The Best of Black Hat 2013: Who are the brightest stars returning to light up the 2014 season?

Who are the top kids returning this season? Here are the players who were Black Hat Football’s Underclassmen of the Year and underclassmen on our all-Black Hat Team for The 209 – from the look of it, a lot of teams have a lot of holes to fill before the season arrives:


QB Jonathan O’Brien, Hilmar: When Black Hat Football visited a scrimmage at Turlock in late August, we chatted with Hilmar coach Frank Marques about this QB options. He pointed out his two choices, but said he had yet to make a final decision. That call came a few days later, and he clearly made the right choice by selecting O’Brien. The 6-foot, 187-pounder led the Yellowjackets to a 13-1 record and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 final.

O’Brien was close to flawless, completing 64 percent (143 of 224) for 2,110 yards – with 25 TDs and just two interceptions. The Trans-Valley League’s Outstanding Offensive Player didn’t throw a pick the final nine weeks, and added 506 yards and nine TDs on the ground. In a 33-21 win over 8-0 Ripon, O’Brien was 12 of 19 for 226 yards and two TDs – and ran for two scores. He also threw for 260 yards and four TDs in a 31-6 win over rival Hughson.


QB Nick Price, Ripon: The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder stepped in for all-Black Hat QB Kyle Wengel in 2013. Black Hat realized Price would be a ‘difference-maker’ last July, when he was buried by Manteca’s 300-pound Billy Sharmoug at a contact camp – and bounced up, showing remarkable resiliency.

Price was resilient and so much more, completing 58 percent (109 of 187) for 1,612 yards – with 20 TDs and four interceptions for the 12-1 Indians. He was the first-team QB in the Trans-Valley League, one of the top small-school leagues in the state, and ran for 302 yards and eight TDs. His marquee game? Perhaps the Sac-Joaquin Section quarterfinal, when he completed 13 of 15 for 144 yards and two TDs in a 58-21 win over Calaveras


LB Seth Tennis, McNair-Stockton: The 6-foot 190-pounder has got the bloodline to keep improving and to grow into a large linebacker – his father played college ball at Idaho State – but he made a nice debut with 80 tackles and a sack.He was one of the few bright spots as the Eagles struggled though a 1-9 season. Tennis had 13 tackles in a loss to Tokay, and 11 tackles in four other games. He also had two fumble recoveries against Golden Valley.



Rich Alkire, Modesto: Taking over a program that was  1-9 a year earlier, he rejuvenated not only the players – but the campus and the community. The result? The Panthers went 7-4, won the Modesto Metro Conference title and handed potent Stagg of Stockton its only regular-season loss.

Alkire installed new schemes on both sides of he ball, exploiting the Panthers’ speed and athleticism, and overcame one of the greatest obstacles that any first-year varsity coach could encounter: He did all of this despite being an off-campus coach.

“From our administration (and especially Athletic Director Donnie Wallace), to a great bunch of men on my coaching staff, to my parents, and mostly the kids on our team, everybody seemed to “buy in” and were always willing to putin the extra work necessary for such a steep learning curve,” Akire said. “The only way we overcome the obstacles of a “new regime” is by a whole lot of selflessness from everyone involved.  The character traits I witnessed from the Mo High community were impressive.

“Our team accomplished in one year what I had a goal of doing in two years.  I was blessed to be surrounded by a lot of good people and players who were big on service and sacrifice, and small on personal glory.  They didn’t use our obstacles as an excuse, they just found ways to put in the work.  I learned quickly that Modesto High is a great place to be and I am blessed to be there.”


RB Nate Jones, Tracy: The 5-foot-8, 186-pounder was one of the many weapons that coach Mark Shrout turned to during the Bulldogs’ 9-2 season. He rushed for at least 115 yards in each of his last five games and was the San Joaquin Athletic Association Player of the Year. He averaged just 10 carries, yet averaged 10.4 yards on those runs – his most significant performance was a 12-carry, 166-yard, 3-TD game to beat longtime rival Lincoln. He also had 32 tackles and an interception for the Bulldogs.

