September 3, 2011
Long Beach Poly blocks extra point, beats Grant 24-23 in showcase thriller

As long as he stalks these sidelines, admonishes and embraces teenagers so dear to him he calls them his own, Mike Alberghini will do this.

Schedule monster programs and dangle all manner of great expectations out there.
On Saturday night in front of an overflow crowd in Del Paso Heights, the Grant Pacers and their passionate coach put their best foot forward against famed Long Beach Poly, a testy lot thirsty for revenge from the 2008 state championship loss.

That would be putting sore ankles, gimpy knees and tender limbs of every variety in a combined step forward.

Slowed and thinned by myriad injuries with key starters sidelined or carted off - but hardly unbowed - Grant put up a gallant fight against the Jackrabbits, who stalled the Pacers just enough to seize a 24-23 victory in the showcase game of the Smackdown at Sactown Classic.

So banged up are the Pacers that they're running out of ice packs, MRI appointment sheets and crutches. Shaq Thompson, a national recruit safety and tailback, was hardly a factor. He had just 16 yards on six carries. With two starting linemen out for the season with knee injuries, Grant couldn't produce much of a running game, nor pass protect, yielding five second-half sacks.

Or prevent a blocked field goal and extra point attempt, the latter of which would have tied it at 24-24 with 4:39 left when Terry Shine hit Isaiah Adams for an 11-yard touchdown.

It wasn't a win, but the gritty Pacers, as young as they've been in some time, scored one for their coach and edge-of-their-seats fans.

"Until the day I leave here or they throw me out of here, this is what we'll do - play big games," said Alberghini, in his 21st season as head coach. "There's no bigger thing than ambitious scheduling and big games. We're throwing our guys into the war zone and we'll come our soldiers or beat up."

The war zone for sure, football style, and they're plenty beat up but still eager for another challenge. They'll get it in the coming weeks, with 2-0 Burbank coming to Grant on Saturday and then a trip to Stockton to take on Lincoln, which toppled No. 1 Pleasant Grove 50-49 in double overtime on Saturday.

Poly is still steamed from that state title loss that brought it to its knees and elevated Grant. Undeniably talented, the Jackrabbits did not handle this contest with much class. Players taunted Grant fans before warmups, delivered personal fouls, then raced across the field after the game to taunt Grant fans some more. It took some real calm order to get all the Poly players to shake hands after it was over.

In short, don't expect a repeat - unless its in a state bowl.

Shine had two touchdown passes and withstood a real second-half beating. He said, simply, "we'll bounce back."

* Franklin 42, Bishop O'Dowd 21 - The Wildcats of Elk Grove overcame three early fumbles and conditions so hot that the stadium power went out twice to topple the Dragons of Oakland.
Mark Dydasco had an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for Franklin and Blake Owensby had a 41-yard touchdown pass to Trevon Lampley and a 4-yard run for Franklin. Christian Fonbuena and Kiante Toney had touchdown runs of 5 and 31 yards in the fourth quarter to pull away from O'Dowd, coached by former NFL linebacker Hardy Nickerson.
His son by the same name is a tight end/linebacker prospect headed to Cal.
Franklin (2-0) limited O'Dowd to 21 yards rushing, thanks in part to standout defensive end Nathan Di Donato.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at or

Subscribe to Sports Breaking News alerts

Find us on Facebook

Prep Blog on Twitter

Follow "sacbee_preps" and "Sb_joedavidson" on Twitter

November 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Monthly Archives