Cal-Hi Sports Insider Blog

Quick-hitting, behind-the-scenes news and notes from the CalHiSports.com staff, including previews of upcoming content and events.

Vista Murrieta’s 15-hour bus trip

Head coach Eric Peterson of the Vista Murrieta High football team always tells his players that even if they win a game by one point, that’s all that matters.

Vista Murrieta head coach Eric Peterson makes a point to his players after team’s 27-6 win on Friday in Sacramento. Photo: Mark Tennis.


The Broncos didn’t win by one point when they played on Friday night at Capital Christian of Sacramento (they won 27-6), but to win at all after the bus trip they endured the day before on Thursday had to be a relief.

According to Peterson, the expected six to seven hour ride northward from Murrieta was fine until the group reached the Bakersfield area along Interstate 5 in Kern County.

“The bus broke down, it was 101 degrees outside and we were stuck there for four hours,” the coach said.

A new bus finally came, the players got all of their gear loaded, and the trip resumed. Not long after, some of the players got sick. It wasn’t from food, the coach thinks, but from something they drank. They had to stop again and it took another couple of hours for everyone to finish in the bathrooms. Fortunately, it wasn’t food poisoning, which caused a different game in the Sacramento area to be cancelled when the traveling team from Reno (Bishop Manogue) had too many players get sick before a scheduled matchup at Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills).

“Then we get back going again on the bus and I-5 gets shuts down for two hours (probably from an accident),” Peterson said. “What should have taken six hours took 15.”

Friday went more smoothly for the Broncos. Playing an opponent that was No. 4 in the Sacramento area in one poll and was champion last year in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs before losing to Wilcox of Santa Clara in the CIF NorCal D3-A title game, they nearly got a shutout until the Cougars scored late in the fourth quarter.

Vista Murrieta didn’t score itself until the second quarter when quarterback Robert Coleman ran for a 56-yard touchdown. The Broncos scored right away on their next series when a 60-yard pass from Coleman to Sean McDermott set up a 14-yard TD run by Raqueal Wagstaff. He would later score on a short run in the second half. Senior kicker Josh Baron also made two field goals in the second half, one from 50 yards out that bounced high off the crossbar and then went over and through the goalpost.

“We played very well on defense and were opportunistic on offense,” Peterson said. “We don’t have that killer instinct, at least not yet.”

The Broncos, who were No. 30 in this week’s State Top 50, will have their biggest test in their next game against No. 18 Norco, which beat No. 17 Rancho Cucamonga in a game many of those on the sidelines were following on their phones. Capital Christian has another step-up game next week as well when it faces Chandler of Chandler, Ariz., at the Brother in Arms Classic.


Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Running Backs

We are happy to say that for the seventh straight year the CalHiSports.com web site and Cal-Hi Sports is part of the weekly Final Quarter high school football show on Friday nights on the FOX 40 station in Sacramento.

On last week’s second show for the 2019 season, we revealed our list of the top five running backs this season in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. Here is what that countdown revealed:

1. Daniyel Ngata (Folsom)
Brother Joe is at Clemson and Daniyel may follow. He’s considered the No. 2 all-purpose back in the nation.

2. Cameron Skattebo (Rio Linda)
They call him Mr. 3,000 because last season Cameron rushed for a section record of 3,550 yards and he scored 42 TDs.

3. Raleek Brown (Edison, Stockton)
Just a sophomore, Raleek rushed for 1,700 yards as a freshman. He’s one of the top sophomores in the state regardless of position.

4. Hans Grassman (Placer, Auburn)
He had 239 yards in his first game and 1,400 yards last season. At 6-4, 230 he may not be a running back in college but in high school he’s quite a load to bring down.

5. Minayo Olivo (Central Catholic, Modesto)
The son of a former MLB catcher is getting mid-major college offers.

This 30-minute show is twice as long as any other Friday night high school football show in the Sacramento market and is returning to the Friday at 11 p.m. time slot.

