Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Club 7-on7 teams holding tryouts in the 209 and 559

Stockton-based Diverse Sports has been a major player at different club passing tournaments, with championship runs in the last two seasons at Passing Down's Nor Cal Regional. Diverse is holding open tryouts for the 2015 team on Saturday, Dec. 21 (photo contributed).
Diverse Sports in Stockton - last season's runner-up in the Passing Down Nor Cal Regional - is holding open tryouts for their 7-on-7 team on Saturday, Dec. 20.

The event will be held at Stockton's Beneditt Park located on the cross streets of Harney and Kettleman Road. The session runs from 12-2 p.m.

Diverse Sports not only finished second at Passing Down's Nor Cal Regional in March 2014, but also appeared in the 2014 Best of the West tournament held at Fullerton College and won PD's 2013 Nor Cal event.

Coaching Diverse Sports will be former Oakland Raider Al Smith. Raider legend and Hall-of-Famer George Atkinson also serves as a guest coach for the Stockton-based team.

Notable alums of Diverse Sports include New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks, Fresno State wide receiver Josh Harper and St. Mary's-Stockton wideout Demetrius Ferguson, who holds a New Mexico State offer.

For more information, contact Agency@diversesports.com.


Clovis 2016 wide receiver J.J. Wills positions himself for the football during a March scrimmage at San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno with his club team Field Up. Team Field Up, led by former Sacramento State receiver Elon Paige, will hold open tryouts on Sunday, Dec. 28, at Clovis' Alta Sierra Middle School (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).

Purpose Field is holding tryouts for their club team Field Up on Sunday, Dec. 28, at Alta Sierra Middle School in Clovis located behind Buchanan High School.

Head coach Elon Paige said this year's teams are planning to attend the Pylon Camps, the Quick 6 tournament and Passing Down.

The tryouts are free for participants and anyone who comes out must be a returning high school player in the Class of 2016 to '19.

Paige added that this year's team will have a grade point average requirement. All players must have a 2.5 GPA or higher to play on Field Up.

Last year, Field Up had Clovis High 2016 wideout J.J. Wills, Clovis West 2016 outside linebacker Bryan Wilcots, Buchanan 2015 WR Russell McClung, Clovis 2015 Db hank Wiggins and Edison 2015 OLB Xavier Hamilton making plays at Passing Down.

Along with Paige, former UCLA running back Shawn Wills serves as one of the coaches.

Contact info@purposefield.com for more information.

Clovis gym holding tryouts for 7-on-7 team

Isaiah Langley calls the coverage signals for The Bod-e² Shop during a scrimmage at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno during March 2014. Langley was one of several NCAA Division I recruits who lined up for the Clovis gym's 7-on-7 football team last year. The gym is holding tryouts for the 2015 club season on Sunday, December 21, at Buchanan High School in Clovis (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).
The Bod-e² Shop gym in Clovis will be holding open tryouts for their club 7-on-7 football team on Sunday, December 21, at Buchanan High School located on the cross streets of Minnewawa and Teague Avenues.

The cost to participate is $10. The tryouts begin at 3 p.m and is designed for returning high school football players in the Class of 2016 to '19.

The Bod-e² Shop plans to participate in both the 2015 Pylon Camps and Passing Down; two renown 7-on-7 tournaments in the West.

Last year's team featured national recruits Isaiah Langley (athlete, USC commit), Bolo Olurunfunmi (running back, UCLA commit), Darrell Adams (wide receiver, three PAC-12 offers) and Cameron Burston (quarterback, San Jose State commit). Also lining up for The Bod-e² Shop last year were Chandler Gumbs (Colorado State and University of Penn offers) and Hayden Haupt (outside linebacker, Army and Colorado State offers).

The team will be coached by former NFL cornerback Ricky Manning Jr., who will call the defensive signals and former Fresno State wide receiver Brian Roberson, who's calling the offensive plays.

For more information, call 559-298-9348 or email the gym at thebodeshop@thebodeshop.com.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rising star watch: Dru Mathis

Dru Mathis of Buena High School has emerged as a rising linebacker in Ventura County. The Class of 2016 prospect has drawn interest from schools in the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West and Big Sky (photo contributed). 
Buena of Ventura unleashed its biggest Bulldog frequently on the field this past season - outside linebacker Dru Mathis.

At 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds, the Bulldog junior is a combination of size, speed and disruption against Southern California offenses.

