First and goal: Wishes granted

By From page A8 | January 16, 2013

Bush Mike

Last Tuesday in Stockton, Sac-Joaquin Section officials revealed their league realignment proposals.

In recent months, Oak Ridge High Athletic Director Steve White and Ponderosa High Athletic Director Tyson Escobar have stated in the Mountain Democrat on what leagues their respective schools should be placed for the next four-year cycle that runs from fall 2014 to spring 2018.

White wants the Trojans to remain Division I, but in the Sierra Foothill League where the schools field freshman teams. Oak Ridge has an enrollment of more than 2,300 students. From the late 1980s until 1996, the Trojans were members in the league when it was D-II.

Escobar wants the Bruins to return to D-II, and ideally, the Capital Valley Conference for competitive equity. Ponderosa’s enrollment number is just over 1,800.

Both men appear to be having their wishes granted.

Under the current proposal, the Delta River League and Delta Valley Conference would be disbanded. Oak Ridge and Folsom would join the Sierra Foothill League, which features Del Oro, Granite Bay, Nevada Union, Rocklin, Roseville and Woodcreek. The remaining schools from the Delta River and Delta Valley would combine for an eight-school Delta League.

The Sierra Foothill League will be a powerhouse in football. Just like the Southeastern Conference in college football and the NFC West in the NFL.

“Definitely a super league for football,” White said. “It seems the SEC is playing for a national championship every year. It may be the same for the SFL and state championships.”

Last season, Oak Ridge lost to Granite Bay, 35-23, in the section’s D-I championship game at Sacramento State University.

Escobar is looking forward to the Bruins competing in the Capital Valley Conference.

“We are thrilled to be back in Division II where we belong,” Escobar said. “The Capital Valley Conference will be very competitive, and we look forward to building some new rivalries.”

Del Campo and Bella Vista pose some very strong sports teams in many sports, Escobar points out. He sees Rio Americano, Whitney and Antelope as being very formidable, too

Union Mine and El Dorado would remain in the Sierra Valley Conference, which is D-IV, along with Galt and Liberty Ranch. Leaving the conference are Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove, River City of West Sacramento and Vista del Lago of Folsom, which will go D-III.

Proposed to join are former conference foes in Cordova and Rosemont of Sacramento. Cordova was in the conference from 1996 to 2010 and Rosemont from 2004 to 2006. Currently, Rosemont is in the Metro Conference and Cordova is in the Capital Athletic League.

Moving Cordova and Rosemont makes geographical sense. Cordova and Rosemont are located off Highway 50. Five miles separate the two schools.

“I think the realignment is as good as it could be for us,” said Union Mine Athletic Director Dave Johnson, who is the Diamondbacks’ football coach. “We have less travel and the two ‘new’ teams have already been in the Sierra Valley Conference before. We know them pretty well and glad to have them back.”

El Dorado Athletic Director Joe Volek, who doubles as the Cougars’ football coach, added, “I love the look of the conference for 2014. I think Cordova and Rosemont will be welcomed additions.”

Golden Sierra Athletic Director Keith Bush will see the Sierra Delta League remain intact. According to Section Assistant Commissioner John Williams, Highlands would remain in the league despite its enrollment of 944 students, per the section’s Website. The average enrollment sans Highlands is about 584. But the Scots don’t field junior varsity and freshman teams in most sports; thus, the school falls under the section’s criteria of competitive equity.

To view the proposals, visit the section’s Website at Go to the Governance tab, click Realignment and scroll toward the bottom of the page to Current Proposal and view the proposals, plus analysis and issues.

The next meeting that is open to the public is Tuesday, Jan. 29 at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton. The section’s realignment committee is expected to cast its final vote in March or April.

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter. 

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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