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.

De La Salle Stamps Its Ticket (Again)

These three members of the De La Salle football team already have been on a team ranked No. 1 in the state at the end of the season. They played on the Spartans’ baseball team last spring that went 29-1 and won its last 28 games. All three — Vince Bianchina, Charles McAdoo & Zeke Berry — made plays on defense in win vs Pittsburg. Photo: Mark Tennis.


Spartans had some of their starters out just after halftime with 35-0 lead over Pittsburg and went on to beat the Pirates 49-7 in the CIF North Coast Section D1 championship. Read on for all of the streaks they’ve kept going, but will they have enough to be a serious challenge for either Mater Dei or St. John Bosco in the CIF Open Division state final in two weeks?
Read more…


SJS Top 5: Best Defenders 2010s

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

On last week’s 13th and final show for the 2019 season, we revealed our list of the top five defensive players from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for the decade of the 2010s. Here is what that countdown revealed:

TOP 5 DEFENSIVE PLAYERS IN 2010s
FROM CIF SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION

1. Cameron Smith (Granite Bay)
He earned all-state credentials for his final three years at Granite Bay, helping the team win CIF D1 state title in sophomore year. Had 470 career tackles through 2014 season. He later starred at USC and is currently on Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad with Folsom’s Jake Browning.

2. D.J. Johnson (Burbank, Sacramento)
All-State defensive end in 2016 had 15 sacks that season and made the state record book with 38.5 career sacks. Currently at the University of Oregon after transferring from Miami.

3. Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer, Auburn)
He’s one of the most dominant defensive tackles in Sacramento area history. Named All-State first team 2012, Eddie later shined at UCLA.

4. Aziz Shittu (Buhach Colony, Atwater)
He played in the 2017 Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles. Aziz was chosen All-State in 2011 and later starred at Stanford.

5. Lamar Jackson (Franklin, Elk Grove)
No relation to Lamar Jackson of the Ravens, Franklin’s Lamar Jackson was All-State in 2015 as a corner. He’s currently one of the best DBs in college football at the University of Nebraska.

The 30-minute show was last on air last week, but there will be plenty of highlights on the FOX 40 sports segment within the 10 pm news.
This is the last top 5 list of the season. Thanks to host Jim Crandell and the FOX 40 team for once again letting Cal-Hi Sports be part of this year’s show.


KDOC To Televise HSBB Games

KDOC-TV, Channel 56, will telecast 20 boys basketball games for the 2019-20 season involving CIF Southern Section and L.A. City Section Schools. The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Game of the Week on KDOC-TV will feature many teams featured in our preseason Cal-Hi Sports state rankings.
Read more…


Sierra Canyon On ESPN 15 Times

Cal-Hi Sports preseason boys basketball state No. 1 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) will make 15 overall appearances on ESPN family of networks during the 2019-20 regular season, as part of the 2019-2020 GEICO High School Basketball Showcase. Sierra Canyon, the two-time defending CIF open division state champs, opens at No. 6 in the preseason FAB 50 national rankings.

RELATED: CIF Large Hoop Crowds | Preseason Hoops FAB 50 Rankings | Cal-Hi Sports Preseason Hoops Rankings |  Cal-Hi Sports Major Tourney/Showcase Schedules

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Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Best RBs 2010s

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 12th show for the 2019 season, we revealed our list of the top five running backs from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for the decade of the 2010s. Here is what that countdown revealed:

TOP FIVE RUNNING BACKS FROM
THE CIF SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION 2010s

1. Justin Davis (Lincoln, Stockton)
He was first team all-state as a junior in 2011 and had over 4,000 yards in his last two seasons in 2011, 2012. Then went to USC and has been with L.A. Rams.

2. Shaq Thompson (Grant, Sacramento)
Currently in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers as a linebacker, but at Grant he was one of the most exciting running backs in section history. State Junior of the Year in 2010 and all-state multi-purpose (RB/DB) two years in a row.

3. Ja’quan Gardner (Central Valley, Ceres)
Led the recently disbanded AFF in rushing and could be a star in new XFL. Gardner rushed for 2,467 yds in 2013 at Central Valley. Also later a small college All-American at Humboldt State.

4. Justin Rice (Central Catholic)
Led the Raiders to their third straight and fourth straight state titles in 2014 and 2015. Rushed for 2,698 yards in 2015. Currently shining at linebacker at Fresno State.

5. Cameron Skattebo (Rio Linda)
Recently committed to Sac State, Cameron had one of the greatest seasons in 2018 in section history with 3,550 yards rushing and 42 TDs.

