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Transfer Of Power Athletically Motivated Transfers Have Birthed SoCal Football Superteams While NorCal Has Remained Largely Unaffected

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f there is one massive difference between Northern California high school football and Southern California in the last few years, you can say it in one word: transfers. As a reaction to the CIF changing its by-laws several years ago so that athletically motivated transfers can take place, there has been a flood of moves toward the best football schools in the south. In fact, it’s almost become like an arms war between 2016 CIF Open Division state champion St. John BoscoBellflower, and 2017 CIF Open Division state champion Mater Dei-Santa Ana. If you noticed there were a lot of seniors on Mater Dei’s team that routed De La SalleConcord in last year’s Open Division state final and thought that might offer graduation relief, think again. Quarterback Bryce Young has checked in from Cathedral-Los Angeles, standout running back Sean Dollars is in from Rancho Cucamonga and receiver Braedin Huffman-Dixon is in from Roosevelt-Eastvale. Additional linemen also have joined the show. St. John Bosco didn’t have as many graduation holes from last year, but linebacker Spencer Lytle (who played at ServiteAnaheim last season) will add a lot on defense. Even public schools in the south are obviously trying to play the transfer game. Defending CIF Division 1-A state champ Narbonne-Harbor City just added four-star defensive back and versatile receiver Mykael Wright from Valencia, and has also added 2017 freshman standout Seven McGee at running back. McGee comes from Grace Brethren-Simi Valley, the CIF Div. 2-A State Bowl runner-up. One of the reasons transfers aren’t happening at nearly the same rate in the north is that the vast majority of schools in the north will never have to worry about playing Mater Dei or St. John Bosco. Those two, or whichever one wins the CIF Southern Section Division I title, seem locked in for the CIF Open Div. State Bowl game. For a school from the north to get there, it just about automatically requires a win over De La Salle-Concord. The Spartans face a serious threat to lose to a NorCal school (Folsom) on Aug. 17 in their season opener of 2018, but haven’t lost to a team from the region since 1991. Longtime De La Salle defensive coordinator Terry Eidson and former head coach Bob Ladouceur just shake their heads when hearing about all of the transfers from down south. The

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2017 CIF 1-A Bowl Champs Narbonne-Harbor City are one of several SoCal programs adding big name transfers this season. Spartans obviously have a huge advantage themselves over public schools due to no enrollment boundaries, but adding transfers later on in their prep careers isn’t in their DNA. And when it has happened, it hasn’t been positive. The situation involving Kahlil McKenzie, the son of Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, comes to mind. He was phenomenal as a junior at De La Salle in 2013, but finished at Clayton Valley-Concord. Ironically, if the same transfer rules being used now were in effect then, McKenzie would have been able to play for his senior year at Clayton Valley instead of being ineligible. So can anything be done by the CIF to put the cap back on the genie bottle? Probably not. The CIF really can’t do much to tell parents not to move and prevent them from sending their kids to whatever school they choose. It just may be a case of letting the marketplace play itself out. At what point does a kid and a parent decide that being a star player and staying with friends at the school where they’ve grown up, is preferable to moving someplace else and being much, much lower on the totem pole? College coaches certainly don’t care. If they think a player can be developed in college, what high school he played for doesn’t matter much. Perhaps even more schools will become as active as Mater Dei and St. John Bosco in getting transfers, which would tend to spread around the talent a bit more. It’s certainly not there yet, and we’ll probably once again have to sit through another CIF Open Division romp with either the Monarchs or Braves celebrating at the end. ✪ Mark Tennis is the co-founder of Cal-Hi Sports and publisher of CalHiSports.com. Contact him at markjtennis@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @CalHiSports

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Behind the Clipboard by Clay Kallam

Watch, Wait, Wow I just moved to a new school and I’m trying out for football. There are a lot of guys out there, and I think no one will notice me. I’m not the fastest or strongest, but I’m a good player. The position coach probably won’t figure out what I can do until the starting lineup has been set and the head coach won’t even know my name. How can I get noticed and earn a starting spot? R.N, Brentwood

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ome of these questions are pretty easy to answer, but this is a tough one. The traditional answer is this: “Just do what the coaches tell you, don’t make waves, and you’ll get the playing time you deserve.” That’s all well and good, but in your case, you might not get the playing time you deserve until next season — and by then, someone else might show up who will beat you out. And you’re right that on a big squad, it’s hard to stand out if you don’t have something like great speed or weight room dominance, especially if you’re new to the program. On the other hand, it’s generally not a good idea to push the envelope of your abilities and your decisionmaking, because you don’t want to be known for trying to do things you can’t do and making mental mistakes. So in this case, I think you have to look for chances to show that you’re a good player, and find a way to stand out from the crowd at your position. But that said, you don’t want to try to do something spectacular on every rep — the key here is to be smart and pick your spots. The “be smart” aspect is most important, because first, you need to look at the other players at your position and try to see what might be missing. Let’s say the defensive backs are having trouble stopping the deep pass — so maybe you lean a little bit in certain drills and make sure you don’t get beat deep. Or the offensive linemen aren’t pulling as fast as coaches would like — so maybe you spend some extra time working on your footwork so you can get out in front of a running play. It’s also smart to look at the other side of the ball, and see who you might be matched up with, and pick up tendencies. Does that guy blocking you want to use his hands too much? Does the defensive back always look to cheat up and go for interceptions? After you’ve done some of this thinking, then you have to hope for a little luck and an opportunity to show that you can make plays that maybe some other guys won’t. As a DB, for example, you’re taking away the deep pass because you’ve noticed lack of speed, so when the offense tries an out-and-up, you’re there to make the play. And of course, it’s always good to talk to your coach — but don’t say “How come I’m not getting more reps? I’m just as good as those guys.” What you want to say is “Coach, there are a lot of good players out here — what do I need to do to get better and earn more chances?” Almost every coach will respond with specifics, and whatever they may be (go harder in conditioning, get stronger, know the assignments), take them to heart, even if you think they’re wrong or make no sense. As Nike says, just do it. Generally a coach who sees a player do what he’s told to do will give that player a chance or two he might not otherwise have gotten. And in the end, all you can ask for are opportunities — and if you take advantage of those chances, you’ll separate yourself from the pack sooner rather than later. ✪

