug the next guy in.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Weds.Notebook/Pope Stays At L.C.

After weeks of bouncing around the summer AAU basketball circuit saying he was enrolling at Capital Christian High School, junior 6-8 center Malik Pope is back enrolled at the high school he concluded the academic year at, Laguna Creek. Pope who led Luther Burbank deep into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs a year ago, left the Sacramento school late in the year when his family moved to Elk Grove.

Initially, Pope’s mother told school administrators Malik was headed to Sheldon, but instead was enrolled in Laguna Creek, the school closest to their home.

Transfer papers to Capital Christian sat on athletic director Brian LoForte’s desk, but never were signed. That’s probably because Pope likely would not have been eligible to play at Capital Christian due to CIF transfer rules.

Pope’s  presence on the Cardinals’ team will add much needed height to a squad that has several quick, good-shooting guards. ….

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

EGUSD Officials Investigating Sheldon Baseball

Elk Grove Unified School District's athletic director Jim Smrekar has begun an investigation into allegations made by parents of baseball players at Sheldon High School that head coach Mike Hughes has been recruiting boys to play for the Huskies' program, overlooking players already at the school.

The parents, in a 2300-word letter shared with the Elk Grove Citizen last week, have called upon the school's athletic director Denise Aguilar to dismiss Hughes for "blatant disregard for fairness on the part of the coaching staff of the varsity team (which has) caused an unequal treatment of players." 

They also allege improprieties by Hughes and his son and assistant coach, Doug, in running the baseball program and ask Aguilar to audit the finances of the baseball booster club.

Aguilar claims the parents never attempted to contact her, as they claim, over the past week. She was preparing a statement for the Citizen Monday but was stopped by school district officials when she was told they were investigating the claims made in the letter.

Hughes had no comment on the letter.

Read the entire story in the Citizen. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sport Stackers Win Big At Jr. Olympics

Stack-It, the Sacramento-area Sport Stacking team

Twelve students from Elk Grove recently traveled to Houston, Tex., to compete in the 2012 U.S. Junior Olympics.  They are members of Stack-It, a Sacramento-area-based competitive sport stacking team that qualified to compete in this year's event. The team of twenty stackers, ages seven-17.  

There were about 300 athletes in the Junior Olympics stacking competition. They represented 25 states and Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, and China. 
The Elk Grove stackers attend John Ehrhardt Elementary, Mary Tsukumoto Elementary, Laguna Creek High School, and California Montessori Project.  They are Dru Blohm-Craig, Gracie Blohm-Craig, Hunter Bottge, Jazmyn Guibord, Alyssa Maligad, Kate Maligad, Anthony Mariano, Justin Mariano, Damien Murillo, Emma Murphy, Andrew Philaphandet, and Darian Tolson.

Football Preview: Watch Out For Jesuit

Here's the latest in my series of football previews, a team I think will do real well this fall, the Jesuit Marauders. 

It’s sort of like Jimbo Fisher replacing Florida State’s legendary coach Bobby Bowden or Gene Stallings when he replaced “Bear” Bryant at Alabama. Marlon Blanton has the task of bringing his brand of high school football to Jesuit High School in 2012 where for the past 31 years Dan Carmazzi established a reputation of fielding quality, competitive teams.

However, in just the past few seasons, the Marauders haven’t wielded the big threat on the field they once were known for, succumbing to sub-.500 records each of the past three years.  After making the playoffs for 13 straight years between 1992 and 2004, winning Sac-Joaquin Section championships in 1995 and 2002, Jesuit’s football program reverted to back-to-back 4-6 seasons in 2009 and 2010. Last season they were 5-5, 2-3 in the Delta River League.

Through a bit of a quirk in the playoff format, the Marauders did make the post-season but fell to Bethel in the opening round, 24-17. Prior to that the last time Jesuit was in the playoffs was 2007.

The Jesuit faithful had the heat turned up under Carmazzi to the point that when Christian Brothers High School, his alma mater, came calling in the spring with the offer of an assistant athletic director role, Carmazzi resigned and Blanton was brought in from St. Patrick/St. Vincent in Vallejo, where he coached the past 14 years.

“Moments and opportunities like this are very rare,” Blanton said of his hiring at Jesuit. “I feel very fortunate to join such a selfless community.”

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Weds. Notebook/Freitas In Rockhounds' Starting Lineup

OK, it's Tuesday, but I am heading out camping for a few days. So here's the Weds. Notebook a day early:

EGHS' David Freitas has been assigned to the Oakland A's Double-A affiliate in Midland, Tex., and was in the starting lineup Sunday, two days after being traded to the A's by the Nationals for A's major league catcher Kurt Suzuki. Freitas was in the Advanced-A Carolina League all season and doing quite well.