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 defensive players in the section for the 2010s. The show will include highlights from all of the biggest games in the region, including the Fan Favorite Game of the Week, which will be a look at unbeaten Paradise playing Live Oak in the Northern Section D3 playoffs. Thanks to host Jim Crandell and the FOX 40 team for once again letting Cal-Hi Sports be part of this year’s show.


Do You Really Think Sports Games Are Boring?

There are people who play sports and people who play games that depict sports. But regardless of preferences, you can’t say one side is boring without having tried it.
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Boys BB: 2019-20 Transfer Rundown


Here’s a quick-hitting list of transfers that will impact this year’s boys basketball state rankings. It’s been a hectic off-season and we offer a rundown of where some of California’s elite players ended up, including some who left the state, and some who just transferred as recently as the past week. California also added some good players from out of state, including two-time defending CIF Open champion Sierra Canyon getting McDonald’s All-American candidate B.J. Boston from Norcross (Ga.) and talented sophomore Shy Odom from Beaver Country Day School (Chestnut Hill, Mass.). Note that Prolific Prep of Napa and other academy-style destinations are not members of the CIF and wouldn’t be playing any CIF schools. Read more…


Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Best 2010 QBs

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 11th show for the 2019 season, we revealed our list of the top five quarterbacks from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for the decade of the 2010s. Here is what that countdown revealed:

Top 5 Quarterbacks From The
Sac-Joaquin Section In 2010s

1. Jake Browning (Folsom)
From 2012 to 2014 he set insane state records with 16,775 yards passing and 229 touchdowns. He later earned All-Pac 12 honors at Washington and currently on Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad.

2. Ian Book (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills)
Member of All-State Sophomore Team in 2013. Ian also was All-State First Team in 2015. Currently leading Notre Dame.

3. Nate Sudfeld (Modesto Christian)
Outstanding player at Modesto Christian in 2010-2011. Later became a star at Indiana and has played in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.

4. Kaiden Bennett (Folsom)
Led Bulldogs to back-to-back D1-AA state titles in 2017 and 2018. He also was all-state first or second team twice. There’s a good chance he becomes a starter next season at Nevada.

5. Dano Graves (Folsom)
The school’s first great QB. Led team to 2010 D2 state title. Later did well at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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 for the 2010s. 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.


State Stat Stars of the Week

As we collected info for the six SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week in football, here’s a few others from last week’s games (Oct. 31-Nov. 2) that put up totals that caught our attention. Note: No Prep Notes With a Twist column this week with first installment of CIF NorCal/SoCal Bowl Projections. Send any player of week nominations or possible state record totals after each week to markjtennis@gmail.com. Thanks to Central Section historian Bob Barnett for contributions.

Trent Calvert (Dos Palos)
The sophomore QB is on a roll by passing for 11 touchdowns in two games and he set another school record of 30 touchdowns for one season. He had six against Traquillity and then last week Trent was 15 of 19 for 342 yards and five TDs in a 55-6 win over Avenal. Brothers Michael & Zane Merrell had two touchdowns each on receptions.

Enam Davis-Eva (Stone Ridge Christian, Merced)
The prolific passing attack at Millennium of Tracy was easily overcome by Enam and his teammates in a 40-8 win. Davis-Eva did it by running the ball. He took 31 handoffs and blasted away for a season-high 413 yards and four TDs. Enam hadn’t even had a 200-yard game before this one.

Sam Whitney of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa can whip the ball around the yard as good as anybody and is one of the top juniors in Southern California. Photo: Twitter.com.


Simon Gaete (Palm Desert)
They can do the MVP vote for the Desert Empire League now and Simon would win hands down. Since starting league play after the team played Permian High of Odessa, Texas, Gaete has rushed for 200 yards in every outing (the low was 224 yards). In last week’s 41-28 win over Rancho Mirage, Simon slashed and dashed for 342 yards on 32 carries and scored five times. He’s now gone past 2,100 yards for the season.

Justin Hinzo (Ridgeview, Bakersfield)
Hinzo passed for two career highs with 396 yards on 25 of 29 and had five touchdowns in a 55-7 win over Independence of Bakersfield. Wide-receiver Alijah Alexander also set a school record with four touchdowns on eight receptions for 125 yards.

Thomas Jones (University City, San Diego)
It’s hard to imagine someone having a state record-tying performance in his team’s 55-13 loss, but Jones did it against Morse by taking a handoff and racing for a 99-yard touchdown.