Clay Kallam has been an assistant athletic director and has coached numerous sports at a handful of high schools throughout the Bay Area. To submit a question for Behind the Clipboard, email him at claykallam@gmail.com.

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Granite Bay Triathlon Turning 21 In August On Saturday, Aug. 25, Total Body Fitness Racing will host one of their biggest events of the year – the Granite Bay Triathlon. This year marks the 21st anniversary of this exciting and athletically challenging event that takes place at Granite Beach, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area in Granite Bay. Bill Driskill, who is the founder of TBF and also race director and multi-sport coach for the organization, explained that this event is the very first race they offered in the Sacramento region and really helped paved the way for TBF to put on more than a thousand races since its inception. “Of the 80 races we are putting on this year, the Granite Bay Triathlon is my favorite,” elaborated Driskill. “It is always a very fun and challenging event — we make the course

tough each year, and it seems like an annual reunion of friends; since the first race in 1998 I have made many, many close friends through the sport of Triathlon — and for that I am extremely grateful.” The beautiful course that has been referred to as California’s toughest sprint triathlon starts with a .75-mile swim from Granite Beach. Then the athletes will embark on a 13-mile bike ride that consists of a two-lap course located within the park. Finally the course will finish with a 5-mile run on a single-track trail along Folsom Lake. There is also a Duathlon option for those athletes who want to stick to running and biking. These participants will start with a 2-mile run rather than the .75-mile swim.

Curling Craze Lands 36 Teams In Annual Bonspiel

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All athletes will receive a post-race lunch, a tech t-shirt, athlete goody bag and more! There will also be a post-race expo with vendors such as TBF, Spare Time Athletic Clubs, Rocklin Endurance Sports, Fleet Feet Sports, and Kinetic Cycles. If you register before Aug. 1, the cost is only $80. Go to www.totalbodyfitness.com for more information and get signed-up today. ✪

Wine Country Curling Club’s signature bonspiel is back this Labor Day weekend and bigger than ever with 36 teams. Placer Valley Tourism is thrilled to team with them again for this threeday event that showcases local, international, Olympic curlers and even a youth team at Skatetown Ice Arena in Roseville. WCCC President Katie Feldman conveyed her enthusiasm and excitement for this bonspiel, “We’re sold out with a waiting list and it’s all because of that Gold Medal won by Team Shuster in the 2018 Winter Olympics!” “Of the 36 teams that are registered, at least six of them have brand new curlers on them,” elaborated Feldman. “That’s exciting for our sport and shows just how great the sport of curling is at all levels!”

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Feldman also was excited to share that five teams from Canada will be competing and that both Debbie McCormick and Edith Loudon Hazard are also returning. McCormick is a four-time Olympian and World Champion curler who has competed at the Crush in previous years. Loudon, a native of Scotland, was a member of Great Britain’s Olympic curling team and competed in the 1998 Winter Games in Japan. Mark your calendars and come watch this fascinating sport live at Skatetown on Aug. 31- Sept 2. Not only will you beat the Placer Valley summer heat, you might just catch the curling bug yourself! Skatetown is located at 1009 Orlando Ave. in Roseville. We hope to see you there. ✪ — All copy and photos provided by Placer Valley Tourism

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Giles Jackson’s Move To Slot Receiver Sparks Tidal Wave Of College Interest For Freedom-Oakley Talent Story by Mark Tennis Photos by Chace Bryson

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“I was at the All-American Army combine (in Texas) and was with the running backs when some of the coaches told me I was the best at running routes and catching the ball out of the backfield. I switched to slot receiver and it took off from there.

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t wasn’t a questionable gamble for Giles Jackson to run routes as a slot receiver during various spring and early summer football showcase events. The senior from Freedom High-Oakley, after all, caught 47 passes for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore. But Jackson played running back for the Falcons last season, and while there was one college offer from San Jose State as of the middle of January, the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder knew some colleges were looking for running backs with more size. “I was at the All-American Army combine (in Texas) and was with the running backs when some of the coaches told me I was the best at running routes and catching the ball out of the backfield,” Jackson recalled during a recent phone interview. “I switched to slot receiver and it took off from there.” Jackson says it was “my idea” to make the position switch for college coaches to evaluate and it wasn’t done at the request of anyone else. What “took off from there” was Jackson’s college offers. Once he showed what he could do playing as a slot receiver at other combines and events later in the spring, the offers came rushing in like water from a broken dam. In early July, Jackson narrowed his college finalists to five, a group of major college programs Michigan, Oregon, USC, Florida and Oregon State. He says he will commit on Aug. 24 because that’s the day of his mother’s birthday. 12