OL Colten Mallette, Lincoln-Stockton: There was no shortage of competition when the 6-foot-2, 290-pounder stepped on the field – his Trojans played the most difficult schedule of any team in The 209. While the Trojans struggled to an 0-5 start against that fierce lineup of foes, they went 4-1 and averaged 42 points in their five league games.

That helped make Mallette the San Joaquin Athletic Association Offensive Lineman of the Year, giving the Trojans reason to be optimistic about next year’s team when the school joins a new league that includes St. Mary’s, Tracy and Tokay.

OL Jacob Wall, Tokay-Lodi: The 6-foot, 237-pound junior guard was a first-team Tri-City Athletic League selection, after having played at Chavez as a sophomore. He was a building block for an offense that averaged 36 points and400 yards a game – and scored a school-record 71 points in one game.

With Wall leading a strong offensive line, Tokay also scored a school-record 396 points this season and its eight wins were the most since 2002. The rushing total of 2,692 yards was 9 yards of the school record, and the Tigers’ offense piled up a school-record 4,516 yards – the old record was 4,016. He also spent some time playing defense for the 8-3 Tigers, getting 27 tackles – three for a loss.

OL Tristen Taylor, Stagg: The 6-foot-6, 285-pound junior played an exceptional left tackle and a first-team, all-Tri City Athletic League selection as one of the cornerstones for one of the The 209’s most dynamic offenses. Didn’t miss a game or a practice, Stagg coach Don Norton said, an he has surprisingly good feet for a kid who is still growing into his body. This offseason will be crucial for Taylor, as he hits the summer camp and combine circuit – hoping his combination of height and bulk will draw looks from recruiters. With Baker playing tough up front, Edison held six opponentsto 14 or fewer points in 2013.


** Quarterbacks: Damien Paulo, Patterson, jr.; Tyrone Williams, Merced, jr.; JP Wilson, Downey, jr.

** Running Backs: Jabar Byrd, Merced, jr.; Jason Nelson, Tracy, jr.; Mark Russell, Lincoln, jr.; Aundre Sherman, Buhach Colony, jr.; Brock Whiting, Oakdale, jr.

** Receivers: Jake Fulkerson, Summerville, soph.; Christian Williams, LeGrand, jr.;

** Tight end: Edrico Oliver, Brookside Chr., jr.; Jordan McMiller, Lincoln, jr.; Matt Vargas, Gregori, jr.

** Line: Oscar Calderon, Patterson, jr.; Nate Brown, Tracy, jr.;  Lance Davis, Escalon; Owen Iniguez, Amador, jr.; Frankie Trent, Oakdale, jr.

** Kicker: Marcus Montano, Manteca, jr.


LB Jermon Cook, Merced: The 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior was the Central California Conference’s top linebacker and a tackling machine. The middle linebacker had 131 tackles in 11 games, including 100 solo takedowns and 7.5 sacks. He also had three fumble recoveries and blocked four kicks for the 8-3 Bears, who won the conference title with a 5-0 record.

Cook had 3.5 sacks in a 31-6 win over Enochs – a surprising stat considering the mobility of Enochs QB Shawn Munoz – and had a career-high 19 tackles in that game. He also had 15 tackles in consecutive weeks, as the Bears beat CCC rivals Pitman and Atwater in games that were dominated by Cook’s play inside.

DB Damarrio Hammonds, Patterson: The Western Athletic Conference’s top defensive back was also second in the Sac-Joaquin Section with eight interceptions. The junior also spent a little time on the offensive side, catching six balls for 73 yards for the 9-2 Tigers. Hammonds’ speed allowed him to stick with receivers across the field, and he knew how to break down to make an open-field tackle.