Watch this week’s show Friday at 11 p.m. for all the local highlights, plus the next Top 5 from CalHiSports.com, which will be a look at the top five quarterbacks in the section. The show will include highlights from all of the biggest games in the region, including the Fan Favorite Game of the Week. Thanks to host Jim Crandell and the FOX 40 team for once again letting Cal-Hi Sports be part of this year’s show.


Girls VB: Redondo not No. 1 yet

After Thursday’s pulsating victory by the Redondo Union girls volleyball team in five games against Mater Dei of Santa Ana, the Sea Hawks can be considered the state’s No. 1 team. After all, the visiting Monarchs are the defending CIF Open Division state champions and hadn’t lost yet this season.

The first regular season state rankings, however, won’t be out until next Wednesday and Redondo still has a tough matches coming up against the top two teams from the CIF San Diego Section. The Sea Hawks play Cathedral Catholic on Saturday, which was No. 3 in the preseason state rankings and they meet Torrey Pines of San Diego on Tuesday of next week. Torrey Pines already has two wins over Cathedral Catholic this season and is expected to be unbeaten going into next Tuesday’s match.

Head coach Tommy Chaffins of Redondo has another team that was capable of winning it all. Photo: easyreadernews.com.


Mater Dei doesn’t have matches like that coming up against California competition, but next weekend the Monarchs are traveling to Louisville, Ky., where they will play a match against Assumption of Louisville and then will be in Assumption’s national-level tournament. Assumption is the defending national rankings champion and has started 6-0 this season. All California teams hoping for a shot at a national rankings title should be rooting for the Monarchs.

In Thursday night’s match, Mater Dei took a 2-0 lead in games by edging the Sea Hawks 26-24 and 25-22. Redondo came back to force a fifth game with wins of 29-27 and 25-20 and then in that five game the Sea Hawks couldn’t be stopped. They won 15-8.

Making the win more impressive for Redondo is that All-American junior setter Kami Miner wasn’t there. She’s currently playing for the U.S. Junior National Team. Miner’s spot was taken by Redondo’s other leading player, senior Nalani Iosia, known more for being a libero. The Sea Hawks also got a huge outing from freshman Mele Corral-Blagojevich, who had 17 kills. Mater Dei was led by Mia Tuaniga with 49 assists and Reagan Merk with 16 kills.

The two California teams, who were mysteriously listed in a tie for the top spot in the CIF Southern Section rankings (ties are meaningless in rankings and should never happen), could play again in two weeks since they both will be in the upcoming Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas. They also of course could play in the CIFSS Division I playoffs and in the CIF Southern California Open Division playoffs. It’ll be the winner of that last match that will really get to celebrate.

State Top 20 Rankings: To get a look at our preseason listings, CLICK HERE. We’ll have the first regular season pecking order out next Wednesday (including Tuesday night scores). There also will be new State Top 20s before the massive Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas (coming up on Sept. 20-21) and then the following week. We’ll take a week off after that and then will do the same thing before and after the Nike Tournament of Champions (always features a lot of California teams) that will be held the first weekend in October.

All-State Girls Volleyball Teams Expanding
With the cooperation of our all-state patch partner, BillyTees.com, this year’s Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams for girls volleyball will be more than quadrupled in size.
Previously, we’ve done a player of the year (Ms. Volleyball), a coach of the year and then a first and second team overall. The new format will be similar to what is done in boys and girls basketball: first, second and third teams overall; all-state freshmen; all-state sophomores; all-state juniors; all-state small schools, all-state medium schools, all-state large schools.
We may ask for more help from coaches to get it all done for girls volleyball with the same attention to detail that we’ve had for 40 years in football and other sports.
For questions, email markjtennis@gmail.com.


