October 12, 2011
Latest SureWest Show includes

Great stuff from our good friend Mike Finnerty on this week's SureWest Sports Show on Surewestsports.com

Highlights and interviews from the prep football world include Elk Grove-Grant, Vista del Lago-Galt, Antelope-El Camino, a hearty sports chat with yours truly on the significance of Elk Grove beating Grant, other area football movers and shakers and Al Davis' local impact.

Finnerty's Spotlight interview is with Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon, a class act whose team is 6-0.

And a hearty reminder to tune in each Saturday on the SureWestSports Radio Show as Finnerty and I break down the prep football world in a big-picture view with analysis, insight, predictions and interviews. It airs live from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 and is linked later in the day on the station's website at ESPN1320.net or through Surewestsports.com

Here's a link to SureWestSports with a full menu of fun:

September 22, 2011
Prep player of the week: Ryan Locke, Bella Vista

By Joe Davidson

Ryan Locke, a 6-foot-4 Bella Vista High School senior quarterback, passed for 257 yards and three touchdowns to help beat Yuba City 35-20 last Friday. The victory moved the Broncos to 3-0, equaling the team's win total last season. Locke was voted by fans and followers as The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week. Locke also is an impressive baseball pitcher, but his top achievements might be in the classroom, where he has a 4.3 grade-point average with classes that included Advanced Placement calculus and physics. Said Broncos coach Matt Polston, "Ryan's a great leader and a true asset to our team and school."

September 12, 2011
More injuries woes for top-ranked Grant: Shine, Iulio out for 4-5 weeks

They are running out of ice packs and doctor's forms in Del Paso Heights.

The top-ranked Grant Pacers, already down two starting linemen and without top linebacker Abnor Toma with season-ending knee injuries, absorbed some more bad news on the medical front.

Late last week, standout linebacker Jonathan Iulio had to undergo emergency surgery on his right hand for an infection. He is out for at least a month. Today, the Pacers learned that second-year starting quarterback Terry Shine suffered a broken right passing hand from when he hit a helmet on a pass Saturday during a 40-8 win against Burbank.

September 6, 2011
Bee joins SureWest Sports Show to break down wild week 1 (Del Oro, Pleasant Grove, Grant, Granite Bay) and sportsmanship issues

More great highlights, interviews, insight and more on the SureWestSports Show that airs today and can be found online at www.surewestsports.com

Host Mike Finnerty had footage of Grant-Poly, Lincoln-Pleasant Grove, Granite Bay-St. Mary's and Colfax-Bradshaw Christian, among others. His Sports Chat is with Ernie Cooper, Granite Bay coach. If Finnerty sounds froggy and looks haggard, he is. He threw dirt on it - somewhere - and gutted out a nasty flu to cough on all comers.

Finnerty and I also break down the significance of ambitious scheduling and the sour taste of poor sportsmanship from Poly and more...

September 5, 2011
Latest Bee Top 20 football rankings with results, comments, more

Zero week results were easy to log and the teams just as simple to rank.

Now? A bit more dicey.

The Bee's top three teams lost heartbreakers to superb out-of-area teams, all state ranked, and it all happened in order on Saturday.

June 3, 2011
The Bee joins SureWest Sports Radio to break down academic year in sports, the good, the great, the controversial

By Joe Davidson

Players, coaches, moments and milestones.

That's the menu Mike Finnerty and I will explore in big-picture form as we talk and debate about the academic year on Saturday's SureWest Sports Radio Show on ESPN1320 from 9-10 a.m.

It's our last program until late August as we take a summer break.

Items of interest include:

* Folsom's fabulous football ride, going 13-1 and winning the CIF Division II bowl game behind Bee Player of the Year Dano Graves, who set state quarterbacking records.
* Del Oro winning a football section title despite some fans in Loomis pleading for the removal of coach Casey Taylor after a 2-4 start. He rallied the team by removing some players, then taking it all in D-III and emerging as The Bee's Coach of the Year.
* Rocklin winning a section title in girls and boys volleyball.
* Jesuit bearing down on an astounding 100 section titles this season, with recent celebrations in soccer and National Coach of the Year Paul Rose.
* The Del Oro basketball team of class and style, headed by Belle Obert and Bee Player of the Year Madeline Campbell.
* Michele Massari willing her Sacramento Dragons to a section D-III title and earning Bee Coach of the Year honors - and SureWest Sports Coach of the Year accolades - despite graduating four starters from last season.
* The Sac High boys basketball team overcoming the sudden and controversial transfer of high profile recruit Josiah Turner at midseason and the role of meddling parents in prep sports in general.
* The rise of Antelope athletics.
* The amazing run of success for small-school Bradshaw Christian.
* The Elk Grove Unified School District power in softball.
* Transfers
* Mixed messages with recruiting
* Bill Baxter winning his 600th career game as the El Camino girls coach.
* The impact of amazing leaders such as Kris Richardson, Mike Alberghini, Max Miller, Joe Potulny, Guy Anderson and Mary Jo Truesdale.
* Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

May 25, 2011
Three area prep football stars sparkle at Stanford Combine as national profiles expand

By Joe Davidson

The recent Nike Football Training Camp at Stanford included three area athletes who looked the part and performed the part as national recruits.