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Earlier in May, Jackson wasn’t in any of the top 100 lists of California players from the Class of 2019 by any of the major recruiting networks (247/ Scout, ESPN and Rivals). By the middle of July, he was in the top 30 in at least one of them and still possibly moving up even higher. He was one of the top receivers at Nike’s Oakland regional version of The Opening back in March, which earned him an invite to Nike’s The Opening that was held at the Dallas Cowboys’ massive training complex in Texas. In fact, if there was an award given to the one football player in California who blew up the most during the recent spring-early summer combine and camp season, then Giles would be the choice. “It’s a testament to him in his understanding of the team and that he is a team player,” said first-year Freedom head coach Andrew Cotter, who was previously head coach at Moreau Catholic-Hayward and is taking over for former head coach Kevin Hartwig, who resigned after a stint that began in 2002. “He just wants to play. “It talks about his perseverance and his passion. A lot of times when kids don’t have those initial looks from colleges, they shut it down. For Giles, he said, ‘Hey, this isn’t me. I’ll do what it takes.’ Now, he’s one of the biggest recruits in the nation.” So was it just simply a position switch for colleges that turned the tide for Jackson? That might not be fair to his work ethic.

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“I just knew I had to work harder than ever,” he said. “After a while, I knew changing positions was going to help and I knew I had to put in extra time in the weight room.” It also helped Jackson get into a certain mental framework heading into the camps and combines he attended. “I felt like an underdog every time I hit the field. It was like all the hard work was paying off, but there was more to do.” That underdog mentality was evident when Jackson played as a sophomore, not just for himself but for the entire Freedom squad. The Falcons weren’t expected to challenge either perennial power Pittsburg or nearby Antioch (which had Najee Harris, the nation’s No. 1 running back) for the Bay Valley Athletic League title, but they beat both of them and were 11-0 and at No. 9 in the state before running into longtime CIF North Coast Section champion De La Salle-Concord in the first NCS Open Division championship. That was followed by a loss to St. Mary’s-Stockton in the CIF Division 1-AA NorCal regional bowl game. After catching those 13 touchdown passes that season, Jackson was switched to become more of a primary running back by Hartwig last season. He was one of the best in the region, rushing for 1,586 yards and 22 TDs for a team that wasn’t as successful (Pitt was improved and Liberty-Brentwood emerged) but still went 9-3 and reached the NCS Division I championship before losing to Liberty 37-0. Some slot receivers who’ve made it big, such as 2011 Lincoln-Stockton grad Brandin Cooks (who signed an $80 million five-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams this summer), have shown their speed while competing in track. Jackson missed his freshman track season with a hip injury and then Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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missed his sophomore season with a torn meniscus. After that, he decided to concentrate on football only. He knows about Cooks, but said his favorite slot receivers in the NFL are Tyreek Hill (Kansas City Chiefs) and Tavon Austin (who ironically is the player Cooks is replacing in that role for the Rams). Cotter, who was once a teammate of Hartwig’s at Liberty, didn’t want to give away his game plans, but it should be obvious that Jackson will continue to play running back this season and also will line up in the slot when certain matchups arise. “The biggest thing is that he’s going to do whatever is best for the high school,” Cotter said. “In this day and age, it’s easier to move kids around (on offense). The kids have been with 7-on-7 teams and they all know how to run routes. He’s gonna play tailback, but the biggest thing is going to be to get him the ball in space. That’s where he’s so dangerous.” “I think it’s going to be fine,” Jackson said of Cotter replacing Hartwig. “Right now, we just need to bond as a team. The offense may be more of a power offense, more of a pro-style offense. Whatever it takes.” This year, even with Jackson doing what he does, it may be harder for the Falcons to stay close with both Pitt and Liberty. Both teams return the bulk of their lineups and both are among the top 10 preseason teams for Northern California. “The BVAL is a traditional powerhouse league and should be even more so this season,” Cotter said. “Out here, football is very, very important to the communities.” Being in that underdog role in some of those games, however, may be just where Giles Jackson wants to be. He’s already proven what he can do when he’s feeling that way. ✪

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De La Salle senior linebacker Jhasi Wilson

De La Salle And Folsom Prepare To Play Potentially NorCal’s Biggest Football Game Of The Season — On Opening Night “The winner of this game will most likely put themselves in position to play for the Open (Division) state championship. It’s still a long season, but this game will be a great example of the best Northern California football has to offer.” — Folsom coach Kris Richardson

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From coffee shops to weight rooms, water coolers to dinner tables, there’s one game everyone in Northern California is talking about. This year, for the first time, Folsom High and De La Salle will meet on the gridiron in a regular-season matchup. Rarely do two powerhouse programs meet in a season-opener with so much on the line — but that’s all part of their plan. “The winner of this game will most likely put themselves in position to play for the Open (Division) state championship,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson stated. “It’s still a long season, but this game will be a great example of the best Northern California football has to offer.” Winners of six CIF State Bowl titles in the last decade, the Spartans have played in the CIF Open Division finale for nine consecutive years. If they want to reach No. 10, they’ll have to go through the three-time state bowl champs from Folsom. In talks for years, the two storied programs wanted to get a matchup on the books but schedules never lined up — until now. It’ll happen Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Concord. “Based on history, it’s definitely one of the biggest games (between two NorCal opponents),” said CalHiSports.com editor Mark Tennis, one of the most respected historians of California high school athletics. “It’s NorCal No. 1 versus No. 2, and it’s Sac-Joaquin vs. Bay Area. … It’s a great chance for De La Salle to get defeated by a NorCal team. Probably one of the best chances for a NorCal team to beat them in six or seven years, maybe.”

