Just talked to Grant Pacers coach Mike Alberghini to get an update on All-American candidates Vei Moala and Shaq Thompson.
The coach sounded encouraged about his leaders who sustained leg injuries Friday night at Merced in a game against the Bears. Thompson, a standout junior runner, defensive back and punter, had an ankle sprain and was held out the final three quarters in a precautionary move. In a true sign of depth, determination and talet, Grant rolled a very solid Merced bunch 55-7 behind quarterback Terry Shine's 193 yards passing and three total scores, the running of 11 different ball carriers, the strong leg of kicker Charlie Vue and a defense that yielded little, highlighted by two Ference Lang interceptions.
"Shaq's fine," Alberghini said. "We kept him out to be safe. He wanted to go back in."
The question mark for the No. 3 nationally ranked Pacers is Moala, the nationally recruited 6-foot-3, 335-pound defensive tackle who is as good of a kid as he is a football talent. The senior hurt his knee in the first quarter when he landed awkwardly.
He lay on the Merced College turf for a good 10 minutes, an army of folks checking out his massive right knee as he winced in pain.
"We'll know more Monday," Alberghini said of Moala, who will spend the weekend with family in the Merced-Modesto area. "He's such a great kid, you hope everything is ok. He was walking around the rest of the game so that was good to see."
Grant (5-0) opens Delta Valley Conference play Friday at home against Elk Grove. The long term vision, of course, is a league title followed by a seventh Sac-Joaquin Section title under Alberghini since 1992, a fourth undefeated regular season since 2006 and a second CIF State title in three years.
Moala is absolutely critical to the mix.