Tennis Time!

Week 2 is upon us and it’s safe to say that you can see high school football in any corner of the East Bay tonight. The way I know that is because our writers are literally going to be in every corner of the region tonight. And you thought gas was expensive for your commute!

What’s got me thinking this morning is girl’s tennis. We’re a few weeks into the season now and it’s becoming apparent who the contenders and the pretenders are for league and North Coast Section championships.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Miramonte a contender in the DFAL (alright, so it’s possibly the safest thing I’ve ever said…) but they’re going to have to deal with Northgate and Campolindo to get there. The BVAL, as usual, runs through Carondelet but it’s not a surprise that Deer Valley is right up there as well. The ACCAL and BSAL are too close to call right now, so I’ll reserve judgement until next week.

All this prognostication and speculation brings me to the EBAL, a league upon which I could wax poetic for several days. Thursday was a big day, as Foothill squared off with Monte Vista in each team’s league opener. That meant two top NCS contenders from last year, Mia Giovanetti (MV) and Kerri Kummer (F) took center stage in No. 1 singles. Kummer brought her "A" game and won handily 6-3, 6-2. Does this make her the favorite to take this year’s NCS crown? Time will tell, but something tells me that Giovanetti might be planning some revenge for later in the season.

Shift gears for today and get out to watch some football. If you can’t, then follow all the action on our homepage, cctimes.com. We’ll be calling in from our games at each quarter break to make sure you have current scores. Then, check out the paper tomorrow morning for recaps of the night’s big games. See you on the field!


Welcome to Ohio, er…. Kentucky

What’s going on, everybody. I writing to you from the Boone County public library in Union, Kentucky. Or is it Florence, Ky.?  I’m not sure and you probably don’t care. Anyway, I arrived in this neck of the woods late last night here to cover the De La Salle High School football team’s game against Elder-Cincinnati on Saturday night. And I’ve had some interesting experiences already. Or maybe I haven’t. It depends on your perspective.

It started when I tried to rent a car. I had booked a car online two months ago through a company that shall remain nameless. Let’s just say it rhymes with flirtz. Anyway, since I used a debit card to book the car, I needed to provide a second ID when I got to the counter. Fine. Then they needed my social security number. Fine. Or at least i thought. For some reason my SSC didn’t ‘go through’ and since I didn’t have another credit card, I couldn’t rent the car. "Sorry," was the the woman behind the counter said in a slightly southern-drawl. I was in Kentucky for less than 25 minutes and I already couldn’t stand the place.

But I was able to rent another car from another company, "Mavis," if you will. And I was on my way.

I had a decision to make. Just go back to my humble accommodations in lovely Florence or drive 25 miles to what I thought was a press conference at Dave and Busters in northern Cincinnati. Being the dedicated reporter that I am, I drove the 25 miles. I knew I was late, but I thought maybe I could get in there for the tail end of the presser. And if there’s free food, all the better.

But it wasn’t a press conference. It was just a bunch of football players and coaches playing video games and pool. Needless to say I looked out of place. After five minutes of feeling awkward, I jetted and drove back to my motel in Florence, Ky.

My accomodations aren’t exactly high-fallootin’ (Sp?). It’s not the Taj. I quickly realized this when I drove up to my room and three shirtless fellows were outside drinking another room drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. I avoided eye contact and opened the door to my room. The financial sacrifices I make for the newspaper are endless, I thought to myself.

By this time it was already 9:30 p.m. I drove out to get some fast food and later stopped at a convinence store to get a cold beverage. Inside, one woman’s shift was ending and another’s was just beginning. I stood at the counter for a good 90 seconds before either one acknowledged my presence. "Don’t work too hard," the one said to the other as she left for the night. "Don’t worry, she’s not," I said under my breath.

So got back to the motel, ate and watched TV. I went to bed around 12:30 a.m., but I could fall asleep until about 2:30. I attribute this to the time change. Or the loud, unimportant conversation being held by the three shirtless dudes outside my door.

That leads us to this morning. I’m going to grab some breakfast, head to Elder High School in Cincinnati for some interviews and then to De La Salle’s practice a few miles away. After which, I’ll hopefully have a story to write. And by tomorrow morning, maybe another story to tell. Peace.

Curtis "Jim Bob" Pashelka




The start of the Season

The girls volleyball season is very much underway. Some teams are feeling the effects of graduation, while others haven’t missed a beat returning plenty of experience. But now it’s time to play the matches and see how things shake out.