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Folsom starting QB Kaiden Bennett

When Richardson told his team of this year’s schedule, they were excited for the challenge. For a coach who hails from the Bay Area, Richardson knows the lore that follows the Spartans, and realizes the importance of this game. “Ever since we announced the game, whether on social media or around town, everyone wants to talk about this game,” said Richardson, whose 2014 and 2017 teams went 16-0 and won state bowl titles. “And that’s great. That’s why we wanted to do it. You play a game like this, and it should get everyone excited.” De La Salle and Folsom have finished in the top two in the final MaxPreps NorCal rankings in five of the last six seasons. The Spartans have appeared in a CIF state championship bowl game for 12 straight years and have dominated Northern California competition. Folsom has 131 wins in the last decade and gone 3-0 in state bowl appearances. “When you come off a 16-0 undefeated season, and with a majority of the group coming back, you want to find that game that’s going to motivate your guys in the offseason,” Richardson said. “If you’re not motivated to play De La Salle, you probably shouldn’t be playing high school football.”

GAME OF THE YEAR Not since 2011 (Grant-Sacramento vs. Folsom) has a NorCal season-opening matchup received so much hype. The magnitude of that game pales in comparison to this one. If Folsom were to emerge with a victory, it would become the first NorCal Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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team to defeat the Spartans since Pittsburg did it in the 1991 North Coast Section 3A final. Since that loss, De La Salle has crafted a 291-game unbeaten streak against NorCal teams. “Whatever that streak is, and I don’t even know what it’s at, but frankly we don’t care,” De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh stated. “This game is about challenging our kids. You get an opponent like Folsom, and the preseason schedule that we have, and the kids know what they have to do in the offseason — it makes us better.” Alumbaugh said he always schedules tough preseason games to prepare for the level of competition his team routinely sees in the playoffs. Folsom falls into that category. “We were sad to see (the CIF) take away the NorCal Open Division (regional playoff),” Alumbaugh confessed. “I wish they had that game still, in some capacity. Because for us, we want this great opportunity to play a great program (like Folsom). You know, you’ve got a couple of the best programs around, and to not play each other, or even have that chance, sucks.” Prior to 2014, Folsom and De La Salle met twice, both times in the CIF regional playoff, both convincing wins for the Spartans (2012 and 2013). “(Both of those years, Folsom) went home, but there were teams that they were ranked higher than who continued to play,” Alumbaugh added. “So I think they could bring the Open regional back, but have the loser of that game drop down to their original division and let them compete for a title.” With this game, both programs chose to take the decision out of CIF’s hands. Undoubtedly, a win over the Spartans would put the Bulldogs in control of their own destiny when it comes to earning their first CIF Open Division Bowl berth. “Common wisdom is that the winner of this game will play in the CIF Open Division final,” Tennis said. “It’s a credit to Folsom to go for it like this. De La Salle junior running back Shamar Garrett The more they thought about it, the more they wanted to try and get to the Open Division — and the only way to do that is to go through De La Salle.”

WHEN THE BULLDOGS HAVE THE BALL Kaiden Bennett, Joseph and Daniyel Ngata, Elijhah Badger, Caleb Nelson and Dylan Jorge form one of the most talented receiving corps and backfields in the state, and Richardson knows how to utilize them. 20

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Four-receiver sets, motion, end-arounds, screens, the hurry-up offense, crosses, digs, posts, corners, outs, ins and more. It can get dizzying for a defense. “This might be the best skill-position group topto-bottom that we’ve ever had,” Richardson said. “They make big plays when we get them the ball, but it still comes down to protecting the quarterback. If you can’t do that, it doesn’t bode well for your skill guys.” After amassing 4,431 passing yards and throwing for 57 touchdowns as a junior, Bennett will lead Folsom’s offense into 2018 with even higher expectations. He could be the difference-maker against De La Salle. When the teams met previously, the ultratalented Jake Browning (now about to begin his fourth year starting for the University of Washington) couldn’t get the ball out of his hands quickly enough against the Spartans’ pass rush. Bennett might not be able to do that either, but he can use his legs to create space. “We faced a lot of good dual-threat quarterbacks last year, and he’s going to be another one,” Alumbaugh said. “He puts a lot of pressure on your defense because first of all, he’s a good quarterback, but when he takes off and runs, he has some good speed. “Browning didn’t take off and run — he pretty much stayed in the pocket. … He was pretty dang good, and there are some similarities; they’re both accurate, smart quarterbacks. They get the ball off on time and they get it to guys who can do something with it. But (Kaiden) is different. They have designed runs for him, so there’s more of a threat and it makes their offense just that much more dynamic.” The Spartans hope to make Bennett uncomfortable in the pocket with an aggressive rush. They’ll also look to double-cover the Bulldogs’ highly touted receiver, Joseph Ngata. But they won’t be able to do that every play. That means senior cornerbacks Amir Wallace, Taveis Marshall and Grant Daley will have a shot at covering Folsom’s most athletic and explosive playmaker one-onone. Standout senior linebackers Henry To’oto’o and Jhasi Wilson will be tasked at keeping Daniyel Ngata in check out of the backfield. Possibly the best defense De La Salle could implement comes from its offense. Control the clock by running the football and keep the ball out of Bennett’s hands. “We have to find a way to slow that offense down, but the key for us is that we can’t fumble,” Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

Folsom 5-star wide receiver Joseph Ngata

Alumbaugh pointed out. “We fumbled the ball all over the place in the last few state championship games, and that just killed us. We can’t do that here.”

