The second decade of Pleasant Grove High School football will be under the direction of Jason Rossow, a young man who grew up in Elk Grove and is no stranger to the city nor the school where he teaches.
He’s also replacing one of the area’s most successful coaches over the past few years in Joe Cattolico. The Eagles under Cattolico’s nine-year tenure were 84-25. In five of those seasons Pleasant Grove had ten or more wins. The Eagles also won a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship and were runners-up twice.
Rossow thought enough of his predecessor to talk to him about taking over his job before actually applying for the position.
“I talked to Joe and to my family and everyone thought it would be a good move,” he said.
Cattolico, perhaps bitter that he was passed over for the soon-to-be vacant athletic director’s position at the school, resigned the football head coaches’ job. Rossow, who was the Eagles’ head junior varsity coach last season, put in his application.
“Joe has built a winner here, so things are in place for me,” Rossow said.
Now the Eagles will move on with a coach who doesn’t thing he needs to do anything differently.
“I’ll do the same thing,” he said. “You won’t see many changes.”
The same thing is a strong running game between tackles and a defense that is stingy and will hit you hard, trademarks of Pleasant Grove football.
Rossow, himself, grew up playing this kind of football under Ed Lombardi at Elk Grove High School. Rossow was a wide receiver for the Herd and graduated in 1996. He attended Sacramento State and got his teaching degree.
He and his wife, Gina, have a four-year-old boy, Luke, and a two-year-old girl, Emma.
He’s wrapping up his sixth year as an English teacher at Pleasant Grove.
Rossow’s father, Tom, who is now retired from teaching, but still coaching track and field at Elk Grove, is one of the longest tenured coaches in the Elk Grove school district. In fact, the father/son pair teamed up to co-coach freshman football for the Herd between 2006 and 2008.
The younger Rossow then moved on to be an assistant varsity coach for two years under Chris Nixon. In 2011 he was a junior varsity assistant coach at Pleasant Grove, was an assistant varsity coach under Cattolico in 2012 and this past season return to the JV ranks to become the head coach.
Rossow will also lead the Eagles into their first season as a member of the Delta League.
“I like the bigger schedule, having seven league games,” Rossow said. “But, every team right now is a potential league champion. It will be tough.”
The Eagles will now annually face Elk Grove, Franklin, Monterey Trail and Sheldon along with Davis, Grant and Jesuit.
“Anybody next year could win it,” he said. “I like the fact all Elk Grove schools are in one league and it will be great to have all these local rivalries.”
Rossow didn’t say much about who will be on his coaching staff, but those decisions should be announced soon.