 DB Jared Rice, Central Catholic: The 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior one of the new breed – the athletic double threat who can operate in close quarters or in the open field. The tight end-free safety was in on 64 tackles, including nine in the 17-14 win over McClymonds in the Northern California Division 4 Bowl. He capped his season by returning a fumble for a TD in the 26-23 win over Bakersfield Christian in the State D4 Bowl.

Rice made a name for himself by ball-hawking in the secondary, intercepting seven passes. Many of his picks were show-stoppers, using his height and great hands to turn apparent receptions into game-changing takeaways. He had two picks in a playoff win over Colfax, and another in the Bowl Game vs. McClymonds, and caught 15 passes for 331 yards and two TDs.

DL Landon Ichord, Oakdale: He was an all-Valley Oak League tight end, as well as one of the league’s top defensive linemen, after helping the Mustangs to a second-place finish behind Northern California Division 2 finalist Manteca. Ichord was often matched up to face larger linemen, but his strength and quickness helped him win those battles.

He was the Mustangs’ best football player in 2013, coach Trent Merzon said, and was a two-way starter. That has become rarity at Oakdale, where the emphasis has shifted to platooning to keep players and fresh and healthy. Ichord, Merzon said, was simply too good to sit down.

LB Frank Ginda, Pacheco: The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior was a cornerstone on both sides of the line for the Panthers, but it was his stellar play at linebacker that created headaches for opponents. He was in on 81 tackles, including 10 behind the line of scrimmage and 15 of those tackles came in a 24-21 loss to Central Catholic. Ginda, aka “Frank the Tank,” also had three interceptions and three sacks.

Ginda also rushed for 1,087 yards and 17 TDs, despite finishing the season with a cast protecting his broken hand and getting in just one playoff game. He had aschool-record 306 yards, on 31 carries, in a 29-7 win over Central Valley.

LB Ruben Rosas, Patterson (junior): The 5-foot-11, 205-pound junior was the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, finishing with 104 tackles – nine for losses. Rosas also had two interceptions, returning one for a TD, as well as two sacks and two fumble recoveries. He was the Tigers’ team captain, and was responsible for many of the defensive calls.

Coach Nick Marchy calls Rosas ‘one of the best players I’ve ever coached’ and that one opposing coach told that their offensive gameplan was built on one premise: Moving the ball away from Rosas, rather than challenging the physical middle linebacker.

 LB Alec Barcellos, Los Banos: The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was an all-Western Athletic Conference outside linebacker and played key roles on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. He started for Los Banos as a sophomore, and parlayed that experience into a strong junior season – giving Tiger fans plenty of optimism as they prepare for the 2014 season. Barcellos averaged seven tackles a game.

 LB Trevon McCray, Sierra-Manteca: The all-Valley Oak League inside linebacker (#53 on the video) had 88 tackles, including 69 solo takedowns, but he made his biggest impact in the opposition’s backfield. McCray was among the best in the Sac-Joaquin Section with his 13 tackles for a loss for the 7-4 Timberwolves – the four losses were to teams that advanced to at least the section quarterfinals.


Line: Ty Nelson, Downey, jr.; Jonah Ocon, St. Mary’s, jr.; EzraRuiz, Gregori, jr.;

Linebackers: Billy Kiriluk, Sonora, jr.; Lechi Nkwocha, Manteca, jr.; JoeyPatino, Tokay, jr.; Tony Romo, Atwater, jr.

Defensive backs: Will Gallo, Modesto, jr.; Jacob Taloa, Kimball, Jr.

Punter: Hunter Johnson, Sierra, jr.

Week 3 in The 209: CC QB Hunter Petlansky’s most impressive statistic? That’s his 4.5 GPA

Week 3, September 18-20 (Here are a handful of ways to spend a fun Friday night in The 209)

Atwater at Patterson, 7:30 – When the Tigers said they would have a new-look schedule for 2014, they weren’t kidding! This is a big step for Patterson, facing a Central California Conference program – after adding small-school talent Ripon and athletic Modesto to its lineup. A year ago, the Tigers were playing Davis, Johansen and Kimball on those slots – now that’s an upgrade. By this time, we should know if Patterson has the running threat to complement its potent passing attack.