WHEN THE SPARTANS HAVE THE BALL Folsom expects the same downhill-running, triple-option threat from De La Salle that they’ve seen before. It worked in 2012 and again in 2013, but the Spartans are willing to mix it up this year. “We’re going to throw the ball more than we have in the last couple of years — we have the ability to do that more than we’ve had for probably three years,” Alumbaugh said. “We’re not going to be slinging it around 40 times — we’re still going to be running the triple option, running the veer; we’re still going to try and grind teams out and be more physical, but we’re going to be a little more balanced offensively.” After rotating quarterbacks a year ago between Erich Storti and Andrew Jones, De La Salle made some changes. Storti will switch to safety this season, and with injuries to Jones, the team will turn to sophomore Dorian Hale to air it out. “He played a ton for us last year and he’s pretty gifted,” Alumbaugh said. Although the Spartans will rely on To’oto’o at

fullback and junior running back Shamar Garrett to carry the load, Hale will have a few weapons to throw to. Isaiah Foskey has the size of notable alum and current Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (who starred in the 2012 win over Folsom), and he has the power to truck a defensive back in open space. Jones and James Coby will get chances to catch a few passes and run the ball. Folsom won’t do much to take away the pass come mid-August, but they expect to hold up in the trenches much better this time. “We’re bigger and stronger up front than we were in those two previous matchups, and we’re a little more experienced in our coaching staff, so hopefully we can take away their bread and butter plays,” Richardson said. Although both programs will have scrimmages prior to their game, the teams will surely show some offseason rust. Regardless, the game has every chance to live up to the hype. “It’s a great challenge, and they’re one of the best programs in the country, year-in and yearout,” Richardson added. “So we need to show up and play our A-game right out of the gate. And that is a challenge for both teams, because you may think you’re sharp in practice, but you won’t know until you go against live competition.” ✪

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Fun Things To Do While Attending Or Hosting An Event In Concord

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oncord is the hub for many different sporting events and tournaments, ranging from racket sports such as tennis and pickleball to field sports including football and soccer. While visiting there are plenty of options to fill your time between, before or after games with activities, recreation, leisure and fun. Take a break from the tourney buzz and visit one of Concord’s recreational spots. Cool off in the heat at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, the newly upgraded water park. Float down the lazy river, relax in one of the park’s shaded cabanas or slide down one of their thrilling attractions like The Big Kahuna! Keep the game vibes going and challenge your team to Laser Tag at Q-Zar. Suit up in super hightech laser sensor vests and take over your opponent’s headquarters to win the game. For a more low-key activity, hang out at Round 1 at the Sunvalley Shopping Center. Bowl, play arcade games, eat and enjoy various other activities all in one place. If gaming isn’t your thing, the Veranda shopping center or downtown Todos Santos Plaza are the places for you. The Veranda has everything you need to fulfill your spare time. Shop at one of their many stores, including Sephora, TJ Maxx and Cost Plus World Market. Kick back, relax and enjoy a movie at the Luxe Cinema Imax Theatre showcasing a full food menu and bar. The Veranda also has many dining options to fit everyone’s needs. Enjoy a burger at Super Duper Burgers and Next Level Burger. Fresh seafood can be found at EMC Seafood and Raw Bar and Mikuni Sushi. Make your own personal pizza with as many toppings as you can think of at MOD Pizza. Your grocery needs can also be fulfilled at Whole Foods 365, where they have ready-made food along with everything you could need for the tournament. Be sure to take a stroll in Downtown Concord and visit Todos Santos Plaza. Located in the heart of downtown, Todos Santos Plaza has a variety of different cuisines to keep your taste buds happy. The Old Spaghetti Factory is the perfect place for a team dinner and will prepare athletes for their big games with pasta and pizza! For a classic lunch or dinner spot, visit E.J. Phair for delicious wraps, burgers, salads and more. Beat the heat with some tasty dessert treats from Cream, Loard’s Ice Cream or Baskin-Robbins. Concord is the perfect place to host your next tournament, but it doesn’t have to stop there. For more Concord attraction options, see VisitConcord.com. ✪ — Serena DeChristofaro for Visit Concord.

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cracking

the code With A Rich History Of More Than Two Decades, There May Not Be A More Prestigious Amateur Baseball Event Than The Area Code Games Story By William B. Mosley Photos By Phillip Walton

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Left: 2016 Maria Carrilo-Santa Rosa grad Andrew Vaughn throws a pitch during the 2015 Area Code tryouts. He’s now a first baseman at Cal and recently won college baseball’s top honor, the Golden Spikes Award. Above: Former Jesuit-Carmichael start Jack Wolger is about to begin his third year at Cal