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick of Whitney, deemed the No. 7 tight end prospect in the country, has good hands, runs well, likes to block and has size at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. He has scholarship offers from Cal, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and others. With quarterback Jake Rodrigues at the helm, Whitney expects to have a championship team this fall under coach Mike Gimenez.

Marcus Rios of Cosumnes Oaks is a superb cornerback prospect with great feet and the ability to change directions or close the gap in an instant. He has eight offers - throughout the Pac-10 - and is a verbal commit to Boise State, where senior teammate Robert Ash is headed to play defensive line. Rios will be the focal point for Cosumnes Oaks under coach Scooter Gomes, whose team just missed on making the playoffs last season but expect to make strides this coming season.

Shaq Thompson of Grant is a 5-star prospect and clearly one of the most impressive athletes to come out of the region - ever. At nearly 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Thompson can glide, slide and explode upfield as a runner, a receiver or on returns. He's also an outstanding defensive prospect. He gave Cal a verbal commitment, the school where his brother Syd excelled, but it's too early to know if Shaq will become a Golden Bear. For now, he's one golden prospect for Grant coach Mike Alberghini, who surely expects another Sac-Joaquin Section title run.
* Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

May 23, 2011
Oak Ridge's Collie continues family tradition of catching passes for BYU; junior gives Cougars verbal commitment

By Joe Davidson

Following in a can't-miss family tradition, Dylan Collie will one day become a BYU Cougar. And catch passes and storm into the end zone.

Today, he gave BYU a verbal commitment to play for the program long known for passing and driving defenses crazy.

For now, Collie is a multi-position player for Oak Ridge High School, preparing for his senior season. He is especially dangerous as a receiver and return specialist for one of the top programs in Northern California, much like older brother Austin.

Austin was The Bee's Player of the Decade for the 2000s after powering the Trojans to Sac-Joaquin Section championship success and impacting games at receiver, on returns and on defense. He then set receiving records with BYU during an All-American career and now rates as one of the most effective receivers in the NFL, a favorite of Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts.

Dylan and his brother are close and keep in regular contact, and if there's a common trait between the two, it's work ethic, skills, attention to detail and pride. They got a lot of that from each other and from their father, Scott, who played receiver for BYU a generation ago.

Now it's Dylan's time to shine.

"Man, you have no idea (how good this feels)," Dylan said today of his BYU decision. "It's definitely the place for me. Can't wait to make a difference and keep the Collie name prevalent in Provo and throughout the nation."

Oak Ridge expects to have one of the area's top teams next season despite the loss of quarterback Will Tostenson and receiver Willie Tucker, both headed to scholarship stops. Tostenson is off to Sac State and Tucker to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

In the final game of his junior season last fall, Dylan Collie had seven catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns and he returned five kickoffs for 110 yards.

"He's an exceptional route runner and pass catcher; physical player," Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. "His biggest asset is his determination and competitiveness."

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

May 23, 2011
Graves of Folsom, Nightingale of St. Francis named River Cats Athletes of the Year

By Joe Davidson

Some familiar names were honored again for all the right reasons.

Folsom High School quarterback Dano Graves was presented with the "Art Savage" award as the region's Sacramento River Cats High School Athletes of the Year. Savage was the beloved owner of the River Cats, who this season again play in his honor.

The "V" award winner is St. Francis volleyball star Zoe Nightingale, in honor of the late Vicki McDermott, wife of longtime Bee reporter and prep historian Mark McDermott, who presented Nightingale before Sunday's River Cats game at Raley Field.

Graves shattered regional and state records records for a Bulldogs team that stormed to a 14-1 record and won the State CIF Division II championship. Graves accounted for a stunning 85 total touchdowns, a state record that vaulted him to Bee Player of the Year honors and MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors.

Known for his leadership, drive and instincts, Graves is off to Air Force to play the position.

Nightingale was The Bee's volleyball Player of the Year after powering the Troubadours into the NorCal playoffs. A leader in performance and in academic standing, Nightingale was a four-year starter who now heads to UCLA on scholarship.

