Monday, September 28, 2015

EG Sports Corner Now On Facebook

I don't know why I haven't done this earlier, but I have created an Elk Grove Sports Corner page on Facebook. There I have uploaded photos taken from the football games I've covered thus far this fall, plus photos from the Loren Roberts Girls' Golf Tournament on 8/3.

Take a look at that page  -- and in Facebook terms, "Like It!"

Friday, September 25, 2015

Monterey Trail, EG Win/Franklin, Sheldon Look Subpar In Delta Openers

Week Four Results:

Monterey Trail 35, Sheldon 14
Grant 27, Franklin 0
Elk Grove 55, Davis 0 
Cosumnes Oaks 35, Oakmont 6 
Laguna Creek 33, Valley 6
McClatchy 35, Florin 30

Pleasant Grove 43, Jesuit 9
Bradshaw Christian 50, Encina 12

In a game that game that Herbie Berry wanted to win very badly, the Sheldon Huskies opened the 2015 Delta League schedule by squandering several opportunities to score and ended up on the losing end of a 35-14 decision with Monterey Trail Friday.

“There were tremendous opportunities tonight,” Berry said. “The difference between us and them tonight was they executed and we didn’t.”

         See Photos from the game on the Elk Grove Sports Corner Facebook site

The Huskies had a great chance to open their season with three wins in the first four games for the first time since 2009. That year Sheldon actually won their first five games under coach Ed Lombardi. Instead the now-2-2 Huskies started the league slate under a cloud of questions about effort and consistency hovering over their program.

“The thing we need to fix is being more consistent,” Berry observed. “We were missing blocks on the inside, people are going in the wrong direction. They are smarter than that. We practiced better than that. They just aren’t accustomed to winning yet and that is something we just have to build.”
Sheldon coach Herbie Berry

On the opposite sidelines of the Sheldon/Pleasant Grove Community Stadium the Mustangs’ T.J. Ewing was beaming with pride for the way his club dominated the clock in the early going, jumped out to an early lead and held on the rest of the way.

“That was a big win because we had a lot of guys who were out,” Ewing said. “It was awesome because that was a total team win. I am just proud of all our players.”

Monterey Trail quarterback Robert Holt opened the scoring with a 77-yard run on the third play of the game. His pass to Neville Bood on the two-point conversion gave the Mustangs a 8-0 early lead.

They scored again on their next possession with Aztlan Lopez running in from the one-yard line.  A two-point conversion was no good and it was 14-0.

Sheldon QB Chance LaChapelle and (#21) Deante Grinner
Sheldon finally got jump started on a Chance LaChapelle to Norvell Meredith 30 yard pass that got the Huskies deep into Mustang territory midway through the second quarter. But, Aaron Ortiz missed a 37-yard field goal.

The Mustangs responded with Arnett Belton’s 55-yard TD run. With a two-point PAT, Monterey Trail lead, 22-0, with 5:13 left in the second quarter.

On the next possession, Sheldon gave up the ball on downs at the Monterey Trail 15. But the Huskies’ defense held the Mustangs, forcing a punt out of the end zone and took over at the Monterey Trail 31.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Follow Week Four Football HERE

I will be covering Monterey Trail at Sheldon in what could be a very good game. The big game locally will be Grant vs. Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks H.S. The Thundering Herd is hosting Davis. On Saturday, Pleasant Grove will be at Jesuit for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

If you can't go anywhere this Friday, then follow these and other games throughout the Section here:
Live Blog Live coverage: High school football Week 4

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

St. Francis Honors Player, Beats Davis

by Steven Shaff
St. Francis Ass't. A.D.

The St. Francis volleyball team was facing Davis Tuesday night in a volleyball match. But the hidden opponent was blood borne cancer.

Hosting a Blood Cancer Awareness Night in support of Troubadour junior Natalie Woodruff, who is fighting Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the Troubies played one of the best matches of the season with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-16 Delta League win.

“The kids adore Natalie and they miss her,” said Head Coach Alynn Wright. “They really wanted to play well for her tonight. I think they did.”

Wood ruff was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May and began receiving treatment in July. She is sitting out the season to fight the disease. She was joined by her parents and grandparents in a pregame prayer on the court.

“It was so much fun,” said Natalie after the game. “I felt back at SF and part of the community. I have always felt that but tonight made it feel really real.”