Boys BB: Major Showcase Schedules

In November, we will begin to release our preseason 2019-20 Cal-Hi Sports boys basketball state rankings. As a preview to how things could shake out, here is a list of the major 2019-20 tournaments and classics involving California teams that figure to be ranked. Look for our preseason Cal-Hi Sports state rankings the week of November 11, as the basketball calendar has moved back a week after the entire winter sports calendar was moved up for the 2018-19 school year. The 2019-20 season officially begins November 18. The CIF state basketball championships will take place March 13-14, 2020. 

Read more…


Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Best of Decade

We are happy to say that for the seventh straight year the CalHiSports.com web site and Cal-Hi Sports is part of the weekly Final Quarter high school football show on Friday nights on the FOX 40 station in Sacramento.

On last week’s first show for the 2019 season, we revealed our list of the schools with the best records so far this decade (before any games counted for this season) in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. Here is what that countdown revealed:

1. Folsom 126-10
The Bulldogs would have the best record in the state if they had one win out of the three times they’ve played De La Salle. If they beat DLS next week, they would actually pass the Spartans.

2. Inderkum (Sacramento) 97-18
The Tigers also start the season No. 11 in the state in this category. Head coach Terry Stark always has his teams ready to go.

3. Central Catholic (Modesto) 103-22
The schedule has gotten a lot tougher for the Raiders since they’ve joined the Valley Oak League. They also have scheduled De La Salle this year and last.

4. Oakdale 105-24
Last year’s 9-4 record was a down year for the Mustangs. They are playing Liberty of Brentwood this season.

5. Manteca 91-26
Yes, three of the top five in section are from the same league (Valley Oak). For most of the decade, remember, Central Catholic was in another league. The Buffaloes should be very good this year under second-year head coach Mark Varnum.

This 30-minute show is twice as long as any other Friday night high school football show in the Sacramento market and is returning to the Friday at 11 p.m. time slot.

Watch this week’s show Friday at 11 p.m. for all the local highlights, plus the next Top 5 from CalHiSports.com, which will be a look at the top five running backs in the section. The show will include highlights from all of the biggest games in the region, including the Fan Favorite Game of the Week. Thanks to host Jim Crandell and the FOX 40 team for once again letting Cal-Hi Sports be part of this year’s show.


All-State Baseball/Softball Patch Lists

Congratulations to the following baseball & softball players (either sophomores or freshmen from the most recent spring season) who have been added as additional all-state honorees. We do this because there is no all-state sophomore or freshmen teams and it’s hard for very many sophomores and freshmen to get spots on the all-state underclass teams (which includes juniors). We consider the following group to be all-state for their year in school.
Read more…


Brook Lopez & FIBA World Cup

The sharpshooting 7-footer from the Milwaukee Bucks and graduate from Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial High will be the only Californian on the USA senior men’s national team that will try to win its third straight FIBA world title. The event starts Sunday in China. Wagering on the games should be strong but NBA betting online is always fun. Go inside as well to see the names of the only two players from California high schools who’ve been all-tourney at the FIBA World Cup event.

When people ask what a high school team might look like with three future NBA players on the floor, the first thoughts of many around the state are of Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial High from 2004 to 2006. That’s when the Panthers had brothers Brook and Robin Lopez on the inside and they had a forward, Quincy Pondexter, who was able to operate on the wings at a height of 6-foot-7.

Robin Lopez (42) and twin brother Brook (11) both starred at Stanford are in the midst of long NBA careers. Photo: Wikipedia.com.


All three would indeed go on to star in college — the Lopez brothers at Stanford and Pondexter at Washington — and all three have had fairly long NBA careers. Brook Lopez has been the best and hopes to add another accomplishment to his resume in September when he will be on the USA men’s national team at the FIBA World Cup to be played in China.

Brook and the USA squad play its first game on Sunday, Sept. 1, against the Czech Republic. The Americans will have additional Group E contests against Turkey and Japan and assuming they go 3-0 would then start the knockout round of 16. The US squad, with head coach Gregg Popovich and Palisades of Pacific Palisades grad Steve Kerr as one of the assistants, has won the last two FIBA World Cups in 2014 and 2010, but with just about all of the top-level NBA superstars not on the roster (instead resting for the upcoming NBA season) it’s certainly no guarantee of a three-peat. The USA just had a 78-game win streak in international regulation and exhibition games end with a loss to Australia. Many NBA superstars from other countries, like Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, also are playing for their national teams.