There's plenty of reasons to believe that Mathis could emerge as Buena's most highly wanted prospect in the Bulldogs' 2016 class. Here's a closer look:

WHAT TO LIKE: His long arms gives him the upper hand against one-on-one blockers, because they're lengthy enough to extend and shed past his opponent. Shows excellent reaction skills with locating the football, then bolts to the play like a shark locating its prey. He won't hesitate to blitz on the edge and brings the heat with his speed and instincts. He's also a strong special team performer who can block punts.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: I'll need to see more of his ability in pass coverage, especially in man situations. He tends to rely more on extending his hands and shoving a blocker to one side instead of using different hand techniques to get past his opponent. Mathis tends to come up too high on tackles and can work on sinking his hips to gain lower body leverage. He'll obviously need to hit the weight room hard before his senior season and bulk up from his current frame.

OVERALL: Mathis has the size and athleticism to do some damage for a college football program in the future. His speed can fit right in with a Mountain West school and some PAC-12 teams that thrive on defensive speed at linebacker; like Arizona State, Arizona, USC, UCLA, etc. Mathis is in a good football area as well, as Ventura County has attracted Florida State, Norte Dame, Nebraska and the PAC-12 in the past.

2014 STATS: 92 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries and one blocked punt.

SCHOOLS SHOWING INTEREST: University of Houston, Hawaii, San Diego State, Cal Poly and Azusa Pacific. 

Bowl Championship Series: California style

Record-breaking quarterback Jake Browning will be on the Stubhub Center Field in Carson this weekend, as the future University of Washington recruit and Folsom High will battle Oceanside for the CIF State Division I championship (photo credit Max Preps).
The Stubhub Center in Carson will be the place where high school football in California comes to an end, as the 2014 season now goes to the state championships.

Cali Gold Mine has taken a closer look at the matchups and there will be lots of future NCAA Division I prospects on display. Here's who to watch:

FOLSOM VS. OCEANSIDE: In this CIF State Division I battle, Folsom (15-0) comes in with a red-hot offense led by Washington commit Jake Browning at quarterback, who has a ridiculous 85 touchdown passes this season (state record). Wide receivers Josiah Deguara (Air Force offer), Cole Thompson (Harvard offer) and guard Cody Creason (Arizona commit) are the Bulldogs' other NCAA DI prospects.

For Oceanside, the Pirates (14-0) held off a deep Edison-Fresno squad armed with at least 12 players with DI interest, including athlete Tyler Horton (10 offers including Cal and Houston). Versatile Jordan Miller is committed to Washington. Offensive tackle Christian Cronk (Hawaii commit) defensive end Tommy Woo (Hawaii commit) and guard Cedric Bigge-Duren (Washington State commit) round out Oceanside's DI prospects.

This was also the school that produced the late great Junior Seau.

CAMPOLINDO-MORAGA VS. EL CAPITAN-LAKESIDE: In this DIII contest, Campolindo (15-0) will have USC tight end commit Tyler Petite on the field. Petite had 30 catches, a team-high 867 receiving yards and nine touchdowns this season.

El Capitan (14-0) demoralized a deep and big Paso Robles team 41-0 last week in the San Diego area. Wide receiver Isaiah Capoocia (offers from Oregon State, San Jose State and Northern Arizona) and linebacker D.J. Smith (offers from SJ State, Colorado State and NAU) are the Vaqueros' top prospects.

ST. MARGARET'S-SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO VS. CENTRAL CATHOLIC-MODESTO: St. Margaret's (15-0) goes for perfection by bringing in an offense that's scored more than 28 points in every game.

Central Catholic (11-3) will look to play the spoiler of the Tartans' undefeated run with highly-touted Jared Rice (six offers including UNLV and Wyoming) lining up at tight end.

REDLANDS EAST VALLEY VS. CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER-CONCORD: Redlands East Valley is one of two representatives hailing from the Inland Empire in the state championships, as REV seeks its pursuit of the state's DII title against an undefeated Bay Area team known for having a black field turf.

The Wildcats (14-1) will have a balanced offense averaging 241.1 passing yards per game and 204.7 rushing yards. The defense, though, is a takeaway machine with 22 interceptions this season.

Running back Malik Lovette (Oregon commit) and offensive lineman Joseph Price (Cal and Washington State offers) help lead the Wildcats' 2015 class.

Clayton Valley's championship run came with controversy. The school's athletic department was placed on probation by CIF North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon for transfer and practice violations. The news surfaced during the weekend of Dec. 14.

Nevertheless, the undefeated Eagles (15-0) bring a monster Double Wing-T offense that's piling up 442 rushing yards per game and has Miles Harrison (2,380 yards, 26 touchdowns) in the backfield.

CENTENNIAL-CORONA VS. DE LA SALLE-CONCORD: The main event on Saturday night will decide the state's Open Division champion.

Centennial knocked off St. John Bosco last week to reach the state title game. Wideout Greyson Bankhead (Cal commit), defensive back Jihree Stewart (Oregon commit) and quarterback Nate Ketteringham (PAC-12 interest) spotlight the 2015 class for Centennial.