Beyer-Modesto at Central Catholic-Modesto, 7 – A great intra-city game to get to if you can! Beyer’s got a fun offense with a handful of talented skill players – the Patriots are expected to spread the field this fall in order to exploit their strengths – and these Modesto City vs. Central Catholic games have taken on a greater importance since Downey stunned CC a few years ago. CC QB Hunter Petlansky, by the way, working on a 4.5 GPA and you can check out his 2013 highlights right here.

Ceres at Johansen-Modesto, 7:15 – These two were a combined 2-18 last season, but they thrilled their fans with a shootout in 2013. Ceres’ QB Brad Bussard (408 yards, 4 TDs) had a huge game in the Bulldogs’ 51-48 win and he’s back this season – and will be throwing again! Check out his tape from a prolific junior campaign. Good test to see how Grant Genasci’s massive overhaul job is progressing at Johansen – he’s had to go from the ground up.

Kimball-Tracy at Tracy, 7:15 – Always fun to see crosstown rivals play, particularly when it matches big-play RBs like Kimball’s Rashaad Cooper and Tracy’s Nate Jones. For pure talent, Jones is the best RB in The 209 going into this season: He likely won’t get the crazy stat totals of some of his peers, because the Bulldogs will spread the ball around – but Jones needs at least 15-16 touches a game to capitalize on his speed.

Pacheco-Los Banos at Buhach Colony-Atwater (Atwater High), 7:30 – It’s the first time these two have played, and it was a big ‘get’ for Pacheco to entice The Colony into a game. Of course, ya knew this game would be at Buhach – no way it’s going to Pacheco for their first-ever meeting! Two strikingly different RBs should have big nights: Pacheco’s bruising Frank ‘The Tank’ Ginda – he looks more like an armored personnel carrier, but that doesn’t with Frank – and BC’s electric Aundre Sherman.

Fresno at Hilmar, 7:30 – The Yellowjackets take a big step up this week, as Fresno (2,500 kids) is almost four times the size of Hilmar. By this time we shoud have a good idea of how Hilmar will exploit the skills of QB Jonathan O’Brien – Black Hat’s Junior of the Year after passing (64% completion rate, 2,110 yards, 25 TDs, 2 INTs) and running (9 TDs) his 13-1 team into the section Division 4 final.

Week 2 Games in The 209: Can Chavez/Sierra duplicate last year’s thrilling shootout?

Week 2, September 11-13 (Here are a handful of ways to spend a fun Friday night in The 209)

Ripon at Lathrop, 7 – QB Nick Price (1,900 yards 26 TDs) was Black Hat Football’s Sophomore of the Year after leading Ripon to the Division 4 semifinals, but the Indians loses tons of talent from that squad. Ripon might have the most difficult schedule, pound-for-pound, in The 209: Sierra, Patterson, Lathrop and Northern Section power Sutter (32-6 last three years) to start the season! We were pleased with what we saw from Lathrop at the Stagg High Contact Camp in mid-July and this is one of those games the Spartans need to win before they open the VOL.

Sierra-Manteca at Chavez-Stockton, 7 – These two engaged in a shootout in 2013 with Sierra winning 61-58 on a late field goal. The Timberwolves no longer have prolific QB Jake Pruitt – Black Hat’s Grid-Diamond Player of the Year – but you’re gonna love watching 6-3 Hunter Johnson running routes and dominating shorter defenders. Chavez has two offensive guns returning in QB Julius Davila (1,990 yards passing, 18 TDs, 9 INTs) and RB Priest Jennings (791 yards, 7 TDs rushing; 14 catches, 192 yards, 2 TDs).