Per sport, the finalists for boys Athlete of the Year were:

* Chris Kigar, El Camino, cross country and track
* J.D. Davis, Elk Grove, baseball (Cal State Fullerton)
* Jake Elliott, Oakmont, wrestling
* Nick Blaser, Roseville, football, basketball and baseball

Per sport, the girls finalists:

* Ally Carda, Pleasant Grove, softball (UCLA)
* Keelie Houston, Davis, water polo (UC Davis)
* Belle Obert, Del Oro, basketball and volleyball (Butler)
* Danielle Henderson, Sheldon, softball (Cal)

May 10, 2011
Bee joins SureWest Sports Show to talk big-picture preps

The latest SureWest Sports Show on surewestsports.com is now up, or click below.

This week's show includes baseball highlights from Granite Bay, Rocklin, Davis, Elk Grove, McClatchy and Sacramento; softball highlights from Oak Ridge, St. Francis, Casa Roble and Rosemont and soccer footage of Antelope and Whitney.

I join host Mike Finnerty in the weekly Sports Chat segment to talk about the profound impact of Cordova baseball coaching legend Guy Anderson and some area league races.

Finnerty also has spotlight interviews with Jesuit baseball coach Joe Potulny and Elk Grove baseball star J.D. Davis.

Click here for the show.

November 26, 2010
Prep Player of the Week: Kaiiron Richards, Grant

Kaiiron Richards was always ready.

The Grant High School senior has logged time this season at linebacker and on special teams, including holding for kicks. He wanted more, eager to take on any task. Richards avoids no challenges. He rather enjoys his Advanced Placement courses in physics and accounting.

Last Friday, with leading touchdown man Ference Lang out because of a tender ankle, Richards got his shot - and 13 carries.

He rushed for 124 yards and five touchdowns to spark a 62-0 rout of River City in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff win. Grant moved to 12-0 - and Richards moved into the realm of proven Pacer.

Richards is The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week, as voted on by fans and followers on sacbee.com.

"I'm just so excited, so proud of what we did and what I did," Richards said after the game, all grins and soaked from a night of rain.

Richards entered with 65 rushing yards on the season and no scores. Lang is expected back tonight against St. Mary's of Stockton, but Richards will be a factor. Someway, somehow.

- Joe Davidson

November 20, 2010
Vote for The Bee's football Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week at sacbee.com/preps. Voting ends Wednesday at 4 p.m.

• Michael Worthen, Monterey Trail - Flattened a Napa runner on a two-point run attempt, caught the game-winning 9-yard touchdown from Drake Tofi on an option pass in coverage with 33.3 seconds remaining and leveled a defender to clear the way for the sealing two-point conversion run in a 14-6 win.

• Tucker Kearney, Folsom - Standout left tackle helped pave the way for Dano Graves to pass for five touchdowns and run for three - all in the first half - and Kearney played stout run defensive in the trenches in a 75-6 rout of Vacaville.

• Kaiiron Richards, Grant - With 65 yards rushing and no scores coming in, the reserve back became a starter due to injury and had 123 yards on 13 carries and five touchdowns in a 62-0 rout of River City.

• Brady Dragmire, Bradshaw Christian - Rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns and had an interception in a 42-6 win at 10-0 Delta to put the Pride in position to defend their D-VI championship.

• Chris Campbell, Granite Bay - Caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from Brendan Keeney and had a 79-yard touchdown run, both in the fourth quarter, to put away Enochs 33-10.

- Joe Davidson/jdavidson@sacbee.com

November 18, 2010
Prep Player of the Week: Chris Carter, River City

Chris Carter was everywhere Friday night, at the right spot at the right time.

The River City Raiders senior cornerback had two interceptions and broke up a third pass that he nearly picked off in a 22-17 victory over Rocklin, the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champion.

Carter's efforts earned him The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week, as voted by fans and followers on sacbee.com.

Carter has done a little bit of everything for the surging Raiders, off to a school-record best 10-1 start. He has rushed for three touchdowns, been in on 28 tackles and leads the Raiders with four interceptions.

And he'll need to stay productive tonight as the Raiders take on state-ranked No. 1 Grant in a second-round game in Del Paso Heights.

- Joe Davidson

November 13, 2010
Time to vote for The Bee's Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week by logging onto sacbee.com/preps. Voting ends Wednesday at 4 p.m.

• Chris Carter, River City - Had two interceptions and nearly had a third in the Raiders' 22-17 win over Rocklin for the program's first playoff win since 1987.

