Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best of 2017, wrestling results and Top Stories of the Year

Here are some links to some good holiday weekend reading:

First, the Citizen's Best of 2017. We went sport to sport and selected who we thought was the best of their sport locally. We named NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, on the heels of his great season on the Monster Energy Cup series, our Athlete of the Year.

On Sunday evening, we'll be posting our Top Stories of 2017. Watch for that on

This weekend some of our local wrestlers competed at the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno.

On Saturday, Elk Grove wrestlers placed second at No Guts, No Glory at the Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. Jacob Crook won at 132 pounds, Ryan Elgarico placed first at 138 pounds and Peter Ming took the top spot at 170 pounds.

In the girls, Winnie Guan of Sheldon took first place at 121 pounds. Micheale Infante, also of Sheldon, won at 143 pounds

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Notebook: from Sports Editor back to columnist

First, allow me to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Now as a grandfather, this holiday is very special with four grandkids - and one on the way - spending this weekend with me and my wife here in Elk Grove. By the end of next week, they'll all be living here, too, so 2018 will be much different in the Hull House. Looking forward to it, too.

But, I have an announcement for those of you who have been following me here on the Sports Corner for the past 11 years: I will be returning to the role of a columnist at the Elk Grove Citizen effective Jan. 15.  I will allow the Citizen to announce the changes of roles there very soon, but I wanted you to know first. 

I asked for this change because in these days of websites and social media, the time necessary to run a sports section at a newspaper requires more effort than I have the ability and the time for. Plus, I have the opportunity this coming spring semester to return to teaching at Cosumnes River College, a place I treasure with great students who have a deep desire to pursue careers in radio, television, film and journalism. That requires great preparation for all professors because these students pull knowledge out of you each class.

My "Notebooks" will continue on the pages of the Citizen, but I also want to return to more frequent posts here on the Sports Corner. Continue to follow me on Twitter @EGSportCorner, too. Now to the Notebook on this Christmas weekend:

Early Signing Period

The NCAA opened this past week three days of signing of national letters of intent for football programs and there were some locals that inked with four-year colleges.

Former Elk Grove Hammerhead (offensive lineman) Diego Cervantes who was recently named a JUCO All-American at American River College, signed with Old Dominion. I really like interviewing and talking to Cervantes. He has such a big grin and welcoming personality. Cervantes has grown to 6-2, 280 pounds in his two seasons with the Beavers and will do well playing on the East Coast.

His ARC teammate, quarterback Hunter Rodrigues from Whitney High School, signed with UC-Davis. In fact, the Aggies inked 11 boys to NLI's last week, including Elk Grove defensive back Da'Von Frazier.

Graduating senior Marque Collins, who really shined at wide receiver this past fall at Cosumnes Oaks, inked with Weber State.

Another Beaver, former Pleasant Grove offensive lineman Isaiah Tharp, is headed north to Southern Oregon. Christian MacFarland, an ARC defensive back and former member of the Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack, signed with Idaho State. 

The NorCal runner-up Beavers will need to do some recruiting with so many guys moving on to the next level, but knowing recruiting coordinator Ryan "Scooter" Gomes, that won't be an issue. Plenty of talent around our area who want to play at ARC next season.

The "Daily Read"

An added feature for you online readers that I started recently is my "Daily Read." It's an interesting service which compiles links to stories tweeted by people I follow, primarily other journalists, but also some athletes and coaches. HERE is a link to the "Daily Read." If you follow me on Twitter @EGSportsCorner, a link to it appear each morning.

HERE is a link to a Denver Post story about Bronco cornerback Marcus Rios, a former Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack player.

Wedding bells soon for Larson & Sweet

Just saw a tweet from Kyle Larson, Elk Grove's NASCAR Cup driver, that he proposed to long-time girlfriend Katelyn Sweet. The two are now in New Zealand, not just to celebrate the Holidays, but Kyle to race sprint cars (what else?). If he wasn't such a star right now on the Cup series, he'd be back here in Northern California racing sprints. He loves that. But, the big money is driving with Chip Ganassi Racing and it will be that way for many more years.

Dick Enberg

I briefly met Dick Enberg early on in my broadcasting career when I was with several other journalists touring the pre-season college football camps of the old Western Athletic Conference in the mid-1980's. Enberg passed away earlier this week at the age of 82.

We were in San Diego to visit the Aztecs and were invited by the Chargers to sit in the press box for their pre-season game with the 49ers. The Chargers had Dan Fouts at quarterback and the Niners had Joe Montana, but it was a pre-season contest so the benches were emptied quickly.

After the game, me and a couple fellow, aspiring television guys hurried to the NBC booth to meet Enberg and his color commentator, Merlin Olsen. Enberg was quite gracious, but it was Olsen who hung around with us for quite a while, encouraging us to stay with the business. 