Kyle Kelleher (Rancho Christian, Temecula)
It’s been an up-and-down season at Rancho Christian as the team fell to 5-5 after a 47-45 loss last week to Heritage Christian of North Hills. Kelleher stood out in the loss by going 17 of 25 passing for 413 yards and five TDs. The three-year starter also rushed for 75 yards on 11 carries.

E.J. Kreutzmann (La Jolla Country Day)
It was a bittersweet night for Kreutzmann as he extended his reported state lead for passing yards but it came in a 58-50 loss by the Torreys to Francis Parker of San Diego. Kreutzmann completed 19 of 28 passes for 403 yards and six TDs. He also rushed for a season-best 126 yards on 11 carries with one TD. He now has 3,830 yards and 40 TD passes on the season and should go past 4,000 yards in his next start.

Angel Nava-Esparza (Central, El Centro)
Perhaps the most dominant player in last week’s annual Bell Game rivalry with Brawley High, Nava-Esparza racked up 12 tackles with two fumble recoveries on defense (returning one of them for a 29-yard TD) and he scored twice on offense on short runs.

Ivan Ostry (Rosemead)
Junior option QB has rushed for more than 2,000 yards and has passed for more than 1,000 after rolling up 307 yards rushing on just 10 carries in a 42-6 romp past Mountain View of El Monte. Ostry also scored five TDs, including one from 95 yards out. He had 391 yards rushing in his previous outing vs. Arroyo of El Monte.

Cael Patterson (Orange Glen, Escondido)
For the second straight year, Patterson has gone past 2,000 yards rushing. Cael did it after rampaging for 354 yards on 25 carries with four TDs in a 42-26 win against Tri-City Christian of Vista. Patterson now has 2,211 yards rushing and 26 TDs this season.

Miles Poland (Katella, Anaheim)
One of the top offensive performers for the Knights this season had a pair of interceptions, returning one of them 35 yards for a touchdown, as they topped Santa Ana Valley, 36-8.

Cameron Rynhard (Branham, San Jose)
Cam was the man with 26 rushes for 278 yards and five TDs in a 40-14 win by the Bruins over Leigh of San Jose. With the win, Branham improved to 9-0 and will go for a 10-0 regular season this week.

Jaishawn Smith (Compton)
In leading Compton to its first CIFSS playoff berth since 2008, Smith piled up 251 yards o just 11 carries and scored three TDs in a 43-8 triumph vs. Cabrillo of Long Beach.

Sam Whitney (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach)
In a win last Friday over arch-rival Redondo Union (Redondo Bech), Sam led his team to a CIF playoff berth by throwing for 400 yards and 4 TDs despite a relentless Sea Hawks’ pass rush. Sam’s performance broke seven Mira Costa passing records and tied two others. Among the records that he broke were single season passing yards and single game passing yards. Sam has thrown for 2,725 yards and 29 TDs so far this season.

Bryce Young (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
If you haven’t figured it out by now, we think player of the week honors also should be to help shine a light on some players who normally don’t get much attention. Bryce otherwise might get it every week. The leading Mr. Football State Player of the Year candidate broke his own school record by hitting on 17 of 17 passes for 373 yards and five TDs when the Monarchs beat JSerra, 51-14. Young had a 16-for-16 perfect passing night last season vs. St. Mary’s of Stockton. The state record is 23-for-23.


Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Special Teams

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 10th show for the 2019 season, we revealed our list of the top five special teams players in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for this season. Here is what that countdown revealed:

Top 5 Special Teams Players
In The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section

1. Youlas Dickson (Buhach Colony, Atwater)
Believe it or not, but Youlas has returned seven punts or kickoffs for touchdowns so far this season (after 8 games). That’s tops in the state and looks like a section record.

2. Adrian Melesio (Patterson)
As a sophomore last year, Adrian made a 54-yard field goal. He’s got 10 this year (not including last week) with a long of 49.

3. Cole Becker (Rocklin)
He’s one of the keys to the Thunder’s success this season. Entered last week with 12 of 13 field goals with a long of 45. He didn’t add any more because we were there for game vs. Del Oro but looked good on kickoffs and PATs.

4. Abraham Banks (Rio Linda)
The Knights’ QB with more than 1,000 yards rushing and more than 500 yards passing also has three kickoff returns for touchdowns.

5. Brandon Bautista-Rundgren (Franklin, Elk Grove)
The leading punter in the section with a 45.5 yard reported average also is the Wildcats’ starting quarterback.

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 for the 2010s. 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.