Lopez, his brother and Pondexter amazingly never got to a CIF state championship game even though the Panthers were in Division IV those years. They didn’t have a point guard and as juniors they ran into unbeaten Campbell Hall of North Hollywood (which had freshman Jrue Holiday, junior Justin Holiday and others) and then as seniors they fell in the Southern California final to Horizon of San Diego. Horizon also had a future NBA player on its roster in 6-foot-10 sophomore center Jeff Withy. The brothers tended to cancel each other out for honors, which let Pondexter get more points. All three did receive all-state selections.

Lopez has averaged 17.3 ppg in his pro career with his most explosive years as a member of the New Jersey/then later Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 12.5 points with 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists playing the Antetokounpo and the Milwaukee Bucks last season. He’ll be with the Bucks once again for the 2019-20 season.

There have been just two from California high schools who have earned all-tourney honors at the FIBA World Cup, which began in 1950. The first one was in that first year as John Stanich from Sacramento High was one of the top US players. John actually later played at UCLA with younger brother George on one of the first teams coached at UCLA by the legendary John Wooden. The Bruins and California landed another on the All-FIBA World Cup team in 1994 when one of the top players for the victorious USA team was Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers. Reggie is from Poly High in Riverside and of course is one of the all-time best players from the state. It’s unfortunate that his sister, Cheryl, never got to be in a FIBA World Cup for women because that event has only been going on since 1994.


FB: Where we’re going first few weeks

No, this isn’t a list of the biggest games during the first few weeks of the 2019 high school football season in the state. We go over all of those in the weekly rankings. This is a look at those games in which we’ll be attending for Cal-Hi Sports.

Where we go (or more specifically myself sometimes with a photographer, sometimes not) is always a hard choice. We have to consider travel costs, if it’s a game between two teams from different CIF sections, whether it’s a game that can be partnered with another game or if it’s a game that can be matched with a trip for a family or personal reason. We also look at the impact a game might have on the state rankings (both overall at the top with the big dogs and then later for possible CIF bowl matchups). We don’t go to very many of the much-hyped matchups that would impact national rankings because on those nights we’d rather be covering two California teams against each other.

For the first few weeks of this season, here’s where you might find an old dude with glasses wearing a black polo shirt with the CalHiSports.com logo on the front:

Mater Dei’s defense collects a sack during game last season against Corona Centennial. Photo: @MDFootball / Twitter.com.


Friday, Aug. 23 — Centennial (Corona) at Mater Dei (Santa Ana). This one could set the tone for the rest of the season. If the Monarchs, ranked No. 1 in the state and going for a third straight CIF Open Division state title, win comfortably over the Huskies (ranked fourth in the state and the last public school to be State Team of the Year back in 2008) then we’re probably in for the third straight season of Mater Dei and St. John Bosco rolling over everyone in Southern California (other than when playing each other) with the winner of the CIF Southern Section Division I title (doesn’t matter which one) then being a big favorite probably over De La Salle of Concord once again for the state title. If Centennial gets close or wins, then obviously that will be a big development from a competitive equity standpoint. Unless Bosco turns out to be much better than either one. It also was attractive to hit this game on the opening weekend because of a second game (see below) that could be seen the next night on the way back to our NorCal home base in Stockton. Finally, we just haven’t seen Centennial in a couple of years and that’s too long.