Imagine that everything you’ve been working hard for the last 10 years was standing just 60 yards away and all you had to do was run as fast as you could. At the 2018 Oakland A’s Area Code Team Tryouts on July 7 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, a hand-selected group of Northern California high school baseball players began their day with the 60-yard dash. The players, all 2019 graduates, lined up on the left field line as more than 65 professional baseball scouts and Division I college coaches, with raised stopwatches, stood at the end of the running lanes. The players also took on-field batting practice and participated in a position-specific defensive evaluation, followed by a 15-inning game. The workout was designed to give the more than 80 players an ample chance to display their talents with the hopes of being selected to the A’s roster for the 2018 Area Code Games. Easily the most respected annual showcase event held on the West Coast, the 2018 AC Games take place August 6-10 at Blair Field in Long Beach. The event includes players from all over the country broken down into eight regions. Each region is associated with a Major League baseball organization with the Northern California region is run by the A’s. “Just being an Area Code tryout invitee is a big deal,” said Joe Tourville, Manager of Baseball Operation for the event. “You have to be recommended by a Major League scout and then you are vetted by the Major League team running the event.” Tourville has seen steady growth in the level of talent at this event as he enters his third year with the organization. He attributes the growth to the on-field success of so many players who have gone through the program. “We were around 68 million dollars in combined signing bonuses in the 2017 draft,” said Tourville referring to the players who participated in the 2014 and 2016 AC Games before getting drafted out of high school or after three years of college. “We also had 14 first round picks in this year’s draft and 60 draft picks in rounds 1 through 10.” In an era where players routinely pay thousands of dollars to attend showcase events with the hopes of being seen by the right people, the AC Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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A’S 2018 AREA CODE GAMES ROSTER Player Colin Barber Coleman Brigman Hunter Bryan Xavier Carter Adam Crampton Michael Dixon Nate Fleischli TJ Fondtain Thomas Gavello Peter Hansen Deveraux Harrison Ryan Harvey Glenallen Hill

Pos. OF OF RHP/IF 1B IF OF RHP LHP IF LHP RHP RHP IF/OF

School Pleasant Valley-Chico Valley Christian-San Jose Redwood-Visalia Capital Christian-Sacramento Oakland Tech Berkeley Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton Buchanan-Clovis Monte Vista-Danville Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills Vacaville Woodcreek-Roseville Santa Cruz

Games are free. Along with being arguably the most exclusive amateur baseball event, the AC games helps to level the economic playing field in the pay-to-play culture of competitive youth sports. “The numbers reflect the value, and that’s why these players don’t have to pay for the event. It has become such a sponsor driven event because these players are literally one step away from

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Cooper Hjerpe Brock Jones Joseph King Connor Lawrence Bryson McArn Miguel Ortiz Kyren Paris Cade Pilchard Brock Rudy Seth Tomczak Nick Vogt Josh White Steven Zobac

becoming professionals,” added Tourville. College coaches also see the value of the AC Games and appreciate having the cream of the crop altogether in one place at one time. “You’re looking for that impact player. These are Northern California’s best players, including the Fresno area, all here in one day,” Fresno State assistant coach Jermaine Clark said. Clark is a former Oakland A’s player and scout

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LHP OF RHP/C C IF OF IF RHP C RHP OF RHP RHP/OF

Woodland Buchanan-Clovis Woodside California-San Ramon Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove Buchanan-Clovis Freedom-Oakley Jesuit-Carmichael Northgate-Walnut Creek Argonaut-Jackson Davis Monte Vista-Danville Valley Christian-San Jose

with deep ties to Northern California. He graduated from Will C. Wood High in Vacaville and attended the University of San Francisco. “Everybody is here looking for that blue chip player, but obviously there are a ton of guys who could fit into any type of program from Stanford all the way to Delta Junior College,” Clark said. “From 4-year schools to junior colleges, I feel like there is somebody for everybody here, and that’s

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the beauty of this event.” Although only 25 players are selected to represent Northern California, all players at the tryout event are considered prospects. This isn’t the first time many of the players have been seen — and won’t be the last. “I’m just looking to see some of the guys that we have already seen in Northern California, then guys we are going to continue to follow for the summer,” Cal-Berkeley coach Mike Neu said. Another Northern California product, Neu graduated from Vintage-Napa and attended Sacramento City College. He eventually reached the big leagues, pitching in 32 games for the 2003 A’s. He’s also coached at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and University of Pacific in Stockton. “You really want to get to see guys more than once,” Neu added. “This event gives you a really good look at some of the best guys in all of Northern California.” Neu understands the importance of paying attention to all the players and not just the top guys. As an undersized pitcher, he was not highly recruited out of high school. He also knows what it takes for players to make it to the AC Games Team Tryout. “It means that you are a professional prospect,” Neu said. “And even though I got a chance to play in the big leagues, I didn’t make the Area Code team. So there are a lot of good players that don’t make in this event. The 2018 Golden Spikes winner Andrew Vaughn didn’t even make it.” Vaughn attended Maria Carrillo-Santa Rosa and just completed his sophomore season playing for Neu at Cal. The Golden Spikes Award is presented to the nation’s top amateur baseball player. He was the first Golden Bear to even be a finalist for the honor. With more than two decades to draw from since the first AC Games in 1996, it’s not hard to trace the ripple effect of the event “At the start of the 2018 season, 70 percent of North American born players on Major League 40-man rosters were on Area Code rosters in high school,” said Tourville, who is also responsible for alumni research and tracking AC Games alums from high school through the professional ranks. Tourville added: “As we move toward the future, we want to be able to serve more than just the elite players through developmental camps where the players get to work with major league scouts. We have a big push to do more fall and winter stuff too because the talent is at an all-time high right now. It’s becoming more difficult to identify all of the quality players with just this tryout alone.” For now, the players only get one chance. It starts with 60 yards. ✪ Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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COLEMAN’S CALLING