She is showing the same fight the Troubies showed against the Blue Devils Tuesday night.
“I am tired but other than that I doing really well,” said Woodruff. “I just got done with my fourth and hopefully final round of treatment,” said Woodruff. “I get my MRI and PET scan next week. If those are clear, I am done.”

Junior Bailey Avery said the team was inspired by Natalie’s appearance in the gym.

“I have been going to school with Natalie since the fourth grade,” said Avery. “When she was giving her speech, it made everyone really emotional and I started tearing up. It made every one play with more heart because it was for someone we know.”

St. Francis (7-8) got off to a good start, winning the first set. They continued without a letdown to sweep the match in three sets.

“We started off very well, the best start we have had all season,” said Wright. “We had a lot of best performances tonight by a number of kids on the team. It is starting to come together and I am excited about it.”

Both schools wore variations of lime green, the official color of the fight against blood cancer, from hair ribbons to shoe laces to special occasion jerseys for the St. Francis varsity team. Each varsity jersey had the name Woodruff across on the back.

“It feels awesome especially knowing we won for Natalie,” said Avery.

St. Francis swept the night with both the freshmen and junior varsity teams posting 2-0 wins.

Staff from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Greater Sacramento Area Chapter were present at the game, recognizing seniors Abby Fitzgerald, Sophie Huang and Mia Bonini for their fundraising efforts this past summer. Fitzgerald was named the Student of the Year by the organization.
St. Francis volleyball team prior to game vs. Davis Tuesday

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Week Three: EG Easily Over Yuba City

Week 3 EGUSD Scores:

Elk Grove 48, Yuba City 14 (read Bill Paterson's story)
Vista del Lago 34, Bradshaw Christian 14
Galt 42, Valley 6

It was a light evening of high school football locally. The biggest reason is that since the Sac-Joaquin Section went with a "zero week", adding an 11th week to the regular season, many coaches schedule a bye between their non-conference and league games.

Both the Delta League and the Metro Conference open play next Friday night. The big game will be Grant at Franklin in the Delta. Elk Grove will host Davis, while Monterey Trail will be at Sheldon. Pleasant Grove will be at Jesuit on Saturday.

Cosumnes Oaks will open the Capital Valley Conference season at Oakmont.

Florin will open the Metro Conference action with a home game against McClatchy. Valley will take on Laguna Creek at C.R.C.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Notebook:Wiggins Gets Another Chance With Bolts

The San Diego Chargers signed former Elk Grove High School tackle Kenny Wiggins on Tuesday, reuniting with the offensive lineman who has been with the team on and off since 2013.  To make room, the team waived tight end Kyle Miller.

A 6-6, 314-pound guard and tackle, Wiggins spent the off-season with the Bolts but was waived during the final roster reduction.  He also took reps at center during the preseason. 
Kenny Wiggins, back with the San Diego Chargers

Wiggins initially joined the team’s practice squad in 2013 before being promoted to the 53-man roster for the final nine weeks of the season.  The former Fresno State Bulldog was waived at the end of the preseason in 2014 as well, but re-joined the team down the stretch in late December.  He made his NFL debut in Week 17.

Franklin Misses Kaur

The Franklin High School girls' golf team was exactly 100 strokes behind the St. Francis golf team Monday in the first of four Delta League 18-hole matches this season.

Though freshman Courtney Cervellin was just two strokes out of medalist honors with a 78 at Wildhawk Golf Club, the rest of the team didn't fair that well.
Gurman Kaur

I know Coach Shelly Walsh really misses senior Gurman Kaur. A year ago as a junior Kaur spun the links at Wildhawk with an incredible 10-under-par 62, a course record. She didn't do that well in the CIF NorCal Regionals, however, he has had an impressive stretch the past 12 months on the JGANC (Junior Golf Association of Northern California) circuit.

She won the 2014 Sacramento County Junior Championship, the 2014 Sacramento City Junior Golf Championship and the 2014 State Fair Junior Golf title. 

This past July she placed fourth in the Northern California Golf Association's Championship for girls between the ages of 12 and 18. And, she was second at the 2015 State Fair Junior Golf Championships.

But, Kaur is currently ineligible to play for her high school. There may be a chance she'll earn back that eligibility in time for a run at a NorCal, and who knows, maybe a CIF State Championship.

In the meantime, St. Francis proved they may be the team to beat not just in the Delta, but also in Northern California. All six golfers scored in the 80's Monday at WildHawk. 

