Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three-way tie for 2009 Delta River title

Pleasant Grove High School needed a win last Saturday at Jesuit’s Loyola Field to claim a share of the 2009 Delta River League title for a third consecutive season.

They did win, thus splitting the honor with Folsom and Monterey Trail, but it wasn’t easy. Pleasant Grove had to overcome injuries and an inspired Jesuit defense for a 21-14 win.

Pleasant Grove grabbed its third straight DRL championship in the process, but it took a Mark Jenkins six-yard run with only 1:03 left in the game to clinch the win.

“He’s our JV running back and he’s a good one,” Pleasant Grove head coach Joe Cattolico said. “We ran out of healthy varsity running backs.

“That’s been the story of our football betting program,” he continued. “We’ve had so many injuries we’ve lost lots of kids. There’s been several sophomores off our JV team step up and do a great job. We’ve been plucking kids off our JV team all season and they’ve played some critical roles for us.”

Jenkins responded to his first and only varsity start with 220 yards on 34 carries and three touchdowns.

Now, Jenkins may be the man called upon to run the ball at tailback Friday when the Eagles open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs against Franklin, the Delta Valley Conference’s second-place team.

All-purpose back Jalen Saunders was held out of action in the first half because of a deep thigh bruise. Cattolico was forced to use Saunders on some offensive plays in the second half because of the close score.

“We tried to hold him out of the game, but the situation didn’t allow us to do that,” Cattolico said.

Taylor Congdon, who was held out of the second half of the Folsom game the week prior due to injury, did play Saturday. He threw for 117 yards.

But, out of the playoffs and playing in its final regular season game
, Jesuit played inspired football, especially on defense. Safety Brian Celsi led the Marauders with 11 tackles, while defensive lineman Joshua Hines added nine tackles and a diving interception of a Congdon pass in the third quarter.

Pleasant Grove scored on its opening possession of the game with Jenkins capping an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a three-yard run. The Eagles tacked on a 71-yard drive in six plays midway through the second quarter. Jenkins scored his second touchdown from three yards out.

Trailing 14-7 at the half, Jesuit drove 80 yards in 15 plays and consumed 6:30 off the clock to tie the game on Jackson Welch’s four-yard run.

On the Eagles’ next drive, Hines’ interception gave Jesuit the ball back at its 27. But, Pleasant Grove’s defense tightened and forced the Marauders to punt after cornerback Zan Bell came up with a key deflection of a Nicolas Norris pass.

Defensively, Jonathan Bias led Pleasant Grove with 12 tackles and also had a fumble recovery with only 33 seconds left in the game to preserve the Eagle win.

Devin Young added nine tackles and a half sack. Safety Kyle Castro had seven tackles.

In total, four of the six DRL teams qualified for the postseason. Because of its enrollment numbers, Folsom will compete in Division II. The Bulldogs got a fourth seed with its 9-1 record but is in the same division with Grant, Del Oro, Rocklin and St. Mary’s, the defending Division I section champion.

Grant is the defending state champion - Betting Guide

“Because of the quality of our league, Jesuit’s record is misleading,” Cattolico said. “They are a better football team
than many clubs in other leagues with better records.”

Pleasant Grove, the reigning Division I runner-up, earned the seventh seed and will host No. 10 Franklin.

Monterey Trail was seeded fourth in Division I and will host Pitman on Friday night. Sheldon, which got an 11th seed, will travel to Oak Ridge.