Brigman Follows In Brothers’ Footsteps CODE BREAKER Coleman Brigman POSITION: First Base HOMETOWN: San Jose GAME EXPERIENCE: 13 years; 500+ games played across six states and two countries. SCHOOL: Valley Christian (Class of 2019) 2018 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Hit .376 with 41 hits, 31 runs, 15 RBI and 15 stolen bases for 29-3-1 Central Coast Section champions that finished ranked No. 1 in both the state and the nation. 2018 HONORS: MaxPreps.com 1st Team All-American; SportStars All-NorCal selection; 1st Team All-West Catholic Athletic League; CCS Tournament Most Outstanding Player. CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR: Making USA 15U National Team COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Santa Clara

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I

t’s safe to say baseball has become a family tradition in the Brigman household. Coleman Brigman is the youngest of four boys, and just may be the best of the bunch. That is not an easy title to claim though, with his oldest brother currently playing in the Seattle Mariners organization and another brother who has competed in the NCAA Division II College World Series for the past two seasons at UC San Diego. “He’s super competitive. Growing up with three older brothers, I think there has always been an extra competitive nature in Coleman,” said his father Vince Brigman. “He’s wanted to continue to be the best of all the brothers in the household.” Going into his senior season at Valley Christian High-San Jose, Brigman has become an elite level player for a team that finished 2018 as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Playing in arguably one of the toughest leagues in the country, he was named 1st team All-West Catholic Athletic League and voted Most Outstanding Player in the Central Coast Section tournament. He also added 1st team MaxPreps.com All-America honors. Even with all of the accolades and accomplishments, Brigman was just one of the 60-plus players at the 2018 Oakland A’s Area Code Team Tryouts on July 7 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton.

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“It’s a huge honor and blessing to be able to play with the best guys from my area and compete with the best guys in the nation,” Coleman Brigman said. “Definitely a great experience and exposure for sure.” The youngest Brigman is no stranger to toplevel competition. He was also a member of the USA 15U National Team “I’ve played with a lot of these guys before, and being able to play with them again and continue to play with the best guys is really fun,” Coleman added. “Talent level was at an 8.5 to 9 (during the tryout) or maybe closer to 10. There are a lot of great guys out here.” According to his father, Coleman has been performing well on the big stage for a while. “At 9 years-old he went 15-for-18 in the Pony World Series and I first thought he may have a future in this game,” Vince Brigman said. “He’s kept improving and kept working hard trying to get better every year.” Although he admits to spending a lot of time traveling around with his sons, he had to find creative ways to keep his four boys getting the repetitions they needed without going broke. “It’s not all about travel ball, all the time,” Vince Coleman said. “I think there is a time and a place for travel ball as kids get a little bit older. But as

they’re growing up, working with the local leagues and the neighborhood kids can help to keep the finances down and make sure everybody keeps playing the game.” The work has definitely paid off for Coleman. He is committed to continue his baseball career at Santa Clara and gives his brothers a lot of the credit. “My older brothers helped me learn to slow the game down, just play my game and don’t try to do too much,” said Coleman, “I just really want to keep growing, keep maturing and just play the game and have fun as long as I can.” The future looks bright for Coleman and his brothers, but their father sees more than just the stat sheet and awards. “I’m most proud of the way that my sons play the game,” Vince said. “Playing the game how it’s supposed to be played. Hustling and getting down the line. Doing the extra stuff to make sure that they are backing people up, and really just their positive attitudes and trying to get better while helping the team win,” It’s no surprise that he’ll represent Northern California at the Area Code Games in Long Beach beginning on Aug. 6. ✪ — Williams B. Mosely

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HIGH NCVA’s Nine High Performance Teams Show Well At National Event

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& MIGHTY Another sparkling summer for the NCVA and its clubs wrapped up as the organization’s NorCal High Performance program sent nine teams to compete in the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With five boys teams and four girls teams, NCVA sent the largest delegation to the USAV event, which features round-robin and tournament play against both national and international competition. The High Performance program is run by USAV and is used as an elite development program. Players try out to be part of their regional High Performance program and have the opportunity to attend the national training session and tournament in July — which USAV showcases to more than 50 coaches and evaluators. Among the highlights the NCVA lists in promotion of the High Performance program include: ›› Competing against some of the best athletes in the country and abroad within their age group. ›› Play alongside some of the best athletes in NorCal ›› Receive top-quality coaching ›› Increase individual visibility, particularly for club teams

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who may have low exposure. The nine teams which competed in Tulsa combined to rack up 25 wins. The boys teams fared best, which included three teams earning Top-10 finishes in their divisions. The highest finisher was the Boys Select Red team, which was fourth in the Boys Regional Division with a 4-4 record and featured Brian Pinkston, Travis Nguyen, Andrew Choi, Lance Pennington, Daniel Goncharov, Kyle Nguyen and Theo Snoey. The Boys Youth Red team, coached by Sean Stratton of Diablo Valley Volleyball Club, earned the most wins. They went 5-3 in the Boys National Division to finish 9th. That team was comprised of Tyler Jack, Kevin Wyatt, Ryan Sun, Grant Holland, Joseph Bergles, Azriel Nicdao, Luke Vindasius, Riley Wagner and Nicholas Bennett. The top performing NCVA girls squad was the Girls Select White group coached by Ashia Joseph of Core Volleyball Club. That group won three matches in the Girls National Select Division. It’s roster included Hannah McLauchlin, Kristine Bakhad, Jessica Buyanjargal, Harjeeya Bains, Katelyn Cochran, Druegan Davis, Fonda Chung and Autumn Samaniego. ✪