Larson, Out Of NASCAR Chase, Races At Chicagoland Sunday

Elk Grove's Kyle Larson will be in the #42 Target Chevrolet this Sunday as NASCAR will begin its playoffs, known as "The Chase," at the Chicagoland Speedway in Illinois.

But, Larson won't be eligible to win the Sprint Cup series championship because he's 19th in the point standings, outside of the top 16 who will race the next ten weeks for the season championship.

In his rookie season in 2014, Larson finished just out of the Chase in 17th place, yet concluded the season strong to end up eighth overall in points.

Larson's car will have a different paint scheme, yellow, this Sunday for one of his major sponsors, Clorox.

Levin's PGA Season Over

PGA Tour Professional Spencer Levin from Elk Grove had his season come to close two weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second of four season-ending tournaments on the Tour. 

He finished tied for 56th and left him 82nd on the FedEx Cup standings board. The top 70 golfers played this weekend at the BMW Championships.

He moved up quickly in the Fed Ex Cup in the past month thanks to a tie for 18th at the Wyndham Championships and a tie for 16th at The Barclays.

In 31 tour events this season, Levin finished in the top ten once and the top 25 seven times. His total winnings were $836,698. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

St. Francis Takes First Delta Tourney, Easily

The St. Francis golf team easily won the first of four 18-hole tournaments amongst all girls teams in the Delta League.

Here are the team scores for Monday's play at WildHawk Golf Club:

St. Francis             417
Elk Grove              474
Davis                     482
Pleasant Grove      490
Franklin                 517

Each squad plays six golfers and the top five scores count.

The medalist was Davis' Marie Dean who shot a 76, two strokes better than Franklin freshman Courtney Cervellin.

St. Francis was paced by Kristin Lee who fired a 82. Olivia Alcoran had a 83. All Troubie golfers shot in the 80's.

Elk Grove's Jillian Knox also shot a 82. Pleasant Grove was led by Allison Curtis who shot an 89.

Friday, September 11, 2015

EG, Franklin, MT Roll, Laguna, PG Take It On The Chin

Week Two H.S. Football:

Franklin 28, Casa Grande 7
Elk Grove 41, Lincoln (Stockton) 14 
Bradshaw Christian 57, Summerville 56 (2 OT's)
Folsom 54, Pleasant Grove 14
Antelope 42, Laguna Creek 7
Cosumnes Oaks 50, Rio Linda 8 
Monterey Trail 75, Florin 0
El Camino 45, Valley 6
Sheldon 38, West 21
Davis 13, Vintage 6

The setting sun had a definite orange hue. The skies seemed to also emit an eery yellow light, too. The smoke from the Butte Fire, 45 miles to the east, covered the Valley on this 100-degree evening in the Elk Grove area turning the whole setting for high school football at Cosumnes River College into something that was out of the ordinary.

The top performers this evening at CRC's newly-remodeled stadium were a toss-up between Antelope High School quarterback Mantel Aaron and the Laguna Creek High School Marching Band.

Aaron had five TD passes, all in the first half, in the Titans' 42-7 romp over the Cardinals in a non-conference affair.

Meanwhile, the 120-member Laguna Creek Marching Band, under the direction of Jeff Edom, was impressive with its halftime performance that included music from the movies "Somewhere In Time" and "Back To The Future." The band is preparing for its next competition Oct. 10 at Oakmont High
Laguna Creek H.S.'s Marching Band
School and Edom has his band practicing six days a week to perfect an eight-and-a half minute performance.

The Cardinals' football team, on the other hand, just didn't have the size, speed, nor talent to stay close to the 3-0 Titans as Antelope proved they are a threat to win the Capital Valley Conference championship this fall.

"We would have had to play a near-perfect game tonight just to stay in the game with these guys," Cardinals' football coach Dave Morton remarked.

Aaron led the Titans downfield for touchdowns each of the first four times they touched the football Friday night. Antelope led 35-0 at half. Aaron was virtually perfect in the passing game after coming into the game with two TD passes  and having thrown a pair of interceptions in wins over Monterey Trail and Sheldon.

The disgust of the drubbing at the hands of the Titans was written all over Morton's face

"They are a playoff team, a very good team," he said. "We got outplayed, out-coached. Thirty-five points better than us? Yeah, tonight they were."
R.j. Barrow (#7) runs down an Antelope back in Friday's 42-7 loss

The Cardinals have now been on the wrong end of two blow-outs two weeks in a row. In Week One, they were rolled by Christian Brothers, 48-8.