One of his Elk Grove teammates, Dwight Childs, has seen regular action over the past month behind the plate with the Carolina Mudcats, the Cleveland Indians’ Advanced-A squad in the Carolina League. Childs is batting .189 in 30 games played with the Mudcats.

Raymond Hernandez, another former Herd player (the three of them were all a part of Elk Grove's '05 and '06 Section championship teams), has done well this summer in the California League. He’s 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA in 18 starts for the Visalia Rawhide.

Former Bradshaw Christian High School player Brady Dragmire is coming out of the bullpen for the Toronto Blue Jays’ team in the Gulf Coast Rookie League. He’s 0-2 with a 0.79 ERA.

There are now three former Pleasant Grove High School pitchers in the minor leagues. Kyle Castro is still working in the Texas Rangers’ instructional camp in Arizona and has not yet been assigned to a team.

Friday, August 03, 2012

EGHS' Freitas Traded For A's Suzuki

David Freitas, now
with the A's

The Nationals and A's exchanged catchers on Friday, with Oakland dealing big league veteran Kurt Suzuki to Washington for former Elk Grove High School and CRC star David Freitas.
The Nationals took Freitas in the 15th round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft. The 23-year-old has spent this season at High Class A Potomac, hitting .271 with a .780 OPS, five home runs and 46 RBIs.
Entering Friday, Suzuki was hitting .218 with a .536 OPS and one home run this season, his sixth with the A's. But the 28-year-old leads qualified American League catchers with a .996 fielding percentage and a 38.3 caught stealing percentage.

Freitas has been assigned to the A's Double-A affiliate in Midland, Tex.

Golfing at Greenhorn Creek

It’s only an hour away and offers perhaps one of the best golf outings in all of Northern California. It’s Greenhorn Creek Resort, a golf facility located in Angels’ Camp, the old gold mining community in Calaveras County.

The approach shot into the #17 green at Greenhorn Creek
The 6,214-yard, par-72 course winds its way through the wooded, rolling hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and offers the golfer the challenge of playing holes with varying elevations to go with the beauty of the foothills. 

Re-designed recently by renowned golf course guru Robert Trent Jones II, Greenhorn Creek has a layout with some very unique holes that aren’t overly difficult for the average amateur. The course winds its way through a housing development and a wooded area where accurate shots will easily result in good scores.

Holes such as the par-5 #4, par-4 #5 and the picturesque par-3 13th are as good a golf hole as you’ll find anywhere. But, where Greenhorn Creek steps up the experience a bit is some of the additional amenities they offer.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Soto, Deacon Featured On TV

Former Elk Grove H.S. teammates Will Soto and Jared Deacon are playing summer baseball for the Humboldt Crabs. Their longtime friendship was recently featured on a local television station.

Football Preview - Bradshaw Christian H.S.

Here's another in a series of football previews I'm writing for the Citizen. Today, it's Bradshaw Christian:

Playing in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division VI championship game has become commonplace for Drew Rickert and his Bradshaw Christian High School football team. The Pride have won two of the past three Division VI banners and four years ago won the Division VII title in a memorable 27-25 win over Vacaville Christian.

“I think we’ll be solid,” Rickert, a man of few words, said about the prospect of another successful season at Bradshaw. “I don’t think we’ll have the horses we’ve had in the past, but I think we’ll be pretty good.”

Last season, the Pride rolled all over Foresthil, 62-6, for the D-VI championship.
They won the Sierra Delta League championship with a perfect 6-0 mark en route to an 11-1 season. Bradshaw’s only loss came Sept. 2 when they suffered a 54-14 setback to D-IV power Colfax.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Wednesday Notebook/Wiggins, Kopa Hope To Make NFL Clubs

It's a Wednesday, middle of the week, and time to re-cap a few sports items of local interest:

NFL training camps are underway across the country and a pair of former Elk Grove High School offensive linemen who spent last season on the practice squad hope to make the active roster this fall.

Kenny Wiggins, who graduated from Elk Grove in 2006 and played collegiately at tackle for Fresno State, is trying out for the second year in a row with the San Francisco 49ers. Last fall, Wiggins was a victim of the team’s final cut and ended the season on the practice roster of the Baltimore Ravens.

Matt Kopa, who graduated in 2005 and played at Stanford, was on the practice squad of the New England Patriots. This summer, Kopa is in a tough competition for a spot on the offensive line.

A blogger on the team’s website wrote:“Kopa could be next in line in (assistant coach) Dante Scarnecchia’s offensive line development program. Though he faces stiff competition and numbers, the young player has impressed behind the scenes.”

Former Franklin Wildcat Brandyn Thompson is back in camp with the Washington Redskins. After being drafted in the seventh round in 2011, Thompson played sparingly at defensive back, recording two tackles and a fumble recovery. …