But the Huskies will be deeper again in 2016, as WR Javon McKinley (11 offers including USC, Washington and Texas Tech), DB Cam Bynum (Cal Poly offer), safety Chacho Ulloa (Boise State and Utah offers), OT Danny Juarez (Texas Tech offer)and safety Troy Dye (Washington State and Colorado offers) help comprise Centennial's 2016 class.

De La Salle never lets down college recruiting coordinators. The Spartans are always guaranteed an NCAA DI prospect and a shot at the state title every year.

Athlete Je'vari Anderson (Cal, Oregon State and Wazzau offers), OL Drew Sullivan (Cal and New Mexico offers) and safety Simba Short (Oregon commit) will be on the field for DLS's 2015 class. Leading the 2016 class are TE Devin Asiasi (11 offers including USC and Washington) and DT Boss Tagaloa (13 offers including Alabama, Ole Miss, Washington and Missouri).

Note: All games should be televised on the west coast Fox Sports 1 affiliates beginning on Friday, or streamed online through Time Warner Cable's website TWCcommunity.com.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oceanside holds off Edison

Before the rain fell, undefeated Oceanside marched down the field by controlling the trenches and attacked a deep Edison-Fresno secondary for the opening scoring drive.

From there and in between the rain drops, the Pirates put the Southern California state playoff game out of reach.

Led by Josh Bernard's three rushing touchdowns, quarterback Matt Romero's two touchdown throws and the Pirates' muscle at the line of scrimmage controlling both the Tigers' defensive front and offensive line, Oceanside advanced to the CIF State Division I championship with a 37-22 victory over the reigning Central Section DI champs.

Bernard, who's being recruited by Weber State of the Football Championship Subdivision, scored on runs of 1, 3 and 1-yard. Bernard scored the first touchdown on an inside run.

Then, Oceanside blocked a punt inside the Edison 5-yard line that made it 9-0, as the ball bounced out of the end zone for the safety. On the next drive, Romero connected with John Grumbling on a 19-yard scoring pass, extending the Pirate lead to 16-0.

The Tigers (12-2) were held to just two yards of total offense in the first quarter. But, Edison tried to fix its early jitters with big plays from Tyler Horton and Kamron Lewis in the second.

Horton intercepted the first of three Pirate passes and returned the ball to the OHS 39. Tiger quarterback Hunter Swearingen went to the air and found a dashing Lewis for the 39-yard touchdown, severing the OHS lead to 16-6.

However, the Pirates struck again with Bernard scoring his next two runs to make it 30-6 at halftime.

The Tigers tried to mount a late comeback behind Khai Williams' two fourth quarter touchdown runs. Horton added another interception and a 62-yard punt return. Lewis added an interception late in the contest that helped set up the Tigers' last drive.

The Tigers' final drive, though, ended on a Ju'Wan Murphy 9-yard reception on fourth-and-10 with 3:05 remaining.

Oceanside's victory sets up next Friday's CIF State DI title game bout against Folsom (15-0) at Carson. The Bulldogs out of the Sac Joaquin Section trounced Grant-Sacramento 52-21 at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium on Dec. 12.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rising star watch: Jordan Love

Jordan Love of Liberty-Bakersfield combined for 23 touchdowns throwing and running this past season, as the 2016 quarterback prospect led the Patriots to an appearance in the Central Section Division I title game (photo contributed).
It probably won't be long before college football programs show 'Love' to a Liberty-Bakersfield quarterback.

Jordan Love took over as the Patriots' signal-caller on Sept. 5 and didn't look back. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound junior gave the Pats a deep ball element with his howitzer on his right arm, as he unleashed bombs and Hail Mary's for a Liberty offense that scored 38 or more points in six games this past season.

Is he the No. 1 quarterback for Kern County's 2016 class? Time for Cali Gold Mine to weigh in:

WHAT TO LIKE: Love is excellent at fooling secondaries in the play action. He does a sturdy job of faking the handoff, looking up for his target and taking his shot down the field. He shows good eyes when locating an open receiver. He's athletic and can turn quarterback keeper runs into long gains or touchdowns. He's a former wide receiver, which gives him an edge in sprinting past defenders. Shows good comfort in the pocket, but can also frustrate defenders by escaping the rush, rolling out and completing his throw.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: I need to see how he handles the short throws and how accurate he is there. I noticed most of his passes were throws that sailed 30 yards or more down the field. When he scrambles, he runs too high and needs to work on keeping his shoulders and hips low, especially when a flock of defenders surround him. I'll also be curious about his leadership intangibles, because next season he'll quarterback a younger Liberty team that will lose some of its top playmakers to graduation.