"We go to playoffs at the beginning of the season, most people go to playoffs at the end of the season," Morton quipped. "Both of those teams are playoff teams."

The lone Cardinal score came with 3:58 left in the contest when 5-5 junior reserve quarterback Kevin Chocktoot hit Clinton Spellman on a bubble screen for a touchdown.

And, with the Metro Conference opener in two weeks against Valley Morton knows he needs to get several guys back in the lineup. Five players had to be helped off the field Friday, keeping the team trainer busy and crowding the small green bench on the sideline.

"We talked about putting all the guys on the bus that got off the bus, so yeah, the injured guys are always a concern," he said. "We will be ready for the Metro league. My team is very young, very inexperienced, as it shows. When things go down, they just roll up. There's things we've got to work on internally to get better."
Laguna Creek coach Dave Morton encouraging his defensive squad during Friday's loss to Antelope

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Follow Week Two Games HERE!

While I am covering Antelope vs. Laguna Creek at CRC, you can sit here at the Sports Corner and follow me and others around the area covering Prep Football.

Live Blog Live coverage: Prep football Week 2

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

BCHS Forfeits Week Zero Win

Bradshaw Christian's football team has forfeited their opening week win over Big Valley Christian for playing an ineligible player.

The Pride won the game on the scoreboard, 61-6, but one of their top defenders shouldn't have been in uniform. He had 14 tackles and a sack in the game.

He played last season at an Elk Grove Unified School. The player should have been serving what CIF calls the "30-day sit-out period." Athletes who transfer from one school to another and they played a varsity sport at the first school, cannot participate in his new school's games until 30 days of the regular season had expired.

The exception to this rule is if the athlete's family changes residences. Then the athlete could participate right away in his new school's varsity sport.

There has been no comment from anyone at Bradshaw.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Vanderwaal Transfers To CBS

Joe Davidson of the Bee tweeted this past week that Elk Grove quarterback Tyler Vanderwaal has transferred to Christian Brothers. This came, according to what a source told me, after Vanderwaal was beaten out for the starting job by Jayden Machado.

One of two things will happen: Vanderwaal will have to sit out the first 30-days of the football season at CB or if the Sac-Joaquin Section deems this to be an "athletically-motivated" transfer, Vanderwaal won't see the football field until the fall of 2016.

Cut From NFL Rosters

The professional football careers of Kenny Wiggins, Jalen Saunders and Jeremy Ross appear to be up in the air.

Wiggins, a 2006 grad of Elk Grove, was released Saturday by the Chargers. He had spent time on the practice roster of the 49ers and the Ravens, but caught on early last season with San Diego and even suited up for a couple games. He attended Fresno State.

Ross, who graduated from Laguna Creek in 2007, played in several games with the Lions last season, but was cut Saturday. He originally was with the Colts and then the Patriots as a practice squad member and briefly played with Green Bay. Ross played his college ball at Cal.

Saunders had an eventful week. On Tuesday he was traded to the Patriots by the Saints for a conditional draft choice, but stayed with New England for about four days and was released Saturday. Saunders graduated from Pleasant Grove High School and played collegiately at both Fresno State and Oklahoma.
Jeremy Ross as a member of the Packers

Making NFL rosters were Ethan Westbrooks and Arik Amstead. Westbrooks, a defensive end from West Texas State and Franklin H.S., will be a reserve defensive end for the St. Louis Rams for a second season.

Armstead, out of Pleasant Grove and Oregon Univ., was the 49ers top draft choice this spring and will be on San Francisco's defensive line.

Elk Grove's Lance Briggs, who spent 13 seasons as a linebacker with the Chicago Bears making the All-Pro team seven times, was not resigned by the club at the end of last season and couldn't find a team to sign him this summer.

Banks, Scott-Anderson Impressive In Sac State Opener

Franklin grad Joey Banks was impressive in Sacramento State's 41-20 season-opening win Saturday over Eastern Oregon. The redshirt freshman had 11 tackles, one sack and three tackles for a loss.

Elk Grove's Manny Scott-Anderson, a true freshman, had seven tackles from his defensive back position.

Dre Terrell, a Pleasant Grove grad, had a pair of tackles.