St. Mary’s-Stockton at Central Catholic-Modesto, 7 – The Holy Bowl is always one of the early season highlights in The 209, and the Raiders have a habit of surprising their large-school parochial rivals. Great talent on the field for this one: St. Mary’s QB Noah Righetti, LB Khalil Hodge, WR Demetrius Ferguson vs. CC QB Hunter Petlansky, TE Jared Rice & RB Montel Bland.

Tokay-Lodi at Downey-Modesto, 7 – A big game for both of these teams, because both are looking for a third straight trip to the playoffs. Difficult league schedules await the second half of the season, so scoring a victory here is critical for the playoffs.

Clovis West at Turlock, 7 – Always fun to see a new kid in town and this certainly qualifies with Clovis West coming north to face the Bulldogs. Turlock started 4-0 in 2013, but quickly went south and settled for a .500 season. Will be good to see Tyler Hendren back in the field for Turlock – injury cut into his junior year – but the key will be QB Bubba Moreno. Also, keep an eye on Turlock junior lineman Tyler Murphy (6-3, 225).

Merced at Edison-Fresno, 7:30 – Keep these scores in mind while you’re heading south to see this one: 45-0, 42-27, 42-35. Those are the scores from Edison’s wins over Merced the last three seasons – the Bears’ defense has yet to find a solution for Edison’s free-wheeling offense. This is a good barometer for the Bears’ defense – which will be critical to defending the CCC title and moving into quarterfinals of the section playoffs

Oakdale at McQueen-Reno, 7 – Road Trip!! Save me a seat at the Poker table at the Silver Legacy, and I’m sure I’ll see plenty of the Mustang faithful there, as well. Oakdale has been lining up these inter-sectional games in recent years and it’s created a luster around the program – and this is a great opportunity for RBs Brock Whiting & Darus Nelson to pile up some carries. Love the wild plays Nelson pulled off in this video from Sonora game.

Week 1 games: Thursday night opportunity to see new, improved Shawn Munoz & Enochs’ Eagles

Week 1, September 4-6 (Got some time? Here are 5 fun games to choose from!)


Buhach Colony-Atwater at Enochs-Modesto (Downey High), 7:30 – The Colony has a new coach, and we all wonder what impact the departure of head coach/offensive guru Kevin Swartwood will have on the fly offense? You have to see BC RB Aundre Sherman this season – he won’t put up ridiculous stats because the Thunder spread the wealth, but he is worth the ticket.

The best football player in the city of Modesto this fall is Enochs’ QB Shawn Munoz. In the correct scheme, he can repeat his 2012 performance when he was Black Hat’s Sophomore of the Year. We grabbed some video from Munoz’s junior year, so check it out.


Central Catholic-Modesto at Atwater, 7 – Last time these two played? Good question! The Raiders aren’t as deep as many large schools, but their front-line starters are better than just about any team in The 209 with QB Hunter Petlansky, TE Jared Rice, sophomore RB Montel Bland & Co. Great game for Atwater  and it should be a packed house on the home side – when’s last time Falcons hosted a two-time defending state champ?

Golden Valley-Merced at Beyer-Modesto, 7:15 – Couple of up-and-coming QBs, but the prpgrams are a year or two away from catching up to their skills. GV Coach Dennis Stubbs took over a program that was in ashes and is a year away from making the playoffs – and he’s got the coach-in-waiting with the recent hire of Le Grand’s Rick Martinez. This is Beyer’s game to win and the Patriots can win the MMC so long as they keep the balls in the hands of QB Nick Trujillo, RB Jay Price and WR Caleb Saalfeld and a few others. Don’t worry about overworking those kids!

Turlock at Oakdale, 7 – These two have been knocking heads  for generations, but the series that may be on its last legs. With Oakdale committed to its rivalry with Sonora – a non-league game – do the Mustangs want to be locked into the same for for two of their three non-league games every year? We think not. They have benefited from playing Paraclete, Enterprise, Aptos, Oceanside and others – and the flexibility of having two non-league games with changing foes will only benefit the program.

Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa at St. Mary’s-Stockton, 7:15 – Always fun to see two Catholic school programs knock each other around. The Rams are high on QB Noah Righetti and they have a real hitter in LB Khalil Hodge. WR Demetrius Ferguson and TE Karsten Lee can turn Rams into contenders if they’re able to produce big senior seasons.

Video: Stagg Contact Camp has plenty of big boys up front and skill players following them

   The summer football season pretty much came to an end with last week’s contact camps at Stagg-Stockton, Central Catholic-Modesto, Buhach Colony-Atwater and Manteca.

After two months of 7-on-7 passing events – including tournaments that Black Hat Football attended at Golden Valley-Merced, Delta College-Stockton, Patterson, Stagg and Modesto JC – it was fun to see linemen finally getting to hit.

We shot video at the Stagg Contact Camp: Ya gotta love it when Stagg’s Lester Williams (43 catches, 21.3-yard avg., 13 TDs) has the ball, and Kimball has a breakaway back in Rashaad Cooper (581 yards, 4 TDs in 2013). Chavez-Stockton, Sierra-Manteca and Lathrop were also at Stagg.

     Estrada also wrote a piece for the Stockton Record on the Stagg camp and the Delta Kings’ interesting QB situation – two transfers have arrived, but neither can pay first five games. That means the Delta Kings will look very different in November than September.


2014: Check out these Week Zero games – who knew openers could be so critical to playoff seedings?

With the Sac-Joaquin Section overhauling its postseason criteria – total wins will still be used to decide playoff teams, but a human panel will judge the quality of each team’s wins  to determine seeding – every win is crucial. A Week Zero win is just as critical as a Week 10 victory when it comes to landing a high seed.

Here are a handful of Week Zero games that will be entertaining, for a variety of reasons. We’ll bust out similar lists for each week as we get closer to the start of practice in early August.

Week Zero, August 29-30

Merced at Clovis West, 7:30 – Merced won the CCC in 2013, but it won’t settle for just a league title this year. With The 209’s top QB in prospect Tyrone Williams (click the link for his video), speed at receiver and a couple of quality RBs, the Bears need to open 2014 with a bang.

Colfax at Argonaut-Jackson, 7:30 – Both are likely Division 5 in Sac-Joaquin Section’s new seven-division playoff format and polar opposites on offense. Colfax is a high-flying offense that loves to fling the ball on Friday nights, while Argonaut will remain run-first under new coach Gary Landergen – previously the line and special teams coach. A nice inter-regional opener for the 2014 season.

Downey-Modesto at Pitman-Turlock (Turlock High), 7 – Could be a ton of points on the turf at Turlock High, with Downey’s passing spread vs. Pitman’s explosive Wing-T. How much has Downey QB PJ Wilson improved from 2013 – and is Josh Lowe capable of hitting the 100-reception mark? Sure, that’s a crazy stat – but he seems to catch everything thrown his way. The Pride always seems to restock its backfield with talented runners, and word is they got a QB, too.

East Union-Manteca at Davis-Modesto (Modesto JC), 7:30 – Two programs anxious to open with a win. Davis will exploit its passing game (QB’s back and tall receivers) under new coach Tim Garcia, a former Davis QB. EU follows with Johansen and Gregori, and is looking at a 2-1 or 3-0 start if it wins this one – then the Lancers face mighty Oakdale to open the Valley Oak League in Week 4.

Buhach Colony-Atwater at El Capitan-Merced (Merced JC), 7:15 – It’s the first varsity game for Merced’s third public high school, and it’s got its hands full with the Thunder. We’d love to see BC RB Aundre Sherman break open 2014 with a huge game and everything is in place for it against a team that will be playing without seniors.