• George Folau, Grant - The Pacers center and the offensive line leader was paramount in springing holes for Shaq Thompson ((237 yards, 2 touchdowns) and pass protecting for Terry Shine (3 TD passes) in a 54-10 win over Wood.

• Cameron Buell, Casa Roble - Had 14 tackles, an interception and fumble recovery in the Rams' 63-21 win over Sacramento.

• Darren Centi, Placer - Caught six passes for 130 yards and two scorers and had two interceptions - all in the first half - in a 39-18 win over Woodland.

• Robert Garvin, Highlands - rushed for 111 yards on five carries and two scores, had 72 yards receiving and a score and had an interception in a 47-0 rout of Millennium.

- Joe Davidson/jdavidson@sacbee.com

November 12, 2010
Prep Player of the Week: Kyle Castro, Pleasant Grove

The Pleasant Grove Eagles are one of the youngest football teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, but there's a senior core group of leaders that has accelerated the learning curve this season.

They include two-way starters Jonathan Bias, Kyle Stafford, Mason Hastings and Kyle Castro. They all impact the No. 1 team in the Division I playoff field, but you would be hard pressed to find many players who play as many downs as Castro.

The third-year starter is The Bee's Prep of the Week, as voted on by fans and followers on sacbee.com. He earned the nod for the three interceptions he had against Sheldon, a 45-34 win that capped a school-record best 9-1 regular season. The salt-it-away pick came late, a 52-yard return into the end zone.

Castro has a section-leading nine interceptions. He might lead the section in minutes played, if there was such a logged category. He has scored on punt returns, receptions and interceptions. He blocks on special teams, is the holder for kicks and generally goes at one speed.

Castro is also a standout baseball player, an ace pitcher also known to dive head first for winning runs in the playoffs.

Remember, one speed.

- Joe Davidson


November 5, 2010
Player of the Week: Nick O'Sullivan


By Joe Davidson

The night Nick O'Sullivan emerged as a primary running back is the same night the Del Oro Golden Eagles rediscovered their kick, swagger and season.

A junior, O'Sullivan has performed like a senior leader with his straight-ahead power style - with a bit of burst. He also plays every down on defense.

O'Sullivan is The Bee's Prep of the Week after his 126-yard, one-touchdown effort helped defeat Roseville 31-21 Friday night, as voted by fans and followers on www.sacbee.com/preps.

Those may appear to be modest numbers, but it's the magnitude of the wins that have Del Oro suddenly surging after a 2-4 start.

O'Sullivan rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns in a tough 27-18 loss to Rocklin. He then responded with 125 yards and two second-half scores to help defeat Nevada Union 14-10, and followed with 112 yards and two scores to help beat Granite Bay 24-21. Then there was last Friday's effort that put his team on the cusp of another Sierra Foothill League championship.

O'Sullivan has heaped praise on his teammates, including fellow tailback Kenny Andri, and an offensive line that has also come of age in recent weeks. And he vows that more wins are coming.

October 30, 2010
Vote for The Bee's Week 9 football Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week from Friday night's Week 9 action by going to www.sacbee.com/preps. Voting ends Wednesday at 4 p.m.

• Puka Lopa, No. 1 Grant - Had four solo tackles for losses, two sacks and a blocked punt and helped limit the state's leading rusher, Don Jackson, to minus-48 yards rushing in a 56-0 win over Laguna Creek.

• Drake Tofi, No. 5 Monterey Trail - Rushed for 300 yards, four touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in a 37-36 win over No. 4 Franklin.

• Nick O'Sullivan, No. 10 Del Oro - Rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown and played every down on defense in a 31-21 win over No. 9 Roseville.

• Mitch Samson, No. 14 Casa Roble - Completed 24 of 28 passes for 501 yards and six touchdowns in a 53-31 win over Rio Linda.

• Danny Thomas, No. 11 Granite Bay - Rushed for four touchdowns, including the game winner, in a wild 42-41 win over No. 6 Rocklin.

- Joe Davidson

October 9, 2010
Time to vote for The Bee's Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week from Friday night's Week 6 action by going to www.sacbee.com/preps. Voting ends Wednesday at 4 p.m.

• Robert Ash, Cosumnes Oaks - Had 13 tackles, three sacks, four quarterback hurries in 35-14 win over El Dorado.

• Davonte Lynch, Sheldon - Rushed for 260 yards and a score in Sheldon's 32-30 upset-of-the-year showing against Oak Ridge.

• Brian Macdonald, Rocklin - Rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns and had two runs of 55-plus yards in the second half to set up scores in 27-18 win over Del Oro.

• Bernell Barmore, Yuba City - Rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns and returned interception 40 yards for a score in 53-26 win over Natomas.