Foothill won the Deer Valley tournament to solidify itself as the favorite in Division I. Carondelet could be the best Division II this season, while Campolindo should rule Division III once again. Holy Names five-game upset of St. Mary’s on Thursday, may have marked a shift in the Panthers’ two-year stronghold in Division IV.

What teams are ready to make noise? Deer Valley and Clayton Valley in the BVAL? Miramonte and Concord in the DFAL? Who’s the top team in the ACCAL?

The answers will soon be clear.


East County Prep Sports

We’ve made an addition to an old feature. To serve our readers and the six high schools and Los Medanos College in East Contra Costa County, we are naming specific athletes of the week for East County, starting Friday. This is in addition to athletes of the week specific to the Contra Costa Times, West County Times and Valley Times editions. This week we also added a Community College notebook and next week we’re adding an alumni notebook. We’re always striving to add new features and offer readers some surprises. 



Welcome to the return of FORECAST, where we take a look at some of the weekend’s upcoming games and add our spin and predictions.
For most teams, it’s only Week 2 and there’s still time to tune up and build momentum. For the 10 teams in the DFAL, there’s no more do-overs. Games start counting tonight.
Here’s a rundown of tonight’s DFAL openers, three of which could be one-sided, and two which could be verrrry interesting.
Alhambra (1-0) at Miramonte (1-0): This is easily the biggest, and most appealing, of the five openers. Miramonte enters as the No. 12 team in the most recent Times East Bay Football Poll, and Alhambra comes in at No. 17. Bulldogs RB Brandon Rutley is coming off a three-TD performance against Ygnacio Valley, but Miramonte was one of the most effective defenses in stopping Rutley last season. Expect something similar to last year’s matchup when the Matadors won 21-14 on a fourth quarter TD. Prediction: Miramonte 17, Alhambra 13
Dublin (0-1) at Las Lomas (0-1): Had Las Lomas come up with a win over Paradise last week, this might have been a perfect "trap" game for Dublin to take advantage of. Instead, the Gaels are in deep trouble. The Knights have never started a season 0-2 in their seven seasons under Doug Longero. As much as we like Gaels RB Devon Ferguson, this one will go to Las Lomas. Prediction: Las Lomas 24, Dublin 10.
Acalanes (1-0) at Northgate (0-1): Connor Ring looked awful good in the Dons opening win. Expect him to look good again this week as he faces a Broncos team which gave up 53 points to El Cerrito last Friday. Predicition: Acalanes 38, Northgate 13.
Campolindo (1-0) at Mt. Diablo (1-0): It was nice to see the Red Devils win their season opener against Fremont-Oakland. However, Campolindo is coming off showcased quite a few offensive weapons in its thrilling come-from-behind win over Piedmont. The Cougars shouldn’t have too much trouble here. Prediction: Campolindo 27, Mt. Diablo 6.
College Park (0-1) at Concord (0-1): I’ll admit, the Minutemen’s loss at Livermore was a bit of a shock. College Park’s loss was somewhat expected against Clayton Valley, but the Falcons still showed some good things. I think Concord bounces back, and gets a mini-upset over The Park. Prediction: Concord 30, College Park 28.

Quick Hits
Here’s five more games we’re daring enough to call.
Foothill (1-0) over Berekley (0-1): Defense dominates
California (0-1) over Alameda (1-0): Hornets offense will seem to be in slo-motion to the Grizzlies after playing Hayward last week.
Deer Valley (1-0) over Granada (0-1): Wolverines have too much speed.
Antioch (1-0) over Buhach Colony-Atwater (0-1): Eells Field sees a win for the first time since 2003.
De La Salle (1-0) over Elder-Cincinnati (3-0): Spartans always rise for the big games.

Enjoy Week 2, and we’ll see you for Monday Evening QB.


CCC football is no joke

John McDermott is doing everything he can to change the losing atmosphere surrounding Contra Costa College football. In his third year as head coach, the former Comet’s plan seems to be working. A 24-21 upset of Diablo Valley on Saturday improved CCC to 2-0 and served notice that the Comets are no longer an easy ‘W’ on anybody’s schedule. For more on the upstart CCC football team, as well as this year’s inductees to the DVC Hall of Fame, check out our new biweekly Community College notebook in today’s sports section.


