Eagles and Wildcats Tangle in Regular Season Finale
By Will James
Home Town Sports
The last week of the regular high school football season is upon us; a time when many teams are making a final push toward a possible playoff berth, and in come cases, playing for a conference championship.
That’s where a match-up between two perennial Elk Grove powerhouses will unfold, as the Pleasant Grove Eagles take a short ride to Cosumnes Oaks High School to battle the host Franklin Wildcats in a Delta League finale.
Broadcast time Friday night is 7 pm on Access Sacramento, Comcast & Consolidated Communications (SureWest) Cable fChannel 17, AT&T U-Verse Channel 14 and streamed live on the Internet on AccessSacramento.org
The Pleasant Grove football program is undergoing its most volatile period. Highly-successful Eagles Head Coach, Joe Cattolico (77-25 record), unexpectedly resigned his post just weeks before the start of the 2014 school year. His successor, Jason Rossow, suddenly underwent major surgery and has missed the entire season and is still recovering on medical leave. Offensive Coordinator, Russell Gardner was then abruptly thrust into the role of Interim Head Coach.
The coaching crisis and heavy injuries are key factors that drastically disrupted Pleasant Grove’s season. As a result, the Eagles will limp into Friday’s game with an uncharacteristic 2-4 Delta League record, and just 3-6 overall, marking the Eagles worst season in ten years, and just the second time Pleasant Grove has missed a post-season playoff appearance.
Even so, underdog Pleasant Grove will bring its A-Game on Friday with every intention of playing the spoiler and registering an upset. To do so, the Eagles will rely on their veterans to lead the way. Returning all-leaguers, RB Damaree Morris and WR Sedrick Thomas, lead the offense. DE Andrew Madden and LB Derrick Carrol anchor the defense.
Franklin Head Coach, Mike Johnson and the Wildcats are faced with a singular priority: A must-win on Friday to punch their ticket to the SJS playoffs. Failing to do so will end Franklin’s season.
The Wildcats have also been hit hard by injuries. Starting QB Jacob Lopez and leading rusher Lamar Jackson are injured and doubtful for Friday’s game. In their absences, QB Matt Allison and RB Patrick Walker will be on the spot to lead the offense. DL Mitchell Bullough, LB Rahsaan York, and DB Reid Abshear spark the defense.
This game is anything but a formality to close the regular season. It will be a fierce battle, with a playoff berth and school pride on the line.