Hughson at Johansen-Modesto, 7:15 – How much has Hughson QB Devondre Stendardo grown? The Huskies underachieved in 20134, and they can win this one – even though Johansen has more than double the enrollment. Love Huskies’ schedule with rival Waterford, pass-happy Ceres and Summerville coming up. The Vikings haven’t had a winning season since 2008 and roster size is a perpetual issue – but a few early season wins could solve that problem.

Sonora at Oakdale, 7 – OK, this is weird Week Zero game. These two have met in the regular-season finale for, what, 90 years or so? With Sonora joining the small-school Mother Lode League, it’s now the opener in an attempt to maintain one of The 209’s longest and most entertaining rivalries. Sonora’s been showing a nice option game during summer workouts and vows to throw the ball more – the pass game has been its Achilles heel in recent years. The Mustangs? They think they can win a section title this season, and could have one of the region’s top RB tandems with Darus Nelson and Brock Whiting.

 Stagg-Stockton at Lincoln-Stockton, 7:15 – Stagg won’t have QB Marcus Moore on the field until Week 6, so the offense will try to roll behind a line that features 6-6, 320-pound prospect Tristen Taylor. Stagg has one of The 209’s dynamic kids in Lester Williams – won’t see him getting caught from behind very often. It’s a huge game for Lincoln: The Trojans made the Division 1 quarterfinals just two years ago, but last year’s 4-7 record left the Trojan faithful in shock.

Patterson at Escalon, 7:30 – These guys have played for years, but usually later in the season. Last year’s OT thriller was on by Patterson and the Tigers have kids – Malik Lawson and Demarrio Hammonds – who will put on a show with the ball in their hands. Ya gotta see Patterson QB Damien Paulo (29 TDs as a junior) – if he’s going to have a big year, it needs to start here. How many ways will Escalon get the ball into the hands of RB Christian May? Coach Mark Loureiro’s had the entire offseason to come up with new ideas.

Manteca at Wilcox-Santa Clara  (Levi Stadium), 4:30 – An OT thriller a year ago, both suffered big graduation losses. The Buffaloes will be young, but what makes this game fun is the setting – it will be the first official game at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi Stadium. Stick around for the first half of the nightcap, too, when national program De La Salle-Concord comes out firing against Jesuit-Carmichael.

Central Catholic-Modesto chasing 3rd straight California state championship in 2014

The Mountain Misery Camp was expected to be at Sonora High, but with the Wildcats’ field being replaced, it became the Modesto Misery Camp at Central Catholic High. It included Calaveras and RIpon Christian and the common bond was CC coach Roger Canepa – he also coached at Calaveras and Sonora.

We got a quick video from the camp, with some runs by the Raiders and some good hits by Sonora. Sorry we didn’t shoot more video, but spent time chattin’ with the folks who came down from the hill – always fun to see the foothill teams visit the valley.

CC QB Huntet Petlansky is now about 6-4 and 220 pounds, and he was difficult to bring down – the Raiders aren’t as massive on the O-line as they’ve been, but they’ve got plenty of skill kids.


Round-robin scores from MJC 7×7 tourney – and Black Hat has great catches on video

    The summer 7-on-7 tournament season came to a close with Modesto Junior College’s 16-team tournament on Saturday, July 12. Four brackets of four teams apiece, and here were the scores from a fun day of football!

By the way, here’s our 3rd video package from the tournament, which featured a half-dozen quality QBs. Click here for the show.

     North Bracket:  Modesto (3-0) d. Pacheco 16-14, d. Riverbank 26-6; d. Sierra; Sierra (2-1) d. Riverbank 14-6, d. Pacheco 31-18; Pacheco (1-2) d. Riverbank 34-0.

     South Bracket: Downey (3-0) d. Orestimba 20-6, d. Le Grand 26-6, d. Ceres 27-14; Le Grand (2-1) d. Ceres 26-6, d. Orestimba 27-7; Orestimba (1-2) d. Ceres 21-18.