Saturday, Aug. 24 — Narbonne (Harbor City) at Buchanan (Clovis). What did we say about intersectional matchups? You can’t get better than the preseason No. 1 from the L.A. City Section — Narbonne — playing at the preseason No. 1 (at least according to our rankings) from the Central Section — Buchanan. We also have visiting Gauchos at No. 5 in the state to start with the host Bears at No. 12. Narbonne is a team loaded on defense and in the skill positions with D1 college prospects similar to Mater Dei or St. John Bosco. There is an L.A. Unified investigation hanging overhead, though, and it’ll be interesting to see up close who’s playing, who’s not, and how it all might effect the players. Buchanan will counter with a great home crowd and perhaps the No. 1 running back in the nation, Kendall Milton, who has committed to Georgia. That Narbonne defense isn’t going to let Kendall do that much, so the key to the game will be if Buchanan’s other players can come up with something.

Friday, Aug. 30 — Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) at St. Francis (Mountain View). For this day, another intersectional matchup caught our attention. We weren’t going to go to SoCal two weeks in a row, but one of the top SoCal teams (Corona del Mar of Newport Beach) is coming up to the Bay Area on this night to play at St. Francis. Corona del Mar has some record-breaking players that would be great to see in person, especially receiver John Humphreys and quarterback Ethan Garbers. St. Francis has some major rebuilding to do after last year but does still have some physical beasts up front (preseason all-state Mose Vavao among them) and could have success against CdM by just pounding it all night with a ball control attack. Humphreys is going to college at Stanford (known for the Tree) so he better check out the one at St. Francis’ home field because he’ll never play in front of one like that again.

Saturday, Aug. 31 — Pittsburg at Serra (San Mateo). This is one is still a maybe because Pitt is playing on Friday of this week at St. Mary’s of Stockton. The Pirates have a lot of holes to fill while St. Mary’s has a lot of returning talent. Still, Pitt won 48-7 when these two played last year. If Pitt wins, we’d clearly be going to Serra the next day after St. Francis vs. Corona del Mar (and would likely book a room near St. Francis). But if Pitt loses, it’s possible we might skip the overnight stay and trip.

Friday, Sept. 6 — Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) at Placer (Auburn). We knew the highlight of this weekend was going to be the three games played on Saturday at James Logan High in Union City as part of the annual Honor Bowl. Anyone who likes high school football at all should go to the Honor Bowl at least once. You’ll get a lump in your throat at some point (or more) guaranteed. The problem was where to go the night before. Another overnight trip wasn’t going to be in the cards so we had to search a bit. The one we settled on was the Cardinals at the Hillmen. Two of the top teams from what we’d call “medium schools” in Northern California. Always love to see what Newman head coach Paul Cronin has cooked up when he has a dual-threat QB like Jackson Pavitt. Placer will counter with a big, strong offensive line plus 6-foot-3, 230-pound running back Hans Grassman. Want to see Hans and where he might play at next level.

Saturday, Sept. 7 — Three games at the Honor Bowl (James Logan High, Union City). The tripleheader begins at 12 noon with Campolindo (Moraga) vs. Amador Valley (Pleasanton). The next game will be the host Colts playing Heritage (Brentwood). The capper also is the big one. Preseason state No. 14 Liberty (Brentwood) meeting a Clayton Valley (Concord) squad that is always among the best in the East Bay. The Ugly Eagles can really be great with a top running back and they have one in Mehki Gervais.

Friday, Sept. 13 — De La Salle (Concord) at Folsom. It’s not going to matter what happens when the Spartans host St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida in first game. This is still perhaps the best chance of the team’s legendary unbeaten streak against teams north of Fresno (some call that NorCal, but we don’t) to come to an end this season. This also makes it possible for us to see No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 8, No. 12 and No. 14 in the first few weeks of the season. No. 2 St. John Bosco will have to be missed until we think about going down to the first its two likely games vs. Mater Dei.

Friday, Sept. 27 — De La Salle (Concord) at St. Mary’s (Stockton). Notice that we don’t have any other games listed after the 13th. That’s because we have a pending closure of our Stockton office space that is supposed to be completed on the 14th. Don’t worry, we’re fine. Other issues have caused this decision and as just about any free-lance journalists will tell you working at home or remotely can be fun. We are listing DLS at St. Mary’s, though, because we always take advantage of the Spartans basically playing down the street. By seeing DLS at Folsom and at St. Mary’s, this also means we almost for sure won’t be going to a game this season at Owen Owens Field in Concord.