• Jordan Botha, Del Campo - Rushed for 148 yards and two scores and helped lead physical defense in 21-10 win over Rio Linda.

- Joe Davidson/jdavidson@sacbee.com

October 2, 2010
Vote for The Bee's football Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week from Friday night's Week 5 action by going to www.sacbee.com/preps. Voting ends Wednesday at 3 p.m.

• Dano Graves, Folsom - Passed for five touchdowns and ran for two in his team's first seven possessions to key a 49-14 win over No. 15 Casa Roble.

• Will Tostenson, Oak Ridge - Completed 13 of 16 passes for 313 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-21 win over Fairfield.

• Brendan Keeney, Granite Bay - Broke his school record with six touchdown passes in a 45-7 rout of Pittsburg.

• Derek Bellamy, Monterey Trail - Rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-20 win over No. 8 Inderkum.

• Brady Dragmire, Bradshaw Christian - Rushed for 138 and four touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Golden Sierra.

- Joe Davidson

September 25, 2010
Vote for The Bee's football Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week from Friday night's action at www.sacbee.com/preps. Voting ends Wednesday at 5 p.m.

• Mark Jenkins, Pleasant Grove - Rushed for 298 yards and 8 TDs in 55-35 win over Roseville.

• Jerimiah Sims, Christian Bros. - Hit David Hudnall for the winning 81-yard touchdown late on 4th-and-29 for a 35-31 win over Whitney.

• Cameron Scott, Rio Linda - Returned two of his three interceptions back for touchdowns in a 39-7 win over Center.

• Beau Smith, Roseville - Caught seven passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns from Nick Blaser against Pleasant Grove.

• Sam Houston, Bear River - Rushed for 122 yards and the winning touchdown as the Bruins beat River Valley 14-7 in honor of fallen teammate Justin Butler, who died five days earlier.

--Joe Davidson/jdavidson@sacbee.com

September 23, 2010
Rocklin's Roberts wins player of the week honors


B.J. Roberts of the Rocklin Thunder was selected as The Bee's High School Football Player of the Week based on voting at www.sacbee.com/preps.

Roberts collected 35 percent of 1,365 votes. He had two sacks and the game-clinching interception in Rocklin's 14-10 win over Del Campo last Friday.

Puka Lopa of the Grant Pacers came in second with 52 percent of the vote. He had 10 tackles and recovered two fumbles - one for a touchdown - in a 56-20 victory over Lincoln of Stockton last Friday.

The complete results were:

• B.J. Roberts, Rocklin: 52%

• Puka Lopa, Grant: 35%

• Shawn Azam, Whitney: 9%

• Andrew Whitney, Vista del Lago: 2%

• Mark Jenkins, Pleasant Grove: 2%

September 11, 2010
Cast your vote for The Bee's football Player of the Week

Vote for The Bee's Prep Football Player of the Week from Friday's action.

The five candidates:

• Tyler Trosin of Folsom caught 11 passes for 163 yards and 4 TDs from Dano Graves in a 55-7 win over Roseville.

• Willie Tucker of Oak Ridge caught 4 TD passes from Will Tostenson in a 49-7 win over Cordova.

• Shaq Thompson of Grant rushed for 243 yards and 5 TDs in a 55-7 win over Burbank.

• Connor Keith of Nevada Union rushed for 102 yards and two second-half TDs in a 31-21 win over Monterey Trail.

• Wesley Scobee of Rio Linda amassed 209 yards of offense and had 12 tackles in a 38-31 win over Antelope.

Go to the Bee preps page to vote. Voting ends Wednesday at 4 p.m.

September 1, 2010
Grant's Terry Shine wins Player of the Week voting

The best player of last Friday's biggest game is The Sacramento Bee's Player of the Week as voted by readers.

Grant High School's Terry Shine won the weekly honor with 33 percent of the vote.

Shine passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two more in top-ranked Grant's 49-14 victory over Folsom last Friday.

His closest competition was Granite Bay's Brendan Keeney, who earned 24 percent of the 1,329 votes by throwing five touchdown passes in a 42-17 rout of Reed-Nevada.

Keeney leads Granite Bay into Stockton on Friday to play section power St. Mary's. Shine and the Pacers have a bye.

The complete voting results:

Brendan Keeney, Granite Bay 24%

Caleb Mitchell, Placer 5%

Tyler Boraas, San Juan 17%

Terry Shine, Grant 33%

Sam Houston, Bear River 22%

Total Votes: 1329

Look for regular Player of the Week polls every Saturday evening at www.sacbee.com/preps and cast your vote.

--Bill Bradley

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 jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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