OVERALL: Love isn't the complete package at QB yet, but he's fully capable of emerging as Liberty's next most highly-recruited star. He has the physical tools to succeed, including his deep ball and athleticism. A big offseason and senior year could get Love to become the next best quarterback in a county that's produced stars David Carr, Derek Carr, Cody Kessler and Tyler Ferguson.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rising star watch: Vincent Elefante

Vincent Elefante has been a disruptive force against opposing offenses for Upland High. The Class of 2015 prospect currently holds three Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) offers (photo credit 24/7 sports).
"King Elefante" has reigned on offenses in the 909.

Vincent Elefante is a wrecking ball of punishment for the Upland defensive line. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound powerhouse has come home to three scholarship offers from Weber State, Montana and the University of San Diego. He also had a visit recently from Sacramento State.

After breaking him down in the Cali Gold Mine film room, Elefante could be one of the biggest sleepers in the talent heavy Inland Empire.

Here's a closer look:

WHAT TO LIKE: I like his motor. It gets started once the ball is snapped, and it only stops after the fourth quarter. Elefante has a nose for the football and he won't stop penetrating through the line until he gets his hands on a ball carrier. As a defensive tackle, he's an excellent gap shooter who averts or destroys inside running plays. Elefante lines up at defensive end too, where he shows the same tenacity and hustle. He does a solid job of bull rushing and getting his palms locked onto his would be blocker. He's hard to block on double teams as well. Elefante controls his space and clogs running lanes. His best season as a pass rusher was an 11.5 sack season as a junior in 2013.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: He can get faster off the ball. He doesn't possess eye-catching speed for a defensive lineman. I also need to see his consistency with using other hand techniques to shed past blockers, like a swim or rip move. His sacks took a dip this season too, as it dropped to two during his senior year. That could raise questions about his consistency as a pass rusher.

OVERALL: Elefante is a versatile disruptive force on the defensive line. He's the kind of guy defensive line coaches usually crave on the recruiting trail. Someone will love his persistence with attacking the running game or passing attack. He reminds me of current Fresno State nose tackle and former Kingsburg High star Ryan Steele.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Championship highlights: It's a party at 'E City'

Edison-Fresno - in front of a crowd of 6,000 strong at Sunnyside High's stadium - got big plays from its most underrated NCAA Division I prospects and ended the night as Central Section Division I champions, beating Liberty-Bakersfield 21-14.

The Tigers (12-1) last won a section championship in the 2009 season at the DII level. But Edison's last significant title came 39 years ago, when the Tigers won the 1975 Yosemite Division championship.

Kamron Lewis used his height and hands to help bring the party to 'E City.' Lewis - who holds just one scholarship offer from Nevada - caught the game-winning 63-yard touchdown pass with 6 minutes and 2 seconds to go. Lewis then got called upon to line up in the Tiger secondary in the final dramatic Hail Mary throw. Lewis used his 6-foot-3 frame and hops to elevate himself into the air, extend his hands, and come down with the clinching interception.

Outside of Lewis, the Tiger defense were led by rising 2016 prospect Leevel Tatum and inside linebacker Vance "Area 51" Sams, who has one offer from Eastern Washington. Both defenders kept the ultra-talented Anthony Mariscal in check by holding the Arizona commit to 67 rushing yards.

In the secondary, Tyler Horton - the Tigers' most highly recruited star with 10 offers - locked up Liberty's big target Braylin Scott (6-foot-4, 170-pounds) to two catches and 32 yards.

The victory puts Edison against Oceanside in the CIF State Division I Southern California championships. That game is set for Friday, Dec. 12, at Oceanside High.


Hanford High, one of the top turnaround stories in the Central Section, trounced Madera 35-14 for the school's first Central Section Division III championship in a game that saw the Bullpups go in an attack mode on defense.

In the first three possessions of the game, the Bullpups (12-1) forced three turnovers. Junior Juwane Hughes was one of the feisty defenders on Hanford's side as he came away with one interception. Senior Francisco Ramirez added a pick for the Bullpups.

Offensively, junior Joseph McDaniel pulverized Madera for 139 rushing yards.

Hanford was once a loser of 16 of its last 21 games before going on its DIII title run. Next year looks promising again for the Bullpups. Out of the 40 players on Hanford's varsity roster, 26 of them were non-seniors, including team cornerstones Hughes, McDaniel and sophomore quarterback Ryan Johnson.


With an undefeated season hanging in the balance and the downpour of rain falling down hard on the Hornet Stadium grass at Sacramento State, Grant-Sacramento escaped 21-14 against a spirited St. Mary's of Stockton team seeking the upset in the Sac Joaquin DII championship game.