Next to Pat Summerall and John Madden, the Enberg/Olsen duo were the best.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

Jankowski called up to Calgary

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have recalled forward Mark Jankowski from the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League. The Flames also announced that forward Jaromir Jagr has been placed on the IR with a lower body injury.
Stockton Heat leading scorer Mark
Jankowski has been called up to the
parent Calgary Flames of the NHL.
Jankowski, a 23-year-old center, has played six games with the Heat this season recording a team leading five goals and totaling eight points. In 64 games with the Heat in his rookie professional season in 2016-17, Jankowski notched 27 goals and 29 assists for 56 points. He made his NHL debut last season with Calgary on November 28th at the New York Islanders.

Section Divisional girls golf results

Sac-Joaquin Section girls golf -

Results from the Division I championships at Rancho Murieta Country Club:

Team Scores:
Granite Bay        381*
Oak Ridge          410*
Pleasant Grove   415*
St. Francis          427*
Davis                  474
Rocklin              500
Vacaville            515
Napa                  566

Lexi Martin, Pleasant Grove       71 (co-medalist)
Sienna Lyford, Granite Bay        71 (co-medalist)
Marie Dean, Davis                      74*
Melanie Anderson                      79*
Madison Green, Davis                80*
Annie Kollehner                         82*
Courtney Cervellin, Franklin     82*
Jillian Knox, Elk Grove             82*

Results from the Division II championships at Wildhorse Country Club in Davis:

McClatchy         451*
Whitney             487*
Cosumnes Oaks 520
Amer. Canyon    523
Ponderosa          535
Vanden               607
Kennedy            636
Sacramento        885

Kayla Diaz, McClatchy 76* (medalist)
Sofia Young, Benicia     77*
Katie Harris, Antelope   80*
Angel Antonio, Benicia 83
Mia Gribskov, Bella V.  86

* = will advance to SJS Masters Golf Championships, Oct. 30, at The Reserve at Spanos Park

Cosumnes Oaks' scores:
Megan Mawson          87
Kaylene Lui                91
Emily Irvine              112
Ashley Blake             120
Jessie Coleman          119

Pleasant Grove's scores:
Lexi Martin             71
Sadia Sadiq             81
Ari Samuel             87
Taylor Carrington   86
Allison Curtis         90
Ally Pham             123

St. Francis' scores:
Patricia Sweeney   74
Chase Saca            86
Olivia Alcoran      88
Nashla Aguero     89
Ceci Fletcher        90
Lauren Allen        96

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rotten Luck at Jesuit for the Wildcats

Jesuit defensive back Damario Keyes appears to have an interception of a Brandon Rundren pass in the end zone (circle shows the ball), but Franklin wide receiver Nathan Newton falls on him (left photo), and strips the ball away (center photo), somersaults and looks to have a touchdown. Officials called an incomplete pass on the play even though the photo shows the ball never touched the ground. (Photo by John Hull)

The game was - almost - for the Delta League championship in football. That’s how Franklin head coach Mike Johnson looked at his team’s Saturday match-up at Jesuit.

“That was a league championship game and league championship football games feel like that,” he said. “I’m not discounting Sheldon, but for us, it was for a chance at a co-championship.”

But, the breaks a team would need to win these kinds of games just didn’t materialize for Johnson and his boys. A touchdown called back due to a mystery “pick play” that officials claim they witnessed and two other catches in the end zone by Wildcat receivers which were ruled as incomplete passes laid a foundation of disappointment for Franklin and that led to a 17-7 loss to Jesuit Saturday at Hanson McClain Advisors Stadium.

“That’s hard to swallow because I am walking out of here honestly believing we were the better football team today,” Johnson said. “The entire day we were the aggressor.”

Had Franklin pulled out that win on the road we’d all be looking at three teams on top the Delta standings with 4-1 records. Instead Jesuit is in first place with a 5-0 mark, followed by Sheldon at 4-1, after sneaking out of Grant with police protection because of a 30-27 last second win and a bunch of hoodlums threatening the Huskies.

The Wildcats are in third place, tied with Monterey Trail with 3-2 marks.

“We’ve already clinched postseason with our six wins,” Johnson said.

The Wildcats broke its post-game huddle Saturday with a loud, “Beat the Herd.” Johnson was trying to get his guys immediately looking ahead to this Friday’s Senior Night game against rival Elk Grove, now 3-2 in the Delta after a 48-7 whitewashing at the hands of Monterey Trail.

“We know they are going to be monster-killers,” he said. “I guarantee Elk Grove is looking to come in and screw up our Senior Night.”

After Friday’s home game with the Herd, the Wildcats will finish out at Pleasant Grove, who won its first Delta game of the year, 57-56 in overtime at Davis.

“Those two teams are playing for respect,” Johnson said. “They are playing for that good feeling at the end of the year. We won’t over look them.”

TD called back; 2 TD receptions called incomplete passes

 Nearing the end of the first quarter, Brandon Rundgren rolled to his right and found Jalen Lampley on a crossing route and he sprinted untouched for a TD, but two penalty flags were thrown on the play calling an offensive pass interference penalty on Franklin.

“We had (a touchdown) called back on some random pick call, which we don’t ever get,” Johnson said.

