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.

“I thought we were going to be pretty good,” Larson told the Charlotte Observer. “I was really confident. Even through we were 30th after (the final practice), I knew we were going to be fast.”

Larson made a late dash for the lead on lap 281, but scraped the wall in the fourth turn.

“I hit the wall chasing (Denny Hamlin),” he explained. “That messed up the aerodynamics a little bit. I was really tight after that. I just held on.”

In his 31 starts in the Sprint Cup series, Larson has finished in the top five eight times and 16 times in the top ten. He has a pair of seconds, one was two weeks ago in Kansas and the other was Sept. 21 in New Hampshire.

Larson has now earned $4,749,175 in 2014 for Chip Ganassi Racing, owner of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.

On Friday, Larson drove the #42 car for Turner Scott Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte. He was fifth in that race.

In his 25 starts in Nationwide events this year, Larson has finished in the top five 13 times.

Herd Back-to-Back Losses First In Five Years

Elk Grove will try to end a two-game losing streak this Friday when then play the 1-5 Pleasant Grove Eagles.

The last time Elk Grove’s football team lost two games in a row was in the 2010 season when the Herd finished the year 4-6. In the middle of the season Elk Grove lost four games in a row, all Delta Valley Conference contests. That year, the Herd was 1-4 in the conference games.

Since then, though, Elk Grove has been a model of success on the football field. The Herd went 36-5 the next three seasons, with two Sac-Joaquin Section Division II runner-up finishes in the mix.

Two weeks ago Elk Grove almost came back from a 23-0 deficit before losing to Grant, 26-19. This past Friday the Herd scored 18 points to open the fourth quarter against Jesuit, take a 38-35 lead and then lost 42-38 to the Marauders.

This week’s game, which will be played at Sheldon High School, pits the Herd against the Eagles for the first time in several years. With league realignments throughout the Section beginning this fall, the two schools are now together in the Delta League for the first time ever.

Pleasant Grove, under interim head coach Russ Gardner, has not faired well and has lost four games in a row, including last week’s 56-7 loss to Grant. They’ve struggled offensively with junior quarterback Jake Ford completing only 47 percent of his throws with ten interceptions and eight touchdowns.

The Eagles, known for years for a strong running attack under former coach Joe Cattolico, has abandoned that for a no-huddle spread offense.

Elk Grove has likewise turned to the pass a little more this season. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Vander Waal has completed right at 50 percent of his tosses for 746 yards, six TD’s and seven interceptions.

The Herd is 1-2 in Delta League games, 4-2 overall this season, needs at least one more win to be playoff-eligible.

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