St. Mary's drove down the field as the final seconds ticked away. Rams quarterback Noah Righetti found Demetrius Ferguson for a 44-yard gain that placed the Rams at the Grant 6-yard line. But an offensive pass interference call put St. Mary's back at the 17, then Righetti's final throw fell incomplete.

Grant finishes 14-0 and gets Folsom in the DI Northern California championship on Dec. 12.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

On a muddy night, Paso Robles ends 14-year title drought

Paso Robles players celebrate in unison after capturing the CIF Southern Section's Northern Division championship by beating Newbury Park 13-10. It's the first football title for the Bearcats since the 2000 season and the school's eighth overall (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).
Seven CIF championships covering the top of the press box stared down on the Paso Robles Bearcats, as this year's team aimed to end a 14-year title drought while warming up on a muddy and rainy Dec. 5 night at War Memorial Stadium with the colossal Newbury Park standing in the way.

Through all the mud, fumbles and rain drops - an eighth section title will now be added.

Jonathan Baldwin scored on a 34-yard touchdown reception, Bailey Gaither wore down the Panthers with his rare bruising running style and lastly, a climatic fourth-and-1 defensive stop with less than two minutes to play elevated the Bearcats to their 13-10 victory, clinching the CIF Southern Section's Northern Division championship and winning their first title since the 2000 season.

Baldwin - a recent verbal commitment to Northern Arizona - sneaked behind a Newbury Park defense that was thinking run during the fourth-and-3 play in the second quarter. Quarterback Justin Davis, though, faked the handoff, tucked the ball into his stomach, then fired his pass to the wide open tight end in the middle of the field. Baldwin proceeded to gallop for the long touchdown score.

"They weren't expecting that at all," Baldwin said.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound tight end said that his family has a history of winning football crowns at Paso Robles (13-1).

"My grandfathers won CIF championships here. I had uncles who won championships here. And now me. It feels absolutely amazing," Baldwin said. "Tradition has been restored. We worked so hard for this. This feels amazing."

Along with the 2000 championship, the Bearcats won titles in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1974, 1998 and 1999. Former Bearcat quarterback Brandon Thomas, who led Paso to its last crown, was in attendance to watch his alma mater restore order.

Gaither bounced and gashed through Newbury Park for 206 rushing yards. He was held out of the end zone, but Gaither said all that mattered was bringing a championship back to a proud football program.

"We made it," Gaither said. "All that hard work in the summer, fall and winter season and the school getting behind us; it's just a humbling experience to win it. I'm so proud of all these guys. I play every game like it's my last. But I'm not just doing it for myself, I'm doing it for these guys."

Gaither took the bulk of the carries from Paso's Triple I-Formation, which had three running backs in the backfield and sometimes two tight ends on the line.

The final drive for Paso culminated in a 1-yard scoring run from Davis; who took the snap behind his center during a third-and-1, put his head down, pumped his legs and powered through the goal line with 7:22 left.

The Panthers (11-3) recovered two Paso fumbles on muffed quarterback-to-center exchanges, with the last one getting pounced on at their own 37 with 2:45 to play.

Newbury Park, however, failed to convert on its fourth-and-1 inside run by Chucky Smith. The officials called for a measurement and ruled that Smith and the Panthers were short, leading to thunderous cheers from the Bearcats' side.

Paso Robles will now await its state bowl fate on Sunday, Dec. 7, as CIF state bowl pairings are expected to be announced. The Bearcats are projected to play against Lakeside-El Capitan of the San Diego Section for the right to play in the state's Division III championship game.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Championship weekend in the Golden State

St. Mary's of Stockton will look to spoil Grant-Sacramento's undefeated pursuit, as the Rams and Pacers will battle for the Sac Joaquin Section Division II championship on Friday, Dec. 5, at Sacramento State University's Hornet Stadium (photo contributed).
After Friday, Dec. 5, someone is coming home with some championship hardware and will likely have a parade down their neighborhood street.

It's championship Friday and Saturday in California and Cali Gold Mine has highlighted 10 key battles from the Delta to Southern California.

Here's some can't-miss games loaded with potential future college football stars:

Sac Joaquin Section


Where: Sacramento State University's Hornet Stadium

Game time: 7:30 p.m.

In this Sac Joaquin Section Division II title battle, Grant will be chasing its seventh section championship, as the Pacers return to the big stage for the first time since 2010 when Folsom ruined the Pacers' unbeaten bid 41-20.

Ironically, it was the Pacers who ruined St. Mary's bid for a section title during that same season, as Grant knocked off the Rams 20-11.