The penalty put the ball back on the Jesuit 20 as the quarter ended. A missed field goal shot this opportunity for points in the foot.

Then, twice passes to the end zone appeared to be Franklin TD receptions, but both times, the officials ruled incomplete passes. The first one was a pass that Lampley dove for and appeared to make a sensational catch, but officials claimed the pass hit the ground first.

On the first play of the final period at the Jesuit 17, Rundgren lofted a ball down the right sidelines for Nathan Newton. Jesuit cornerback Damario Keyes ran under the ball and fell down to the turf in his own end zone with Newton rolling over him. Newton somersaulted and had the football, but officials ruled an incomplete pass, claiming the ball hit the ground.
Instead of a possible 14-14 ties, the Marauders responded with a drive that resulted in Andrew Tilton’s 30-yard field goal to give them a 17-7 advantage.

The Wildcats drove into Jesuit territory, again, but this time Rundgren’s pass intended for Newton was picked off by Devin Flores at the three-yard line with just over three minutes remaining. The Marauders sealed the win by burning off the remainder of the clock.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Will video replays be a part of high school football?

Carmine Picardo, coordinator of football officials for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said recently the statewide athletic association is exploring the possibility of implementing a pilot program in which select schools would voluntarily participate in use of video replays to help officiate game.

According to Picardo, only schools who use HUDL Sideline, a wireless program that allows game action from press box and end zone angles to be instantly replayed on a tablet device, would be eligible.

Picardo said NJSIAA Assistant Director Jack DuBois will be reaching out “in the next couple of days” to the National Federation of High School Associations, whose approval for replay review at the scholastic level is required.

Locally, just three weeks ago, a running back for an Elk Grove Unified School District team broke off on a 60-yard run for a touchdown. Following the customary body bumps, hugs and high-fives, he headed to the area behind his bench and punched up a video replay of his touchdown run on a HUDL Sideline interface his team had set up. He anxiously commented to teammates within ear shot how good he looked running for six points.

That part of the touchdown celebration is becoming more and more common, too. For the football programs that have roughly $10,000, the money needed for cameras, wireless transmitters and receivers, Microsoft Surface tablets or I-pads and the HUDL Sideline app, that is.

It wasn’t but four years ago that NFHS approved the idea of instant video replays on the sidelines, according to Sac-Joaquin Section assistant commissioner Will DeBoard.
“It’s legal,” DeBoard said of the video aids. “If a team wants to use electronics on the sidelines to coach their kids, they are allowed to do that.”

The NHFS currently allows coaches to utilize video review on the sidelines during games as a teaching tool for players who come off the field following a specific down or series of downs. Texas and Massachusetts are the only states whose athletic associations currently prohibit coaches from reviewing video with their players on the sidelines.

Coaches and players convene in front of a large video monitor behind the Elk Grove football team’s bench during a recent game to watch re-plays. More and more High School football teams are purchasing this kind of equipment that almost instantly replays game action to monitors and hand-held devices on the sidelines.

New Jersey’s proposal submitted to the NFHS would be for permission to review only plays involving fumbles, catches, touchdowns and out-of-bounds calls. Picardo said he believed the NJSIAA would ask the NFHS for permission to review play calls in select scrimmages and regular-season games for the first year of a proposed pilot program, with the hope of expanding the program in future seasons. Picardo said he believed the proposal would allow each coach to challenge one play per half and to possibly allow officials to review any plays in the final two minutes of a game. Picardo said a replay official would not be required and that game officials could review the play using one of the team’s tablets on the sidelines.

While that debate is ongoing, there is another question arising out of the use of this kind of technology during football games: “Is there a competitive disadvantage for the teams that don’t have instant video playback capabilities?”

DeBoard just isn’t certain.

“I’ve seen schools out there with every imaginable device with all the bells and whistles out there lose to schools that doesn’t have anything, with the exception of one coach talking on a headphone to another coach in the press box,” he said.

He says it’s a bit like the school with 15 coaches on the sidelines playing the school that has one or two football coaches. 

Most high school football programs now have video cameras posted on tall periscope monopods in the end zone. The two small white plates on a pole in the left portion of the photograph are wireless communicators which send the videos from the camera instantly to another similar device in the bleachers where there is a second camera, or even, a third camera. Coaches with computer tablets on the sidelines can view the videos instantly.

“I could see where (video on-demand) could be a bit of an advantage, but it depends on how you use it,” DeBoard said. “I also see a lot of our very successful programs in our Section who have some money who choose not to go down that road with all the electronics.”
He also figures that there are ways to coach against all the electronics.

“If I was on the other side and know that they could see what I do, with say, my tight end, I may line up with the tight end in that spot, but run something different,” DeBoard said.

But, as one EGUSD coach who asked to remain nameless, said: “It wouldn’t help us because we’re not that deep. Our guys are staying out on the field. For the team that has that depth and can pull all eleven guys off the field to watch video, then (the sideline video equipment) is for them.”