Levin On PGA FedEx Cup "Bubble"

After three rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the PGA Tour's Fed Ex Cup playoffs, Spencer Levin is tied for 59th place at even-par.

He must move up the leaderboard during Monday's final round or his season will be over. Levin is currently 80th in the Fed Ex Cup standings and the top 70 will move on to next weekend's BMW Championship.

According to PGATour.Com, Levin must finish in 36th place or higher to move on in the playoffs of the PGA Tour.

Friday, September 04, 2015

PG Gives Rossow First Win

Week One Scores:

Pleasant Grove 42, Nevada Union 15
Granite Bay 14, Cosumnes Oaks 11
Bradshaw Christian 35, De Anza 14 
Grant 55, Fresno Central 7 
Bellarmine 42, Franklin 0
Antelope 28, Sheldon 7
Christian Bros. 48, Laguna Creek 8
Monterey Trail 24, Merced 7
Natomas 42, Valley 24

Jason Rossow won his first game as head football coach at Pleasant Grove High School Friday night, a little more than a year later than he really wanted.

It was on the first day of pre-season drills in August of 2014 that the new coach told his team he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was going to have to undergo surgery right away. Rossow’s friend and assistant coach Russ Gardner had to take over the head coaching reigns and the Eagles were a disappointing 3-7.

On Friday Rossow was back on the sidelines in Pleasant Grove’s home opener and watched his club force five turnovers and defeat Nevada Union, 42-15.
Jason Rossow during pregame drills.

“I feel great, the tumor is shrinking, we’re kicking this cancer’s ass and I couldn’t be happier with the support from this program, these coaches and my family,” he said.

When asked about what he thought about coaching win number one coming when it finally did, Rossow was a bit speechless. After pausing to think about it, he gave his players credit for sticking with him for as long as they have.

“Ultimately I am all about the kids and I am so proud these players,” Rossow said. “They endured such a tough year last year. Coming back like they did during this off-season and after last week’s game to come out and fight, I am so happy for them.”

In the week zero opener, the Eagles were drubbed at Rocklin, 56-14.

Rossow says he’s feeling great now and looks forward to a few more wins this fall.

“For myself, it’s a great feeling to be back out here coaching Friday nights,” he said. “Being an Elk Grove guy, the rivalry we’ve had (with Nevada Union) we always love playing them. They are a great program. We’ll take any win right now knowing what we have.”

Eagle quarterback Jake Ford hooked up with Dawson Weber on a 75-yard bomb in the first quarter to knot up the game at seven apiece. Nevada Union put together its only impressive drive of the game on its first possession to take an early lead, but sputtered the rest of the night.
Darren Chism (#18) is congratulated after scoring his second TD of the night

Meanwhile, the Eagles (1-1) became opportunists in a big way to pull away from the Miners (0-2) in the first half.

Daniel Enriquez’ interception at the NU 33 gave Pleasant Grove great field possession moments after Ford’s bomb to Weber. Ford once again hit Weber on a 12-yard strike to take the lead for good at 14-7.

A minute later Eagle’s safety Dom Johnson scooped up loose ball and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to hand PG a 21-7 lead.

Enriquez picked up another interception late in the second quarter at his own eight-yard line to end a Nevada Union scoring threat.

In the third quarter Gregory Eason recovered another Nevada Union fumble and a couple plays later Darren Chism scored on a 19-yard run to make it 28-7, Pleasant Grove.

Reserve quarterback Marco Baldacchino came in to spell Ford late in the third quarter and fooled the Miner defense with run-option keeper that worked for a 77-yard touchdown and extent the Eagles lead to 35-7.

Chism tacked on another TD in the fourth quarter following Bobby Singh’s interception.

But, Rossow liked what he saw on special teams.

“Lowell Spore had a great game on special teams, flying down the field,” Rossow said. “Overall I think we did really well defensively. The (offensive) line was phenomenal tonight. They are the key to what we do and they were outstanding.”


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A Talk With Mike Larson

I had a chance to talk to Mike Larson, the father of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson, on Wednesday. The elder Larson talked about his enthusiasm for the sport of motorcar racing, in particular the sprint cars on dirt tracks, and how Kyle at a very young age picked up his same zeal for the sport.

Mike offered some insight into Kyle's second year in the Sprint Cup Series, that he and wife Janet typically make about a dozen of Kyle's races a year, a little bit about his relationship with his son now that he isn't in the pits anymore, plus the joy now of being a grandfather.