This rematch will have a good mix of national recruits on both sidelines. Grant will have highly recruited offensive tackle Darrin Paulo anchoring the line. The 6-foot-5, 344-pound mauler holds 11 scholarship offers including Arizona, USC and Wisconsin. Linebacker Carl Granderson has shined during his senior season, as the 6-foot-6, 185-pound 'backer has 151 tackles, 14 sacks and two interceptions. Offensively, DeShawn Collins figures to be the next big recruit for the Pacers. The junior currently has 2,255 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns.

On the Rams' side, they'll try to counter the Pacers' running attack with the state's leading tackler Khalil Hodge. The senior and 6-foot, 220-pound defender averages 18.6 tackles per game, has four interceptions that ties him for the team lead and recently added a new offer from Weber State of the Football Championship Subdivision. Defensive end Myles Cunningham - despite being undersized on the line at 6-foot, 208-pounds - leads the Ram pass rush with 11.5 sacks.

Offensively, wide receiver Demetrius Ferguson is another national prospect with a New Mexico State offer and interest from a few Mountain West and PAC-12 schools. The 6-foot-2, 158-pound senior leads the Rams with 754 yards and an average of 20.4 yards per catch.

Running back Marcell Spady and cornerback Javonte Norman have been late bloomers on the recruiting trail. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Spady has 950 yards and 21 touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Norman is the Rams' top secondary playmaker with four interceptions.

Saturday, Dec. 6 


Where: Lincoln High

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Oakdale brings an offense averaging 42.3 points per game. The Mustangs are also senior heavy with 24 upperclassmen on their roster.

Inderkum, though, will look to claim the section's DIII title with its backfield duo of Austin Thurman (5-foot-11, 180-pounds) and Larry Hardy (6-foot-1, 185-pounds). Both seniors have combined for 2,611 yards and 35 touchdowns. Hardy is the Tigers' top receiving option too, with team-high's in receptions (20), yards (565) and touchdowns (eight).

Colorado commit N.J. Falo leads the Inderkum defense. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker has 50 tackles and four sacks. Hardy is IHS's top ball hawk with six interceptions. Cornerback Tyrique Carter adds some aggression to the Tiger secondary with his press ability and cover skills. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Carter has eight pass deflections and three blocked field goals on special teams.


Where: Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium

Time: 7;30 p.m.

Folsom is aiming to snatch its third consecutive section title (won the DII crown in 2012). Tracy, though, will look to end the Bulldogs' reign with a power running scheme in this DI match up.

Tracy averages 209.2 yards per game with 35 touchdowns. Leading the Bulldog ground game is 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior Nate Jones, who has 1,263 yards and 18 touchdowns. Defensively, Jacob Alvarado leads Tracy with nine interceptions.

Folsom scores at will on offense. Leading the undefeated Bulldogs is Washington commit Jake Browning. The senior quarterback has a ridiculous touchdown to interception ratio of 76-4. He has a talented receiving duo in Cole Thompson and Josiah Deguara. Both have over 1,400 yards and more than 20 touchdowns this season.

Central Section 


Where: Sunnyside High School (Fresno)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Liberty slayed its biggest dragon last week in Bakersfield High. The 41-10 rout over the Drillers ensures that there will be a new Central Section and state DI champion this season.

But the No. 1 seeded Tigers will have what some players call their version of a "fashion and talent show": speed, athleticism and national recruits.

Leading the Tigers are two dynamite athletes Tyler Horton and A.J. Greeley. Both have damaged offenses, defenses and special team units with their ability to stretch the field. Horton holds 10 offers including Cal, Fresno State and Houston. Greeley is currently committed to Fresno State as a cornerback.

Running back Khai Williams, wide receiver Kam Lewis and offensive lineman/inside linebacker Vance Sams are the other Tiger seniors who hold a scholarship offer. Williams and Sams have received pledges from Eastern Washington of the Big Sky. Lewis holds a University of Nevada offer.

The Patriots, though, have their own national recruiting gem: Arizona commit Anthony Mariscal. He's quadrupled as a running back, slot receiver, safety and return ace. The best match up will be who covers Mariscal one-on-one. Wide receiver Braylin Scott takes pressure off of Mariscal with his 6-foot-3 frame and team-high nine receiving touchdowns.

The Pats' offensive line is anchored by big 6-foot-5, 290-pound tackle Ruben Guerra. He'll have a key battle against one of the Tigers' top rushers in Xavier Hamilton.


Where: Ridgeview High

Time: 7 p.m.

It's the third straight time that these two teams will battle each other for the section title - and the contests haven't been close.

Ridgeview took the 2012 game away from the Marcus McMaryion-led Emperors 55-14 for the DIII title. But the future Oregon State Beaver quarterback and DHS returned the favor the following year in Dinuba, with the Emps coming out on top 45-14.