More on the Sias

Carondelet freshman Nicole Hood, who won the girls side at the Ed Sias Invitational cross-country meet on Saturday, seemed to come out of nowhere. I saw her break into the lead in the first few steps of the two-mile race, then widen her lead to 10 seconds within one-half mile. As I was waiting for her to appear before Finale Hil, a steep, if short, incline in the final quarter mile, Iasked a Cougar junior varsity runner who their front-runner was. She looked at me and, "That would be Nicole Hood." The name rang a bell, but only lightly. Hood won by 18 seconds. Obviously, a runner of her caliber does not come out of nowhere. Running for the Pleasanton Heat last winter, she placed second in the Junior Olympics 4-kilometer race, held Dec. 10 in Rhode Island. Led by Hood, the top five Carondelet finishers were in the top 14 and all are either freshmen or sophomores. We’re going to be reading about this team a long time…


Monday Evening QB: Week 1

Here’s a few random thoughts/observations from Week 1 of the prep football season.

– It was a tough opening weekend for new coaches. Of the eight new coaches in the Times region, just three won: De Anza’s Mike Williams (41-8 over Kennedy-Richmond), Alameda’s George Calandri (14-7 over Bishop O’Dowd) and Acalanes’ Randy Takahashi (28-14 over Ukiah).
– Power leagues: There was no surprise at which leagues fared best. The Bay Valley Athletic League and East Bay Athletic League both went 5-2.
– You can’t stop Monte Vista WR Ryan Whalen, you can only hope to contain him.
– You can’t even hope to contain Salesian RB Jahvid Best.
– Best celebrity coach/celebrity player combination: Former Pro Bowl defensive end Dana Stubblefield is now the defensive line coach for Valley Christian-San Jose. His star pupil: Matt Singletary, son of Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary.
– Clutch performance of the week: Campolindo kicker Jimmy Adranly, who kicked a 23-yard field goal with 7.2 seconds left to beat Piedmont 23-22.
-Week 2 game I’m most looking forward to: While DLS-Elder(Ohio) is certainly intriguing, I expect the Spartans to play their best in the big games and come away with a win. However, I don’t know what to expect Pittsburg to do at Long Beach Poly in its first high-profile game on the road.
-FRIDAY FORECAST returns Friday morning, I’ll see you then.



It’s official.

Eli Holman will be a Hoosier starting in the fall of 2007.

A week after the Web site Indiana.rivals.com reported that Holman, a Richmond High School senior, had verbally committed to play basketball for Indiana University, the 6-foot-10 Holman confirmed the report in front of members of his church on Sunday, giving a verbal commitment to play basketball for the Hoosiers. Holman can’t officially sign with Indiana until Nov. 8, the NCAA’s early signing period.

“By the time I got off that plane, it was amazing,” said Holman Sunday about his trip to Indiana. “Indiana is a basketball (state). Bloomington is beautiful and I actually felt like I was home away from home.”

Holman played just four games last season before receiving a season-ending suspension for pushing an official after being called for a technical foul.

But, he raised his stock over the summer with solid performances at the Reebok ABCD and the Main Event camp.

“It was a mistake,” Holman said about the incident. “A lot of people don’t see it was a mistake. They think it was a short-tempered big guy that goes off. But it was a mistake, and I realize it was a mistake and I learned from my mistake.”

The incident made Holman appreciate basketball more and he channeled his energy into the game.

“That was the best thing that happened to me in high school,” Holman said. “I know it sounds awkward in the way I am answering, but it was the best thing that happened to me.

“It made me appreciate it and made me realize that basketball can be taken a way from me at any time.”

His appreciation showed at the ABCD camp ABCD. There, Holman competed with the best college prospects in the country and held his own. He finished the camp second in rebounding at seven per game and led the camp in blocks with 3.4 per game.

Up next for Holman is getting reinstated. Holman still has to complete anger management counseling, which he has been doing since the incident, as a condition of his suspension. He also must petition the North Coast Section for reinstatement.


Ed Sias Invite redux

Well, Nicole Hood and Carondelet didn’t take very long to show that they will be a power to contend with this season on the North Coast Section cross country scene. Hood, a freshman, won the Ed Sias girls individual title and Carondelet posted a dual meet-like score of 31 to easily win the team title. De La Salle looks like it will continue to be a power after a strong showing in the boys large school race. St. Mary’s Matt Duffy won the boys small school race by nearly 17 seconds.