By Will James
Hometown Sports Game-of-the-Week
With just two weeks remaining in high school football’s regular-season, contending teams are focusing on a big push to enhance their post-season prospects. Drawing only secondary attention among multiple Delta League marquee games this week, is an inconspicuous game that nevertheless holds significant importance to Delta League contenders.
It’s the 2016 edition of the Pleasant Grove vs. Sheldon neighborhood rivalry, which appears on the surface to be a one-sided match-up simply based on the respective records of each team, and the history of this rivalry.
However, Access Sacramento will be at Sheldon-Pleasant Grove Community Stadium to televise this contest on the Hometown Sports Game-of-the-Week. This live telecast may be seen Friday evening, Oct. 28 on Comcast Cable channel 17, Consolidated Communications channel 17, and AT&T U-Verse channel 14. The game will be re-played on the same channels Sat. Oct. 29 at 11:00 a.m. and Tues. Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. The game will also be streamed on AccessSacramento.org and the NFHS Network.
Below the surface, a prideful clash is lurking. Despite the amazing reality that the Eagles enter the contest winless on the season, while 7th-ranked Sheldon at 6-2 is in the hunt for the Delta League title, fierce competition has always punctuated this showdown.
Pleasant Grove has undergone major adversity since the 2014 season when Head Coach, Jason Rossow was forced to step aside and eventually resign due to health reasons following the Eagles’ 0-3 start. Under the guidance of Interim Head Coach Steve Robards, and Interim Assistant Coach Lew Lassiter, Pleasant Grove has remained competitive; witness its recent narrow 21-20 road loss to #8 Grant.
In less than full-time action, sophomore QB Sam Whiting has performed admirably under the circumstances, throwing for 4 TD with 6 interceptions. Running backs Deron Johnson Jr. and James Hampton headline the ground game. Versatile WR/FS Dawson Weber leads the Eagles in All-Purpose yards and heads the receiving corps with 21 catches and 2 TD.
Weber has also had a stellar season on defense, accounting for 54 tackles, with 5 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Leading tacklers
In addition to the ongoing rivalry element, the presence of Sheldon’s first-year coach adds further intrigue to the mix. The host Huskies are guided by Joe Cattolico, who was the founding head coach for Pleasant Grove from 2006-2013, where he posted a 77-25 record with four Delta River League titles and a 2010 CIF/SJS Division-1 Championship. The ingredients of a spicy contest.
Cattolico has picked up where he left off as the Huskies enter play tied for 2nd place in the Delta League, looking for a strong finish to forge a tie for the league title with either front-running Elk Grove or Davis.
Despite a week-4 injury to starting QB Chancellor LaChappelle, the Huskies have persevered with a run-heavy offense sparked by Graylon Lindsey and Von Allen, and the exciting all-around play of WR/DB/KR, Alex Cook. Defensive Lineman, Ravonte Holt leads the Huskies’ defense along with Allen and Cook.
Intense pride and fierce competition will fuel this Delta League dandy, and bring to bear the intangible element of unforeseen developments in this raucous rivalry. Expect the unexpected in this one.