Emperors senior running back Michael Wright returns in the third installment of this title bout, this time for the DII championship. Wright - who's received interest from a few Big Sky schools - burned Ridgeview with 196 total yards and four touchdowns in last year's DHS rout. Dinuba quarterback Isaac Leppke has been a solid game manager. The 6-foot-4, 170-pound junior has thrown 14 touchdowns, three interceptions, has completed 60.1% of his throws and has a QB rating of 106.6.

The Wolf Pack have been led by Garces running back transfer Sheldon Croney and his 1,978 yard/27 touchdown season. Croney has six offers from the Mountain West (UNLV, Colorado State, Fresno State, Boise State, Nevada and New Mexico).

MADERA (9-3) AT HANFORD (11-1)

Where: The Neighbor Bowl (Hanford) 

Time: 7 p.m.

Two resurgent programs square off for the DIII championship.

Madera once endured seven straight losing seasons before going on its section championship run this season. Jesus Jimenez leads the Coyotes' balanced running game with 1,265 yards and 16 touchdowns. Evan Rios is one of the most reliable kickers in the section. The senior can boom the 50-yard field goal.

Hanford was a combined 5-16 before its turnaround. The Bullpups have been led by junior power back Joseph McDaniel (has 1,576 yards and 20 touchdowns) and two-way threat Juwane Hughes. The junior has 36 catches, 676 yards and eight touchdowns as a wide receiver and leads the Bullpups with six interceptions.


Where: Liberty High School (Madera)

Time: 7 p.m. 

This D IV title battle will have size (CVC) against speed (Liberty).

The Cavaliers are known for their mountains on the line, and there's two towering ones in junior Blake Walker (6-foot-7, 312-pounds) and senior captain Jake De Haan (6-foot-2, 285-pounds). The CVC big men help plow the road for senior running back MacIntyre Garbani, who has 1,311 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Defensively, linebacker Tate Nelson adds size (6-foot-3, 225-pounds) and versatility for CVC. He crashes down on quarterbacks as a pass rusher and shows strong reaction skills against the run. The senior holds an offer from Idaho of the Sun Belt. Brad Taylor is a fast riser for the Cavs' 2016 class at safety. Built like a young Kam Chancellor of the Seattle Seahawks, Taylor is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound ball hawk with a team-high five picks.

The Hawks - who got promoted to D IV after winning back-to-back DV titles - will look to torch CVC's defense with their Wing-T running game. Spearheading the attack is touchdown machine Wade Wallace. The three-year senior has 45 touchdowns in his varsity career and has 1,194 yards to lead LHS. Fellow senior Richie Brandt brings an inside dimension to the Hawk offense with his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame and 15 rushing touchdowns.

Junior Jackson Watts (5-foot-6, 150-pounds) gives LHS an additional speed back with his average of 13.4 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns.


Where: Sal Gonzalez Field (Reedley High)

Time: 7 p.m.

Two balanced offenses take the field in Reedley for the DV championship.

The Panthers have 1,956 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns through the ground. But it's the air attack that looks like the strength of the team.

Senior quarterback Nico Portillo has thrown for 3,358 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His top target is junior Legary Austin, who has 73 catches, 1,109 yards and seven touchdowns.

Defensively, the Panthers are strong inside with pass rushers Desmond Curtis and Trent Olmos combining for 21 sacks from their defensive tackle spots.

Immanuel - once a combined 2-18 and 0-12 in the Central Sequoia League during the 2010 and '11 seasons - has emerged as a perennial playoff contender under third-year head coach Matt Armstrong.

The Eagles have been powered by Edison transfer Robert Grier. The 5-foot-8 running back has 1,678 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Tight end Aaron Wilson - a transfer from Clovis North - leads the IHS passing game with 32 catches and 496 yards. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Wilson has drawn interest from Wyoming of the Mountain West.

Immanuel football is now the fifth team sport on the campus to compete for a section title since Feb. 2014 (boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and girls tennis).

Southern Section


Where: War Memorial Stadium (Flamson Middle School)

Time: 7 p.m.

Five college football prospects highlight this Northern Division championship contest.

The Panthers have Darick and Darnay Holmes. The duo has scored 27 combined receiving touchdowns and holds 26 offers between them (Darnay, Class of 2017, added a Norte Dame offer earlier this week).

The Bearcats will bring the dynamic Bailey Gaither (San Jose State commit), tight end/outside linebacker Jonathan Baldwin (Northern Arizona commit) and fellow TE/OLB Josh Oliver (San Jose State commit).

Saturday, Dec. 6


Where: Angels Stadium (Anaheim)

Time: 2 p.m.

Mission Viejo will be led by USC commit Cole Smith at center (6-foot-3, 265-pounds). The Diablos offense has been on a roll with an average of 40.3 points per game in the last three weeks.