Enjoy the first weekend, everyone.


Top 5 Football Coaching Changes

Here’s a quick look at the most significant coaching changes in California high school football since the end of the 2018 season, ranked in order.
Read more…


Top tips for MLB betting


Major League Baseball (MLB) is the professional baseball league that many fans of the sport fervently follow and often even place bets on. If you also wish to learn how to bet on MLB games and bask in a lucrative experience, then you should take a look at the latest SportingPedia’s MLB tips.

When you are new to sports betting, you may not be sure where to begin. This is why the experts of SportingPedia has prepared a list of the things you should consider when you wish to enjoy a successful MLB betting exprience. Keep on reading to learn about all of the key factors that can turn any baseball fan into a professional bettor.

Avoid Betting on Favorites

One of the rookie mistakes that many new bettors tend to make is betting on their favorites. If you base your betting decisions on which is your favorite MLB team is, you might often miss great opportunities. Oddsmakers know which teams are popular among MLB fans and this is why their odds are often overpriced.

If you follow the mass and you place your money on well-known players like the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers, you will usually enjoy a very small payout provided they win. However, if they end up losing, you will suffer quite the loss. In such cases, often the risk is not worth the reward, which is why it is advised to avoid betting on everyone’s favorites. Even if you want to place your money on the team you have always supported, make sure to bet a small amount.

Give Your Attention the Underdogs

The next piece of advice that SportingPedia has for new bettors is to pay attention to the odds on underdogs. This may be a common practice for seasoned players, but many beginners may not be aware of the benefits that come with betting on the team determined as the underdog. One thing that is specific for baseball betting is that this is the sport with the most parity, compared to other sports. This means that your bet on the underdog may end up being very successful.

If you decide to bet on the underdog and that team wins the game, you will revel in quite the generous payouts. Even if the team that is considered to have smaller chances of winning really ends up losing the game, this will cost you only the size of your stake.

Even though favorites win most of the time, this does not compensate for their worse odds which may cost you bigger losses. While betting on the underdog is often a great move in sports betting, it is even more true for MLB betting as the sport has a huge parity. This means that baseball bettors may benefit a lot if they stick to this betting strategy.

Take Into Consideration
Both Player and Team Factors

If you wish to enjoy successful MLB betting from the beginning of your betting endeavors, there are several things to consider. When you are choosing the team to bet on, you should first do some research to help you make the right decision. When you are analyzing the potential winner of an upcoming game, you should pay attention to several player and team factors.

When it comes to the players on a team, there are features such as streaks and slumps, pitching depth, pitching matchups, young roosters vs. old players. These components are important to get a picture of the players in a team and their potential. According to SportingPedia you can base your betting decision on the knowledge of the best player being in a slump or on a winning streak, visit their site to learn more about the player and team factors when betting on MLB. There is an unwritten rule in baseball that strong pitching may beat the best hitting which is where the pitching depth plays an important role. It is also essential to compare whether there are more rookies or veterans in each team as veterans are easier to predict but they can also often feel pressured by the numerous expectations.

Make Use of Different Online Sportsbooks

It is always a great idea to compare the odds that different virtual sportsbooks are offering. As there are numerous online bookmakers, it is always a great idea for MLB bettors to compare the odds and shop for lines. One of the main advantages of online sports betting is the fact that you will be able to find numerous MLB betting markets and place your money on the best odds. In addition to good odds, however, you must make sure that you are about to bet your money at a trustworthy sportsbook.

If you need help to choose the best betting sites rated by experts, you can read the sportsbook reviews that SportingPedia provides. This way, you will have the chance to learn which websites offer the best odds on MLB games. In addition to that, many virtual bookies also offer bonuses and enhanced odds to their members. If you find the best odds online and claim a generous bonus, you might improve your winning chances significantly.