     East Bracket: Golden Valley (3-0) d. Mariposa 16-12, d. Sonora 20-12; d. Gregori; Mariposa (2-1) d. Gregori 27-6, d. Sonora; Gregori (1-2) d. Sonora 13-12.

    West Bracket: Turlock (3-0) d. Central Valley 20-6, d. Beyer 14-6; d. Escalon; Central Valley (1-2) d. Beyer 18-14; Beyer (1-2) d. Escalon 19-6; Escalon (1-2) d. Central Valley (22-6).

    Semifinals: Turlock d. Golden Valley & Downey d. Modesto

    Title game: Downey 21, Turlock 20




Modesto JC 7×7: Ginda & Kamoku play for Pacheco, Le Grand bangs it out & lots of video

    The summer 7-on-7 tournament season came to a close with Modesto Junior College’s 16-team tournament on Saturday, July 12. Four brackets of four teams apiece, with Downey, Turlock, Modesto & Golden Valley on top.

   After Downey beat Modesto and Turlock topped Golden Valley in semifinals, Downey beat Turlock 21-20 with a late TD & PAT in the title game. Some hit the 7-on-7 for experience and practice, others hit it to experience victory.

 Check out our second highlight video from the tournament. We posted out first Saturday night and we’ve got more to come – they’ll all be at

    Downey and Turlock were here for both: Downey was working a No. 2 QB early in the day, before a couple of poor passes and a bad decision on a crossing pattern led to an interception. A few quick words later and it was clear that PJ Wilson would be taking the snaps the rest of the day.

   Wilson ended up throwing three TDs in the final, including a late and a PAT toss to Josh Lowe for the winning point. Lowe and Sierra’s 6-foot-3 Hunter Johnson won the Good Hands Award – catching everything within their grasp.

    Johnson is typically and inside receiver, more like a tight end in Sierra’s spread offense, but got to play outside Saturday and was unstoppable on his routes to the corner of the end zone. Quick DBs are too small to jump with him and big DBs are too slow to run with him on crossing routes over the middle …

   Lowe is the li’l brother of Caleb Lowe, one of Downey’s prolific receivers from a few years ago. Josh caught 24 balls for 378 yard and 4 TDs as a junior, numbers that will jump this coming season in the Knights’ passing attack …

   Downey’s trying to pin down its RB, after the graduation of Mario Sanchez (793 yrads 8 TDs). … Downey and Gregori will open the season as Modesto Metro Conference favorites. Most folks feel Gregori has superior physical talent, but the Knights’ have the better scheme to exploit their personnel …

   Good to see Pacheco RB/LB Frank Ginda back on the field – missed him at the Patterson 7×7 tourney two weeks ago, with Ginda sidelined by an ankle injury – as well as RB/LB Kalama Kamoku. He missed his junior season with a knee injury and is wearing a sturdy brace this summer …

   Le Grand was one of the more physical teams, banging and jostling receivers before and after the catch. In the same bracket as Downey and Ceres – QB Frank Contreras helped the ‘Dogs go 2-1, their loss 26-6 to Downey – it gave Le Grand a chance to flex their muscles against a few larger schools. With a new coach, Le Grand is anxious to prove it won’t be taking a step backward …

Downey, QB PJ Wilson top Turlock by a point in final of Modesto JC 7-on-7 tourney

   Quick update on the Modesto Junior College 7-on-7 Tournament: We’ll follow up Sunday with more notes and names from the 16-team event.

   First, MJC assistant coach Rusty Stivers did a great job running the event, which featured teams ranging from Le Grand to Sonora to Sierra to Golden Valley.

   Downey beat Turlock 21-20 in the championship game, with Josh Lowe catching the PAT pass for the winning point … Downey beat Modesto and Turlock beat Golden Valley in the semifinals, after those teams won their four-team brackets.

   Here’s our first video from Saturday’s (July 12) tournament. We’ll break out a few more Sunday … Got a month until pads go on and hitting begins.