Vista Murrieta has three Class of 2015 CFB commits in Jamie Nunley (6-foot-5, 215-pound wide receiver, Arizona), defensive tackle Tevita Mounga (6-foot-1, 295-pounds, Brigham Young University) and Colin Baker (6-foot-2, 185-pound receiver, San Jose State).

Kyle Williams will headline the 2016 class for the Broncos with 1,320 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hot off the film room: underrated trench warriors

Nehemia Abera has received late interest from different colleges, including a visit from the University of Redlands on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Abera stands at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds for University-Los Angeles (photo contributed).
Post-Thanksgiving for Cali Gold Mine has been stuffed with highlight films from Class of 2015 linemen.

Some of these versatile athletes are still requesting for their first offer from a big-time college football program. After spending some time in the CGM film room, I definitely like what I see out of these crop of big men.

Here's some underrated trench warriors:


Abera - who's parents are Ethopian - has picked up late interest because of his skill set and academics.

On the field, Abera stands at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds and uses hand technique, athleticism and high energy effort to disrupt offenses. Off the field, Abera is heavily involved in his community as a tutor, church leader and Vice President of the Westwood Branch Library.

Academically, he holds a 3.6 grade point average and scored 1530 on his SAT.

Lastly, he comes from the prep alma mater of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith.

More on Abera can be found here.


Think of Dunham as an angry wolverine searching for a fight in the woods.

Dunham lacks size (6-foot, 270-pounds), but he's one viscous curmudgeon on the Valley Christian line. I like his ability to shoot through the gaps and halt running backs. He also does an excellent job of locking his palms into his blocker's numbers and pushes them into the backfield.

He can be an effective 3-technique defensive lineman at the next level (lines up on the outside shoulder of an offensive guard). Along with his motor and hand placement, Dunham is quick off the snap.


The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Graves brings a defensive lineman's motor to the Los Alamitos line.

He won't just stop his feet or hands on first contact, he'll eliminate his blocking assignment from the play and ensure they don't come within 5-10 yards of his running back.

I believe Graves' strength is his run blocking, which is why I believe he's better suited as a guard in the college ranks.

He recently was named the Sunset League Lineman of the Year.

More on Graves can be seen here


Frazier brought speed and disruption to an improved Tiger defense.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior helped turn Lemoore into one of the best defenses in the Central Section. He used his athleticism to collapse the pocket and create a wall for opposing running backs.

According to Max Preps, Frazier finished second in the section with 16 sacks for the 11-1 Tigers.

More on Frazier can be seen here


Villalobos is quite similar to Frazier in size (6-foot-4, 225-pounds) and athleticism.

His quickness off the ball and pass rushing ability helped set the tone for the Emperors' defense, as he led DHS in sacks with nine. He had two sacks in the 30-22 upset over Lemoore - the Central Section's No. 2 seed in Division II.

He's a cat-quick blindside rusher who uses his explosive first step and a swim move to beat his blockers.  

Villalobos and the Emps are chasing back-to-back section titles on Friday, Dec. 5, against Ridgeview-Bakersfield in the third consecutive meeting between both teams in the finals (met in the DIII title match up the last two seasons).

More on Villalobos can be seen here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On the Golden State recruiting trail: defenders add new offers

Khalil Hodge of St. Mary's of Stockton now has two scholarship offers, with his latest from Weber State (photo courtesy of sportswurlz.com)
The state's leading tackler Khalil Hodge of St. Mary's-Stockton added his second scholarship offer on Tuesday, Dec. 2, from Weber State of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Hodge, who has 223 tackles for the 12-1 Rams, shared his excitement on his Twitter page:

Said Hodge: "Blessed to have received my second offer from Weber State. All glory to God!"

The 6-foot, 220-pound Hodge averages 18.6 tackles per game for the Rams, who will take on undefeated Grant-Sacramento (13-0) for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship on Friday, Dec. 5, at Sacramento State University.


Kevin Scott of Salesian-Los Angeles is now in high demand for college football coaches, because he's added four more scholarship offers since his feature on Cali Gold Mine on Nov. 20.

Scott - who has seven offers total - added New Mexico, Massachusetts, Texas-El Paso and now two-time Mountain West Conference champion Fresno State. The Bulldogs, who recently won the MWC Western Division, extended their pledge to Scott on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Scott has also received pledges from the University of Ohio, San Diego State and New Mexico State.


Riley Whimpey of San Clemente, who leads the 12-1 Tritons with 159 tackles, received his first offer from Boise State on Dec. 2.

Along with his tackles, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Whimpey has five sacks and two interceptions for San Clemente. The Tritons will battle Trabuco Hills-Mission Viejo for the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division championship on Dec. 5.