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NO SLOWING

NOH

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Concord Golf Phenom Yealimi Noh May Just Be The Top Girls Amateur Golfer In The Country

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F

or Yealimi Noh, this summer has been victory after victory. Nonstop pace, nonstop travel, nonstop success. The 17-year-old golfer from Concord put together a remarkable run in July, with three consecutive high-profile tournament victories. “Just pure happiness and a great feeling of accomplishment,” is how Noh is reacting to her success, noting in an email exchange during her busy stretch. “I have been practicing so hard over the past couple of months and really focusing on just golf, so it feels really good to have it pay off.” She began the month breaking the Junior PGA Championship 72-hole record with a stunning 24-under-par 264 for the event at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky. She totaled 25 birdies at Kearney Hill to win by four strokes. “I felt like I just played my game and everything really clicked and worked well,” Noh said, “It means a lot to me to have broken a record and set a new one at such a prestigious event.” After that victory, she was off to the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur at Poppy Hills Golf Club in Pebble Beach, and won the match play finals 4 and 3 over Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Florida. Then it was up north to the Canadian Women’s Amateur. She rallied at Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver, British Columbia, to win, finishing

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11-under and defeating Dylan Kim of Sachse, Texas, by a stroke after entering the final round one off the lead. Noh, who kick-started her summer run with her second California State Junior Girls State Championship in late June, credits some adjustments for her recent run. “I have made a lot of dramatic changes to my game,” she said. “I have stuck with the same coach for nine years and just recently over the past couple of months have had a swing change that has made me hit 15-20 yards further. I also changed my game management and play a lot smarter than I used to.” With her Junior PGA Championship win, she earned one of six female spots on the 2018 U.S.

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Junior Ryder Cup team, and will play at Disneyland Paris Sept. 24-25. Noh will soon leave amateur competition, as she intends to turn pro in 2019. For her, that meant turning down a scholarship to UCLA. “It was definitely a difficult decision because UCLA is such a great school and college is important,” said Noh, who also turned 17 during her busy July. “However I just felt that, for me, it was the right thing to decommit and I feel good with the decision I made.” Noh soon will be back cracking the books for her senior year. After spending her first two years at Carondelet-Concord, she has been homeschooled since last school year. “I have been very active over the summer and it has been pretty exhausting but exciting,” she said. “I have yet to soak in the wins, but I know I will back to grinding as soon as I get back home.” ✪ — Mike Wood

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powered by trucks: anthony trucks So you want to get in the best shape possible? The first thing to realize is the “best shape possible” is different for every person based on their specific body’s needs. In comes something called periodization. It’s a big word that simply means, “How your training program adjusts over time.” See, most people just walk into the weight room and start exercising in hopes of walking out in the kind of shape they need to succeed, but that’s like hoping to win the lottery. Our bodies have different methods of creating ways to store and use energy. It’s pretty much our muscles “gas” and there are three ways we create it, called energy systems. Depending on the sport we play we have to train the right energy system our body needs. For example the way we create ATP for cross country is different than how we create it for football. One is long distance and the other is short bursts. The systems are: 1) Phosphagen (short bursts, high power) Good for track sprints, football, shot put, etc. 2) Oxidative (long distance, low power) Good for cross country, marathons, rowing, etc. 3) Glycolytic (The in-between) Good for soccer, basketball, tennis, etc. For you to get the most out of your training and get in the “best shape possible,” you have to build a training program that develops the energy system your sport needs for you to be successful. This is where most people get completely lost, because it’s a lot of information to absorb, and it’s even harder to build a program from it. So here’s 36

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MAXIMIZE the POSSIBILITY

the simplest way to take that info and use it. To create a Phosphagen-based training program, you should focus on first spending a few weeks building your strength using low reps (1-5) with very heavy weight that increases from week one on up, making sure to take lots of rest between sets (60-90 seconds). Follow with a few weeks developing power using low reps with moderately heavy weight as you try to move the weight quickly, still taking lots of rest in between each set. To create an Oxidative-based training program, you should focus on lightweight strength endurance, which allows you to output strength for longer and making you faster in the long run. Your program should have low weight with high reps (15-20) and minimal rest (20-30 seconds) so your body can focus on exerting force over a long period of time at a low-power threshold. To create a Glycolytic-based training program, you should focus on spending a few weeks building your strength. Use low reps (1-5) with heavy weight that increases from week one on up, making sure to take moderate rest between sets (30-60 seconds). After a few weeks develop power endurance by using supersetted exercises (back to back), mid level reps (8-15), with moderately heavy weight as you try to move quickly. Make sure to drop the rest period between reps to 20s-45s, so you teach your body to recuperate as fast as possible while still actively moving. Lastly, make sure that you rest just as hard as you train. This means taking time to recover your body between workouts by eating right, stretching, getting massages, using ice when/where needed and getting lots of rest. The results you’ll get will take a while to achieve, but you’ll find yourself dominating your sport in the long run. Pun intended. ✪ Anthony Trucks is an IYCA-certified trainer who covers strength training for SportStars. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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